Saturday, November 21, 2009

Learning From History/Reality vs. Ideology Alone

It is instructive to look at how we in the U.S "as a nation" act internationally. Recently I heard snippets of President Obama's words while in China. Listening to How he spoke I would have thought that the U.S. was repeatedly doing favors to China and that they were very much in our debt. We allow China to provide us with goods and services as well as to invest in our economy helping keep it from collapsing. It would seem to my naive self that we logically would be Thanking China and acknowledging that gradually China is becoming much more economically powerful and we are weakening greatly.

We can perhaps in part blame our most recent past president for foolishness in Iraq and Afghanistan. We loved Saddam Hussein as a strong opponent of the Fundamentalist regime in Iran in the 1980's and early 1990's, but Hussein refused to simply be our puppet and he became our enemy.

Our repeated naivete in not understanding that Al Qaeda is strongly Sunni means issues with countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but not Iran which is Shiite. Though Saddam Hussein was Sunni, rather clearly his leadership was secular based. When we push (majority) Shiite leadership in Iraq, inevitably it helps tie Iraq to Iran - a Shiite nation - and to built up Iran. Now, we cry in our beer about Iran - well we asked for it.

We didn't read our history book right!

Afghanistan - has a strange history. It is a very decentralized country that strangely doesn't like "foreigners" to try to control its destiny. We helped build up the Fundamentalist Moslem forces in both Afghanistan and Pakistan - because we wanted to weaken The Soviet Union - who were trying to control their neighbor.

We don't seem to understand that just because Afghanis may dislike the Taliban does not mean that they will welcome the U.S. in Their Country. Thankfully our ambassador in Kabul seems to understand the dilemma. Oft times it seems that for every life or dollar we spend fighting in Afghanistan - multiple "militants" join the fight against us. It also seems farfetched at least to me that terrorist actions in the U.S. - are going to build up out of Afghanistan, an impoverished - decentralized nation.

Of course we don't see the powers that "Big Oil" and other business interests have in controlling U.S. foreign policy.

Perhaps - naively - I think and hope that more of us in the U.S. will understand how we can be friends and allies of the Moslem World and others who oft times seem to be our enemy. It requires a rather simple thing - Respect. It requires a more complex thing of us - introspection and "reality checking".

We could in a perfect world - work seriously at solving our internal problems - racism, poverty, healthcare - in "people positive" ways. At the same time we could be an active part of the rest of the world in new ways - listening to both our allies and "enemies" and working with others. It would be a radical change! It also might save us from being another fallen empire as well as more importantly making us into being "good people".


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