Ahead of the recent foreign policy debate, 22-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Scheuer noted that the exchange between the Democratic President and his Republican opponent would still lack an understanding of why it is we are at war in the Middle East after all these years. Scheuer, the former chief of the Bin Laden Unit, stated in a recent article that the “Romney-Obama foreign-policy debate will again show Americans that both political parties mean to maintain the lie that has kept the United States losing the war al-Qaeda and its allies declared on us in 1996.” A critic of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations’ handling of the Al Qaeda threat, Scheuer correctly notes that no matter who wins in November, the problem will still remain untouched as the federal state of denial will continue.
The problem begins with the foundation of each argument. President Obama is apologizing abroad for the actions of the United States, which is just talk, and cheap talk is a specialty of any politician. The greatest apology to those who feel invaded by the imperial presence of the United States would be to leave. But for all the criticism President Obama receives for being weak on aggression, his foreign policy plan involves more drones than a Borg Cube.
While President Obama has a consistency problem, his Republican opponent Mitt Romney believes in spending the country into fiscal ruin for the purpose of running up the military budget. Isn’t it conservatism however, that dictates increased spending doesn’t fix a problem? Hello high spending solution, meet failing education.
Both individuals, as well as many in their respective party establishments, still believe that this is a war on America’s image. The mindset is, as Scheuer observes in his article, “America is ‘exceptional,’ and exceptionally entitled to intervene in other peoples’ affairs; what we do in the world is well-intentioned and benign; and Islamist militants are attacking us because they hate freedom, liberty, and Budweiser.” Ignorance and intellectual dishonesty, as well as the arrogance in perpetuating them both, is destroying this country. What will save America is an open understanding of what is really triggering the violent discontent abroad, and that is our frequent interventions all over.
A short rundown of the history you don’t learn in a public school classroom will show you why intervention is bad for America’s interests. Prior to President Eisenhower authorizing the first open overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, which lead to more autocratic rule, Iran was an elected government of the people. The removal of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh by the British and United States governments lead to the Shah’s further centralization of the Iranian government, accompanied by a modernization of the country. These events would lead to the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who would return from exile to join the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In just over a year, a successful overthrow resulted in response to the centralization enabled by the foreign intervention, and Khomeini would become Supreme Leader of Iran under the new theocratic constitution.
How’s that intervention in Iran working out these days?
Of course, Israel could always take care of Iran themselves. It would not be the first time that they did so against nuclear facilities, as they did so in 1981 against Iraq. The United States would condemn Israel for the action against Iraq, who the United States was arming and funding in a war against Iran. The Iran-Iraq War itself was triggered by Khomeini’s opposition to Saddam Hussein’s secular rule in Iraq, which was seen as oppressive to Muslims. One might wonder how things would have been had that theocratic rule not existed? Would the United States no longer have a reason to condemn Israel for protecting itself against a threat to it’s national security?
Again, how is that foreign intervention working out?
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter authorized a program to arm the Islamic mujahideen in Afghanistan to oppose the Soviet occupation. Funding was in the billions and would be expanded by hundreds of billions of dollars under President Ronald Reagan. Because of this bipartisan program, we would later have an international headache that still exists today, which is the threat of militant Islam. Multiple undeclared occupations exist abroad, and drone strikes are becoming the norm for our offensives, and it is all in response to this Islamic threat in the eastern hemisphere.
At the end of the day, we’re creating our own problems, most likely unintentionally, but still doing so nevertheless. The unnecessary interference with other nations’ politics is careless. Every child is taught that actions have consequences, yet this concept is dismissed as an adult. Iraq was a tyranny extinguished in 2003, but was once a well-funded ally against Iran’s theocratic regime, which itself was a consequence of the U.S. intervention in 1953. After all the blood spilt and funds spent over the years, one has to wonder just where our foreign policy would be had the United States not executed a coup d’etat against a democratically elected regime simply because their leader executed the will of the people and nationalized the oil supply.