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Half Measures with No Clear Vision in Sight

Where is the vision? Where are we heading? And how do we get there?

For some reason, when it comes to the Middle East, people the world over seem to content themselves with half measures and short-sighted thinking. We feel good about doing something, anything for that matter, even if it has little bearing on the problem at hand, or no chance of bringing about a long term solution.

Take, as an example, the current military campaign in Libya, which is being undertaken by France, England and the U.S. We are targeting military installations, pursuant to authorization for the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League, ostensibly to stop Gadhafi from killing his own people. Sound good, right? But as they say, the devil is in the details. Why aren’t we attacking other dictators who are similarly killing their own people? How will a strictly air campaign prevent Gadhafi from killing his people? Isn’t regime change our ultimate goal? How will an air campaign bring about regime change? And if Gadhafi steps down, who will take his place, and to what end?

And the Libya affair is not an isolated example of lack of vision and lack of direction. With our blood and treasure heavily invested in Afghanistan and Iraq, we still don’t have even a hint of peace and stability in those nations. With a sanction regime imposed on Iran, we still see Iran pursuing its nuclear weapons ambitions with impunity, as well as its ambitions to remake the Middle East as it sees fit. And with the mounting pressure being exerted on the whole of the Middle East by the man on the street, we still don’t have a sense that the change that is coming will be in keeping with the aspirations of the people, and with the best interests of the region as a whole.

So what is missing in the puzzle we call the Middle East? What is missing is a vision, and a reasonable way of giving substance to the vision. And without a vision, and a solid plan of action, the best made plans of mice and men will drift aimlessly in the winds of change.

What is needed is a vision, a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. It doesn’t have to be that vision in particular, although such a vision would address most of what people aspire to, but it should be a vision which brings together all the pieces of a possible solution to our most intractable problems, which packages those pieces in the most attractive way possible, and which allows us to sell that vision to the man on the street. A vision of that sort, a vision which captures hearts and minds, would buy us time to make the necessary changes to give substance to the vision. When the man on the street, who fumes with anger even as we speak, comes to believe that he is being offered a place at the table, a stake in his future, then he may settle down, at least for a while, comforted in the belief that his dreams for the future may one day become real.

And who do we need most of all, to give substance to a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom? Well we have plenty of politicians out there, talking up a storm. And we have academics galore, arguing this and that, back and forth, and back again. And of course, we have our diplomats, ever so careful in the words they choose, going about here and there, making their presence known. But if we really want to get something done, if we choose to move from words to deeds, then we will have no choice but to get the business community in on the game, so as to create good paying jobs; jobs which grow our economies, jobs which protect our environment, and jobs which help to weaken the hold of extremist thinking.

Instead of half measures and short-sighted thinking, we owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to put in place a new model for the Middle East, by inspiring the world’s top business leaders, www.sellingavisionofhope.org, to push the peace process forward from behind the scenes, and to revitalize the entire region with good paying jobs, moderate candidates, and requisite institutions.

There is a real opportunity now to make something happen in the Middle East, something that could change the world for the better, and something that will breathe life into the people there and beyond. But nothing good will happen, if all we look for is the quick fix. What is needed is a vision which puts it all together, and the willingness to do what it takes to make real what is now only a dream.

Please join us, with your comments, at www.sellingavisionofhope.org

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