Scott Ritter says “The Peace Corps is the Answer”

Thanks to a heads-up from Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962-64) about the Huffington Post article “‘Digital Democracy’ and the ‘January 25 Revolution’ in Egypt” by Scott Ritter, author of Dangerous Ground writing about the fifth anniversary of the so-called “January 25 Revolution” of 2011, which led to the removal from power of Egypt’s President, Hosni Mubarak.

The final paragraph in Scott Ritter’s Huffington Post article:

There has never been a greater need for American leadership in the Middle East than today, and yet America finds itself hamstrung by its own hand. How and when America will be able to resume a leadership role based on the values of its ideas, as opposed to the strength of its military, is impossible to predict (there is an American model that does work — the Peace Corps, which promotes American values through constructive action while fully respecting the culture and traditions of the nation so engaged). One thing is clear: in the marketing of its vision to the people of the Middle East, the United States must stop looking for quick fixes derived from false promises. Jared Cohen was, and is, wrong: Digital technology will never transcend the power of politics, religion and extremism. The sooner the United States accepts this reality, the sooner a policy capable of reversing course in the Middle East can be conceived and implemented. There has never been a greater need for American leadership in the Middle East than today, and yet America finds itself hamstrung by its own hand. How and when America will be able to resume a leadership role based on the values of its ideas, as opposed to the strength of its military, is impossible to predict (there is an American model that does work — the Peace Corps, which promotes American values through constructive action while fully respecting the culture and traditions of the nation so engaged). One thing is clear: in the marketing of its vision to the people of the Middle East, the United States must stop looking for quick fixes derived from false promises. Jared Cohen was, and is, wrong: Digital technology will never transcend the power of politics, religion and extremism. The sooner the United States accepts this reality, the sooner a policy capable of reversing course in the Middle East can be conceived and implemented.

The whole article is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-ritter/digital-democracy-and-the_b_9077082.html

Jared Cohen is the founder and director of Google Ideas and an advisor to the executive chairman at Alphabet Inc. He is also an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a New York Times bestselling author. Previously he served as a member of the policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State, and as a close advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.
Jared Cohen is the founder and director of Google Ideas and an advisor to the executive chairman at Alphabet Inc. He is also an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a New York Times bestselling author. Previously he served as a member of the policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State, and as a close advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

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  • A few years ago a US Army general was complaining that he didn’t want his troops to do “Peace Corps work.”

    This is where we failed to pressure the President on making the Peace Corps the tip of one of its seriously funded lances into foreign affairs. This walk tough, bully approach is from the Days of the Dulles(t) Brothers and has proven over the years to be extraordinarily costly to American ideals and its treasury. This failed strategy has proven again and again not to support American values nor gain wide support from the American populace.

    I remember people in my host country many many decades ago always said, “You Americans are great people but your government sucks.”

    Time we the People make Peace a priority.

    Do we really need Saudi Arabia as an ally. Do we really need to sort the Middle East out? China certainly has military power but they’re not slugging it out in Syria? Those in charge of our policy do not understand the power and the necessity of respecting local authority

    Even the Inca ceded power to the local Andean Indians to run their own communities for hundreds of years, a policy the Spanish followed for two hundred years until the locals through them out.

    The Peace Corps, like peace itself, is built for the ages and its time we put the pressure on the power structure because no one else has the experience of the power of peace, the power it has even in a foreign setting without any guns…

  • The United States and its allies destroyed Germany and Japan and secured total surrender in WWII. It then occupied those countries, established US military governments, dictated the structure of the democratic governments, funded economic and social reconstruction with billions of dollars; and then, perhaps most importantly, after ending the military occupation and establishing the independence of those countries, guaranteed their safety from aggression form enemy nations, notably the Soviet Union. That is the only model that the United States has ever created that was successful in establishing democracies.

    Scott Ritter has absolutely no experience with Peace Corps. Ironically, “Ritter was born into a military family in 1961 in Gainesville, Florida. He graduated from Kaiserslautern American High School in 1979.” He should be very familiar with the US military presence in many countries, securing their safety. There is tremendous value to what Peace Corps has done, but to suggest that Peace Corps could duplicate what America did in Germany and Japan is absolutely crazy, in my opinion.

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