Sunday, August 24, 2003

Our Arrogant Friend

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi •

I have a friend who is rich and powerful. The problem is he knows it. In his arrogance, he decided not worry about a good education or human relations. Sports, entertainment, market news is all he cares to know about.
Very much living for himself and his family, he doesn’t worry about what the world thinks about his actions in pursuit of selfish interests and pleasures.
This carelessness about others puts him in many tight spots, which he fails even to admit. But the latest one has been so tight that now he demands help (or else!). But since he insisted in doing what he did against our best judgment, most are saying: Serve you right. Those who are afraid of the consequences of his disappointment or hope for some reward are trying to help him sort things out. But with an ego so big, pride so injured and advisers so stupid, he seems to get deeper and deeper into the grand mess he managed to put himself in.
Since we are his best friends, we are in the same boat. If he passes the stormy seas, we survive and hope for a better day with a more sensible captain. If he goes under, we go under too.
Sound familiar? For America’s friends it is sadly very much so. While many are feeling vindicated and telling the superpower of the world: “We told you so,” most are fearful of what the injured tiger might do. After the bombing of the UN headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy, the warning message is loud and clear. The peacekeepers’ job is to keep peace — after peace is established. With the kind of violent environment in Iraq, only those who really have to would take a chance. Therefore, the only two options left are to stay or leave.
The first is very costly. It requires more investment and commitment — double the number of troops to guard peace and hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild the environment for peace. Politically, the US desperately needs to swallow its pride and try for a UN cover — a Security Council resolution authorizing international help for Iraq.
Diplomatically, it needs to mend relations with friends and foes alike. European and Mideastern allies and opponents (such as Iran and Syria) are Washington’s best potential partners in peace. Intimidation may go only so far, but beneficial partnership is the only viable long-term strategy.
The second option (pack and leave) is not only humiliating and discrediting to the US but will also make a dangerous breeding ground for terror more dangerous. Leaving now, therefore, is not a sensible option.
Let’s hope and pray that our powerful friend takes the right path, consults the right people and makes the right choice, this time.

No comments: