March 24, 2006

If I Were President – Part 1 – Foreign Policy

Anyone can sit back in their easy chair and criticize the President or the Administration or any of the politicians for their decisions or their policies or their actions. Anyone like me with a big mouth and a lot of attitude, can second-guess those who’ve made the decisions, with 20/20 hindsight. But how many of us can step up and propose new ideas? That’s been the Republican mantra all along – that the Democrats don’t have any ideas of their own, they just criticize the Republican’s ideas. Of course we know that’s not true – the Democrats have plenty of ideas, they just don’t have any of the power. For example, Universal Health Care is a widely popular Democratic idea, but the Health-Care-and-Pharmaceutical-industries-backed Republicans saw to it that that great idea fell by the wayside. Oh, but I digress…

In today’s “Shtick”, I want to express what I would do with foreign policy if I were president. I, of course, don’t have the gumption, background, or chutzpah to run for president, but if I did and won, I have plenty of ideas about what I’d do. By the way, this is a fair question that every American should ask of themselves, particularly if they have the wherewithal to criticize the President, as I do.

The War on Terrorism

I believe we’re going about this ‘War on Terrorism’ all wrong. Our illustrious government has exhausted soooo much energy fighting this ‘war’ on what is essentially a tactic, rather than trying to get to the root of the problem. Terrorism isn’t an entity you can identify. Terrorism isn’t our enemy. Terrorism is the act of our enemies attacking us. So, instead of blindly waging war on a tactic, we should instead identify not only who our real enemies are, but more importantly, why they’re our enemies in the first place. The only true way to address ‘terrorism’ is to ask ourselves the question… “Why do we have these enemies who want to hurt us?” Or more succinctly, "Why do they hate us?" First, lets lay some groundwork by taking a look at the basic reasons for global conflict.

The Reasons for Conflict

#1 - Territory

Over the years and over the centuries, after scores of wars and countless casualties, there have been but a handful of true reasons for conflict. I believe the single most prevalent reason for conflict has been over territory. (btw… I find it utterly ironic that the word ‘territory’ sounds so much like the word ‘terrorism’.) But, that’s what it’s all about – territory. Over the years the divisions of people have been exasperated by the claiming of land that they believe belongs to them. The conflict starts of course, when multiple factions claim the same land.

#2 – Hatred & Fear

As tensions mount between disparate factions around the world, a perverse mixture of cultural, societal, and religious brainwashing ensues, teaching their people to hate & fear those who are different. Yes, it’s brainwashing when children are taught to hate & fear ‘our enemies’ (who of course are defined by our government). It’s brainwashing when our government and media consistently bombard us with threats and 'intelligence' that "our enemies" want to hurt us. And it’s pure brainwashing when an ignorant teenager is coerced into killing him or herself, along with a bunch of other people, in a misguided effort to be with their God and a boatload of virgins. (Someone needs to 'splain me the lure of killing myself, and others, to be with a bunch of people who've never had sex... long after I'm dead.)

#3 – The Grab for Power

This is the one that pisses me off the most. I can understand that territorial issues can cause wars. Sad as it is, it makes perfect sense that different factions would fight for the same property, both claiming that it’s theirs. I can even understand (although I don’t agree with it) the hatred that’s built up over time as an effect or ramification of the conflict. But, what I what I just can't phathom is the grab for power. The grab for power is essentially a world leader saying that “I’m not satisfied with just my own territory, I want yours too!”

This has basically been United States policy since the end of WWII – American Imperialism. We’ve been building up the American presence all over the globe, installing military bases in over 160 countries, and pushing our weight & power around in a strategy to dominate the world. Instead of adhering to Gene Roddenberry’s brilliant concept of “The Prime Directive”, we’re constantly interfering in other country’s processes to govern themselves***.

Even worse, some dipshits in the Bush Administration heard that old adage that “The Best Defense is a Good Offense” and decided to go on the offensive. So, instead of just protecting our country, now we preemptively strike and provoke wars in far-away nations. And to sell it to the American people, they fabricate the 'intelligence' and brainwash us with hate & fear

The Root of Terrorism

And this all comes back to us in the answer to that question “Why do they hate us?” Let me tell you why they hate us. They hate us because of our arrogance. They hate us because our grab for power has essentially been terrorism to them. Look around sheeple. Anyone who thinks Americans are loved around the world is simply not paying attention.

My New Foreign Policy

So here’s my new foreign policy if I were president. I would maintain & protect our embassies around the world, but redirect our energies into commerce and humanitarian initiatives, and turn all the military bases over to the hosting countries. I would bring 2/3 of our troops home to protect, defend, and serve our own homeland (you know, like shoring up the levees in New Orleans and strengthening our ports & borders).

I would apologize to the international community for our decades of arrogance and plead for forgiveness and a new beginning of peace and cooperation.

I would work with the United Nations as a partner and contributor, instead of as an arrogant manipulator.

I would negotiate with world leaders as a neighbor, without telling them how to run their governments. However, I would insist on adherence to a universal standard of human rights as a condition for partnership with America and the rest of the world.

The ‘War on Terrorism’ shouldn’t be about killing all the terrorists. It should be about understanding why they hate us. It should be about being partners in this world instead of trying to take over the world.


***By the way, as we're pushing our weight & might around in all these countries, don't think for one minute that our interest has been the proliferation of Democracy. I know Dubya said "Democracy is on the march!", but Democracy has never been our objective. Oil has never been our objective either. Nor has human rights, or even national security. All of that is just a smoke screen, as we've historically used those as tools. We've overthrown democracies for dictatorships (remember the Shah of Iran?). We've put up with Saudi Arabia, another dictatorship with a deplorable record on human rights, and the origin of 16 of the September 11th 'terrorists'.

Nope. Our objective has always been friendly governments who help to serve our business interests. Sure, we want their oil. But, have we ever been unwilling to pay for it? Have they ever been unwilling to sell it to us? Noooooooo. The only questions have been "who profits?" and by "how much?".


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