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Foreign Policy Is Not Simply An Exercise In Black Or White

Updated on May 22, 2011

Engaging In Foreign Policy Is Not An Exercise That Is Simply Black or White

Our excursion into Libya is a testament that America’s foreign policy cannot be pigeonholed as simply black or white. There are times when we have to navigate and work within the dirty bath waters to prevent the proverbial babies from being discarded. Our President has seen fit to assist the Libyan people, who are genuinely seeking freedom, but the Libyans are also relying upon nefarious players (The Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda) in the march for said freedom. This is what apparently is happening on the ground in Libya; there are al Qaeda operatives, who fought us in Afghanistan and Iraq, who are now fighting with us in Libya. As recently as this morning, our Secretary of State Clinton did not rule out arming the resistance in Libya, notwithstanding the salient fact that some of the players in the Libyan theatre maybe our intrepid enemy, al Qaeda, from our ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

How many times have we heard critics of the Neo-Cons, a group intimately associated with the previous Bush Administration, blamed for doing business with such surrogates to carry out America’s foreign policy objectives? We are always reminded that we used to employ bin Laden when he fought the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan and that we also supported Sadam Hussein in the past. This charge against the Neo Cons or America as a whole rang hallow because alliances are not etched in Teflon. I have opined on this before, but in light of what is happening, it is worth repeating. Countries are like individuals and their relationships are often emulated by countries engaging in their respective geo-politics. Once again, as an individual, I‘ve had many friends, platonic and otherwise – I moved on because we fell out and didn't see eye to eye on various issues or we simply moved away; in the same vein, there are those of us who’ve had many wives… the plethora of reasons for the breakups are no different from countries breaching alliances, like the United States, who once supported questionable characters like Sadam or bin Laden.

The very charges lobbed against President Bush have our current President doubling down and employing the same policies: maintaining the FISA program, whereby we are permitted to listen in on phone calls from terrorist enclaves; keeping Guantanamo open to house the terrorists and even scheduling trials; and increasing the use of the drone program to kill more terrorists, including innocents deemed as collateral damage. The irony and the clarity-like biased are palpable and the vocal voices who once shouted from the mountain tops are curiously now church-mouse quiet. Imagine, those who have lost loved ones on 911 being privy to the fact that we might arm some of the al Qaeda operatives in Libya or those who have lost soldiers in the respective Iraqi or Afghanistan war theatres. But this is the nature of geo-politics and the players on the world stage are not always going to be good or bad or black or white. Is there a good likelihood that these al Qaeda operatives in Libya might later use those same weapons on us in the future – the answer is soberingly academic….


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      Howard Schneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      I look forward to the spirited debates also. Sorry but have not written professionally so I have not attempted finding an agent. Good luck on that endeavour.

    • Verily Prime profile image

      Verily Prime 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the insigtful comments and I hope to have some spirited debates if and when we disagree. By the way,I have written several plays since I have been unemployed and perhaps you can give me some pointers as to how to procure an agent, etc.

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      Howard Schneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      You are right. The world we operate in is absolutely a shifting gray world. President Obama was extremely reluctant to take action in Libya and rightfully so. He did not want to own a third war. But a massacre was at hand and the Arab League and the U.N. came on board for action. We could not turn away from this and we are aiding the effort. It is complicated and we cannot escape that in any area of the world. We need to act in concert with the rest of the world to take action when need be in explosive regions such as this. Great Hub.