Dialogue is needed [Archives:2004/712/Viewpoint]

February 16 2004

The recent symposium on dialogue between cultures and civilizations held in Sana'a is a clear indication that we are now aware of the priorities we need to tackle in order to resolve disputes and conflicts.
More than two and half years after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, the American administration was seen by many in the symposium to still lack the vision to start a dialogue: not with the terrorists who committed the act, but with regular Arabs who want to convey a message of protest and anger to the USA for its unprecedented support to Israel, occupying Palestine.
There is need to open up to each other and come to the same level where each would respect the opinion of the other.
The event held in Sana'a is a reminder that with peaceful talks and dialogue, everything can be achieved. This is not and should not contradict with the on-going war on terror. But dialogue and the war on terror need to go on simultaneously to achieve the best results.
The mighty US power is now on the verge of elections whose results are unpredictable. The world is mostly upset and disappointed with the way the George W. Bush's administration has dealt with the war on Iraq, and other decisions taken by the USA on a unilateral basis.
This is particularly what the rivals and competitors of Bush on the Democratic Party's side are saying: “We cannot stay isolated.”
I recall a statement by John Kerry, the current front-runner in the presidential nomination for the Democrats. Kerry said that George W Bush had “the most inept, reckless, arrogant, ideological foreign policy in modern history.”
The current US administration seemed to lack the commitment and initiative to start this dialogue with the Islamic world to try and understand why “they hate us?” as many Americans are still asking today.
There were much better alternatives for the Bush administration to save it from collapse in the upcoming elections, which so far seem to be heading Kerry's way.
The US administration can still seize the opportunity to extend a listening ear to the Arab world's plight, and why they have been disapproving of US policies for the last few years.
Germans, French, Europeans, Asians, Africans, and citizens of most countries of the world have come over to participate in this dialogue with their Arab counterparts.
Isn't it about time for the USA administration to feel that it is about time to do so too?
The Bush administration can take a courageous step in allowing this to happen.
It may still not be too late for Bush to convince his people that he is sincere in solving issues using peaceful means rather than war.
It may not be too late for him to survive next elections by this maneuver.
Or is it?