Posted February 2, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
“He who hates no creature and is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, equal-minded in pleasure and pain, and forgiving… He to whom the world is not afflicted and who is not afflicted by the world, who is free from elation, envy, fear and anxiety, he is dear to me… He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor sorrows, nor desires and who has renounced good and evil, he who is thus full of devotion, is dear to me.”
– The Bhagavad-Gita (The Song of God / 2nd century B.C.)
Compared to the panel on “Money and Influence” coming from the World Economic Forum (WEF), this panel, “End Game for the Middle East”, gives the audience a much more robust, solutions-based discussion on the current situation. In particular, the crisis in Syria and Iran’s nuclear power are very intensely examined and spoken about. Perhaps because the panel members are from the Middle East and directly affected by these events, it is natural that the participants would express themselves more forcefully.
What is most interesting about this panel discussion is the comparatively different views held by the five men who live in the Middle East and Richard Haass – head of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and not a resident of any Middle East country. Mr. Haass represents the highest level of a hierarchical power structure that exists on Earth, a power structure which lacks empathy and compassion for average Syrians, or any average citizens of Middle Eastern countries.
Mr. Haass’ views expressed during this talk were totally absent of any shared ideas or solutions for the problems which are currently experienced by people in the Middle East, in stark contrast to the views expressed by the five other members of the panel. He begins by criticizing American foreign policy related to Syria, where they (America) were not prepared when calling for Bashar Al Assad’s exit to take the actions required to remove him, and were then unprepared in having “something” to replace Assad’s government after removing Assad from power.
This first comment by Mr. Haass reminds one of someone looking at the world as some sort of “chess game”, with the United States making moves on the board (the planet Earth) as if this is a completely normal way to conduct international relations. Consider that this first comment by CFR head Haass is what he begins with, his most important thoughts to share here, and that the thoughts are completely America-oriented. He completely excludes that the Syrian humanitarian crisis is severely effecting the Syrian people, and that it is the Syrian people’s suffering and dying that needs to stop – instead coming across as the CEO of multinational planet Earth.
Mr. Haass offers nothing during this panel discussion in the way of solutions, or at least expressing something from his thinking that relates to hope, coöperation, or a better future for Syrians, Iranians, and the people of the Middle East region. After listening to this panel discussion twice, while focusing especially on Mr. Haass’ comments, there is absolutely nothing positive coming from his mouth. This is an observation which shows that there is a significant amount of manipulation from outside Syria and the Middle East by people who do not live there.
At the end of the panel the woman moderator asked the panel members to predict what the Middle East will look like in one year from now. The CFR’s Richard Haass responds by saying that he finds it “impossible to be optimistic” about the Middle East going forward. Now, my little dictionary defines impossible as “that cannot be done or exist”. He sees no signs of a diplomatic resolve to Syria’s humanitarian crisis, no signs of resolve to the Israel-Palestine (apartheid) issue, and nothing but challenges on the Iran nuclear issue.
Richard Haass then shares his thought that the situation in the Middle East will be worse one year from now. He somewhat allows himself cover by saying that he “hopes I’m wrong” but the question that comes to mind is: “what does Richard Haass of the CFR know which makes him come to find it “impossible to be optimistic”? Does CFR’s Richard Haass have an intimate knowledge of an alternative “End game for the Middle East” – a vision that is not shared by the five men who share the panel with him here in Switzerland?
The greatest question regarding the Council on Foreign Relations’ head Richard Haass’ contribution to this discussion is: “How is Mr. Haass so certain that the Middle East will be in worse condition one year from now?” Is it possible that the interests Mr. Haass represents already hold a vision of the “Middle East endgame chessboard” which will necessitate those interests’ actions that result in the actualizing of their “vision” – regardless of the popular will of the people of the Middle East?
Perhaps there is a level of suspicion and distrust when it comes to the CFR that is to an extent accurate or inaccurate. Be that as it may, it is obvious from listening to this panel that the distance between Mr. Haass expressed views and the five men he shares the stage with in Switzerland is telling and revelatory. Unfortunately the woman moderator didn’t ask Mr. Haass to give specific solutions for the problems in Syria and the Middle East – namely solutions which would increase peace, coöperation, and better living conditions for the men and women of the region. It was plainly obvious that Mr. Haass either did not have any solutions or he intentionally was withholding them here. Finally, with regard to Mr. Haass and this WEF panel, he offered nothing whatsoever in the way of problem-solving for the people of the Middle East. That “nothing” may in fact say everything.
Although Mr. Haass contributed zero (men and women may see this differently) to this panel, the discussion between the five other men was sober, realistic, and focused. The man sitting second from the left, Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, contributed mightily through his ability to understand that there was a consensus or agreement that all non-Syrian/foreign fighters must leave Syria as the necessary first step to peace.
Five out of six here agreed that all foreign forces must leave, as well as the view that the Syrian people should decide their nation’s destiny. Other suggestions offered by the panelists include cessation of funneling of funds and weapons by outside forces, exiting of foreign military experts, ending of foreign intervention in Syria, focus on diplomatic efforts and dialogue, stop referring to Iran as a “regime” because Mr. Rouhani received 73% of the votes/ballots, an end to blaming other nations for domestic problems, realization that there are no structural impediments to problem resolution, and others.
The man from Turkey mentioned that there was an agreement four years ago between Iran, Turkey and Brazil that held great promise for healing the Iranian nuclear issue, but became rendered impotent as a result of Iranian economic sanctions – leading to a loss of four years of real progress.
This same man from Turkey was the most optimistic member of the panel. He spoke about the importance of removing the Middle East region’s “inferiority complex” – where the region is viewed as one of war, blood-letting, and suffering – and remembering the great accomplishments of civilization through history of the people and nations of the region. He notes that he has trust that the younger generation of Middle Easterners will create miracles.
The most powerful statement from this panel may have been: “The Syrian people’s suffering must end.”
(Thank you to World Economic Forum at YouTube)