- Politics and Social Issues
Editorial on the Mideast
America has not been the caretaker of the world in decades. The Monroe doctrine gave us an excuse to intervene in the far east, and we paid with the many lives of our soldiers. Yet did we stop the spread of communism? No. We merely cut a few countries in half. As a matter of fact, once it was finally termed a “war”, Viet Nam got the dubious description of being the only war America ever lost.
When it became apparent that the United States had enough on their plates to protect their own shores, communist states were left to dissipate or solidify on their own.
But then OPEC arose and ransomed the western world with oil prices. At first, politicians sat back and let greed take over. Before each OPEC summit, gas prices across America rose precipitously in anticipation, never to drop back down. Was it an opportunity to get runaway profits while instilling fear in the American public?
Enter the politicians. If we tap the oil reserves in Alaska we will become independent of OPEC. Well, Alaskans made out like bandits. But by the time the oil reached the main states, prices did not fall a dime. President Obama encouraged reliance in American oil sources – but prices only rose with the lack of competition.
George Bush declared war on Iran to protect our Mideast oil resources. Curiously, there was a directive to the troops – don’t touch Iraq and in particular Saddam Hussein. Perhaps this was to save a war for his son, George W Bush. Still prices rose.
Then came the horrors of 11 September 2001. Because our homeland was attacked, Americans were in an uproar, and they were willing to give up many rights to exact revenge on Al Qaeda. War was proclaimed, and it quickly spread into Iraq, as the United States decided to reform that country, supposedly to keep them from allowing Al Qaeda to hide there, among other excuses equally lame. This failed attempt to reform Iraq cost more American lives than the original invasion. And Al Qaeda is snug in the hills of Pakistan.
Now the United States is involved in skirmishes of one sort or another in Africa and the near east. It would appear that the politicians are using a war on terrorism as the running excuse. We are “outraged” at the injustices being perpetrated on westerners and locals alike. The only good, if you can call it that, is that there are jobs in munitions (a recession loves a good war).
I think it’s time to form a real foreign policy rather than handing out potshots that get embroiled into Republican-versus-Obama stalemates. We need to determine if the United States is indeed Big Brother and above all whether it has the right to impose its values on other countries.
We must remember that this country is rooted in revolution by people seeking religious freedom. This resulted in different states supported by different religious conventions, such as in Pennsylvania and Utah. Separation of church and state allowed these differing states to unite on a federal level for governance.
Now take a look at the mid and near east. After World War II, the ‘world’ gave Arab land to the Jews in apology for the Holocaust. Israel has been warring with its neighbors ever since. The entire region is a collection of emirates – chieftains protecting their own tribes. They are not republics, democracies or even figurehead monarchies. They are peoples who have been warring with each other for millennia. Beyond these tribes is the separation of Islamic religious sects, each fighting its own jihad and vying for territory.
Consider the similarities. Would our founding fathers have liked it if Germany, France and Spain sided with King George, supplying him with arms, soldiers and navies? Would they have been right to censure early Americans, saying they should respect the monarchy as being a lasting form of government? And what was the attraction that made France, Spain, Mexico and England so interested in America? It wasn’t the freedom, nor the charm of the American Indians. It was gold and silver.
Terrorism is fed by a resentment in the east to the intervention, manipulation and hypocrisy of the west. Warlords feed their troops with fire burning in the ashes of western attempts to convert their long-standing ways of life. We need to stop giving them this fuel.
The western world should isolate the near and middle east. Refuse travel there for any reason, whether “humanitarian”, press or profiteering. Pull out any financial investments. Disallow any travel into the western countries. Americans tend to be idealistic, and therefore rally around the flag when they think democracy is threatened or rebels are trying to establish democracy. But a good look into these countries, from Cuba to El Salvador to Egypt demonstrates that we don’t really know what is going on. And a limited war will never survive over a warlord’s army or religiously-driven rebels.
If a government asks the western world for assistance, historians should be consulted to determine if it is a government we want to support. If it is, we should consider declaring war and doing it whole-heartedly. And once the conflict is resolved we should get the hell out of there and let the existing government clean up its own mess.
The western world has enough to handle right now with economic disasters, poverty and starvation within its own walls. We have our own corruption to deal with, from city police forces to state governments to the federal bureaucracy. We need to heal a broken education system. We need to find methods to preserve the riches of our land and restore those that have been lost. We need to find ways to manage (and possibly prevent) the damage of earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes and tornedos. We need to clean up our own back yards before we consider judging the back yards of our neighbors.
© 2014 Bonnie-Jean Rohner