Six ways for US to reset relations in the Middle East
The United States has an image problem in the Middle East. Years of supporting regional dictators and occupying Iraq, in the name of US strategic interests, have undermined influence. It is actually a US strategic interest to stand up for democracy. Initiating military action in Libya makes a transparent vision for engagement in the region even more imperative. Foreign policy expert Adam Hinds lists the five decisive steps President Obama must take reset regional relations and ensure US security.
2. Respect – don't fear – emerging Arab democracies
Start with respect. Recognize the democratic outcomes of these transitions and adjust views that are often to quick to label opponents as militants, creating alliances amongst those who differ with the US.
Islam and democracy are not incompatible. The US should focus less on fear of democracy in Muslim countries and more on reinventing a regional role that supports the development of governance that is responsive to local needs. Expand State Department programs aimed at promoting democracy, including the Middle East Partnership Initiative.