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The Middle East: Leaders who could not lead
Tuesday July 22, 2014 11:24 AM, Mahboob A. Khawaja

The contemporary Arab world is devoid of educated, intelligent and effective leadership. Those occupying the helms of power are mostly the former traditional loyalists tribal agents of the European colonial era uplifted to kingship and absolute authoritarianism to protect the vested foreign interests in the new age of the 21sy century politics.

Arab leaders

The US and West European wish to see the old order continuing under new faces of puppets regimes as is the case of Egypt under military dictator General Abdul Fatah Al Sisis replacing a popularly elected governance of President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Animosity syndrome is being used by all the parties in the Middle East. After more than 60 years of so called peace talks between Israel and Arabs on Palestine, the current hostilities signal extreme unpredictability in global affairs. There is no qualified rational and balanced approach to peacemaking between the Palestinians and Israel. Where would the peace come from if both parties are constantly engaged in perpetuating animosity and killings while the US and Europeans look more of a spectator than influential participants to break the deafening silence on increased dehumanization of the Palestinian people under occupation.

.“There are the times that try men’s soul”, noted Thomas Paine in his famous “Common Sense”, the lifeline to American independence. In situations of adversity and crises, competent leaders represent hope and optimism for change, not egoistic political agenda and animosity…………… Peace requires new thinking and New Visions that American President and Israeli PM do not have except the WAR agenda. Both are victims of egomaniac politics. Would Peace and Security grow out of the nowhere? Threatening rhetoric of warmongering and the nuisance of individualistic political indoctrination do not articulate rational and responsible opportunities for rational and intelligent leaders to engage in peaceful dialogue or conflict resolution. Both Arab rulers and Israeli politicians need to work on collaborative capacity-building to talk and finalize long awaited peace deal for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine.

The emerging conflict in Gaza and attacks on civilians on both sides would not help to ease the situation for peaceful interactive dialogue. Animosity will not replace rationality unless both PLO and Israel realize that enough is enough and come to face to face the resume peace talks. The overwhelming degeneration of the mankind must be stopped to rethink about the future. Conflicts are not the outcome of rational thinking but of sadistic and cruel mindsets. Those who plan wars and drive the mankind to the animalistic thinking and killing of each other are often fearful of the unknown. They view the humanity just in numbers, not an object of precious life and value in the larger universal context. Most often, these people are disconnected with the annals of normal human thinking and affairs, suspicious and paranoid and they see success to be achieved at the cost of ruthlessness, hatred, degeneration and viciousness. In a knowledge-driven global culture of enhanced human communications and proactive visions for sustainable futuristic co-existence between Man and the encompassed Universe and divergent civilizations, we the educators and learners are to exercise rational capacity of thoughts, universal ideals and continuous intelligent foresights to change and adaptability to the future-making. This requires intelligent commitment to principles of international peace and security for all, non-aggression in the working of global systems, protection of life and a balanced ecological culture of co-existence within the encompassed Universe - Man and the Humanity. The technologically fought machine wars not only destroy human life but leave catastrophic ripple effects of wars to undermine the environment and wellbeing of the future generations.

The US foreign policy is intimately linked to its geo-political grandeur interests not to the common thinking and primary interests of the American people. There is a continuing evolution of the war thinking and conflict-making in the US administration. Have we learned anything from the past to change anything because of knowledge, history and facts of life to know our weaknesses and strengths of vision and to change and reform our minds and behavior when facts warrant a change, be it in the policy making or global interactive behaviors? After all listening and learning are critical factors for the changing role of the 21st century political leadership and so is the flexibility mechanism to be built-in for effective leadership. But there are no intelligent and proactive leaders with a vision of the future to see the One Humanity except naïve and self-geared egomaniac full of the sensation of power using triviality and viciousness to torture and kill the mankind and destroy ecological habitats. But contrary to the brutal perceptions and actions of the US-former Europeans imperialists, the international community is informed, mature, and enjoys the moral and intellectual capacity to know and understand the facts of life and to challenge the politically imperiled insensitivity to universal accord and unity of the mankind against the brutality of a war culture.

For the first time in American history, when an African colored man walked into the White House, he promised to change the US belligerent policies and practices and showed interest to make peace across the globe. But it was all delusional politics to win the elections. Paul Craig Roberts called him “The World’s Least Powerful Man – the Obama Puppet”, rescinding all his commitments to “Yes We Can” and global peacemaking. Obama and Netanyahu both have serious problems of self-awareness and intellectual consciousness of the realities of prevalent culture and civilizations if they wish to pursue animosities and preemptive war attacks. They should first know the perceived enemy to be relevant and effective for their own good. For centuries, the Europeans religiously persecuted Jews, and finally the Holocaust that was planned and carried out by the Europeans, not by Arabs, Muslims or Iranian. Recall, throughout the formative history, who took the dispersed and persecuted Jews to safety, equal rights and protections and honored them with distinctions of participation in the Arab intellectual culture and governance - The Arab civilization in al-Al Andalusia- Spain for eight hundred years - longest period of any human civilization. There is lot of learning for the both to come to understand how they want to move to the future of perceived confrontations. What if Obama or Netanyahu had the courage to act like Anwar Saddat - the Egyptian President who took initiatives to go to Tel Aviv and address the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) for a new beginning in the dull and crazy Middle East politics? Could PM Netanyahu has not done the same to go to PLO parliament and address the Palestinians for a peaceful deal? After all the 21sst century leaders must be equipped to deal with adversity and unusual crises and to make honorable deals. Would this have stopped the earth from rotating against the sun or would the sky have fallen on the Antarctica? Intellectually enlightened and morally spirited scholars and experts hold the view that all man-made problems are solvable given the will and rational flexibility and strategies to find workable solutions. The mankind views these leaders performing acts of absurdity on stage with frustration and dismay. Are the leaders not supposed to lead? Do the Arabs and Israelis have any intelligent leaders who can lead for the larger interests, peace and global security of the humanity?

Comforting the major paradoxes of history as Arnold Toynbee (A Study of History) described warrior as dreamers devoid of moral and intellectual imagination when they come close to stagnation they jump to irrational outbursts and conclusions about the facts of life. Wrong people, glued to wrong thinking, do the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. To Obama’s mind, America and Israel do have historical bonds of friendship but in a global context they are disconnected to the rest of the international community. America and Israel are alone, not part of the global thinking and agenda for peace and co-existence. America and Israel need a political and intellectual challenge to come to terms with peace and security but the oil-soaked blood-tainted authoritarian and intellectually sold out oil producing Arab leaders cannot provide one. If President Obama and Netanyahu cannot think responsibly and are wrong in the assessment of the current affairs, should the world believe them for anything? Aggressive thinking is propagated, echo of peace is silenced. Peace requires new Thinking and New Visions that American President and Israeli PM do not have except the WAR agenda. Would Peace and Security grow out of the nowhere? Threatening rhetoric of pre-emptive war strikes on Iran nuclear’s centers and the nuisance of individualistic political indoctrination do not articulate rational and responsible opportunities for rational and intelligent people to engage in peaceful dialogue or conflict resolution. There is no scarcity of proactive Jewish intellectuals and scholars in Israel and America enriched with political imagination and strong sense of the global humanity and people who love peace and harmony with the Arabs and Palestinians. In a political culture overwhelmed with threats of violence, military action and counteraction, America and Israel are fearful of the unknown and have no vision for peace and co-existence either in the region or in a global context. Peace and security are not one sided pursuits to be experimented in a lab. The Arabs, Jews and Christians living in the Middle East have lot in common than to reignite animosity and hatred for mutual consumption. There are many who could a better and more productive leadership in America, Arab world and Israel. America, Israel and Arabs need change for their future. All desperately proactive, culturally conscientious and intellectual unbiased leaders who could see the bigger picture of futuristic world - a different world of tomorrow of peace and co-existence rather than perpetuated animosity and extreme naïve belligerent behaviors, leaders who will serve the people and could learn to make a navigational change and adaptability to the making of a promising future for all the mankind. The future must be of peaceful co-existence, not of continuing bloodbath and intransigence.

Arab authoritarianism is too egomaniac and irrelevant to the 21st century global political affairs. The traditional rulers lack the moral and intellectual capacity to sit face to face and deal with Israel. There is gulf of mistrust and imbalanced political capacity. Across the Arab world, there is no a single institute or university of Peace and Security and Conflict Management to articulate change and to envisage critically what is relevant and what needs to be changed to further the cause of peace and security in the Middle East. The authoritarian Arab rulers are a menace to public communication and political accountability. They continued to live in palaces, not with the people. The perto- dollar run transitory and delusional prosperity has blindfolded the Arab rulers to be indifferent to the interests and aspirations of the Arab masses. At times in history, Arabs were known to be morally advanced people. Today, its materialistic culture is just the opposite. Otherwise, how could they continue to live under extreme political adversity, dehumanized culture of intellectual abyss and lack of political imagination for the future? Continued warmongering between the Israelis and Arabs will not lead to peacemaking. Some preliminary substance led to last year’s discussion in affiliation with the Obama administration. The ultimate peacemaking rests with political maneuvering and dialogue in a timeframe perhaps under an international supervision agreeable to both sides. But if there are educated and intelligent people of new generation enriched with new visions and open to listening and learning from history, chances are that a durable peace could be pursued and done.

(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012)

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