Ideas for Fixing the Middle East

My big uncle Rory sent me this via e-mail. I always think it’s better to think of concrete fixes or examples for things — it gets peoples’ blood moving better than purely theoretical/ideological games.

Thought you might find this fun to think about….

My top ten things to improve the Middle East:

  1. Revisit the idea of a unified Israel/Palestine, a secular state with a strong constitution of religious tolerance and respect. Allow right of return, adjudicate claims in international court. Invest 50 billion in aid for 5 years to smooth transition.
  2. Set stage for an Iraqi Confederation with super high levels of regional autonomy and assure access in balanced way for all three groups to oil revenue (no winner take all. Phase this for 3-5 years, and maintain federal currency and broad legal frameworks
  3. Set up Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Iraq. US participates.
  4. Announce and stick to phased withdrawal of US troops in Iraq. Partial replacement with Arab UN forces.
  5. Create and convene Conference on Faith and Governance. Invite hard-line Islamists, moderates, civil society types. Look for points of opening in Islamists toward acceptable to them, non radical governance structures.
  6. Trial in absentia of Al Qaeda leaders by respected Islamic scholars broadcast widely in Middle East. Argument that this is not true Islam.
  7. Saudis, gulf states, Western governments and foundations provide 50 billion in aid for 5 years to microfinance, small business loans, community development projects in Middle East. Maximum grant/loan: $50,000. Use net based grant systems to deliver and involve citizens in both the Middle East and the West. See
  8. Invest 100 billion/year for five years into research and development of alternative energy solutions by G8 countries. Oil dependence has to be reduced.
  9. Invest 400 million/year for five years in cultural exchange programs with Middle Eastern countries to include artist residencies, student exchanges, and development of educational publications and websites.
  10. Invest 20 billion extra each year in Afghanistan/Pakistan to develop education system, civil society, and cultural development projects. Let’s see an Afghani renaissance of art and culture rooted in Islam and reward people to participate in this at levels higher than available through the drug trade. Fund the best poet in each town with a 10,000 fellowship.

Whoo hoo!

What do you think? Post your comments!