Analysis of Characters in Ugly American by by Burdick and Lederer

Better Essays

The next character I will mention is Honorable Gilbert MacWhite, who replaced Ambassador Sears in Sarkhan. This character functioned in complete contrast to Sears. He understood the sensitivity of the US mission in Sarkhan and how vulnerable the Sarkhanese government was to potential communist influences. He also understood the communist threat and did not underestimate it. MacWhite’s understanding of the operational environment was clear from the beginning and made constant efforts in understanding the people of Sarkhan.
MacWhite arrived in Sarkhan well versed on the customs, language, and threats faced by the country; this aided him in everything that followed through his tour. Understanding the operational environment is critical in …show more content…

Finally, MacWhite understood the need for legitimacy across the country and this became very evident in his constant search for individuals who can provide a means for the Sarkhaneese to develop the country by themselves. An example that comes to mind from the story is when he talked to Atkins in order to develop a way for the people of Sarkhan to transfer water from the river, uphill, to the rice paddies. The ability he provided to ensure attainable resources were available to the common people legitimized the active concern of the USG towards the country as a whole. What I believe made the legitimate action in this case was not the machine which was not completed at this point but the legitimate concern of the Ambassador.

As depicted in the above paragraphs, MacWhite displayed three Special Operation Imperatives in a clear manner: understanding the operational environment, anticipating long-term effects, and ensuring legitimacy and credibility. I agree that other imperatives such as operating with and through others and ensuring long-term sustainment could also be added to the list, but I wanted to provide a contrast to the actions of Sears and those of MacWhite. His proactive and constant search to understand the operational environment gave MacWhite the tools to better

Get Access