Michael J. Salamon

Pray for Peace: Especially Now

Some notes on the state of the Middle East today, the day before Yom Kippur:

Morsi of Egypt, the new leader of the “free” Egypt sat down with the New York Times for what has been referred to as an extensive and wide ranging interview. Have to admit, he was good, a real politician – for that’s the way the NY Times played it. Somewhat glossed over is the point that the new Egyptian President made some finely veiled threats. Seems that he would love to be friends with America but only on his terms, or what he called “the Egyptian peoples terms.” You can read the interview to figure out those terms. He also implied that the Peace treaty with Israel would be kept but only if the Muslim Brotherhood’s new interpretation of the Camp David Accords were put in place by America. For a country that takes so much aid from its primary patron, the U.S., it seems to me that Mr. Morsi has a large set of worry beads. Or, he knows the American people all too well. Americans are tired of wars that they cannot or do not want to expend the energy to win. America at present also has a president that has no affection for confrontation and like the Harvard trained professorial type of individual he is, he would much rather have a nice debate than a confrontation. Mr. Morsi seems to be betting that America will cave or at least stand down. I have one question for Mr. Morsi – Is there a real possibility that the Brotherhood and the Palestinians are willing to accept a Jewish state? If yes than the Accords may set a tone for negotiations. My guess is that nothing even close to the possibility of a Jewish state is being entertained by Mr. Morsi or his compadres. So he is simply playing the political odds of his rather grand ego. He beleievs that he can get just what he wants.

To Iran – Today they announced that if Israel attacks their nuclear facilities they will treat it as if the United States attacked them and will attack back at both Israeli and American interests worldwide. Their reasoning is that Israel needs approval from the U.S. to mount an attack. I have one question for the Iranians – Is there equivalence here for them too? Every time Iran is found to be behind a terrorist attack does that mean the U.S has the right not simply to fight back at Iran but at China and Russia as well? I think the reasoning is reasonable and balanced. Not that it is accurate, but then who said that the Iranian leadership is fair reasonable, balanced or accurate. Or, maybe they too realize that America is just not interested in standing up for itself.

Libya, that wonderful new democracy is next in today’s news. If the reports of sexual molestation of Ambassador Chris Stevens by the attackers who killed him and three other Americans is accurate not only are we dealing with fundamentalist terrorists but with sexually perverted hedonists. I guess, going back to Mr. Morsi, the view in the Arab world is that the United States has no stomach for standing up for itself and its representatives. It is open season for the new narcissistic leaders of the world to take aim at America.

Narcissists are often so insecure that they overcompensate to the point of ignoring their reality. They believe that their view of reality is the only one that counts. The needs of others do not even rise to a basic level of simple acknowledgement. The power of a narcissist is most fearsome simply because there is no reasoning with one. While many politicians have a touch of narcissism the new batch in the Arab and Persian world have excessive amounts.

The world can be a dangerous place. A narcissistic ruler in the Middle-East can be an explosive mix. Seems that we have a great deal to pray for tomorrow on our holiest day.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Salamon ,a fellow of the American Psychological Association, is an APA Presidential Citation Awardee for his 'transformative work in raising awareness of the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse". He is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in New York and Netanya, the author of numerous articles, several psychological tests and books including "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures" (Urim Publications), "Every Pot Has a Cover" (University Press of America) and "Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims."