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President Obama finds himself in a bit of a bind when it comes to Iran. And the dilemma he faces is not unlike that faced by many policy makers when it comes to the Middle East. Who do you support, the government, or the people?

When he ran for the Presidency, Obama vowed to negotiate with Iran’s leaders with respect to such contentious issues as their nuclear weapons program, and their support for terrorist groups. And at the time, the prospect of using diplomacy as an olive branch, seemed to be a reasonable approach, as contrasted with President Bush’s inclination to wield big sticks, with no carrots in sight.

However, in the wake of Iran’s most recent election, and in light of the protests and violent clashes which are taking place there, even as we speak, would negotiations with the newly elected government confer legitimacy to a regime whose legitimacy is being contested by a great many people on the street? And yet, if you ignore the current opportunities to negotiate, even with an unsavory regime, do you lose the chance to find a diplomatic solution to what could otherwise result in war?

But then again, if you fail to give moral support to the protesters, do you run the risk of betraying your ideals, and alienating the people, for that matter, by espousing the cause of freedom here at home, while failing to do so abroad. Do you dare to play politics as usual when freedom is at stake? Is it hypocritical to cherish freedom, on the one hand, but to withhold support from those fighting for it, on the other? And is there a price to pay for such hypocrisy?

In a way, President Obama’s hesitation about supporting the protesters in Iran is symbolic of a much larger picture, whereby Western leaders find themselves torn between maintaining quiet deals and understandings that have been struck with non-democratic governments in the Middle East, and their supposed commitment in the West to the ideals of democratic reform and the right of all people to be free. The gap that often exists between pragmatic arrangements, especially those securing the free-flow of oil, and the moral obligation to empower people in their quest for human rights, is not an easy gap to bridge, and the decision is often made to sacrifice human rights on the alter of what is “real,” and what is “necessary.”

And yet, as is becoming quite obvious in Iran, the voice of the people resonates loudly around the world, and is not easily silenced, even by the most repressive of regimes, using the harshest means of intimidation. Especially now, in the time of the internet, and you-tube, and twitter, and all the other varied tools of instant and ubiquitous communication, the natural inclination to speak out cannot be stifled easily. And as people around the world begin to speak to one another, the collective wisdom of the common man will begin to coalesce, and to make itself heard, and known, and believed, and a new ideology will be born, based on such ancient common sense principles as: the right to be free, the right to speak out and to be heard, the right to pursue happiness, and the right to search for justice whenever justice is denied.

So what advice can we give President Obama as he navigates through these treacherous waters? Perhaps we could tell him, as he takes everything into consideration, that freedom may not always be easy to support, nor practical in the short-run, but it is a moral imperative for many around the world, just as it is for Americans here at home. And therefore, we owe it to those struggling on the street, and to our long-term strategic interests, to find a way to lend our support to the cause of freedom, and to make it clear to all the dictators out there, that sooner or later, they will have no choice but to accommodate the will of the people, and their yearning to be free. It doesn’t have to mean chaos. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean war. It just means that society will only find its peace when the fundamental aspirations of the people are taken into consideration, and become a permanent fixture in the political landscape.

For a possible solution to our most intractable problems, please visit us at www.sellingavisionofhope.org

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Comment by windsfeather on July 23, 2009 at 11:54pm
This is a key time to offer internships to middle eastern college grads. The KSA royal government is giving a lot of seniority to engineering graduates that are from colleges within the kingdom rather than USA colleges. The sponsorship to local colleges will allow the inspiration of great minds within a culture and bring world wide internships and transfer students from around the world.

Breaking the chains of violence only comes with open communication. When we cut off a society we fail to allow collective minds understand the full choices of ideas and bring their best foot forward. CW agents are a great criminal effort of larger countries trying to displace or mame smaller less viable countries. The marginalization of smaller societies can not impact larger governments thus rendering them ineffective. The person who has worked towards bringing the government to realize the raw talent within their own communities is a man who lives on a boat and bought out chase and has pretty horses. He is truely a great mind. He would be your first target for support. Second would be his subsidary groups. You tag one you get them all. They like to be part of the party! so, I am going to review your org. I will get back with you soon.
may peace follow you in your hearts and homes.
Comment by Nissim Dahan on July 22, 2009 at 4:47am
Windsfeather, I happen to admire Muhammed Yunus as well. The idea of empowering women economically using micro-finance is a brilliant idea. In my opinion, if we empower Muslim and Arab women in ways that they deem appropriate, then we 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.

I also agree with you that by helping others we actually help ourselves because we renew ourselves spiritually. It can't just be about making money. It should be about making a difference as well.

I am currently working on a project that may interest you. I want to build a factory in the West Bank, which uses Israeli nanotechnology research, and Palestinian workers, to produce a green energy product of some significance. Saudi financing would be the icing on the cake and would say to the world that oil profits are being used to generate green profits, and good paying green jobs are being used to weaken the hold of extremist thinking. We also plan to offer internships to young Saudis, Palestinians, and Israelis. Such a symbolic project will resonate with hope, and will inspire people because it addresses our greatest threats: the threat to our Economy, the threat to the Environment, and the threat posed by ideological Extremism. If we capture the public's imagination, we may be able to start additional such projects. What begins as a single solitary project could well become the impetus for a movement for change.

You are welcome to visit and comments on my website www.sellingavisionofhope.org
Comment by windsfeather on July 22, 2009 at 1:07am
Thanks for the thoughtful mention Nissim. Christopher America was built on many varied religions. It was surfdom that made many to flee Merry Little England. The taxiation of colonies was the last draw and we had the biggest best Tea Party named after Boston, New York. We were rebels in our own cause. We changed religous theroy in many directions and thus the birth of many religions. Lets not forget the the United States has over 6 million Muslims who contribute to this way of life. The moral decline comes from people who claim to be of a special thought. Now, a true christian is one that speaks without being spoken to and does without being asked. So, the next time you pass the man holding a sign, "Will Work For Food or GI Vet disabled." I want you to take the time to bring him a sandwich or do something for the family that the social service league is not helping by going in and helping that family clean their home for a day. That is Christian. Moral decline happens within our own houses first and those who past judgement have a lot to learn in the humanities of social welfare. I would like to think we are given gifts and with those gifts brought together we can make a brighter life and make a small impact on those whose hands go unnoticed.

Obama has his hands full. He has done a pretty good job for being left with so much to restructure. If you feel he is missing his mark then I suggest you get ahold of your local senator and start volunteering to make the programs that are of God In'Sha'Allah. We are all working for the same guy and our beliefs are really simular. Look towards the good and follow the light of life. Look towards a pit and you will fall in.

What does the Graneen Bank a 1996 Nobel Peace prize winner and microcredit and economics have to do with where we are heading in the middle east. Simple, Muhammed Yunus has lifted not individuals but millions of families out of Poverty not just Situational 8-10 years poverty levels but also Generational poverty that is said to be near to next to impossible to overcome. He uses a module he has created and is currently sharing with the world of people who are willing to read his works. Yunus stated, "A world where the ideology of free enterprise hs no real challenger, and the unfettered markets in their current form are not meant to solve social problems and instead exacerbate poverty, disease, pollution, corruption, crime and inequality. The idea is to take thoughts like Yunus and make them effective through programing. I don't know about you but I think this man was given a great gift those who can see his light and utilize his worth are walking with God. Sometimes you have to feel a lot of pain before you can reach the other side. Sometimes, you will hold out your hand and an angel takes your hand and holds onto you and a walks with you in your pain. The cancer of society. The article recently published in the Washington Post by the Bahrain Prince, Thank you for saying the words that have been forgotten the voice needs to be heard and the answers come from dialog.

When you find yourself talking in negative tones then step back reflect and change to bring the positive words forward. This is the part that makes people special. Never say never and work as your first day is your last and know that the day will be great in all manners no matter how little it may seem. I am asking you to google Muhammed Yunus and Dr. Shirin Ebadi's work on poverty. Find out what I have seen. Then look at the works from this Jordanian Sheik and find what micro/macro banking measures they have created. You will be amazed by the grace these people walk.
Comment by Nissim Dahan on July 20, 2009 at 10:15pm
Christopher, I don't think that God will have to bring the final battle of Armageddon. We're doing a good job of that ourselves. The question is, therefore: How do we prevent that fateful day from coming? Is it just a question of what we believe? Or is it more a question of how we go about organizing ourselves, to prevent some of the things that Windsfeather is talking about. Here's an idea. How about giving everyone on earth a place at the table, a stake in his or her future? Might that work to prevent the final battle of which you speak? Might that turn around the moral decline that you mention? Can we start believeing in something greater than ourselves, and thereby bring about the best version of ourselves?
Comment by Christopher Routson on July 20, 2009 at 9:24pm
Obama needs to realize that America was built on a Christian Foundation that feared the Lord Jesus Christ! I know unless he turns his heart toward Jesus America as we know it will not exsist. It is a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of the Almighty. I belive if Obama won't turn his heart toward God and America as a nation doesn't turn to Jesus in prayer for it's moral decline, then Iran and Russia will try an attact on Isreal and the Lord Jesus Himself Will Come down from Heaven to take His chruch to heaven then Wage War on the nations in the final battle of Armegedon. The battle is the Lords! I thank God through Jesus Christ that I have been born into His Kingdom a Son to the most high! It is coming.
Comment by windsfeather on July 19, 2009 at 7:35pm
Vice President Joseph Biden has addressed Iran through Israel. The Clerics are stong in Iran and they are doing their job. It is too bad with their thoughts and topics it creates massive amounts of fighting and killing. It would be great to see a cleric speak and people to work diplomatically. This Cleric who has been in the spot light appears to be speaking from Allah and his light shines as he is followed. Freedom has its price. When you have countries who are grouping together, manulaping world mineral markets and using hedge funds with key bankers to bring down foundations of governments that becomes very criminal. The nuke bombing campaign becomes second to what they do to smaller less abled countries world wide. The irresponsiblity of countries with their Nuke campaigns and their smoke screening of reality to overshawdow the true death squads now emminent as places like Palestine. To burn them to nothingness for their own rewards. I have to hope that VP Biden know what he is doing and having been a top advisor for the USA foreign relations committee I think he has a lot to answer to. Syria I hope your listening because those sugar fields will be useless if the nukes are allowed to happen. I understand the need for energy, I don't understand the need to control smaller countries for the sake of developing weapons of mass distruction. The CW agents given to those in Palestine were not meant to protect but to kill the vary people who hold onto them. This Iranian group of distructive misfits really paid attention to the rise of Sadaams power. Now they are using the same tatical control measures to bring down places like Syria and Palestine.

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