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Hiren Surendra Shah

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Soft Power and the Iraq war
by Hiren Surendra Shah
Thursday, February 01, 2007
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These days, there are lots of articles on Soft power which means using persuasion and goodwill rather than force in world affairs. These are extracts (which deal with soft power)from my earlier poem "Appeal to the President to stop the Iraq war" which was written before the war began. God alone knows what the United states achieved with so many of its own soldiers dead and so many Iraqis killed. It is more on the lines of my other poem "The Uncivil war;The Iraq war" which contrasts the styles of drastically different US Presidents. They are more of prose in poetry. I was not aware of the terminology "Soft power" when the original poem was written.


SOFT POWER AND THE IRAQ WAR

Despite the fact that the whole world continues to deplore
Not only in the outside world, even in the USA there is an uproar
You continue to hanker for war
In Cambodia, Vietnam etc the American public has already been through all this before
Nobody wants to have an encore
There are too many against you ;most are therefore wondering and asking “What for”?
There is no marginal edge or wafer thin majority this time; you are not confronting Al gore.

For a country that stands for freedom of expression,
By turning a blind eye to world opinion, you are creating a strange impression
We don’t want any unwarranted oppression
As it is, one of the biggest challenges in the 21st century are stress and depression.
You need a different type of preparation.
Instead of divisive tendencies, you must aim at reconciliation.

For a country that boasts of the beautiful Niagara falls
Your conduct is really one that appalls
The American president is supposed to build bridges and break walls.
Your conduct should arouse the kind of response abroad as witnessed when Michael Jackson enthralls.


A nation that boasts of the statue of liberty
Cannot thrust down the throats of others issues like Non-proliferation treaty
It has no business messing around on other people’s property
It has to have a sense of propriety.
We shall fight such double standards with both diplomacy and poetry
With your weapons Inventory,
With your redoubtable infantry,
You can’t just invade any another country.
Your policies need the kind of changes that kids face on reaching puberty
Rather than play dirty,
It would be better to use your might and wealth to alleviate poverty.


Considering the popularity of your tele serial “Friends”
Since you have the real power; why do you want to ensure that the whole world bends.
You should use your charm and position to ensure that the conflict the world over ends
In the long run, that more than anything else will pay dividends.
According to some, the USA would then be making amends
Invading Iraq is the last thing in the world you should do; you should initiate new trends.
You should use your position to create a multicultural software that transcends
Nobody will then complain that the USA offends or condescends.


The USA is one of the third world’s pet hates
Because it is as ambivalent in some of its policies just as Archie was on his dates.
If you continue like this, that hatred may increase commensurate with the wealth of Bill Gates.
It will not matter then whether a poet /singer composes or a writer narrates.
Your stand over Iraq is totally unbecoming of one who is the president of United States
Instead, come up with policies that ensure that the countries the world over are mates.

( Give more weight age Use spiritual(peaceful and happy) instead of weapons power)

My sweet-sour poetry may remind you of Dr Jekyll and Mr hide
It can’t be helped when the difference of opinion is too wide.
Viewed profoundly, you will realize that I am on your side
The American culture is appreciated the world over; you can act as the world’s spiritual guide
It is this power and not nuclear weapons that is America’s real source of pride.
If you pursue to follow that vigorously, nobody shall accuse you of taking the world for a ride.
Nobody shall chide or snide for the simple reason that there shall be nothing to hide
You and the countries shall resemble the way airplanes in a formation glide
The whole world shall then be proud of you, let me confide.

On 9/11 you were saved by providence
One wonders what might have happened if one of the flights had reached your residence.
Considering your own stockpiling, it is hypocritical to keep asking Iraq for evidence.
Rather than double standards, it’s better if you inspire the world’s confidence.

If you are deem yourself morally correct, you are living in some Ivory Tower.
This is not world war II and you are not Dwight Eisenhower
You are blatantly misusing your power
Instead if you try to empower, your presidency and you as an individual will flower.


You may have been right then but are far from so this time.
Content matters more than form whether it is an actor’s mime or poet’s rhyme
Being the world’s first citizen, your concern for world public opinion should be prime.
America has been criticized enough for dilly-dallying; why two-time?
Why not follow ancient cultures of countries that are deemed sublime.

( Give more weight age Use spiritual(peaceful and happy) instead of Weapons power)


In other countries like Palestine,
You follow deplorable policies that are clandestine
You seem to have acquired an ego that is Elephantine
Your bombing creates heartrending scenes that churn the stomach and intestine
It is not possible for affected people to recover even if followed by months of Quarantine
Instead you should follow the cultures of some countries that are pristine.


We need a completely different kind of renewal are illustrated by hardcore facts that are actual
After the end of the cold war, peace can really be made perpetual
That is if in letter and spirit, everybody becomes spiritual
War will make things worse; we can end this narration hoping that you start thinking like an intellectual.
( In times of crisis, one longs for philosopher kings but why create one)

War seems to be on the brim
The situation really seems to be quite grim
Innocent lives are at stake; everybody should try to avoid war although chances are slim
I have no axe to grind; My name maybe Hiren Shah but I am not a muslim.
   

Stray thoughts
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Reviewed by Ch'erie de Perrot 2/2/2007
Oil, oil and oil, which is power!!!
Nothing personal, they just want the power, and the glory....
Beastly!!!

Cherry
Reviewed by J M 2/1/2007
So powerful this one is. thank you for sharing the thoughts......

Light & peace,
Joselyn
Reviewed by Beryl McMullen 2/1/2007
A great poem exposes double standards to the core
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