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How should the world respond to the Middle East?

The Middle East has been a volatile region prone to swift regime changes and general unrest. The recent revolutions are prime examples of this.

The Middle East has a vast supply of oil and natural gas that the entire world voraciously consumes at an alarming rate. With this in mind, how should the world respond to the unrest in the Middle East? Are they better off left to their own devices or should the rest of the world take more drastic steps to bring stability to an area with so much crude oil and natural gas?

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    Sep 10 2011: Every time I read about the Middle East revolutions, I wonder about how much the Internet is a factor. Significantly, in some cases an early counter-move by the old guard governments has been to shut down Internet access. But that is, to some extent, like closing the barn door after the horse has fled.

    I propose that one way to respond to the Middle East — and every other potentially oppresive regime, including China, North Korea and, well, any country, really — is to come up with a system that plugs into the Internet via packet radio. Ideally this would be encrypted, use every low-probability-of-intercept technique known, and accomodate a fall-back technology that allows nodes to be built from fairly simple parts. It should also be as stand-alone as possible. Heck, while we're at it let's make it so it can be powered by solar panels or freedom-loving hamsters.

    The idea is to make it impossible for any power clique to shut down the ability of people to obtain and share information. My intuition is that people do not like to be oppressed, they don't like to have their sons sent off to war, and they don't like bombs dropping on their heads. Power (and Internet access) to the people!
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    Sep 11 2011: I think one of the reasons why many measures both inside and outside the Middle East are not working is that we assume similarity and assume that a problem in one of its nations should automatically be attributable to the Middle East as a whole. The issue of whether / how to topple a dictatorship is not relevant in all Middle East countries. We should be cautious about generalising too much.

    I belong to the idealists who believe that intervention or non-intervention into the region should be a question exclusive to the issue of the resources that are there. We're talking in some instances about human lives, and our treatment of them should not walk hand in hand with a conversation on resources or acquisition of them.

    I'd like to add that I consider the violence against the populations of certain nations (again, not only in the Middle East) as unacceptable as it is dismaying. I don't feel qualified to suggest a solution; indeed, it would be naive to assert that a clear-cut solution existed. But something needs to happen to preserve the human lives that are so tragically being cut short.
    • Sep 14 2011: I agree with you that many problems in the Middle East are quite possibly going to stay forever. Throughout history, the Mid east has had problems with religious wars, dictatorships, and invasions; one could almost compare it to Sub-Saharen Africa, especially in that both places countain so many different groups and cultures that they cannot just be lumped together as a collective group.

      Personally, I think the Middle East should just fight it out for themselves; then a clear pecking order would be established. However, with all the forgien treaties and threats of nuclear warfare, this cannot be allowed to happen. The prospect of a WWIII coming from Middle East conflicts is daunting to most, especially because of all the trade conducted with the oil ladden region that would be disrupted if a large war erupted.
  • Sep 9 2011: I can't believe people are not responding to this debate. I think that all people including the middle east should choose their own destiny. The only way we or anyone should interfere is if human rights are being violated such as the killing of protesters we have seen lately.
    • Sep 9 2011: I agree that's the prime scenario. However, since the world has become so dependent upon this global economy that has been created, if one part, such as the Middle East, is thrown into turmoil then the entire global economy is thrown into turmoil. Can this be allowed to happen? For the global economy to remain intact some degree of foreign interference is necessary in the region. Unless absolutely necessary full scale occupations are not the answer, but some small type of interference is critical for the safety of the global economy.
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    Sep 11 2011: Just about now, I am feeling that we should all just stay at home and make our own countries work better as examples to areas of constant conflict.Maybe we could declare a decade of taking care of business at home before we venture out to fix other societies again. As much as I believe in intervening in human rights issues, I am starting to think that there are areas of the world that are almost unfixable like alcoholics who have to finally admit that they have a serious problem and choose to get a cure for their behaviours. Perhaps, if that is the case we need to simply model a better way from a distance.
    I am pretty tired of watching the world powers meddle in troubled areas for financial gain or corporate profit. It is not the average person in such countries that benefit from these governmental interventions.
    • Sep 14 2011: The topic of foreign interference in the Middle East can be debated, especially from the United States point of view. If the US helps a country overthrow a dictatorship or aid civillians, then the US is looked down on and called "the police of the world". However, if the US does not help a country in need, then Americans are considered horibble people who care not for other nations.

      In a perfect world, everybody would be content to live their own lives and only better their own contries but people do not work that way, people are not rational; we are driven highly by emotion. When another country or group of people ask for help, people want to send aid, because that is how humans think.
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        Sep 14 2011: Peter, thanks for your response to me. My entry above was mostly an expression of my exasperation at the magnitude of the problems.
        In a perfect world for me, we would all stand up and say 'NO' when human rights and civilian populations are trampled. I have never believed in isolationism per se and in my heart I still do not. At this time in history, though, with so many economies unstable, I think it might be prudent to take a time out. The major problem with that though, is that the truly evil people out there will not take it as a time out from confrontations but rather as an unopposed opportunity to eliminate their opponents.
        • Sep 15 2011: Very true statement.
          Like Abigail Adams said, "Remember all men would be tyrants if they could"

          For the sake of the topic, what would the decade of buisness at home entail? What things would be focused on that are not already given though?
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        Sep 15 2011: What I guess I would like to see in our proposed 'time out' would be for us to pass legislation at home that ensured that we spent our money as countries in ways that make our countries more secure and our citizens and our governments healthier. I would like to see us pass legislation that made the facts in all governmental decisions more open and with complete vetting. I wish we would go back a step and ensure that we are all on board with things like the Geneva Conventions, the definition of how to measure the success of a country in terms other than GDP and how much debt we are willing to carry.
        This needs far more thought on my part.
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    Sep 15 2011: I see and i congratulate you for you nice words. Merci !
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    Sep 15 2011: Hi Andrew, you are just right, i see your point. thanks for the notification. erm, as for the 2nd quetion, i wanted to highlight a query about who we should blame for that UNREST?
    • Sep 15 2011: Thanks Hamza, really appreciate it! As for your question, the blame for all this unrest cannot be attributed to one nation or group of people. The blame however can be attributed to the blending of so many cultures over the years. Which in turn caused many problems for the people of the Middle East. Then after the discovery of all the natural gas and crude oil, the western world turned its eye to the region and ignorantly handled this new discovery.
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    Sep 14 2011: first, how do you define that Unrest? then who do you think is possible to be blamed for that Stability?
    • Sep 14 2011: Unrest generally being the wars, the diplomatic tensions, the cultural differences, the recent revolutions, Islam against Israel, the Palestinian question, the Israeli question, etc. Unfortunately, I could write a paragraph about what is defined as unrest in the Middle East. However, thank you for making me specify; I was vague in my opening statement for this debate.

      The second part of your question I'm afraid I don't understand. If you could clarify a bit for me then I maybe be able to answer your question.
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    Sep 14 2011: With hugs and kisses...

    Stop the parade of ignorance...
    • Sep 14 2011: If only it were that easy.
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      Sep 15 2011: Hi Nicholas, You might have a valid point if you are referring to me but if it is to be constructive, I need more from your point of view to build with. I would really enjoy and appreciate your full perspective here. I hope we do not all fall into the trap of quips that are witty rather than meaningful exchanges.
      PS I think that your attempt to get us on track was kindly and charmingly stated but I need more.
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        Sep 15 2011: No one was referenced, it was a generality.

        The middle east is just a culture trying to hold ancient values alive, and ALL cultures are guilty of doing that...
  • Sep 9 2011: Peace is not an answer, but a result. With this in mind, one cannot just declare peace, but rather, peace must be earned. If the world cannot get off their dependence on foreign oil, then action must take place. The problem with this is that many of the nations in the middle east do not seem likely to listen to other country's in the world's requests or even pleas. The main reason for this is that the middle east squabbles with themselves just as often as they have issues with the rest of the western world.
  • Sep 9 2011: Crude oil and natural gas will stop being a big issue soon... Resources are diminishing and are in limited supply, sure new conflicts might arise over them, but after extended periods it's role in oil and gas gathering would be rendered somewhat irrelevant. World should aid with non-intrusive peaceful means, as it is a problem of humanity and not only middle eastern countries.