From the Rostra

Table setting with long gold spoon

Bring a Long Spoon

The phrase “He needs a long spoon who sups with the Devil” is an allegorical English saying that advises caution when dealing with someone who is devious or could harm you.  The phrase dates to the time of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare.  The allegory suggests that keeping your distance from them is important when dealing with devious people.  While it’s necessary to maintain open communication with both friends and adversaries, it is equally important to be able to distinguish between the two. Lessons from World War II During the beginning of World War II, American companies sought to find a balance between profiting from business with the Nazis and turning a blind eye to their actions.  Once we entered the war, some of our most prominent corporations saw their CEOs caught up in this “dance with the Devil.”  The lesson we should learn from their saga is that our country’s interests should always come before profit.  This is especially true when you see a foreign country behaving in ways that can damage our nation.  Corporate reputational damage by dealing with a possible adversary is a real concern, but it should always be secondary to the potential damage to our country.  When CEOs and corporations knowingly deal with adversaries, they risk losing on both counts, the national stage and the corporate level. It has been almost eighty years since World War II ended, but the lessons learned from it remain relevant today.  Our corporations’ long-term reputation and our country’s safety should never be compromised in pursuit of short-term profits.  It is important to remember that today’s corporate CEOs and titans are the grandchildren of those who fought and sacrificed their lives in World War II.  Time has made those lessons seem distant, but it is not an excuse to prioritize profit over patriotism. Having Dinner with the Devil Last week, we saw a repeat of the decades-old issues with Germany as many corporate leaders showed poor judgment and gave President Xi a standing ovation at an exclusive dinner.  Shareholders in these companies should be aware of and concerned because CEOs

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In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.President Theodore Roosevelt

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