Is it just me, or do you also sense that when it comes to the Middle East, we may well be inching our way toward a bad place? What if anything can we do about it? Albert Einstein came up with E=mc2. Thankfully, the formula for success in the Middle East is a lot simpler - Ideology plus Investment equals Hope. We need nothing less than a new ideological framework along with some well placed investment dollars to generate a sense of hope, and with hope all things are possible. Use An Ideology of Common Sense along with Economic Incentives to sell a Vision of Hope - a Vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom - on the Arab street, in the Muslim World, and in the world as a whole. Speak to one another with common sense, and with a sense of personal dignity. Put some serious money on the table, and give everyone on earth a place at the table, a stake in his or her future. Make the "global economy" truly global. Use the motto: "We stand ready to invest in you, if you are ready to invest in yourselves." Invest in projects which resonate with hope, which create jobs, which protect the environment, and which allow people to become who they want to become, even if they want to become different from you. Create facts on the ground which speak louder than words. Marginalize the extremists on all sides by co-opting their strategy - by doing what they do, only better - and by putting them in the uncomfortable and untenable position of holding their people back from a better life. If the West is good at anything, it is making and investing money. Why not use this strength as part of our strategic arsenal to promote the peace, and to win the war against ideological extremism? And when the need arises, fight on the ground, and fight hard, but position the fight within a Vision of Hope. Raise the fight on the ground to a higher moral plain, and sustain the fight by giving it a moral clarity of purpose. If all this sounds a bit over the top, it probably is. But this may well be the time, before time runs out, to dream the impossible, and to make the impossible come true.
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