October 25, 2001 - Seattle Intelligencer: CHANGE THE WAY WE'RE SEEN BY MAKING CHANGES AT HOME

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 10 October 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: October 25, 2001 - Seattle Intelligencer: CHANGE THE WAY WE'RE SEEN BY MAKING CHANGES AT HOME

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 11:35 am: Edit Post

Read this opinion piece from the Seattle Intelligencer on what we need to do to change the way Americans are perceived by the world. Of the five proposals, four of them are almost identical to the ideas from the early 1960's that gave the original impetus to the idea of the Peace Corps:



Oct 25, 2001 - Seattle Post-Intelligencer Author(s): Chi-Dooh Li P-I Columnist\

In last Sunday's P-I Focus section I wrote on the question many of us are pondering these days: "Why do they hate us?" I explored some of the underlying causes of the wide range of anti-American sentiments around the world, from harmless envy to the deadly hatred that produces cold-blooded killers who willingly give their lives to rain death and destruction on America.

The Sept. 11 attacks cannot be attributed solely, as many assert, to the inevitable conflict between extreme Islamic fundamentalism and freedom. If that were the case, where are the devastating attacks and the cries of holy war against free and "infidel" nations such as Germany, Britain, France and Japan? Why only the United States?

While our use of force is fully justified in response to the attacks, even a successful military operation that captures or destroys those responsible will not address the root causes for the seething hatred for America in some parts of the world.

So what can we do about it?

Problems imbedded with complex historical, political and religious antecedents have no easy answers or quick solutions. A shift in our foreign policy, including our longstanding "Israel right or wrong" posture, can certainly change some views in the volatile Middle East.

But foreign policy changes last only as long as the tenure of a president. Any long-term change in present attitudes toward America, particularly in the Arab and Muslim world, also requires fundamental changes in our thinking and in our lives.

Here are five proposals that would help bring about those fundamental changes:

Significantly increase foreign aid. Grinding poverty that takes away human dignity is at the heart of the discontent in so many countries that produce revolutionaries and terrorists. Our current foreign aid programs are not nearly as generous as we like to think and amount to the smallest budget percentage of all the Western industrial nations and Japan.

Increased foreign aid should target that poverty around the world, and be administered wherever possible through proven non- governmental organizations that can deliver the aid efficiently and outside the corrupt governmental channels prevalent in so much of the developing world. Particular emphasis should be given to access to capital for the poor.

Inject new vision and significant funding for the Peace Corps. Americans of all ages, and especially our youth, can benefit greatly from serving the poor in other countries. In the 1960s, the Peace Corps introduced a whole generation to life and poverty outside America. Many became ambassadors of good will while serving in the developing world, and came home as global citizens with a heart for public service.

Implement foreign language and cultural immersion programs in more of our K-12 schools. Young people graduating from immersion programs should be thoroughly fluent in a foreign language and knowledgeable about the culture. Some schools could concentrate on Arabic languages and cultures. Too many Americans see the United States at the center of the universe with the rest of the world at the periphery. Too many of our young people begrudge foreign language requirements in school and can hardly speak a language even after three or four years of study. A great nation can no longer afford such provincial attitudes.

Institute foreign scholars programs in our best colleges and universities. We should actively recruit participants among the poorer demographic groups in countries where America is least understood, particularly in the Arab and Muslim world. In 1984, the Kissinger Commission recommended that the U.S. government develop an extensive scholarship program to counteract the Soviet Union's highly successful recruitment of bright young people from all over the world to study at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University, a hothouse for cultivating future Marxist leadership and spreading Soviet influence. Shortsighted politicians ignored this recommendation then, to our significant detriment now.

Reduce dependency on oil. Oil is the great corrupter of U.S. relations with the Arab world. The long-term path to peace between the Arab world and the United States and other Western industrial nations is for both sides to become less dependent on oil. While redoubling our efforts to develop alternative energy sources and to conserve, we must also help the Arab countries develop more diversified economies that do not rely entirely on oil exports.

These ideas are not new, and some indeed have been gathering dust for years. But we must urgently move forward on ideas, old and new, that can help bridge the enormous chasm between America and others around the world who should be our brothers, not our mortal enemies.

Chi-Dooh Li is a Seattle attorney. E- mail: CDL@elmlaw.com

By Jim Saddler (pcp04555738pcs.huntsv01.al.comcast.net - on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 7:26 am: Edit Post

I have recently become aquainted with you through reading several articles. While I would most likely not embrase all your positions, I am impressed by your opinions and insights.

I only know that you are an attorney. I would like to receive your expanded bio.

Regards and thanks,


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