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US Foreign Policy is Questionable-But Not the Worst

Reader comment on item: The Ninth 9/11
in response to reader comment: How many have courage to criticize US foreign policy

Submitted by M. Tovey (United States), Sep 15, 2010 at 19:00

It has been said that September 11, 2001 and the events that transpired that day were a result of American Foreign policy, or actually, the Islamists expression of opinion against such. This was heard up close and personal, as well as being broadcast worldwide by al-Jazeera and other such outlets friendly to the Islamist cause. Even today, we hear that American foreign policy is a take it or leave it proposition, not to be trusted except under certain circumstances, many times garnished with 'incentives.' Is there any wonder?

We read of the rusting hulk of the former USS Olympia, a long forgotten relic of the time when American foreign policy was given greater world status, preceding the 1905 world tour of the American Navy, the quintessential arm of American foreign policy. Were it not for the ability to put 'ambassadors' of enforcement to the sea and air and on the ground in any given place in the world in less than twenty four hours, would anyone even listen to what the American foreign policy experts have to say? The defiance of the forces true to the Taliban and of al-Qaeda and others would beg to differ, and do so with their lives.

So what can be said of American foreign policy, and of what value can be taken from it that would alter the impressions of the many who hate America? One might suggest to say; "it depends upon the opinion of the beholder." But even this is simplistic, and does not address the several and complicated issues facing America and the relationships held around the world. What would drive a program of foreign policy that would address the poverty in so many countries in which more than half of the world population starves, others face oppressions of diverse proportions, and the elitist rich seem to want more than enough, if not all control to make the world their personal oyster. How does one manage foreign policy in the face of that? Simple…..you can't.

The current American Administrations' foreign policy is different these last 18 months or so from the previous administrations, that it has been in the business of redirecting policies to meet a different agenda than that which emerged from September 11, 2001. It is ironic though, that the 'pro-Arabist' leanings of the current administration have mixed results in the Arab world, and one wonders about that too. The reason is that no one has yet determined the real reason for the ineffectiveness of such diplomacy that has no power behind it. No power? Does that mean the most powerful armed presence in the world today has no power to enforce its foreign policy unilaterally?

Look around, what has actually been achieved, say, in the last year? How about the last nine years-let alone how many years since the Arab oil crisis emerged to put its stranglehold on industrialized nations? Therein lies the power of one of the foreign diplomatic problems……how many barrels of product can we secure?

But there is a situation that cannot be solved by 'greasing the skids'; that of the ideological differences that seemingly cannot be resolved. In an example, there is the Christian mindset, currently under assault as an epithet to the Islamist's perspective, and others for that matter. A foreign policy formed from a democratic society operating from a history of Christian ethics has poor audience after years and years of operating in the absence of the morality that should be governing a civilization that professes to follow Christ, but does not.

Even as the witness of the goodness of Christ is expressed, those that do not wish to follow that find some way to circumvent the influences and what is left is used to oppress and offend in the name of an altered religious perspective. Were it not for the true witness of the missionary efforts around the world that truly seek to do the good required of a true Christian, like those missionaries killed in Afghanistan, then the true message of Christ would never be heard over the roar of bad foreign policy.

So what conclusion then, that if foreign policy cannot be enforced by military efforts, or by fiduciary means, then how? A good example is coming up-deciding how to resolve the 'Palestinian' issue, which is at the core and nucleus of the angst between the Islamist's world and the rest of the world. This is another attempt after the policies of the current American Administration are being put to the final test. If there is no intifada after Abbas and Netanyahu come to terms, then maybe something can come from that. Yet it does not look so promising.

Peripheral to that is the Islamist's headquarter building project at 'Ground Zero,' which though is decidedly an 'internal' issue, does have worldwide implications. If the United States, and New York in its capacity as a face to the world for the United States, concedes to allow the project to go ahead, what chance is there for effective foreign policy then? Anyone?

September 11, 2001 gave America a chance, brief if ever it was, to reestablish a foreign policy dialogue that could help to distinguish a more sensitive relationship with the world, and it was squandered for the lack of courage of convictions. There is even less of that today.

Do we squabble about 60 billion dollar American arms sales to the Saud kingdom, all the while Israel is left begging for the scraps? That underscores the inadequate methodology of military and fiduciary support of foreign policy. It also raises the question about who is entitled to the policy of most-favored nation status. In the next war, shortly to be upon us, how many American servicemen/women will be harmed by products labeled 'Made in the USA?'Now that's a foreign policy most of our enemies are willing to embrace, isn't it.

What will American foreign policy need to dictate then?

Submitting....

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