What if the U.S. had invested in promoting religious tolerance as much as it did in military aid?
Riots from Marrakech to Bangladesh have forced the United States to rejig its relationship with the Muslim world.By Natasha Mozgovaya
Should the U.S. cut its aid, or increase its support of fledgling democracies and the promotion of tolerance, so that each caricature or low-quality movie mocking Islam won't end up with another bloody protest? Or maybe that same educational work needs to be done in the U.S. itself, where a Virginia mosque was vandalized this week with obscene graffiti in response to protests half a world away, and the controversial Koran burning pastor Terry Jones received another phone call from General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, trying to convince him to backpedal on his support for the "Innocence of Muslims" movie that sparked protests.
Contrary to statements by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign, "American weakness" is not the cause of the current troubles in the Middle East, and to the utter disappointment of the conservatives, Romney once again failed to offer an alternative to the current administration's policy - not in terms of the "red line" on Iran, and not even on Egypt. In fact, he said he wants to get closer to Egypt so they'll understand it's better to be an ally of the U.S. (Violent protests could easily become Obama's "September surprise," tilting the polls in Romney's favor - hadn't his rival been Mitt Romney, whose campaign continues to amass self-inflicted wounds ).
Read it at Haaretz: