Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Middle East peace: A modest proposal

Editor's Note:  This is the speech President Obama needs to give to the Middle East.

"My fellow Americans, citizens around the world, especially those in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, the Gaza Strip, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Gulf States of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Somalia, as well as those in Malaysia and any other countries where Muslims or Arabs live:

"It’s time for the Arab World and the Muslim World to grow up!

"For the last sixty or so years, ever since the United States recognized Israel, you’ve acted like petulant two-year-olds, expecting the Western World, the United States and its Allies, in particular, to grant your every wish just so you wouldn’t throw a temper tantrum and then reach for your guns, your bombs and your knives.

"You kill your own people, even those who share your religious faith.  You outright murder innocent Americans trying to tell your story and – even more horrifying – those attempting to help you, like that Briton you recently beheaded. 

"Seriously, what gives with you people?

"I’m not going to tell you that U.S. policies in the Middle East have been perfect because, I, like so many others, know they haven’t been.  But one thing is for sure – more often not, certainly in the last 50 years, the United States has stood for equal rights, human rights and civil rights and, more importantly, the rule of law. 

"Women have voted in every U.S. presidential election since 1920.  And today many women hold top positions not only in government but also in industry.  Women – and this is critical for all you Arabs and Muslims to understand especially if you think your God-given mission is to put them down – are equal partners with men.  They drive cars, fly airplanes, are in the military, are doctors, scientists, stockbrokers, politicians as well as mothers and wives.

"For those of you who think you need to keep women down, well, all that shows me is how weak you really are.  Strong men never fear strong women.  So if you think Allah wants to you to keep her barefoot and pregnant or remain some third-class citizen, think again.

"This sectarian warfare you wage against those who share the basic tenants of your faith or those who don’t, needs to stop immediately.  Even Northern Ireland, once the scene of many battles between Christians in the Catholic and Protestant wings, is peaceful.  And, in a far earlier time, in the 1640s, Catholics and Protestants stopped fighting one another in Europe – for religious reasons.

'The United States has had strong presidents but never once has it had – and never will it have – a dictator.  We vote and adjust our policies based on those in political power.  And as a result, we’re successful.  You buy our products.  You use our social media. 

"The only thing we get from you is oil.  And given what we’re doing in the United States – what with fracking and developing alternative energy sources – soon the United States and the West won’t need the only thing you have to offer.

"Which means if you don’t change your ways, there won’t be a single reason to invest in your part of the world.  Which means more of you will be unemployed and many more of you will be impoverished.  And if you think turning to your guns, your bombs and your knives – and hijacking your religious faith – is going to solve your problems, keep something in mind.

"The American people have limits.  If we feel pressured, whether it’s to end a war in the Middle East or elsewhere around the globe, any president, including this one, has an arsenal that includes some quite nasty weapons that will end any conflict – quickly!

"Of course, no speech is complete without a proposal.  Therefore, today, I’m suggesting that all the Arab and Muslim nations in the Middle East as well as Iran, Israel, Turkey and the Kurds, come to together to write and agree on their version of the Treaty of Westphalia. 

"For those of you who don’t know about this Treaty, way back in the 1640s, it ended thirty years of fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Europe.  It was the beginning of international law and forced each country to recognize each other’s religious preferences – even if they disagreed with it.  Even if they didn’t like it.  It also recognized the rights of religious minorities in those countries. 

"The United States is prepared to host this meeting or, if necessary, we can find another country, a neutral one, where this meeting can take place.  For the sake of your children, for the sake of your very own lives, for the sake of peace, I highly suggest you take me up on this proposal.

"If you don’t want to come together, then the Middle East will remain what it’s been recently – nothing more than a backwater ghetto.

"The choice is up to you.  And know this – it’s time for the Arab World and the Muslim World to grow up!

"Thank you for listening."

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