Chris Cooper’s “Can’t win a battle if you are not honest about what you’re really up against”

These are days of battle. Of various shades, form and colour. They are times of contests, confrontations and challenges. With many countries, groups and individuals pushing to secure, consolidate or extend their reach and space.

A few days ago, during a tour of a military base in southern China, President Xi Jinping told Chinese marines to focus on ‘preparing to go to war.’ In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has let the world know by his actions that he loves contests, confrontations and challenges.

The air in many places in saturated with grievances. Anger roams about freely and enraptures with its feeling of exhilaration. Many are taken in and captivated by the brew and loving the attention they are receiving in the process.

Back home the #EndSARS campaign has become some kind of battle with protesters digging more and more into the trenches as the days pass, defying the elements, appeals and even attempts by hoodlums to disrupt the exercise and make protesters go home. If you saw the resistance put up by protesters today in Ikeja when some hoodlums attacked them you would better appreciate the fact that the protests might have become a kind of non-violent battle indeed.

In Irresistible, the 2020 American political comedy, actor Chris Cooper (Jack Hastings) provided an interesting perspective on something to take along by anyone who hopes to win in battle. While having a discussion with Steve Carell (Gary Zimmer) in a restaurant he dropped the line – “…Can’t win a battle if you are not honest about what you’re really up against.”

While Cooper’s take may appear perfectly suited in a political battle situation, it certainly has application in other battle situations. While it is true that when battles usually begin, the fear that combatants have for one another may dissolve, and be overtaken by calm even with shells of all kinds bursting all around, there is always value in knowing the current capabilities of the institutions, groups, persons or nation state any entity may be up against.

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