When times of crisis befall us, we quickly learn who our friends are. This is true for us as individuals, and this is certainly true for America in the wake of the terrible attack on Washington, D.C., and New York on Sept. 11.
After the attack, major world leaders of U.S.-friendly countries such as Tony Blair of Great Britain and Jacques Cherac of France, visited the White House to show a united front against terrorists. As I read about these visits, I had an idea -- instead of using your vitally important time to meet leaders one at a time, why not try something much more efficient and effective, and something that can have a domino effect with a huge multiplier?
What better way to make a huge point about backing the United States than with a huge event featuring the world's leaders coming together to offer support and prayers in unison, as opposed to separate White House meetings between you and individual world leaders? Of course, such an event would not preclude military strikes against terrorism. However, it would increase the chances for such operations to garner greater global support.
As you well know, Mr. President, this effort is not simply one of the United States vs. terrorism, but the world vs. terrorism. Through creative, mass and saturated communication, the world at large should get this basic message via a well-orchestrated marketing and public relations blitz.
I propose a massive gathering of world leaders at some place like Central Park or Yankee Stadium in New York City, or elsewhere in the United States. It would truly be the event of the century, the biggest gathering of world leaders ever. All heads of state would be called to the stage, and 20 to 30 leaders would be randomly chosen to present a one- to two-page message of support for America, signed by each leader. The chosen leaders would represent demographic profiles from around the world.
I envision these statements gathered together, published in a book, and distributed in many languages globally so the local populace in each country can both remember and learn from this occasion. Along with the public call for support, each leader should give you, Mr. President, a detailed and confidential proposal explaining each country's role and extent of support in assisting America in this great effort.
Also, there would be a massive joint prayer from all the world's religions for those who lost their lives and their families, statements of support for the United States and the anti-terrorism effort, and a dedication of a memorial to both the victims and the heroes of Sept. 11.
Religious leaders and moral thinkers from all over the globe would add to the feeling of unity against the evils of terrorism. Along with the largest meeting of world leaders, this also would be the biggest gathering of religious leaders.
Then, the power of the media and technology would come into play. Broadcast media -- including television, radio and the Internet -- would broadcast and Webcast this grand event worldwide over and over again, and each country's local newspapers could print special editions.
These would have a different slant, but would emphasize the key theme. Each country's media would customize the story to feature their leader providing support for the United States. This would go a long way toward garnering support, understanding and sentiment for the United States and its values among its citizenry.
As a result, the United States would gain manifold benefits, including:
* It will allow for faster and more cost/time efficient communication and recruitment of global support, appreciation and understanding of the United States.
* International peer pressure will isolate rogue nations/terrorists.
* Rogue nations/terrorists would get the message that the world is united and that they mean it.
* It would encourage the local populace of potentially unstable countries to adopt and support the U.S. position.
The extraordinary events of Sept. 11 call for an extraordinarily imaginative event featuring a global answer to the horrors of terrorism. An event of such a scale no doubt would put in the collective consciousness of the world exactly what it is we are fighting for.
A fellow American