Day 100, February 7, 2009



It was a speech worth waiting for and those who heard it are going to come away liking Obama even more.

In his best-selling self-help book " How to win friends and influence people", Dale Carnegie outlined six ways to make people like you.

Become genuinely interested in other people.


Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Talk in terms of the other man's interest.

Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

In his speech, Biden, among other instances, in just 1:20 minutes, managed to tick off the six items:

"The need for a secure, just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinaians and the imperatives of stopping the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan from providing a haven for terrorists. In both of these efforts, America seeks your partnership.( Point 6, make the other person feel important and do it sincerely)

Senator Mitchell just completed his first trip to the Middle East. Above all, he went to listen.( Biden at this point paused for impact and reinforced point 4: Be a good listener.)

In the near term, we must consolidate the cease-fire in Gaza by working with Egypt and others to stop smuggling and developing an international relief and resconstruction effort that strengthens the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas. (Point 5: Talk in terms of the other man's interests.)

Neither of these goals can be accomplished without collaboration among the United States, Europe and our Arab partners. (Point 3: Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.)

Then we must lay the foundation for broader pacemaking efforts. It is past time for a secure and just two state solution. (Point 2: Become genuinely interested in other people. Biden had previously in his vice-presidential debates with Sarah Palin stated that " one in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden.")

We will work to achieve it , and to defeat the extremists who would perpetuate the conflict. And building on the positive elements of the Arab Peace Initiative put forward by Saudi Arabia, ( Points 3, 5, and 6) we will work toward a broader regional peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours."(emphasis added)

If Mr Carnegie is right, everyone involved, particularly "Europe and our ( the Americans') Arab partners who may have felt rather slighted by the Bush administration may walk away with a slightly warmer and a little fuzzier feeling for Uncle Sam. And that is exactly where the Obama administration needs them to be, as it calls for greater involvement from other countries in advancing "collective security, economic interests and values", among other things.

Biden's speech is just the opening salvo for more specific discussions tomorrow by Richard Holbrooke, Clinton's US ambassador to the United Nations who has now been appointed Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and of course, General Petraeus.

Largely due to the way events have unfolded and situations developed the 100 days blog: General Petraeus has reported largely on the crises in Afghanistan and its surrounding region.

In these 100 days, the new President of the United States was inaugurated and the shift in the Obama adminstration's focus to the war in Afghanistan completed. The Mumbai attacks pushed India and Pakistan - both nuclear powers - to a standoff which threatened regional security and shocked the world. The alternative supply route for US forces to Afghanistan passing through Central Asia now seems to be jeopardised if Kyrgystan closes the only US Air Base in the area. And Gaza is still burning as we close this first chapter of the 100 Days blog.

He is America's most capable and trusted soldier. His Petraeus Doctrine has proven brains and brawn can go together to maybe win a war. He is in the Middle East, heading the US Central Command, calling the shots for US military policy in an expanse roughly Israel to India, not unlike the empire of Alexander the Great.

We hedge our bets that this will remain the stage on which the main global events will unfold, and our good general will continue to be a key player to watch.


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dan-chyi chuaDan-Chyi Chua began her writing career with Channel News Asia, a regional cable network, before forsaking broadcast journalism to hit the road for a three-year sabbatical through the Middle East, China, Central America and Cuba. She has now grounded herself as a writer for asia! Magazine.

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