The Rand Corporation is working up a new proposal to 'reshape Muslim world narratives'. This proposal states that the basic problem of Muslim countries is the narrative they possess (that is, the life story that contributes to their identity) is basically 'hostile' and 'violent'. Thus
"The benefits of such an outcome are obvious. A narrative of this kind can help these societies clarify common goals and direction. It can lend sense' to tragic events of the near and distant past. It can lay the foundation for reconciliation and shared national identity. It can address the deficit of dignity and pride that many believe are at the heart of the current anger and violence emanating from the region."
The author of the briefing is impressed with the
"allows each member of society, regardless of which side his or ancestors were on, to identify with all sides of a past conflict--with those who suffered an injustice, with those who were a party to injustice, with the losing side, with the winning side—while still embracing the outcome as the right thing to have happened. Additionally, those whose ancestors were not involved can still identify with the broad themes of unjust suffering, courageous resistance, social advancement, and progress towards greater justice."
So basically there are no losers in the
"In Phase I, a team of historians, educators, media experts, and political analysts will disassemble the American narrative, identifying the essential components of the narrative, including its themes, catalytic events, and integrative techniques, and create a neutral template from these for application to other nations."
This is the sort of dangerous cultural hubris that should be avoided, not encouraged in US foreign policy. The problem is not the narrative; Arabs are not idiots, and they are quite capable of crafting a resonant historical narrative given the opportunity. I seriously doubt they require the assistance of a special
Perhaps I am misinterpreting the intent of the project, but it seems to me that the real purpose of this project, is to get those who are clear that the US is responsible for a great many of their security issues (i.e. in the targeted nations of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq) to stop thinking of the US as an invader and more as a trusted ally. But you cannot change the facts on the ground. No amount of narrative re-shaping can undo the chaos the