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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/30/13

U.S. Foreign (War) Policy: Outdated, Misguided, Self-Defeating

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Message Michael Payne

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/77902285@N00/6683043925/: Eagle and Flag
Eagle and Flag by Howard Hecht

Foreign policy, American style, has evolved over the decades to the point that it bears little to no resemblance to what it once was. The art of diplomacy and negotiations has been replaced by the doctrine of "You're either for us or against us" with no room for any gray area. The focus seems to be, why waste time with painstaking negotiations when force is so much easier and effective?


There are times in life when it becomes apparent that something is just not working and is, in fact, creating far more problems than it is developing solutions. That time is now in America. This so-called War on Terror has become a massive failure; it's not working and never will because it was ill-advised from the start. And that's why it is time for this nation's foreign policy to be brought into the 21st century.


The War on Terror is much like the War on Drugs, that government program that has become a colossal failure after so many years. Instead of solving the pervasive drug problems in America, it seems to have made the situation far worse. It has put untold thousands of people in prison in situations where they have harmed no one but themselves. It has created more and more drug dealers who reap great profits from it and it has dramatically escalated the level of associated violence. It should be ended but it goes on and on.


Likewise it is becoming more and more apparent that this War on Terror was a terrible idea from the start. Let's examine how this war on the terrorists of the world very likely began decades ago when the U.S., under a succession of presidents, in what we might accurately describe as hubristic foreign policy, involved itself in the internal affairs of other nations, in questionable military actions, and its involvement in deposing numerous heads of state, some dictators and some not; also when it involved itself in the election processes in many countries.


Those highly questionable foreign policy endeavors began a pattern of interference in the affairs of these other nations which ended up creating much hatred and many enemies for the U.S.

If you want the details of the U.S. involvement in the internal affairs of other nations, check out this article, A Brief History of U.S. Interventions: 1945 to the Present , by William Blum. It documents how the U.S. government involved itself in the internal affairs of 70 nations around the world since the end of World War II. It's almost incomprehensible to think that our government has been involved in so many situations where it had no right to be. But even more astounding is the fact that this interventionist foreign policy is still being pursued. The colossal costs of this misguided foreign policy over these many decades has taken a terrible financial toll on this nation as trillions of dollars that could have been invested in the strengthening of its most important foundations were, instead, fed into the furnaces of war. Can we even begin to imagine what this country would be like, how strong it would be domestically if those trillions of dollars had been invested in this country instead of into unjustified, unnecessary wars?

At some point in time this government must come to the conclusion that it can't keep following a foreign policy agenda that is no longer working and is actually backfiring. We as a nation cannot continue to interfere with the internal affairs of other nations; we can't invade and occupy any nation that we believe "may" pose some kind of imminent threat -- that was the doctrine established by Bush/Cheney and it has now proven to be entirely without logic, reason and rationality.

It's often been said that diplomacy is the primary tool of foreign policy but that statement hardly fits with that which the U.S. follows today. When was the last time that any of us has heard of the U.S. government using real diplomacy and negotiations in any serious international crisis?


Now there are distinctly different ways of looking at this so-called War on Terror and let's use this old question, "What comes first the chicken or the egg." In terms of American foreign policy versus the terrorists out there in the world, the real question is: who started this ongoing conflict in the first place, where does the responsibility lie for this war that was initiated during the Bush administration and is still being conducted by President Obama?


I think it is high time that American foreign policy undergoes a significant transformation because what this government has been doing for many decades is simply not working anymore and it is creating far more problems than it is solving. I would like to see this nation and its government adopt the foreign policy ideology as pursued by President Theodore Roosevelt that was exemplified by his famous statement, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

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