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A sensible look at foreign policy

By Kyle Ratliff, News Editor

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When President Obama committed more than 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, something in me just snapped. How many times does the United States have to touch its hand to the same hot stove before we realize that it burns?

As the saying goes, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Well, maybe the leader of the free world and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner ought to crack open a history book.

I trust in the CIA when they preach about “blowback,” that is, that when the United States interferes in other nations’ affairs, it has certain undesired consequences. Terrorism today is a result of years and years of blowback. Consider 1953, when the United States replaced an elected leader in Iran to restore the Shah, who was more West-friendly. Or how about when the United States supplied Islamic extremist groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan with weapons and other supplies to fight off the invading Soviet Union – just to have them turn the tables and attack us.

By radicalizing these people, we created the perfect storm that we are still paying for today, and the debt will last for the foreseeable future.

We cannot go back and change the mistakes of our fathers, but we can make a pledge to not fall in line. What we need as Americans is not to nation build in Southwestern Asia, but to allow the countries there to sort out their own problems.

It’s this ego that we seem to have that has caused us many problems and will continue to do so as long as we think like this.

In Osama Bin Laden’s Fatwa, he identified the two major reasons for his hatred of the United States as our occupation of Islamic land and our favoritism toward Israel. Bin Laden and other members of Al-Qaeda must have been delighted when the United States invaded Iraq. Not only did it bring Americans closer and easier to target, but it just proved his point that the United States is a bully. By keeping the occupation going, we are spurring this murderer to continue killing.

As I’ve said, we cannot change what has been done; the past is the past. However, we can learn from our errors. It’s time for a real change in what America should be doing abroad. We need to stop interfering in other nation’s matters to change the world’s perception of us. Every time we take control of a situation, it just stirs up more hatred and breeds more terrorists.

Like Albert Einstein once said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved through understanding.”


5 Responses to “A sensible look at foreign policy”

  1. jim feluci on February 14th, 2010 10:36 pm


  2. Kyle Ratliff on February 17th, 2010 10:20 pm

    I’m afraid the term you are so desperately searching for is “hippie,” and no, sir, I am not one. I’m simply advocating the foreign policy of our forefathers. It was George Washington who warned against the danger of entangling alliances and preached non-interventionist strategy, and I’m simply reminding us of that.

  3. Paqui Toscano on February 20th, 2010 10:20 pm

    Kyle, great article! Like I said in my comment to Mr. Loch’s comment, I think that this foriegn policy issue is going to be crucially important in the determining the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, and along with health care and other important issues could determine whether or not President Barack Obama clenches another term. Also like I said, I debated a topic in a debate tournament last month regarding the very same issue as you wrote about in your staff column, and realized several very important things. First, that even if we do pull out of Afghanistan and end up leaving the Taliban in control, Al Qaeda, the organization that truly declared war on America by bombing the Twin Towers, are not going to go back to Afghanistan, and even if they try to, the Taliban’s not going to let them. Second, from a practical standpoint as you touched on in your column, Afghanistan is a country that has never been stablilized. Britain couldn’t do it. Neither could the Soviet Union. Why does America think it can now? Finally, the terrorists we’re so desperately afraid of are not at all dependent on Afghanistan, according to The International Herald Tribune. At any rate, I think this is topic hs many different sides and dimensions to it, but in the end, the effort we’re putting into Afghanistan is clearly not worth it any more. Maybe if we had stayed in Afghanistan and not diverted our forces by sending them to Iraq, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now. But alas, we didn’t — we have George Bush to thank for that one. I like Obama (and his general liberal mindset), but from a practical standpoint, I tend to agree with you.

  4. Jon Loch on February 18th, 2010 8:30 pm

    I understand how this is an opinion column, but who is your intended audience? Most of today’s students could really give two shakes on foreign policy. If they don’t care, don’t waste your time writing. You’ve done your research; I’m very interested to see what other opinions you might have. On another note, I would do something more controversial. That is the only rubbish that people seem to read today.

  5. Paqui Toscano on February 20th, 2010 10:10 pm

    I understand your point that most kids don’t care about foreign policy. But in this case, I think, Kyle is writing this article for the kids that do, and trust me there are kids out there that do care about foreign policy such as myself, and a whole organization of debaters (members of the National Forensic League) who last month had to debate the subject of President Obama’s Afghanistan war strategy. I’m afraid I don’t share your same disappointment with the whole breed of teenagers. Simply using myself as an example, I in fact care deeply and am glad Kyle took the time to write this article, and as we can see by the comments left, people are reading it. I think how Obama handles Afghanistan is crucially important in the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, and as a citizen of the United States who is excited to become a voter and be a part of this democratic process we cherish so much in America, I am glad that we can examine all sides of this foreign policy issue on

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A sensible look at foreign policy