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To GIK - Changing perception vs. currying favor

Reader comment on item: Back to the Shores of Tripoli?
in response to reader comment: wishful thinking!

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Apr 5, 2011 at 12:15

You missed my point, GIK.

Further above, I made an effort to lay out in detail, why it would be in our interest, why it would be highly beneficial to the USA, which at first superficial glance isn't directly impacted by Libya and had very little (economic) interaction with this rogue regime, to aggressively partake in regime change.

I posted three pieces further above to that topic, looking at it from a mainly political, strategical and economical viewpoint. I made the case that in this conflict, religion (for once) was not the main driving force or even an issue, but that for the first time in a long period within Islamic nations massive demonstrations took place for Democracy, liberty, individual rights and freeedom - targeted against their own despots and oppressive regimes, instead of (as usual) the West.

Nobody - Nobody engaged and refuted my talking points, as they had nothing to do with religion or culture war between muslims and the west. My posts did nothing to further incite the mutual hatred between the hardliners here, so nobody felt compelled to engage in a constructive debate, even though there are a lot of valid arguments to be made for a non or limited engagement by the USA. I am the first one to admit, that my entire position was highly debatable and was looking forward to hearing many arguments contrary to my perspective. I guess that it would have been too boring, not juicy enough to engage in a pragmatic debate, as it is so much more fun to throw pies at each other's faces.

>>>>>Yes, you could look at it like that - but why does America - or any other country for that matter - have to try to curry favour with arab cultures? Surely it should be the arabs trying to prove they are sick and tired of living the way they do - and should be demonstrating to America (and others) that they themselves are doing the right thing for the right reasons.>>>>

Here is my answer to the one valid argument - sad to see it here in the middle of the mudslinging contest .

In addition to the many pragmatic benefits as entailed in my pieces above, I will here add some remarks pertaining to a moral dimension:

Some 1.5 Mio workers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and students are in fact, as I write this, trying to do the right thing. With AK47s and equipmentt they don't know how to operate, they try to oppose a trained military force. As my father did unsuccessfully 1956 in Hungary, they prove to us all right now, that they want to do the right thing and want, what we here take so much as granted. The reason they fail so miserably is that they in fact are no battle-hardened guerilla fighters of the likes of Kaeda, but simple people, yearning for freedom and dying in masses (Misrata), eventhough it would have been so much easier to simply go underground or wave green Gaddafi flags. Teachers, students and workers are still resisting and holding out in Misrata, even though liberation may never come. Proof enough for you?

America is exceptional, has a mature democracy and the needed possibility to project power - we have a moral obligation to intervene, but as opposed to so many other conflicts in the world, here we can combine the moral obligation with factual benefits to our own National Security. All that at a comparably low cost. We should do it, because we can. We should do it, because rarely before did I see pro America signs at mass demos in the Arabic world on Arabic TV above all.

To get a bit of positive PR with Bios of muslims is not a bad thing - it has nothing to do with trying to curry favor, but everything with changing perceptions, which is good for business, trade, strategic interests and even the homefront. Let us be frank here and a bit introspective: Never before did America, the Land of the Free, have such PR issues with the rest of the world. Justified or unjustified, fact is that Anti-American sentiments are significantly on the rise. Not just in muslim nations, but worldwide.It is a PR debacle, as unfortunately Bush did not do a good job in explaining and justifying Afgh., Iraq or the blind eye to regimes such as Yemen, Syria, Iran, Egypt or most of all Saudi Arabia.

The one in a million idiot nutcake preacher, who burnt the Quran, then posted the video on UtUbe, cost us dozens of deaths, enraged millions of Muslims and quite possibly shipped busloads of new recruits to Al Kaeda training camps. This one fanatic bigot - even worse, under the umbrella of Christianity - undermined singlehandedly our entire foreign diplomacy vs. the muslim world and may very well prove to be responsible for future terror victims. May he burn in hell himself.

Do you now really think, that liberating the Libyan People from Gaddafi, people waving US flags, reported on by many Arab TV channels, would be such a bad thing, just because it doesn't satisfy our own pride?

Let us be frank again: ist is about changing perceptions with a huge segment of the world population. People we live and work with domestically, trade and negotiate with, import still 40% of our energy needs from, people we simply can not afford to ignore, even though our own belief system is not compatible with theirs. Because true, functioning Democracies are secular by sheer nature of the beast, it would be in our direct national interest to help Pro-Democracy movements to get there.

As mentioned before, sometimes - a truly rare occasion in international relations - one has a chance to do the right thing, stand on the right side of history, w h i l e serving important direct national interests. This is such an occasion. More often than not, which is a sad dirty cynical historical fact, one has to sacrifice the first for the second, as my father had to experience.

Submitting....

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