US always had the tendency to really believe that its values: Democracy, freedom of speech and worship, rule of law and equality before law, are also “universal values”. USA strongly believes that those values are assimilated into all mankind and supposed to flourish out once tyranny, corruption and illiteracy will be eliminated. The reference to the democratic values as “universal values” was one of many forms that USA and the Western Democracies patronized the world.
While in the West the key word is freedom - in the East, in the great cultures of China and alikes, including in Japan, the key word is harmony. The great religions of the East preached and thought harmony. While in the West the freedom of the individual is the key for prosperity and personal fulfillment in the East the key is a harmonic society.
In another part of the world the key word is Islam. The deep devotion to Islam is the real key to personal salvation. In large parts of the world the denial of Islam or of the uniqueness of the Prophet Mohammad are unthinkable. Not because of tyranny, corruption and illiteracy but because of a long tradition, way of life and believes. In fact most of humanity does not adopt those western “universal values” fully or partially although often use terms from the Western lexicon.
Saudi Arabia, for example will ceased from being Saudi Arabia if the country will adopt American values. It will be something else but not Saudi Arabia.
Two days before his historical visit to the Middle East, to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in order to reach out to Islam and to consolidate a pro American block in the region, on 06/01/2009, USA President Barack Obama gave an Interview to the BBC. In the interview Barack Obama said that rather than imposing its values on other countries the US should act as a role model.
"Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion - those are not simply principles of the West to be hoisted on these countries, but rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity," he added.
Referring to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Arabs or the Palestinians, President Obama said, "Not only is it in the interest of the Palestinian people to have a state, it's in the interest of the Israeli people to stabilize the situation there".
In the Palestinian general elections, on 01/25/2006, which took place under international observation, headed by former USA president Jimmy Carter, The Hamas and its allies, those who deny the right of Israel to exist, won a landslide of about 60% of the Palestinian votes. The Palestinians, if they can speak for themselves, defined, clearly, what they thing is their best interest.
Almost 3 years later, on 02/10/2009, general elections took place in Israel. Those who reject the “two states for two nations solution” won a clear majority in the parliament. Some don’t believe it is a realistic solution nowadays, others reject the principle, some believe that Syria should come first. Nevertheless the Israelis, if they can speak for themselves, defined, clearly, what they thing is their best interest. (The Palestinians, even the Fatah, never used the term “two stats for two nations” but only the phrase “two stats solution” since they don’t recognize the right of the Jews for a state of their own).
Although it is in the best interest of the world that USA will find common ground with the Muslim world, the tendency of USA and Barack Obama to patronize the values of the world and to define for others what is in their best interest remains as it was in the last decades. In that aspect Barack Obama is just yet another American who represents American Interest under the cover of so to speak “Universal Principles”.
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