- George Washington
- Nelson Mandela
- Nouri al Maliki
- Hamid Karzai
Here following the conclusion of the Fourth of July weekend, I think we can see how crucial it is to have competent and ethical leaders at early stages of a country's history.
See that list above. The American Founding Fathers were not gods - John Adams made that clear in his later years - but truly rotten apples like Aaron Burr were the exception. And while South African democracy is somewhat rocky, it's still a democracy over 20 years later, and Mandela's leadership helped make that happen.
America had rocky initial years like South Africa, ultimately culminating in the Civil War to free the slaves and preserve the Union. Good initial leadership is no guarantee of stability, but it sure helps.
Contrast our experiences to Iraq's and Afghanistan's. While Maliki wasn't the first Iraqi leader after Saddam, he's been the most crucial and most unfortunate one, and Karzai is hardly better.
We Americans are fortunate in our Founder Effect, and can work hard to have good leadership still. Hopefully the same will happen in Iraq and Afghanistan.