A sensible look at foreign policy

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.”