Obama: a Thanksgiving gift to the world
Barack Obama once again won the US presidential election, and the world, especially the Muslim world, took a deep breath. Given the fact that this region has not even recovered from Bush syndrome, we could not handle yet another Bush type of government in America for the next four years. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Obama's re-election is an early Thanksgiving gift to the world.
In the last four years, the Obama administration has worked to restore broken relations with this region. The Muslim world approached the Obama administration cautiously because the trauma caused by Bush was quite deep and could not be easily repaired. In four years Obama managed to ease the tension between East and West and restore US relations with the Muslim world.

Back in 2009, as I analyzed Obama's visit to Turkey, I underlined the following points:

"Since not only Turks but most people in the Muslim world will be closely watching what Obama says in Turkey, it is critical for Obama to come to Turkey with a message that grasps the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Unlike many political observers who think that vital American interests in the Muslim world deeply contradict the values of Muslim societies and lead to anti-Americanism in this region, I believe that there is a medium in which Obama could deliver a message that could address the basic needs of Muslim societies in this part of the world, while at the same time helping America maintain its vital interests.

"…Because the society's ethical principles are so closely associated with Islam, any opposition group that emerges in this part of the world, in one way or another, has to refer to Islamic values because they are part of the social genes. Thus, the Obama administration should understand why successful opposition groups use Islamic references in their stance against the tyrants of the Middle East.

"…Second, Obama should realize that democracy in this part of the world is still vulnerable and that leaders, including military and civilian leaders, could easily manipulate it. … Obama should underline the issue of promoting civil society and institutions that reinforce the democratic culture as well as the reform process in the region." (Today's Zaman, March 12, 2009)

Since 2009, the Obama administration indeed followed careful policies and did not act like a bull in a china shop, mending damaged relations. Now it is time to act, to build better relations, to pay more attention to the region, to support the process of democratization and finalize the Arab Spring in order to restore a democratic and peaceful Middle East.

There are a number of issues that need to be solved immediately. The first is the Syrian problem. The Obama administration made a mistake by relying too much on Turkish authorities, intelligence agencies and foreign policy analysis as sources of information. Turkish officials were so short-sighted that they could not even foresee potential problems when they established refugee camps in Hatay, a province dominated by Assad loyalists. Turkish intelligence estimates failed to predict the end of the Assad regime or Iranian support to the regime, and many other things. Worst of all, Turkish officials failed to anticipate the looming Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) states in Syrian territory and could not do anything to prevent it.

The existence of the Syrian crisis not only has the potential to deepen the chaotic environment in the region, it overshadows the democratic gains in the Muslim world. Therefore this problem should be solved immediately and solved with American intelligence, approaches and plans, simply because the Turkish intelligence, approaches and plans have so far failed. American authorities should rely on their own intelligence and plans, but without invading Syria. They should use their military strength to get rid of the Assad regime as soon as possible.

Second, the Obama administration should find the means to contain Iran because Iran plays dirty games to deepen chaos in the region. Unfortunately, some Turkish officials fail to realize, or in fact they actively conceal Iranian plans for destruction in this region to hold onto its regime with other peoples' blood. This bloody policy of Iran should be controlled soon so that democracy and peace in this part of the world can take root.

EMRE USLU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-08 16:00:03
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