“A friend in need is a friend in deed,” wrote Benjamin Franklin. Nixon’s related maxim was, “My friend’s enemies are my enemies.” (p. 149)
In the Russian threat against Israel in 1973, Nixon had to choose whether to side with Israel or to follow the advise of his cabinet. He chose the unpopular position. He stayed loyal to Israel.
Reflecting on this critical chapter in Israel’s history, Golda Meir later wrote, “Nixon ordered the US alert on October 14, 1973, because détente or no, he was not about to give in to Soviet blackmail. It was, I think, a dangerous decision, a courageous decision, and a correct decision.” (p. 154).
For Nixon’s unswerving loyalty in the face of staunch opposition from his own administration, Israeli ambassador Simcha Dinitz, in tears of gratitude, said, “President Nixon saved Israel.” (p. 154)
Leaders can’t afford to diminished credibility with their allies and supporters. They must know they can trust and rely on you…even when others don’t support them…or you.
Perhaps author James Humes summarized the lesson of this commandment best when he wrote,
“The reputation of loyalty, whether to a political ally, a friend, or a business client, is credit in the bank. The failure to sustain that loyalty diminishes the credibility of [a leader,] a country or a company” (p. 158).
Lesson: Love your enemies…but always be even more loving and loyal to your allies and friends even if it’s unpopular.