Peeling the Onion: President Obama resolving his immediate Syrian dilemma: by means of Option Solving!

In the last blog, we contemplated what option President Obama and his team would pursue to punish Syria for its recent chemical weapons attack. At that time, he was suddenly presented with a fresh option requiring Syria to surrender and sequester all its chemical weapons. With pursuing that option, we gave his team the opportunity to Peel the Onion for determining what might be its best alternative for doing this successfully. As we have already acquainted them with the Option Solving technique, we can use their rational minds to create a question for their intuitive minds to answer. Intuition, based upon the best rationale, becomes the best judge.

Their proposed question was as follows: “What is President Obama’s best option for co-opting the international community to sequester Syria’s chemical weapons, considering the difficulties of implementation and verification, what countries can be trusted to take part, the preference for a political rather than a military solution, and getting the full support of the UN Security Council?” The second half of the question is devoted to the various considerations that the Obama team had to take into account. Although there were more than four, the four given here represent 50% of the most important ones of those listed.

He and his team then came up with two Yin and Yang “bookends” to frame their forthcoming more pertinent options. The reasons for not considering these “outliers” are shown in our Latest Example. Take a look at the two they prod-uced: “No international agreement,” at one end, with, “Ignore the existence of a CW stockpile” at the other. It’s clear why these weren’t considered, but they helped to stimulate six other more plausible options.

You can view Mr. Obama and his team’s six options, between the bookends, one of which was: “Allow the UN to take the lead on the CW sequester program”…option E. They decided to take some emotional distancing time overnight before reconvening by phone the following day to take a consensus decision. From there they put together an action plan to ensure the whole deal would come to pass.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “A key executive is forced out of his position: what options does he have?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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President Obama resolving his immediate Syrian dilemma: by means of Option Solving!

Two weeks ago President Obama and his team were saddled with deciding if and when to strike against Syria, so as to punish it for using chemical weapons against innocent men, women and children. They were debating what form of action to take and, since that time a new option has emerged regarding the placing of all Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision. Since we can assume he and his team will enjoy using Option Solving and are now familiar with the technique, we can proceed toward devising the right initial question and related considerations.

The question I put together for them, with their appropriate considerations, evolved as follows: “What is President Obama’s best option against the Syrian regime for gassing its population, considering limited support from allies, an attack could backfire in unexpected ways, he has mini-mal US support, although action could clearly signal future conseq-uences” Other considerations were available, but I helped choose the key ones for the President’s team.

Now I introduced two framing, unlikely Yin and Yang “bookends” to help stimu-late at least five creative and plausible options. I have denoted the reasons why these two framing options are unlikely possibilities in their respective boxes. The two I produced for them were: “Stand down all operations,” at one end, while at the other end you see, “Full scale invasion.” Both of these are extreme and unlikely enough that they naturally induce fresh ideas.

Go to our Latest Example and you will find the six options I thought they could consider as real possibilities. I did include the option regarding the putting of chemical weapons under international supervision, which has emerged as a focal point over the past few days. See this one as: “International sequester of all chemical weapons to postpone a strike ”…option C. It would not be my preferred option, since it has taken the ball out of US hands. You can decide which option you would choose from the other five options.

I then advised him and his team to put in some emotional distancing overnight, and they’ve thrown themselves behind Option C. They built an action plan which kicked-off with Secretary John Kerry flying of the Geneva to meet his Russian counterpart. So next time we can take a look at their “Peeling the onion” exercise to decide their best option for putting Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Peeling the onion: President Obama dealing with his Syrian dilemma?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)