Gongol.com Archives: July 2022
Finland, which has just elected to join NATO, is led by a prime minister who is just 36 years old. Sanna Marin is young enough that she looks not a bit out of place attending a pop music festival headlined by artists like Megan Thee Stallion. ■ The prime minister's age is notable on at least two levels: First is how it reveals that relative youth need not necessarily be an impediment to clear thinking about security. Prime Minister Marin is only six years younger than Theodore Roosevelt was upon his inauguration to the Presidency, and one could quite reasonably argue that leading her country's government (in which other coalition parties are also headed by leaders under the age of 40) to join NATO and bulk up its border with Russia is at least as bold a move as Roosevelt's move to show off the US Navy with a world tour. ■ The other is how Finland's choice of leadership represents at least an implicit decision to develop national-level leadership in people long before they reach anything resembling their golden years. Americans still hear from Henry Kissinger, whose influence has lasted decades past his tenure in office. Yet we rarely seem to promote the idea of developing national-level talent in the United States among anyone before they reach the event horizon of normal retirement age. ■ Thomas Jefferson was 33 when he penned the Declaration of Independence. He had a long time left to live and to spread his influence, but even by their mid-30s, smart people are worth cultivating towards their highest potential. It's unlikely the next President of the United States will look quite as comfortable at a concert as Prime Minister Marin -- but we shouldn't prematurely rule out any good leadership potential merely out of fear of youth.