Have you ever tried balancing a pencil on its head? That’s where I stand, and believe it or not, I believe that’s where my leadership here in Bahrain stand as well. It is almost an impossible thing to do, but it is not unfeasible. Everyone on every side want you to fall for them, everyone wants a piece of you.
Today, in Bahrain and around the Middle East, every person should take the journey on balancing a pencil on its head. The only way forward, is to have this skill. For many, if not 99% of the Middle Eastern population, whatever is going on today baffles them to a level that prevents them from knowing who to support and trust. Even world class analysts are trying to explain the situation, and if you follow them closely, you’ll see that they themselves have provided conflicting analysis over only few months apart. What this tells us is that there’s much more to the story than the ear hears.
I’ve worked in government and have built extensive relations with foreign government officials over the past. I’ve done extensive research throughout a number of years on Western nations, specifically the United States. What I see in the Middle East today is no different than what I have seen in the West. Here’s the thing, while many governments around the world today act rather different domestically, they almost act exactly the same internationally. There is no world government that makes sure all the countries in the world are equal. There is however, an International Governmental Organization that makes sure that governments are NOT equal, the Security Council in the United Nations.
To the general public, I can assure you that whatever you see and read, wherever on earth you are, is just the tip of the iceberg. Every country needs to survive, every country needs to play the game that the West have been playing and doing good in it for so long, and yes, ethics is no where to find. What the West have been doing resonates from a quote I once read while working out in a gym in America. This is what the quote says, “A diplomat is a person that can tell a person to go to hell in such a way that he will actually be looking forward to the trip.” (The original quote is somewhat worded differently with the same meaning)
In the West, those in the government or those who have the power to control the government also have the tools that control people’s choices. Thus, the more an average citizen goes to vote, the more they can make sure that the policies they want to be made are actually made. Sometimes, the average citizens won’t even know that he or she is in reality voting for a policy that makes his life worse! For example, today Republicans in America are blaming the Obama Administration for something they have done themselves. The problem is, the average voter is actually believing it!
The Middle Eastern governments and decision makers are fairly new to this game. The problem is that we don’t have the ability to separate religion from politics, something very easy for Western governments. Will we ever separate religion from politics? The easy answer is no. Islam is a religion very different from all others. The more modernized you become, the more Islamic you will become. Islam never used to be accessible as easy as today. The average citizen has all the answers he or she needs at the tip of their finger. Thus, the more democratic the Middle East evolves into, the more the government represent the average citizen, which thanks for globalization in technology, is revolving up to be more Islamized.
Because of these developments, the world have to understand that confusion does not exist in the Middle East, it is in the West. As I said above, while Western nations are domestically democratic, they are by no means internationally democratic. They want governments that serve their interest, yet they also want to see democracy. The fight today in the West is between two factions, Idealists and Realists.
For example, idealists in America are found more in the State Department and Realists are found more in the Pentagon. This is why both of these departments have different foreign policies and different relations with the same country. The State Department may respect the decision made by people of the Middle East in their choice of government or Parliament, yet The Pentagon may do whatever it takes to preserve the National interests of America.
To conclude, good Middle East analysts who work for the US government today are a rare commodity. They don’t know yet the influence of religion in politics, they don’t know if mind controlling tools (media, etc.) are strong enough to change the thought of the average Middle Easterner, they don’t know if democracy is good for the Middle East (for themselves), and they most of all don’t know if they can trust funding certain groups today who may turn up being their worse enemies tomorrow.
Unless we focus on ourselves and start growing and closing the development gap between us and the West, they will never stop trying, and we will always end up striking bad deals. We have work to do, let’s set aside our differences, because it only serves everyone else but us.