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Vision of Hope
file under: vision of hopeAmerican DreamAmericaa new model for the Middle East4th of July 5 Jul 2011 1:22 PM
Happy Birthday America Posted by Nissim Dahan
 

Granted, I may be somewhat biased in this regard, but to my mind at least, the United States of America is the greatest country on earth, and probably the greatest country that ever was, and unfortunately, every once in a while, it comes time to prove it. This is such a time.

 

The problems which sit stubbornly at America's doorstep are numerous and overwhelming: a huge debt burden that threatens future generations, a slow economy that is slow to rebound, high unemployment, two wars being fought with limited success, environmental threats which have been put on the back burner, and the list goes on and on. A multitude of problems is taking its toll on the American spirit and putting at risk the American Dream.

 

As the world watches with dismay at the trials and tribulations of the American enterprise, still somehow, in the minds of many, America continues to be the last best hope for mankind. There is no country on earth that is more able, or more inclined, to help turn things around for the better in this troubled world, as she has done so many times before.    

America has had her fair share of criticism of late, and some of it, at least, is justified. However, as yet, no one has been able to suggest a better form of government, and no other country on earth holds a better promise for the destiny of man.

 

Many of the problems we face as a nation are problems we share with other nations as well. A world that is quickly becoming smaller economically and environmentally spares no country from the looming threats which are bound to affect us all. We are all in this together. And therefore, if America is able to reset herself, and to make good on the promise of her founding, then the world as a whole will be the better for it.

 

America must find the courage and the wisdom to look herself in the mirror, and to remake herself in a new light. Cosmetics will not be enough. She has always been pretty to look at, but it is the beauty from within that she has to bring out. Yes, she will focus on solutions to her problems. But those solutions, in this increasingly global world of ours, should take into account the welfare and best interests of other nations and other people, so that a partnership is created the world over, by which the success of one nation inures to the benefit of other nations, and vice versa.

 

The new world order, and the fix for what ails America, will involve financial engineering, by which all nations stand to gain from the success of individual nations. It can't just be about living the good life. It must also be about living a life that brings good to the world.

 

Take the Middle East as an example. In the current scenario, America finds herself fighting two wars, at vast expense, and sees the Middle East as a threat to the American way of life, with the oil supply in jeopardy, and extremism on the loose. But what if America could somehow partner with the Arab states, by which American knowhow could be partnered with Arab capital and business sense, in an effort to revitalize the entire region with good paying jobs, including green jobs, and including millions of American jobs as well. What we're looking for here are win/win situations which help everyone move beyond adversity and toward a Vision of Hope.

 

People the world over sense that things are coming to a head, to an ultimate conclusion of sorts. Human destiny is playing itself out even as we speak. The choices we face are stark. Things will either go well, or they will go very badly indeed. You don't have to be a prophet to realize that when you're talking about the world's oil supply, at a time of increasing competition for scarce resources, you're talking about the potential for World War III.

 

We owe it to ourselves and to future generations, to avoid the calamity of war. We are called upon, in our time, to remake ourselves in a new light, a light that shines as a beacon of hope, a light that points to the possibility of peace, prosperity and freedom for all, and a light that secures the destiny of man as far as the eye can see. So, happy birthday America.  May you find the courage and the wisdom to live up to the potential that is your birthright.

Comments (13)Add Comment
HAPPY BIRTHDAY USA
written by GABE1, July 06, 2011
The greatest Democracy is currently in some troubles politically and economically. Hopefully its potential and greatness will come through once again , and soon.

I cannot wait for that moment and the moment that the USA is rid of the ball and chains that Obamination has imposed.

PS. Why not make the op-piece that you sent to me a separate BLOG?
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Edmund Burke
written by Nissim Dahan, July 07, 2011
Gabe is referring to a piece written by a German psychiatrist,Dr. Emanuel Tanya, which I am including below. I am certainly interested in Gabe's take on this piece, and anyone else who may be interested. And then, I would like to throw my two cents in as well:

A German's View on Islam, by Dr. Emanuel Tanya
A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our
attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he
said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more
were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost
everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories..'

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that
Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims
just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may
be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of
fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.
It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of
50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically
slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are
gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is
the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the
fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who
zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and
homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to
become suicide bombers.

The hard,quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the
'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous. Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists
managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a
warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way
across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the
systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by
sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it
not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'?
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all
our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated
points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts--the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes
this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness
that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and
send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world-wide,
read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late.
EVIL
written by GABE1, July 08, 2011
There is no silent majority in Arab states or within the Muslim community whether in Europe or in other places. There are homegrown terrorists wherever Muslims reside. That should in all earnest shoot down your false theory that if we supply good paying jobs to people in the Arab countries than peace will prevail. That is a fallacy as both the minority and majority is in agreement on the aspect of Sharia Law and Dhimminitude as well as honour killings and the supremacy of Islam. We have seen all that in the USA with the murders withing the military as well as in the Van Gogh murder and the Danish cartoon rioting and with Rushdie and others.

You are extremely wrong when you equate good jobs with the murderous tents of Islam changing. Geert Wilders and Joseph Farah are absolutely right in what they are warning us about. This must be treated with tough love rather than with appeasement and bribes.

Tough Love Is Still Love
written by Nissim Dahan, July 08, 2011
I cannot believe that all Arabs and all Muslims are extremists.

I don't believe that because I have met Muslims who genuinely want peace. Either they're Oscar winning actors, or they're for real, because they've certainly convinced me of their honorable intents.

You site a few examples here and there, such as honor killing and the Van Gogh murder, and you extrapolate from there that all Muslims are the same, and believe in the same things.

That doesn't make sense to me. How can you say that the protesters in Iran are the same as the Iranian regime? If you're willing to die fighting the regime, then obviously you must be different from them is some way. No? And the same applies to the Arab Spring.

I will agree with you if you say that the silent majority is way too silent. That was the point of the article quoted above. But I would say a few things about tha. First of all, I think we are all guilty of silence, whether we're Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddists or Hindus.

Most people, the world over, just want to enjoy their lives, and usually take a pass on taking a stand, even when they see evil being perpetrated around them. That is why the crime rate is so high in so many urban settings. People are afaid of taking the bad guys on, and they choose instead just to live their own lives, and not get involved.

In addition, it is not enough simply to voice opposition to things you know are wrong. You have to have a plan to effectuate change. That's the problem with the Arab Spring. The dissent is there. And so is the courage. But I don't as yet see a plan that is likely to effectuate positive change.

I may be off base with my plan, as you suggest, but at least it's a plan that is aimed at effectuating positive change.

And I think you're wrong when you say that economic prosperity and personal freedom will not make a difference. In my book, they will make all the difference in the world. I don't see why Nazi Germany, and Japan, and Italy, where able to turn things around, with some help from the West, but the Arab world is incapable of turning things around for the better. For over 1000 years, the Arab world was in the forefront of world in terms of economics, security, architecture, business, education, science, and the like. They have declined of late, but there is no reason why things can't change for the better, given the right backing, the the initiative of the people themselves.

We will have to fight the extremists militarily. I am not denying that. But that fight is much more likely to succeed if we couple it with an effort to revitalize the Middle East with jobs. The two go hand in hand.
REVITALIZE
written by GABE1, July 10, 2011
You sent me an article and posted it here, yet, you have not understood a word that it says. Evil is not all encompassing but rather the domain of a very few. The operative phrase here is the support of the silent majority and in the case of the Muslims the active participation and agreement of that majority. Yes there are on the end of that spectrum a few that completely disagree, but they are vocal about it. They do not have the power to counterbalance either the evil minority or the silent majority.

I have engaged some of this silent majority and poll after poll shows that that silent majority does want Sharia Law, thinks about the supremacy of Islam. agrees with Honour killings (is in fact the reason for it) and agrees that all infidels should be put to the sword.

If every Arab received a good paying job it still would not change this silent majorities outlook and there is no way to make ever Arab a multi millionaire.

You are living in a self imposed dream world. Think rationally about what you are saying and analyze it and you will come to the same conclusion as I have.
Either there is hope, or there isn't
written by Nissim Dahan, July 10, 2011
If you are right that the silent majority wants to kill all infidels, and wants to impose Sharia law, and agrees with honour killings and the like, then there is little hope to effecuate positive change without first engaging in a massive war.

Ultimatle, the West will not go quietly into that good night, and according to your assessment, the Islamic world will not relent. So you're talking about a prescription for war, on a much larger scale than anything we've seen to date.

I would like to believe that things are not as dire as some of the polls may suggest. I would like to believe that in the final analysis, people are not Muslims, and Christians, and Jews, and Hindus, and Buddists, but that people are people, and when push comes to shove, they will act like human beings.

Whether or not it takes the inhumanity of war, to bring out the humanity in some of us, is a question that is yet to be answered.

However, given the fact that both you and I don't really know where things are heading, and given the chance, even the small chance, that things can go in a better way, then I would argue that it still makes sense to come up with a vision of hope, and a plan to give substance to that vision.

Such a vision could be useful in several ways. If, for example, we do have to fight, and fight even harder than we're fighting now, for the things we believe, then a vision of hope can be used to embolden our soldiers on the battlefield, and our citizenry on the streets.

That is one scenario

However, my hope is that your assessment may not be accurate, or at least, that things could go either way. For example, I believe that many of the Arab leaders find themselves in an existential fight of their lives. They worry about a nuclear Iran and they worry about the man on the street.

Under such circumstances, they may still believe this or that, as you suggest, but they may have no choice but to entertain some new ideas, including the money to finance such ideas, in their attempt to continue their hold on power.

It is not idealism at work here. It is the pragmatic need to survive.
OPTIONS
written by GABE1, July 10, 2011
War is but one of the options as it may finally disabuse the Muslims that they can impose their will on humankind. But I do not foresee that as even remotely a possibility. Evil is basically not brave but rather cowardly.

The Middle East (barring Israel) is undergoing a religious war between Shiite and Sunni and internally between the various branches of both. Barring Israel is meant to convey that no matter what Israel does or does not do will not change that war or that equation.

Iran scares only the Sunni side of Islam and in turn the Sunni sides scares Iran.So each side is doing its best to get the upper hand, hence Saudi soldiers in Bahrain.

Israel at this stage is the glue that helps the Arab leadership from going out for total war between themselves.If the West would stick to its own problems than we would find that the Arabs would seek ways to survive both between themselves and with Israel and the outside world.

The West should also stop funding UNWRA as well as stop that idiotic immigration policies now in place and deport any and all that fail to intergrate politically and socially into the countries where they reside. I am not advocating banning religious freedoms or worship in accordance with ones conscience. But I do advocate severely punishing Mullahs that preach hatred and or Jihad and closing extremist places of worship.

Change comes through Education and that is the first step that must be undertaken and monitored. Appeasement and Bribes as you propose do not pay. We must have a climate of pragmatism and a will to survive, but these is where we disagree as to what constitutes these two and whether what you are suggesting are appeasement and bribes. I believe that they are.


An Interesting Example of What I'm Talking About
written by Nissim Dahan, July 11, 2011
My father, who watches Israeli TV on a daily basis, just informed me that Qaddafi, believe it or not, just sent a delegation to Israel, to see if Israel could help negotiate a settlment on his behalf.

Imagine that, Gabe, Qaddafi requesting Israel's help. Previously unheard of as far as I can remember.

This is a small example of what I'm trying to say. The Arab world is in trouble, and as it happens, it may be Israel and the West that is at the heart of a possible solution.

Yes, as you suggest, Sunnis and Shiites are at each others' throats.

Yes, the Sunnis are terrified of a nuclear Iran because Iran has made it very clear, through its proxies, what its intentions are with regard to the balance of power in the Middle East.

The man on the street is demanding his personal freedom and a decent job.

The West is looking for ways to become less dependent on Arab oil.

The Chinese are looking to grow their economy and need oil to do it.

The reason that this may lead to oil is not necessarily because the Arabs initiate the war, but because unless a solution is found, which meets everyone's interests, then war may erupt because the West will seek to secure the oil in an increasingly unstable region, and China may well decide to assert its interest in this regard.

In other words, war can start from without, rather than from within the Arab world.

The solution I am proposing is an alternative to this scenario. Just like Qaddafi is seeking Israel's help, why not bring the Arab states into a strategic/economic alliance with Israel and the U.S., and the West, for the purpose of confronting the extremists, and using Arab capital to create jobs, and to reviatlize the region as a whole, and to create Western jobs in the process.

The Middle East could conceivably become an engine for economic growth in the West, and a job creator, at a time when Western economies are in need of such growth.

And education, as you suggest, will be a major aspect of revitalizing the Middle East. Jobs will not be enough. The Saudis will invest in jobs, but they must also agree to change the curriculum of the schools and mosques that they fund. This must be part of the deal.

Why are the Saudis not doing this now? Because they, like many Arab leaders, are walking on egg shells, trying to keep the extremists at bay, on the one hand, and trying to appease the man on the street.

However, if they had backing strategically, they may find the courage to finally confront the extremists, because it is becoming increasingly clear that the extremists threaten the house of Saud, as much as they threat the Western world.

And the education must extent to Europe and beyond, where, as you suggest, Muslim communities are not properly integrated into the mainstream. But rather then kicking them out, and causing all hell to break out, why not sell them on a Vision of Hope, which is backed and financed by the Arab states themselves?

Once again, I am not calling for bribes, but rather, targeted investments. There is a difference. First of all, how could it be bribery when it is Arab capital on the line? The West will help, yes, but this too can be seen as an investment, because it will create Western jobs, and give our foreign policy some chance of finally succeeding.

In short, why not fight the bad guys, even as we invest in the good guys?
ALL OVER
written by GABE1, July 11, 2011
Nissim
You are all over the map so it is hard to pinpoint any point that you are making. You know that old Chinese saying "If my grandmother had balls she would be my grandmother". IF..IF...IF.

The problem is that the world is not behaving as it should and will not behave as it should as we are all individuals that think in individual terms. Nature of the beast.

Priority number 1 is EDUCATION and until and unless that hurdle is crossed than all the 'good paying jobs" (whatever that encompasses) are like throwing money down a sewer hole. I for one would not donate a plugged nickel when I know that my nickle will be used against me.

I am not scared of war as the consequences of what you are advocating may be far worse.

BTW: What is the meaning of a bribe if not targeted investment.
How many people live in your targeted ME and how many of these would you target?
Some Valid Points
written by Nissim Dahan, July 11, 2011
I think you meant to say that "If my grandmother had balls she would be my grandfather." But then again, what do I know from Chinese?

By the way, some of the grandmothers I know have balls made of tungsten steel.

Yes, I am all over the place because the idea is far reaching, and reaches out to places you would not expect. Everything is related to something else, and any idea that is going to work is going to have to work on many levels.

Individuals do think in individual terms, and many of them, to be quite honest, are quite selfish. But here is the thing. What if, in their quest to satisfy their own, selfish needs, they come to conclusion that they need the help of others, and are willing to pay the price for that help.

The Arab states may not realize it as yet, but for better or worse, they need Israel, they need the U.S., they need the West, to stave of some very real existential threats on their doorstep.

This situation has not been around before. Up to now, Israel was a convenient diversion, to shift attention away from corrupt and opporesive governance.

But the people on the street aren't buying the old line anymore. They want jobs and they want freedom. And as it happens, countries like Israel can help to deliver, as a model for freedom, and as a generator of jobs.

Education is important. But a job, in and of itself, is a good way to start educating. As an example, you and I may hate each other's guts. But if we end up working together, and earning a living, then little by little, our hatred may dissipate in the face of new realities, which require us to get along, so as to continue raking in the profits.

If people start working together, they will "learn" to get along, and they will "educate" themselves by humanizing one in the eyes of the other.

And if you allow people to earn a living, you will have earned the credibility to begin educating them further, with formal education, and cultural exchanges, and student exchanges, and peace corps programs, and media campaigns, and international conferences, and the like.

Economics, Gabe, is our ticket in, and then we go from there, to work together, as partners, to reconfigure the entire region.

I am scared of war, because we may be talking nuclear weapons, which as far as I'm concerned, is a dead end for the destiny of man. If China or Russia or Pakistan or any of these are involved, you're talking nuclear, and I for one would prefer not to take that risk.

Now, as to bribes. When I think of a bribe, I think of wanting to do business legitimately, but having to pay people off, under the table, and illegally, to get a contract, or necessary permits, etc.

This is not about bribes. If Saudi agrees to finance a Green Industrial Zone in Gaza, where Jews and Arabs will work together, and make money, and improve the living conditions of the people, and if Hamas protects this zone because they want to be seen as creating jobs, then where is the bribery in this. We're talking about legitimate investments, with mostly Arab capital, and with Western help. We're talking win/win, but not necessarily illegal bribes. In terms of numbers, we're talking the entire Middle East, including any country that is willing to buy in.
ECONOMICS
written by GABE1, July 11, 2011
Show me where in history have economics made a difference between war and peace and I will show you dozens of examples where war or raw strength have triumphed over economics.

When Greece joined the EU it was with the promise of better economic circumstances, ditto Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. These were the basket cases of Europe and where are these countries now after a few years of some prosperity. Still the basket cases of Europe.

I chuckle at the mention of the Marshall Plan as if that was the panacea for Germany rather than the work ethics of the Germans and that includes Japan.

France and other Western European countries were devastated yet they managed to pull themselves out without USA help as did Czechoslovakia in the East.

The need to work together must be something that all parties want and not superimposed. Saudi has no interest up until today to fund any of its brethren other than for religious Wahabi education. You belive that this will change, I do not. I believe that the Saudis know their people better than you or me. They have so far even reneged on their annual contributions to the PA budget.

No one is going to pull the trigger on nuclear war other than the Iranians and that would be strictly for religious reasons whether against Israel or any other Sunni State. That is why the Saudis are shaking in their boots.

Your plan will not work. I am 110% sure of that. Qadaffi and Livni notwithstanding.
Yes it should be GRANDFATHER.
written by GABE1, July 11, 2011
Just a simple error in the Mandarin Chines translation.

Even Economics Has Its Ups and Downs
written by Nissim Dahan, July 12, 2011
Considering our previous discussions, the fact that you're 110% sure that my plan won't work, is an improvement. I would have thought the odds are far worse. I am calling for something that is as close to impossible as you can get. Having said that, and considering the alternative, I think it's still worth a try.

The examples you site are right on point. Economics do change things, even though economic change can have its ups and downs as well.

The Marshall Plan is a good case in point. In the wake of World War II, things could have gone a number of ways. The U.S., with bold leadership, decided to invest in its defeated enemies, unlike what happened after World War I.

You are right to say that the investment itself was not enough. The work ethic in Germany and Japan were indispensable. As was the fact that these nations were utterly defeated, and needed to start anew.

However, what makes us think that the Arab states have no work ethic? Yes, they are near the bottom of the totem pole economically. But that was not always the case. They were on top economically for 1000 years. And the Palestinian workers, if we remember, built half of Israel. For many years, the construction worders were Palestinian. They were and are good builders.

On the contrary, Gabe, because the Arabs find themselves in such a difficult position, is precisely why they may find the courage and the wisdom to turn things around, especially with the help of Arab capital, partnered with Israeli, US, and European assistance.

When you're down low, is when it's time to look up.

Ireland was also an example of using economics to turn a looney toon situation around. That didn't mean that Ireland wouldn't make some major economic mistakes, as we all did. But the international fund for Ireland did help to bring that religious was to some sort of a conclusion.

And yes, part of that will be about education, and about weakening the hold of extremist thinking. You speak of the Saudis. In 1979 the mosques in Mecca and Medina were taken over by the extremists. In the wake of that standoff, a deal was struck. The Saudis agreed to fund the extremists, in exchange for reaching some sort of peace deal with them. The extremists used the money to teach hate in the mosques and in the midrassas. And now, where is the hate aimed at? It's aimed at the house of Saud.

Once the Saudi leadership becomes convinced that a deal has been made with the devil, and now the devil is after them, then the funding may be re-directed at job creation, and an overhaul of the education system.

The reason this can work, and I'm not saying "will" work, is because for the first time in a long time, there is an alignment happening between the self-interest of some of the key players, and the best interests of the region as a whole.

People may end up doing the right thing here, not because they love one another, God forbid, and not because they want peace, and not because they want a better world for their children, no, none of that crap, but they will do the right thing because the right thing is what is needed to stave off some very existential threats.

And as to nuclear war, we can theorize all we want, but the results would be so catestrophic, that enaything that could even remotely lead to that should be avoided like the plague, because a nuclear war will be a black plague on the whole of mankind.
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