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Category: What Should New President Say to Middle East?
“As President, What Should Obama Say to the Middle East?” (Part 6)
December 30th, 2008 by Stephen
Amid all of the speculation about the Obama administration and its approach to the Middle East, POMED has asked a variety of respected voices from the community of Middle East policy experts, democracy promotion practitioners, pollsters, academics, and human rights advocates to answer the following question in 300 words or less:
At the outset of the new American administration, what should President Obama say to the people of the Middle East?
We have been posting responses to this question over the past few weeks. Today, we continue with a response from Radwan Masmoudi, President of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID).
Radwan Masmoudi:
“While the United States has been built on universal principles of equality, justice, freedom, and dignity for all, I recognize that our government has supported repressive regimes across this region that have abused the rights of their citizens, imprisoned and tortured those who dare to criticize them, and prevented participation in even the most peaceful political and civic activities. After 9/11, the Bush administration promised to end decades of U.S. support for tyranny and instead to stand by those who are fighting – peacefully – for freedom, democracy, and dignity.
But our policies have failed to live up to those promises.  Particularly since December 2005, the United States has returned to the ‘realist’ approach of openly supporting ‘friendly’ dictators and tyrants.  This not only destroyed the credibility of the United States and emboldened extremists, but also sent a powerful, anti-democratic message to authoritarian regimes.
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“As President, What Should Obama Say to the Middle East?” (Part 5)
December 23rd, 2008 by Stephen
Amid all of the speculation about the Obama administration and its approach to the Middle East, POMED has asked a variety of respected voices from the community of Middle East policy experts, democracy promotion practitioners, pollsters, academics, and human rights advocates to answer the following question in 300 words or less:
At the outset of the new American administration, what should President Obama say to the people of the Middle East?
We have been posting responses to this question over the past few weeks. Today, we continue with a response from Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and coordinator of the democracy program at Stanford’s Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law:
Larry Diamond:
“First, the United States seeks a just, stable, and secure political order in the Middle East, not hegemony. Thus I reaffirm my commitment to withdraw all U.S. combat forces from Iraq within 16 months.  And I renounce the use of force as a means to promote ‘regime change’ in the region.
 
Secondly, I deeply regret the abuses that have been committed by American security forces at Abu Ghraib, and I will immediately ban the use of torture by American security personnel, ban the practice of ‘extraordinary rendition,’ and shut down the detention facility at Guantánamo. 
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“As President, What Should Obama Say to the Middle East?” (Part 4)
December 16th, 2008 by Stephen
In this period of transition, as we all look toward the Middle East policy of the new Obama administration, POMED has asked a variety of respected voices from the community of Middle East policy experts, democracy promotion practitioners, pollsters, academics, and human rights advocates to answer the following question in 300 words or less:
At the outset of the new American administration, what should President Obama say to the people of the Middle East?
We have been posting responses to this question over the past two weeks. Today, we continue with a response from Tom Garrett, Regional Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the International Republican Institute (IRI):
Tom Garrett:
“Be optimistic as to the future progress of democracy in the region – a key part of U.S. backing for Middle East reformers is public moral support.  In your comments, acknowledge that the United States didn’t ‘create’ reform in the Middle East - it began there before the Bush Administration, among indigenous political parties, civil society, and media.
President Bush and President Carter recently visited the Middle East, and both discussed U.S. efforts to promote reform.  Be clear in telling the governments of the region that support for democratic movements is a longstanding bipartisan policy of the United States that will continue in an Obama Administration.”
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“As President, What Should Obama Say to the Middle East?” (Part 3)
December 11th, 2008 by Stephen
In this period of transition, as we all look toward the Middle East policy of the new Obama administration, POMED has asked a variety of respected voices from the community of Middle East policy experts, democracy promotion practitioners, pollsters, academics, and human rights advocates to answer the following question in 300 words or less:
At the outset of the new American administration, what should President Obama say to the people of the Middle East?
We began posting responses to this question last Thursday and on Tuesday. Today, we continue with two additional responses, from Gerald Hyman, Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Scott Carpenter, Keston Family Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  
Gerald Hyman:
“We do not seek a military role in the Middle East, although we reserve the right to defend our citizens and our partners militarily if necessary, but only as a last resort.  We will pursue peace and prosperity through cooperation, through diplomacy and, whenever possible, through multilateral efforts.  We understand very well that we cannot achieve these goals alone.
We want help and partnership and we offer both to confront problems like poverty, health, and education.  We believe their solution requires both domestic reforms and international cooperation.  Domestic reform is for the people of the Middle East to embrace, not for imposition from abroad.  Yet without those reforms, international cooperation is insufficient.
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“As President, What Should Obama Say to the Middle East?” (Part 2)
December 9th, 2008 by Stephen
In this period of transition, as we all look toward the Middle East policy of the new Obama administration, POMED has asked a variety of respected voices from the community of Middle East policy experts, democracy promotion practitioners, pollsters, academics, and human rights advocates to answer the following question in 300 words or less:
At the outset of the new American administration, what should President Obama say to the people of the Middle East?
Last Thursday, we began posting responses to this question. Today, we continue with two additional responses, from Michele Dunne, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Dalia Mogahed, Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.
Michele Dunne:
“Four goals will inform my administration’s policy toward this region: peace, justice, prosperity, and democracy. These principles are linked: there can only be peace with just resolution of longstanding conflicts and there can only be prosperity with accountable and transparent government. The American people extend their hand in friendship to the peoples of the Middle East, and the United States government stands ready to cooperate with all peaceloving governments in the region that work for the welfare of their people.”
Dalia Mogahed:
“To our brothers and sisters of all faiths in the Middle East, the cradle of civilizations, the birthplace of religions, one of history’s greatest sources of science, philosophy and poetry: We must harness our common humanity and shared values to overcome the challenges we all face. We have all suffered the consequences of a misguided war and the horrors of violent extremism. We have all suffered a global economic crisis, soaring food and fuel prices, and a warming planet.
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POMED Asks: “As President, What Should Obama Say to the Middle East?”
December 4th, 2008 by Stephen
In this period of transition, as we all look toward the Middle East policy of the new Obama administration, we here at POMED have asked a variety of respected voices from the community of Middle East policy experts, democracy promotion practitioners, pollsters, academics, and human rights advocates to answer the following question in 300 words or less:
At the outset of the new American administration, what should President Obama say to the people of the Middle East?
Over the next month, we will post various answers to this question each Tuesday and Thursday. Today we begin with a pair of responses from James Traub, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, and Neil Hicks, International Policy Advisor at Human Rights First.
James Traub:
“The United States wants for the people of the Arab world what they want for themselves—a life of freedom, justice and prosperity. We know very well that too few people in the Middle East enjoy such a life. And we recognize that in recent decades the United States has done as much to frustrate those hopes as to assist them. The Bush Administration was admirably blunt about this failure, conceding that we had long sought stability at the expense of democracy, and found neither. That was right—but the prescription was wrong. The war in Iraq discredited the policy of democracy promotion. But so did our disengagement from the peace process between Israel and Palestine. And so did the glaring discrepancy between our sweeping vows and our hesitant and often timid policies.
We will promise less, and deliver more. We now know what others long understood—that we cannot impose, or even deliver, democracy or social justice. But there is much that we can do.
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