Open letter to President Obama

Open letter to President Obama

Dear Mr President,


I am aware that the presidential campaign is not over and that surprises are to be expected, but I have no doubt that, all things being equal, you will be the future president of the United States of America. My reasons for saying so are many, and I do not need to go into them in detail here, as I did just that in an article entitled, “What if?” which ran in this same space right after Hillary Clinton bowed out of the race. Suffice it to say that I believe that the years of neocon rule, which gave America a bad name around the world, convinced the American people of the need for change.


I am not oblivious to the significance of the election of a black man with a Muslim father in a country that practised racial segregation not so long ago and that has an administration that is currently engaged in “holy war” against Islam and Muslims. And having recently read a review of Jerome Corsi”s book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, I can appreciate the magnitude of venom coming your way from the US right. This supremely biased writer, who sadly holds a doctorate in political science from Harvard, portrays you as a radical leftist who banks on widespread frustration in black circles. If elected, Corsi claims, you will use “deceit and subterfuge” to divide Americans.


I have no doubt that more of such slander and worse will be levelled against you as the day of the elections draws near. But I am confident that victory will be yours in the end. In its heart of hearts, America knows that you are a Christian and American through and through and that the colour of your skin and your middle name can only be assets in your quest to clear the name of the United States abroad. I think too much of the American people to believe that they would put someone like John McCain in the White House — a man who”s committed to George W Bush”s criminal policies — just to spite a black man whose middle name is Hussein.



Time will show whether my trust in the American people and their wisdom is well placed. But as alarmed as we are in the Arab world that someone like McCain may reach the White House, we have no illusions as far as you”re concerned. We don”t see you as a saviour. Some of your comments have lost you many friends in this part of the world already, especially your statement that Jerusalem would remain Israel“s “unified and eternal” capital, a remark that you repeated twice, at an AIPAC gathering and again during your visit to Israel. Some in this region now say that they want to see McCain win the elections — not because he is the better man, but because they are convinced that someone like him is bound to pursue Bush”s catastrophic policies and thus ultimately bring about the collapse of the United States.


I am no fan of US foreign policy, but I disagree with them. I am not one to believe that the world would be a better place without the United States. Still, I do not see you as capable of making a substantial change in US policy in this part of the world. But US policy must not be assessed in the light of its position on Israel alone. A true change in US foreign policy depends first and foremost on the way you, Mr President, envision a new world order, one that takes into account the indisputable fact that the US is waning and that other giants are surfacing on the international scene.


The foreign policy of the neocons was based on the uncontroversial fact that the 20th century was an American century par excellence. But the neocons were wrong to assume that the 21st century can, or must, be a purely American century. It was the collapse of the Soviet Union that created this mistaken assumption. The Bush administration was wrong to think that the world can be run solely by the US and other international players must be kept off the field.


Especially after 9/11, George W Bush thought that military means alone could sustain this new world order. History proved him wrong. It is now clear to all that the US doesn”t have the means of unilaterally controlling the world. It is also clear that the more the US tries to do so the more damage it sustains. The US obsession with global hegemony, many now agree, borders on the suicidal. The US is still the world”s most powerful nation, but its relative weight on the international scene is steadily diminishing. This conclusion, reached by such prominent commentators as Fareed Zakaria and Immanuel Wallerstein, makes it necessary for the US — especially after the recent events in Georgia — to seek a new and multilateral world order.


The US has to choose between two scenarios:


Scenario one: The US replaces the current unilateral world order with a system of collective leadership that involves close cooperation with the Soviet Union and the EU through NATO. This option, I believe, would be the first choice for someone like McCain. But I do not doubt that some of your aides would try to sell it to you and portray it as the only available or realistic option. In my opinion, this option is a mere revamping of previous US policies that didn”t turn out well. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world had a rare opportunity to reinforce the UN”s role, which had eroded during the Cold War. But the US, in its quest for sole global domination, not only maintained NATO but also sought to expand it and use it as a tool for its foreign policy. Russia, weighed down by its own problems, played along with that scenario. But as soon as the Russians had time to catch their breath, they began to reverse the tide; as can be seen now in Georgia. If it continues to be a mere tool of joint US- European hegemony, NATO is bound to be challenged by emerging regional alliances elsewhere, just as it was challenged by the Warsaw Pact in the past.


Scenario two: The US uses its international leverage to establish a “new humanitarian world order” that promotes the safety of humans everywhere, regardless of their race, nationality, or creed — thus making the safety of the human race a collective responsibility of the international community. This scenario is what draws the line between someone like you and someone like McCain. Obviously, Mr President, it is the one I wish to see you pursue.


To create a new humanitarian world order, the UN needs to be restructured so as to confront a variety of international threats and challenges, including poverty, epidemics, pollution, terrorism and organised crime. Also, the UN Security Council would have to be restructured so as to become more capable of stopping military aggression against any state. For this to happen, the international community will need: first, to enlarge the Security Council and reassign its permanent seats to better represent the existing balance of power; second, to reconsider the manner and terms of the power of veto, so that no single country may challenge the combined will of the international community or undermine the new humanitarian world order; third, to boost the powers of the Security Council so that it may be able to respond to all types of threat to human safety with considerable speed and efficacy; fourth, to grant the General Assembly greater power of political oversight over the Security Council, and grant the International Court of Justice greater power of judicial oversight over the decisions of the Security Council — such steps being needed to pre-empt any dictatorial propensities; and fifth, to give the International Court of Justice mandatory powers, binding on all nations, in matters of international legal disputes.


This, Mr President, is the type of change that can truly help resolve international problems. It is the type of change that can turn Israel into an ordinary country that is subject to — rather than above — international law. This is the change the world expects from you. Are you ready for it?