Monday, May 16, 2011

The Failure of US Diplomacy in the Middle East 3.0

The impending failure of Western Diplomacy discussed in the previous monograph on the topic is now focused on the US.

Few people analyse a situation as it is. Most interpret the situation in a way that best helps their agenda.

Here is an analogy. The math analogy plays well to America’s position in international testing among school students.

With global relations, the dispute is not that 10 x 10 = 100. Upon that, we can all agree. However, when the teacher poses the question to her class and Billy responds 99, we break into two camps. One camp says that 99 is 99% correct. The other camp says that 99 is 100% wrong. Neither side realises that Billy does not understand arithmetic.

We are so focused on the American paradigm that we lack the ability to grasp the concept of what we are dealing with.

In the previous monograph, I said that we assume that the Arab Spring will result in a region of Pro-Western democracies. In 1776, we had a revolution. We built a democracy. We assume the same will hold true for the Middle East. We simply do not allow, for example, that Libya will be a country run by ruling councils.

Let us assume, however, for the purposes of discussion, that there is a wave of revolutionary fervor throughout the Middle East. Let us assume further, that there are a dozen democracies. Why should we then assume that the democracies would become our allies and trading partners?

The problem with Western Diplomacy is that it is a product of Western Diplomacy. Perhaps we are attempting to celebrate the success of Ben Franklin, Ambassador to France—200 years ago. The conundrum? The Middle East is not France.

We have decided, over the past several decades, that we will treat people the way we want to be treated. Nothing wrong with that if we want to be treated with respect. The simplistic solution is to treat people with respect and we will be respected. The problem with that is that different people define respect in different terms.

“If we were more concerned with being respectable and dignified, we would be more often treated with dignity and respect.” Slim Fairview.

Libya is not Egypt. Syria is not Libya.

I’d said, on previous occaision, that we are not fighting three wars in the Middle East. We are not fighting two wars in the Middle East. We are fighting one war in the Middle East. I was wrong. The war we are fighting is with ourselves.

If the Arab Spring spreads to other nations, those nations may very well form a Middle Eastern Diplomatic Union. (Thing of The European Union except with more money, less debt.)

There might not be an OPEC style union but rather a free-market union. One with the Union Members’ self-interest as the cornerstone. Not an ideological self-interest, not a theological self-interest, but rather an economic self-interest. Are we prepared for another “front”? Financially? Economically?

View our immigration policies. We are disputing immigration reform. The two sides of the issue are the interests of the immigrants and our national self-interest. (Economic and Security) We applaud our munificence. However, almost all of the immigrants come from countries with relatively few freedoms and with poor economic conditions. We completely ignore the fact that the immigration rise can be attributed to the conditions in the countries from which the immigrants emigrate. We help a few thousand while a few million continue to suffer. We hurt many and help few.

We’ve had a history of embracing these failed polices: The pursuit of symbolic gestures over substantive gains. Here are some examples from the past 60 years.

Penal reform in the late 50’ and early 60’s intended to reduce recidivism in our prisons resulted in a rise in crime and a rise in the prison population.

Parole reform, intended to reduce recidivism resulted in a rise in crime and a rise in the prison population.

We repeatedly attempted to tax our way to prosperity. Then we attempt to cut the programmes the money is being spent on.

Add to that the fact that we’ve outsourced jobs to cut costs to increase corporate profits to stay in business. The result? We’ve put our American customers out of work here at home. The result? The American customer can’t afford to buy our products. The result? Lower sales. The result? Lower corporate profits.

What will happen if the Middle Eastern nations form a Diplomatic Union? They will go into the free market. China is becoming an increasingly more profitable customer. Latin America is emerging from economic turmoil to economic growth. Can anyone see a symbiotic relationship between the Middle East (oil), China (money), and Latin America (expanding markets)?

We don’t need to rethink our Middle Eastern Diplomatic relationships. We need to learn how to do business globally.

For additional reading:

The G-20 in Good Times and Bad

Global Management: A shift in the paradigm of corporate America.

The impending Failure of Western Diplomacy in the Middle East.

The Fallacy of US Diplomacy in Libya

Social Media is the Medium: Greater than the sum of its parts.



Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview

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