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January 28, 2009


Eric Chen

I think it's more than message. The proof is in the pudding. As the Cold War progressed, both sides propagandized skillfully, but the side-by-side comparison between East and West increasingly favored the West, as led by us, in Europe and East Asia. As such, our message was empowered by fact, or at least the perception of fact within our competitors' societies.

What's the side-by-side comparison in the Arab Middle East that can empower our message like a rising West Germany or South Korea did during the Cold War? Israel, unfortunately, can't work for that purpose, despite many favorable qualities. Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Kuwait? Qatar? Jordan? Um, no.

The *only* current candidate in the Arab Middle East that may become serviceable as the legitimizer for our message is Iraq. In order for the American-led reform message to be credible and, more importantly, effective in the Arab Middle East, rising Iraq is the key.

Clinton's Iraq Liberation Act and Bush's Operation Iraqi Freedom were foundational steps toward that end. It's now up to Obama to continue the progressive work of his predecessors and nurture Iraq to be the cornerstone of hope and change in the Arab Middle East.

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