Foreign Policy: Hating America

Foreign Policy: Hating America

On September 12, 2001, Jean-Marie Colombani, the editor of Le Monde, famously wrote, “Today we are all Americans.” Three years on, it seems that we are all anti-Americans. Hostility to the United States is deeper and broader than at any point in the last 50 years.

(via dangerousmeta)

One thought on “Foreign Policy: Hating America


    America has lost the war on terrorism. The result is that the people of the world, but most particularly Americans must now live with the specter of terrorism for the rest of their lives.

    How and when did we lose this war? Well, the one true thing that President Bush said is that the war on terrorism must be fought differently from any other war before it. But the USA then turned and fought the war no differently from any war before it! Military overthrow of regimes you don’t like, installation of friendly regimes and pacification of the population through massive reconstruction efforts are all old warfare techniques. Those methods are focussed on nation states and not on super-national organizations. If you wanted to destroy Royal Dutch Shell Inc., would you invade Holland?

    There were two fronts on the war on terrorism that were never engaged that have lead to America losing the war. The first was establishing a truly global coalition to engage the 99.99% of the world’s population who value peace and security to ensure that there was no safe haven for terrorism anywhere in the world. The second front was in leading the entire first world of rich nations to “devote our focus, time and energy on overcoming global poverty and desperation. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we’ll never defeat the threat of terrorism” (the words of Jim Wallis, author of Faith Works). These two fronts could have been inter-related with assistance and aid based upon performance on anti-terrorism objectives. These fronts were not only never engaged, the Bush administration has actively pursued completely opposite policies to disastrous consequences. At a time when a global effort is most needed, America continues to isolate itself, continues to alienate its traditional allies and continues to anger the third world through its aggression, arrogance and indifference. Rather than destroying terrorist safe havens and encouraging global vigilance to ensure they can never re-open, the Bush administration’s policies have only served to create new safe havens for terrorism to breed.

    When did America lose the war on terrorism? This war being different than all other wars, there is no single decisive battle, event or armistice agreement to point to. However when America turned away from the UN and heaped scorn and ridicule on its traditional allies for having the audacity to disagree that invading Iraq in 2003 was the highest priority in the war on terrorism, they set the wheels in motion to lose the war. All subsequent events have simply served to confirm the horrifying consequences of this loss. This all became clear during the presidential debates when Mr. Kerry spoke of a global test that America needed to consider before using its superpower strength. Subsequently, President Bush assailed Mr. Kerry for weakness and for handing over American security decisions to the world (or more specifically to the French). In response, Mr. Kerry stated that if president, he would never hand over those decisions to anyone. The continuation of the policies of isolation, alienation, aggression, arrogance and indifference seem assured regardless of who is president. Worse still is that the two candidates’ reading of the American people, as demonstrated by this “global test” exchange, strongly suggests that Americans want these policies continued, perhaps to show America is strong, perhaps because they know no other way.

    Having lost the war on terrorism, America can still win the peace. Ironic isn’t it that they so easily won the war in Iraq but have lost the peace. To win the “peace to end terrorism” will be much more difficult now but it can still be done. Instead of isolation, America must re-connect with the rest of the world. Instead of alienation, America needs engagement. Instead of aggression they must demonstrate the quiet strength of walking softly while carrying their big stick. Instead of arrogance, they need to employ the humility that shows they understand that many other peoples have been directly hurt by terrorism and by America’s war on terrorism (America is not the only victim). Instead of indifference, America must care deeply about the fate of the impoverished and desperate of our world and back that care up with action to improve conditions for the poorest of the poor.

    In looking for a model of a statesman with the character qualities needed to win the peace after losing the war on terrorism, I was at a loss to find one in American or world history. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln, but he wasn’t around to win the peace after the civil war. Maybe Gandhi or Mandela, but they were liberators of their own people through non-violence. What is needed is a liberator of all peoples through non-violence. The only model that comes anywhere close is the person that President Bush uses to derive his certainty of purpose – Jesus Christ. If only the president had demonstrated more of his character, we might not be where we are today.

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