The Middle East will change forever, we need to approach this carefully and correctly. We have to quickly abandon yesterday’s rhetoric and embrace a new vision and new Middle East. Republicans can take a leadership role at this critical time and advance the agenda properly.
The next 3-7 years will determine how the Middle East shakes out for the next century. America needs to be on the side of the people and on the side of freedom and democracy. At all costs! Even if that means dumping “old friends” or losing an election or two.
The situation is unpredictable. We don’t know which nation’s will fall next or what will happen. Tunis, Egypt, Libya and others will all look very different 10 years from now. There is no way to know how the Middle East will look. No one really knows. Anyone who claims to know, is arrogant and ignorant.
We have to tread carefully. It’s a delicate balancing act. Each country is different. We can’t use the same strategy and same tactics for each country. We have to be flexible and quickly adapt. A broad, monolithic policy won’t work.
The Pentagon and US government will deal with this appropriately for now. We have no doubt. They have a lot of experience and can react quickly. The concern is the Republican response. We can’t risk looking foolish or dogmatic. Some Republican candidates have already made statements that sound very immature, very shortsighted and very intellectually dissatisfying.
We recently published a position article on Egypt. Our Egypt strategy is similar to how we should deal with the rest of the Middle East. This is a broader Middle East strategy article, and can not deal appropriately with each individual country. In Libya, we couldn’t act faster, because there are tons of Americans in Libya. We need to protect their lives, first and foremost. We can deal with Libya after they have been rescued. Each situation is unique. But we always know what is right. We need to do what is right.
Republicans need leadership and vision badly. Unfortunately, most elected officials aren’t intelligent enough to formulate their own thoughts and opinions and tow the party line. We can’t tow the party line on this one. The party line on this issue is not well developed. Supporting autocracy, dictatorship, rape, and torture, while professing freedom, doesn’t work. Our candidates need to read and research the Middle East issue far more than they have. You can’t just wing it.
A person with vision and leadership should be able to evaluate the situation independently and formulate their own opinion and strategy. We need a strategy that will be useful long term, not just today. It’s not about Obama. It’s about the next 20 to 30 years. Unless we espouse this attitude, we will look foolish.
So what should republican candidates be doing and saying?
First of all, the answer is easy. This is not a complicated nor delicate situation. It comes down to what you believe in. Do you believe in freedom? Yes or no? If you do, and most of us do, that should be our long term global strategy. Freedom is freedom. It’s for everyone!
Secondly, do you believe in dictatorship, rape, and torture? If not, great. The rest will flow easily after we get over these two points.
As Americans, we can not profess freedom and democracy, while supporting people that deny it. Period. It doesn’t matter if they have been “our friend” for 30 years. That’s not how it works. If you found out that your best friend was raping your mother for 30 years, would you support him? Obviously not. Let’s move on.
Our candidates need to focus on doing what is right. If you always do what is right, you will win many elections and be viewed in an honorable manner by every American, not just republicans. History will remember you very well.
The point of being a politician is to represent people well, do what is right, and get re-elected. If the republican party wants you to build a park in your state, but you know your people would never stand for it, would you do it? No. You want to do what’s right, but you still need to be re-elected.
Your voting record is your record. It will always live with you. Forever. How you vote, and where you stand on issues can not be deleted. It is who you are. Your constituents will see this and decide if you are worthy of their votes.
The same happens on a national scale. The American people are not stupid. We vote with our intellect and our hearts. You have to sound intelligent, independent, inspirational, and visionary. You have to be a leader. You can’t just regurgitate what someone else is saying. And always being the contrarian to Obama isn’t going to work either. This is not about the next election. It’s about the next 50 years. That’s how leaders think! Be a leader!
What would Jesus do? Ask yourself. If Jesus was here today, what would he be saying about the Middle East? The answer is very clear.
Instead of politicking and jockeying for position against Obama, we should be coming up with our own solutions and our own strategy. People will love us.
What should the republican strategy be?
Republican candidates and policy should focus on the following:
1. The entire Middle East is going to change and it needs reform badly. Tunisia yesterday, Egypt today. Who knows what will happen elsewhere. We can’t have a myopic view. We have to look into the future and be visionary. We support rule by the people and for the people. Reform is necessary. People can not live like this. We support economic and social reform in all countries. We have to!
2. We support democracy. Period. People should determine who rules them, and how. We believe democracy is so precious, that we want it for all people everywhere. Not just Egypt. We would like to see the entire world convert to democracy. That is our creed, and we want it for all.
3. People in the Middle East are not dumb. They are very smart, and they will choose good leadership and vote out poor rulers. That is what they have done by their demonstrations. We trust that people will have a great democracy with great leaders. We trust that if their new leaders don’t perform well, they will vote them out. Just like we do.
4. We need to understand clearly that the people in the Middle East love America and love the west. They watch our television shows, they listen to our music, wear our clothes, follow our stars and pop culture. The look up to us. We are their leaders! They want us to help them and lead them down a path to prosperity. We can not let them down. We are the only super power and we need to act like it. But this does not mean over-reaching into every little country that has some political unrest. We can’t let Europe and others look more just and have them upstage us.
5. We need to stop engaging in “nation building”. Bush said this a long time ago. But we keep doing it. We seem obsessed with this. We have to let things around the world happen. People are smart. They will choose better options. This does not mean that we will not step in and stop genocide and massacres. It was Bosnia in the 1990s, it may be in the Middle East sometime soon. Libya, Syria, and a number of other countries have no qualms slaughtering their people. We will not let this happen. What would Jesus do? He would step in and stop rape, genocide, torture.
6. We support a free and open press. If you have freedom in the press, leaders can’t be corrupt. We can’t compromise on this. It’s what makes us who we are. This includes internet freedom with out filters and blocks. Twitter, Facebook, Google, and any number of other websites need to be accessible. They are a part of the fabric of life now.
7. If people of other nations in the Middle East (or anywhere) decide that they don’t like their autocratic, despotic dictators either, then we support their right to freedom as well. Regardless of whether or not we have been in cahoots with the dictator previously. We always stand with the people who are on the side of freedom and democracy. It’s the morally correct stance. No one can fault us for it. History won’t either.
8. Stop fearmongering. We need to stop fearing that overly religious people will take over the world. That isn’t going to happen. People aren’t stupid. And it’s not going to happen. No Middle Eastern country wants religious rule. They are intelligent and smart enough to know that extremists are not good at running countries. They have seen what brutal ruthless extremists (autocrats or theocrats) can do and they do not want this. It won’t happen.
9. Other dictators need to know that if they violate human rights and oppress their people, that we will toss them out the door too! We will not stand for, nor support despotism, rape, and torture. That’s not the American way. We are putting all dictators on watch and we will drop them instantly if they are oppressive and despotic. We will not hesitate. So if masses of people anywhere else decide they want to overthrow their dictators, we will support the people. This has to be very clear. We can’t waffle. People need to know that we hate dictators that oppress, rape, torture, and don’t allow freedom. Regardless of long term relationships. It’s that simple. We will drop you like a bad habit. That’s our essence.
10. We stand with the people. The “Arab Street” needs to know that America is with them. We want them to succeed, live a good life, and pursue happiness. They should be able to feed their families, find jobs, and express their opinions. Government sponsored propaganda that the Arab street doesn’t like America is getting old. Despots used this line to get us to support them. We should stop falling for this, willingly. We know it’s not true, but we did it for “stability” (and free flowing oil). We will not do this anymore.
11. We have to stop relying on oil. Very little of our oil comes from Middle East, but it does affect gas prices. We really need to find new technology. All these “strategic alliances” with dictators and autocracies that send us oil, is just making the oppressed populace madder and madder (because they don’t get any money out of it). We need to find alternatives and start using them.
12. We will not criticize Obama and the current administration now. As Americans, the world needs to hear one voice from us. We will let this play out and see what happens. We support what our president is doing. We will offer opinions on this later. We don’t want to be on the losing side. We can’t deviate from this message too much now. We will have time to criticize this later. But not now. This is how you sound mature and intelligent. Not to mention, presidential.
13. We want to see democracy flourish all over the world. We are looking at the next 50 years. Not the next five. We need to be thinking long term, not short term. Leadership! Not petty politics.
14. Israel will be fine. Israel has plenty of nuclear weapons, a massive and well trained army, and the capability to defend itself. We are confident that no matter what happens in the Middle East, no one will mess with Israel. Further, no ruler should be worried about Israel when their own people are starving. Arabs have finally stopped blaming Israel, and realized that they should be blaming their own rulers for their poor situation. They finally realized this and woke up. It’s not about Israel. That isn’t going to change any time soon.
15. We have our own problems and need our own reforms here in the United States. We need to strengthen our economy and reduce our deficit. Big time! We need to grow certain sectors. We can’t keep focusing on the outside world. We need new jobs, the prices of homes needs to come way down, taxes need to be lower, the healthcare system need a serious overhaul. There are a lot of issues at home. We will deal with those issues first.
We will end with Sarah Palin. Surprisingly, one of the few conservatives that is displaying courage, independent thought (sometimes too independent), and visionary leadership.
Sarah Palin seems to be one of the only Republicans to have gotten it right. Palin said on Fox News:
“It is important that we root for people who are truly seeking democracy and freedoms.”
“Over 30 years of standing by Mubarak’s side and he essentially standing with America on a lot of our interests it makes sense that we have a reciprocal relationship but no it is not moral or ethical. We are watching Mubarak and realizing the billions of dollars that have been spent, he’s become rich, a lot of the dictatorship has personally benefited. So where do those funds end up? We need to pull back on those countries where the money isn’t doing any good.”