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Peace Roadmap

Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

Look inside Nissim Dahan's book Selling a Vision of Hope with Google Books.

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How to Beat the Ideological Extremist at His Own Game E-mail
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Written by Nissim Dahan   
Table of Contents
How to Beat the Ideological Extremist at His Own Game
A Sensible Strategy for the U.S. and the Western World
Public Diplomacy

Public Diplomacy

Once we begin to use An Ideology of Common Sense along with some well placed Investment Dollars to sell a Vision of Hope, we should then proceed to launch a series of Public Diplomacy Programs which are designed to prop the vision up, and to carry it forward, in a concerted effort to inspire a Sense of Hope, and to counter An Ideology of Hate:
  • Media Campaign: If the extremists use their mosques, madrasas, and media, as a propaganda machine to disseminate hate; we will launch a media campaign to speak to one another with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity in an effort to bridge the ideological divide.
  • A Program to Empower Women: If the extremists use their religion and their culture to marginalize women; we will empower women by financing female entrepreneurs and promoting women?s rights. Empower Muslim women, in ways that they deem appropriate, and you will have changed the face of the Middle East. Who are women? They are the givers of life, and the caretakers of life, and as such are uniquely qualified to reconstitute their societies consistent with a Vision of Hope.
  • Cultural Exchange: If the extremists seek to impose cultural isolation; we will export new ideas into the Middle East, and import the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East into the West.
  • Student Exchange: If the extremists use their madrasas to inculcate hate; we will sponsor a student exchange to train new leaders for the 21st century and to humanize the other side.
  • An Expanded Version of the Peace Corps: If the extremists seek to incite war; we will expand the Peace Corps and bear witness to the sight of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and people of all faiths, volunteering together and helping to bring the Middle East into the 21st century.
  • International Conferences: If the extremists seek to consolidate political power by stifling economic growth and blaming others, by preaching ideological hate and quoting scripture, and by abusing their educational system by teaching intolerance; we will sponsor International Conferences to help energize an economic rebirth, to help foster interfaith dialogue, and to encourage a balanced and modern education geared to the competitive world of the 21st century.

Albert Einstein came up with E=mc2. Thankfully, the formula for success in the Middle East is a lot simpler, Ideology plus Investment equals Hope. We need nothing less than a new ideological framework along with some well placed investment dollars to generate a sense of hope, and with hope all things are possible, even the impossible dream of peace. Use An Ideology of Common Sense along with Economic Incentives to sell a Vision of Hope - a Vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom - on the Arab street, in the Muslim world, and in the world as a whole.


Speak to one another with common sense, and with a sense of personal dignity. Put some serious money on the table, and give everyone on earth a place at the table, a stake in his or her future. Make the "global economy" truly global.


Use the motto: "We stand ready to invest in you, if you are ready to invest in yourselves."


Invest in projects which resonate with hope, which create jobs, which protect the environment, and which allow people to become who they want to become, even if they want to become different from you. Create facts on the ground which speak louder than words. Marginalize the extremists on all sides by putting them in the uncomfortable and untenable position of holding their people back from a better life. If the West is good at anything, it is making and investing money.


Why not use this strength as part of our strategic arsenal to promote peace, and to win the war against ideological extremism? And when the need arises, fight on the ground, and fight hard, but position the fight within a more optimistic context, one that points to the possibility of peace, one that empowers moderate Muslims to join in, and one that inspires people both here and abroad to carry on until the job is done.

An Ideology of Common Sense, which will underpin the public debate, is a new way of thinking and a new way of talking to one another - a new framework for rational discourse, based on the proposition that even in our fractured world there exits a core set of principles which are universal in their scope, and which have universal appeal. Common sense may be the only gift we were given to bring order to our lives.


In our fractured world, common sense is the common denominator!


Common sense principles such as The Golden Rule, The Golden Mean, and The Greatest Good, are as universal and as relevant as mathematics.

  • The Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would have them treat you," would have us treat each other well by Investing in one another.
  • The Golden Mean: "The truth is usually to be found somewhere in the middle between two extremes," would have us think straight by using common sense as our Ideology.
  • The Greatest Good: "Do what brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number," would have us maximize justice by organizing ourselves around a vision of Hope.

Put it all together, and the formula for world peace becomes quite clear. As Thomas Jefferson might have said, "We find this truth to be self-evident: Ideology plus Investment equals Hope."

We find ourselves trapped in a room that is so full of B.S. that we only have about two inches of air left near the ceiling. Isn?t it high time to cut through all the nonsense, to get back to core truths, to find common ground, and to bridge the ideological divide? By the way, just for the heck of it, try defining "common sense" in one sentence. What if our survival as a species depended on it?