By Richard John Stapleton

A man with white hair and plaid shirt standing in front of brick wall.

I think Eve Ottenberg is basically correct in her article, "The World Would be Better Off Without NATO."

I taught systems management in a master's degree program with Troy State University in the US on United States Air Force/NATO bases in Europe during academic year 1982-83 on leave from Georgia Southern University in the US starting in the fall quarter of 1982 at Incirlik Air Base at Adana, Turkey, moving on in the winter quarter to Hellinikon Air Base at Athens, Greece, then to Soesterberg Air Base in Soesterberg, Holland in the spring quarter, and then to Aviano Air Base in Aviano, Italy in the summer quarter of 1983, and then flying back to the States in August of 1983, to spend the rest of my career teaching in my own case method/transactional analysis program in the business school at Georgia Southern University, retiring as the senior professor of the university in 2005.

Since then, I have published four books and over one hundred articles on the Internet, such as this one, dealing with social, economic, political, and military states of affairs, more or less pro bono, considering this work a civic duty in a supposedly democratic country such as the United States of America.

It was quite a ride in 1982-83, the most enlightening year of my life, riding in all sorts of USAF planes, PCSing (PCS stands for permanent change of duty station) from one duty station to another.

I even rode on a general's plane once PCSing from Greece to Soesterberg, Holland after the transport plane I was riding on got laid up for repairs at Torrejon, Spain.

A colonel I was talking with at the base at Torrejon who had the same problem with a transport plane asked me how I would like to ride from Torrejon to Ramstein, Germany in a general's plane. He said they had a few seats left in the back of the bus and he thought he could get us on the flight. We had a great visit and ride on the way to Ramstein drinking beer and eating snacks in the back of the bus while the commanding general for Europe hosted dignitaries in the front of the plane with steak and scotch whiskey.

After about two hours or so in the air an attractive young stewardess walked to the back of the bus and told us we might want to attach our seat belts since we were about to touch down.

A minute or so later we felt a slight bump and we were on the ground. I had no idea you could have an airline flight that smooth, what they called a gradual descent landing. We had been descending for a hundred or more miles and nobody knew it.

This USAF general's plane looked like the USian president's plane, solid white with the words United States of America painted on its sides.

I had a GS-13 civil service rating as a civilian full professor working with the Air Force that gave me officer's club privileges equivalent to those of a full colonel on USian bases. While I had a security clearance, I was not privy to any military secrets, although I was privy to many interesting private conversations with high-ranking officers in officer's clubs.

I had one full colonel in one of my classes, who was also a fighter pilot, a top gun in the system, who was exceptionally interesting and effective in class analyzing and discussing systems management cases with students in the class that ranged from him as a full bird down to enlisted personnel who did maintenance work on the planes. Students in my classes had undergraduate degrees from colleges and universities in the United States, including the Air Force Academy, and undergraduate degrees from colleges and universities in Greece and The Netherlands. A student in Holland about my age, who had an undergraduate degree in marketing and a law degree, drove me around Holland in his Mercedes explaining how the crountry functioned with some its land below sea level using windmills, dams, and locks. It was amazing to see boats floating down canals that were thirty or so feet above us as we rode alongside on a highway.

I had some nationals (mainly local business people working on the TSU-E master's degree in systems management) in my classes in Greece and Holland.

A colonel told me in August 1982 in Ramstein, Germany after I first touched down in Europe (the first time I ever set foot in Europe), having departed the US from Charleston, SC the previous day, over lunch in a German restaurant, giving me my first taste of authentic German food, that the real purpose for US military personnel in Europe in NATO at the time was to serve as hostages if the Russians decided to roll their tanks into Europe to take over new territory, thereby guaranteeing the US would defend Europe in an all-out war.

No one I talked with during my year in Europe with the USAF on NATO bases, 1982-83–USAF officer, USAF enlisted person, local politician, or local national–was seriously worried about a war breaking out anytime soon.

I took Army ROTC for one year at Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist college with about 1,700 students, at Abilene, Texas in 1958-59 as a freshman on a basketball scholarship. ROTC was required for two years for all males at Hardin-Simmons. I basically detested it, thinking shining brass, saluting, presenting arms, marching on the drill field, etc. was the dumbest thing I ever did. I got out of the second year of required ROTC after finding out I could never be commissioned as an officer in the military because of a spinal fusion back surgery I had when I was a sophomore in high school. All I had to do was show a medical doctor in Abilene the ten-inch scar running up my back and have him sign a form affirming he had seen it. I was called up for the USian draft in 1962 and was required to take a standard Army physical at Amarillo, Texas. As I stood in line naked with other potential draftees during the physical a medical doctor took one look at the scar running up my back and told me, "I'm sorry but you are permanently disqualified from military service."

I thus never had to worry about getting drafted and sent to Vietnam to get my ass shot off, as a lot of not-yet-drafted young males in the States used to say back in those days. I would have volunteered to help defend the US in a war from a serious enemy threatening to invade the US. The USian-Brit War of 1812 was probably the only one.

At a Southern Management Association meeting for management professors in Atlanta, Georgia in 1981 a recruiter from Troy State University asked me at a cocktail party, "How would you like to teach for a year in Europe?" It turned out he was recruiting for the TSU-E systems management master's degree program on USAF NATO bases. Despite my generally negative attitude regarding military organizations I took them up on the deal.

I maintained relations with administrators in the TSU-Europe program for several years after I got back to the States. I was impressed with the USAF–its operations, its efficiency, its personnel, and its culture–and the TSU-E educational program, and I thought about going back over there again for another tour.

Despite all military organizations being authoritarian, with a rigid hierarchy and a strict chain of command, the USAF was a benevolent organization with the best system of guaranteed human rights I had experienced. It had almost eradicated racial and sexual discrimination, and so long as members adhered to clearly spelled-out rules within limits they were free to be themselves regardless of whether they were caused by fate to be straight or LGBTQ, freer than most USians are in the States.

I talked with numerous people on USAF NATO bases who had gotten out of the Air Force after a few years who, after experiencing life in the USian market economy, reenlisted because life to them was more satisfying in the Air Force than it was in ordinary USian life, proving a socialistic benevolent authoritarian organization paid for by USian taxes, investors buying Federal Government debt instruments with real money, and funny money created from thin air by the USian Federal Reserve System can be more satisfying than capitalistic market-driven authoritarian organizations are to some people. For sure job security in the Air Force was greater than it was in market-driven organizations.

In 1989 I casually told the head of the TSU-E management program in a snail mail letter that it was too bad the Russians had declared peace against us by tearing down the Berlin Wall after Ronald Reagan told them to.

I naively assumed there would no longer be a need for USian NATO bases in Europe or the TSU-E program since the Russians were talking about wanting to join NATO themselves at the time.

Another teaching tour in Europe did not happen. The upshot is that I lost contact with TSU-E administrators and have no idea what ultimately happened to the management program I taught in in Europe in 1982-83.

But I do know NATO was not disbanded. Instead it was expanded, moving closer to the Russian border, after the Berlin Wall came down, and no USian bases were closed, to my knowledge, and the Russian-Ukrainian USian proxy war is now a costly expense for USian taxpayers.

It's a shame states of affairs have turned out as they have. I thought we might have peace on Earth after 1989 since we USians had defeated communism in Russia in the Cold War.

Unfortunately, it seems the USian Deep State decided the US could not afford peace.

It's irrelevant that the Russians were fascist communists then and fascist capitalists now. The USian Deep State still needs Russia as an enemy to generate cash flow in a new kind of cold war, even if you can't accuse the Russians now of spreading evil communism.


Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA would spin the spinner of his Classroom De-GAMER™ in his classes to randomly select a student at the beginning of each class session to lead a discussion of the case assigned for the day, a case taken from a planned or operating business prepared by case writers at Georgia Southern, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Alabama.

This process insured that everyone would be relatively GAME-free transacting in class discussions. They all agreed to a learning contract at the outset of the course that they would read assigned cases and would be graded on the quantity and quality of ideas sold in the class market. Anyone caught obviously unprepared by the spinning De-GAMER would lose a whole letter grade from the course grade. No one could feel or think that s/he was being persecuted or rescued if selected to start the class discussion of the day by the Classroom De-GAMER™. The psychological GAME roles of Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim were largely banished from the course learning process.

Be it noted that Stapleton sat in the same circle in the same kind of chair as students, and the De-GAMING rules also applied to him. If the Classroom De-GAMER™ landed on him he had to lay out the case just like any other student and discuss what was the problem, what were the alternatives, and what he recommended.

A man sitting at a table in front of a computer.

Grades were based eighty percent on class participation in dialectical discussions about what to do about problems and opportunities found in cases; the rest of the final grade was based on two case write-ups. One write-up was about what the student observed, researched, analyzed, and wrote about an existing business in the local environment or a business plan the student created. The other write-up was an analysis of a case researched and written by professors about a business assigned as the final exam. Cases used in his courses contained processes, problems, opportunities, and data occurring in all functional areas of business such as entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, operations management, control, management information systems, and business policy and strategy.

Stapleton has published refereed journal articles and books explaining how his democratic GAME-free Adult-Adult I'm OK–You're OK case method system works, by banishing Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims playing psychological GAMES from the teaching and learning process, first documented in an article titled "The Classroom De-GAMER" he published in 1978 in the Transactional Analysis Journal. He has published seven books and over one hundred articles in various media containing cases, research data, and essays on teaching and learning, management systems, and business policies and practices.

Stapleton learned and trained using transactional analysis with Martin Groder, MD; Graham Barnes, PhD; Vann Joines, PhD; and many others at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (1975-1978).

He was a Harvard Case Method teacher who never went to Harvard, having learned how the case method works teaching with Bernard Bienvenu, DBA and Rexford Hauser, DBA (Harvard Business School doctorates) at the University of Louisiana–Lafayette in 1969-70.

He has a BS in economics (1962), an MBA in organizational behavior (1966), and a PhD in management science (1969) from Texas Tech University, and an organizational and educational certification in transactional analysis (CTA) from the International Transactional Analysis Association (1978).

He taught his own case method track at the undergraduate level in the management department in the business school at Georgia Southern University offering four or five different elective case method courses each academic year (1970-2005), in which he led, coordinated, and graded about twenty-five or so students each year who took all or most of those case method courses in their junior and senior years, of about two hundred students who signed up for all his courses each year. He used a democratic circle or amphitheater classroom layout in all his classes. He also taught most semesters two sections of a capstone integrative business policy course he added to the business school curriculum in 1970 that was required for all undergraduate business majors that could be elected by any student in any major.  He was the only professor in the business school to use the case method in any course.

His students agreed to a course learning contract that stipulated they would read the facts of the case before class and would lose a whole letter grade from the course final grade if the De-GAMER randomly caught them obviously not having read the case before class, if they had not slipped a note under his office door before class telling him they had not read the case, which they could do twice during the course without penalty.

About ten percent of his students made A's and about five percent made D's. Most made C's, which is about right, since C = Average. There were few F's in his courses. The main criterion for course grades was the quantity and quality of ideas sold by students in case method discussions. He used peer ratings to give students feedback showing what their fellow students thought about the quantity and quality of their ideas sold in class, having made it clear the final decision about final grades was his. He did not believe in Lake Wobegon grading.

No student was ever forced to take one of his courses to graduate, and the most hardened GAME-players in the school did not sign up for his courses after he issued his Edict of 1972 in which he clearly spelled out in his syllabi the penalty for getting caught unprepared. His Classroom De-GAMER™ was roundly discussed by students in bull sessions across campus every year and was labeled various things, such as The Wheel of Fate and The Death Wheel. Most students near the end of his career simply called it The Spinner.

He appreciated Georgia Southern honoring his academic freedom by allowing him control of his teaching methods, classroom layouts, grading procedures, and course books, cases, and materials, some of which he researched, wrote, and published. He was promoted to full professor at age thirty-six.

He solicited anonymous longitudinal research data using questionnaires in 1992 showing his case method students during 1972-1982 reported higher yearly incomes in 1992 than students electing the same courses in 1972-1982 taught by professors using the authoritarian lecture method and the militaristic row and column classroom layout, who graded students based on memorizing or calculating  "right answers" for tests, indicating learners learning in Adult–Adult I'm OK–You're OK GAME-free democratic learning processes graded subjectively became more successful in the real world of business than learners lectured to and graded using so-called objective multiple-choice tests.

Only former students who had worked in the real world ten or more years after graduating from the Georgia Southern business school were included in the study. The data are shown, analyzed, and discussed in full in "Evidence the Case Method Works" in his book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds, 2008, pg. 475). The data were also used in several refereed articles.

The ancient Greeks used a similar random-selection democratic process in the Third Century BCE to select leaders of political discussions, learning, and policy formulation in their halls of government. Such a process is called sortition.

For more information on related classroom management ethical issues see Stapleton, R.J. and Murkison, G. (2001), "Optimizing the fairness of student evaluations: A study of correlations between instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and expected grades," in the Journal of Management Education, 25(3), 269-292.

Stapleton had one of the lowest student grade point averages among professors in the business school and was one of the lowest-ranked professors as an instructor on computerized campus-wide student evaluations that weighted only instructor excellence scores up to 2000; but he was one of the highest-ranked professors in a computerized student evaluation system he designed that generated data also showing and weighting study production, learning production, and expected grades scores for each professor, published in "Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations."

To read the Optimizing Fairness article in full, go to . After this research was published, Georgia Southern in 2001 added study production, learning production, and expected grades questions to the student evaluation form used campus-wide.

"Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations" has by now (July 10, 2023) been cited as a reference in 88 refereed journal articles concerned about the ethics of student evaluations in several academic disciplines, including eleven new citations since April 2021.

As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein propositioned in his book Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, "The case is all there is."

If so, everything else said about Earthian human states of affairs is a rendition of what was or might be.

Stapleton's latest book is As the Rooster Crows Earthian OKness Increases.

For more on Stapleton's cultural, educational, and professional experiences see "RJS Academic Vita."

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