*Lecture given at the Lebanese American University, Beirut; 22nd February.
During the Cold War, there was a clear line dividing the world ideologically, Communism and Capitalism. Why Capitalism, and not Democracy? Because some countries during that time were not Democratic, for example KSA, Iran and certain states in South & Central America.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, a common ideology no longer exists between the rest of the world and the Arab and Islamic countries. Even in Syria, Russia is not the USSR in Syria. Russians no longer have proxies, Cuban or Korean soldiers to fight for them. They are on the field themself, with a maximum of 50 fighter jets, along with a few hundred military counselors. Invasions like Prague, Budapest & Kabul, with thousands of tanks, are no longer possible. Today, the nature of the conflict between Russia and the USA has changed in comparison to what it was until the late eighties. Ideological competition no longer exists. It has been replaced by opposing interests, which can rapidly transform into a mutual understanding at the expense of the Middle Eastern countries.
Simultaneously, it seems as though the globalization trend stops at our frontiers. We are in the middle of a Middle Age struggle, similar to the European Middle Age one, made of Inquisition and religious wars, whereas the Arab and Islamic Empire was generating art, science, philosophy and reviving the Greek heritage.
In the rest of the world, there is a tendency towards Uberisation and automation of the economy. There is also a tendency for more autonomous work, even within big companies, and an increasing interest in ecological issues, as well as a growing involvement of the civil society in the process of political decision-making. The rise of the extreme Right and Populist as Donald Trump, is nothing more than a skin rash. It is a superficial reaction to specific problems inadequately addressed by the traditional political class. It cannot be described as a deep change in the western culture. At least, until now.
In view of all that has been mentioned, we can state that the west and its public opinion which weigh politically, no longer understands us and they have lost interest in us. Even Israel, is suffering from a loss of sympathy due to its apartheid system and its more religious society.
So, what will be the next us president policy toward the Middle East? If he is a Democrat, his main interest will be the utilitarian one, overseeing, and safeguarding the oil resources if necessary. Knowing that the aim of this policy is to protect or have leverage over the Chinese, European and Japanese oil supply. Gradually the USA is becoming self-sufficient and is even exporting oil. In one or two generations the fossil energy will come to an end. The Republican President, will do the same. His main interest will to expand tax cuts on high revenues and dismantle Obama Care. A military intervention will be unthinkable in view of the huge budget deficit and the Federal debt.
Governments worldwide, draft their political agenda’s based on cold calculations. So, the only way to acquire the positive and less utilitarian attention of the West and the USA, would be to reconnect with their public opinions, by sharing some of their values, like democracy, secularism, social, religious and ethnic minority’s rights. At the same time emphasizing on our values, which they lack, such as solidarity, resiliency and managing intercultural relationships.