- Institutionalize internal ‘dialogue’ on foreign policy: Sun Tzu said, “Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster”. Americans, for the power and influence they wield over the world, are surprisingly ill informed and inward looking. Maybe it results in situations where responsible exercise of influence becomes difficult. Maybe it’s time to institutionalise a process by which Americans realise the depth and breadth of their engagement across the world and what it means for the average American. It’s time the West learns to ‘make a point without making an enemy’.
- Do not roll back ‘engagement’: Policymakers should not operate under the premise that being democratic doesn’t mean a natural affinity to American values and way of life. Political systems are reflective of local milieu, and democracy in Middle East will look radically different from, say, in India or US. For example, India and US differ strongly on their approach to 'Freedom of Expression' but both are successful democracies and free societies. This calls for consistent monitoring of conversations and constant engagement The bad news is that in person engagement becomes tougher. The good news is that social media seems to work very well in the Middle East as demonstrated again by the crisis!
- Communicate ‘Access’ and ‘Proximity’: Explain to audiences how an open society enable access to free societies abroad, be it the West or United States, where Muslims have lived and done well. Create narratives for the ‘indivual’ and not ‘sermons’ for their ‘societies’ on how a partnership with the United States can better their lives.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
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