Ron Paul supporters are again saying “I told you so.” They are pained by the fact that their warnings have again gone unheeded and that more violence and death is the result. Let’s walk the dog backwards.
The Liberty Movement’s position on foreign policy is that the United States should not get entangled in the business of other countries. This position is not isolationism, which involves refusing to trade or have any diplomatic relations with others – a la North Korea. Rather, it is non-interventionism, which involves free trade with open and honest friendship to all – a la Jefferson (and the shores of Tripoli if we’re attacked). There’s a big difference.
The history of the United States’ diplomatic efforts in the Middle East was exemplary until 1953 when the CIA overthrew the elected Prime Minister of Iran. Iran was a free, prosperous, westernized nation. As a result, a free head of state was overthrown while many of his followers were imprisoned, tortured or executed. It’s little wonder that the Shah was overthrown by religious leaders who used his US backed oppression of the Iranian people to fuel support. Our embassy in Iran was then attacked. Imagine that. Fast forward.
Libya and Egypt had oppressive US backed regimes. Religious opposition arose. Billions in US money and weapons were given to these forces. Yet again, we intervened in the affairs of foreign nations.
The roots of Arab aggression are two-fold. The first is foreign presence in lands claimed by Arabs. This is similar to the feelings of Americans seeing news reports of Mexican military helicopters flying over US soil. Imagine if Mexico had a permanent military base in Texas. It’s understandable that Arabs are angry with US bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Iraq. This was the impetus, as described by Osama Bin Laden – a US CIA trained Cold War combatant – for his formation of Al Qaeda. Do you know what the Marines did at Tripoli that ours currently haven’t done? They went home.
The second motivation is world-wide hegemony of Islam via a Caliphate. Unfortunately, many times the two are muddled by people looking to incite yet another war. Constantly calling for war is like crying wolf. Eventually, no one wants to hear you – even if you’re finally right.
Issues like the spread of Sharia, and the Islamization of the West – both legitimate and worrisome threats – are a result of the second impetus. This can be addressed via tighter immigration controls and other domestic policies well within the Constitutional scope of government. Issues like intrusions into their cultural autonomy and pride can only be dealt with by removing our military bases.
Are these not sovereign countries with a right to self-determination? Does not our Independence Declare that all men are created equal? It’s hypocrisy to claim it for ourselves and deny it to others. It’s insulting to their good sensibilities, as it would be ours, and they resent it greatly.
What does this have to do with our embassies? Everything. The regimes we helped overthrow were oppressive dictatorships that we helped set up. The regimes we helped install were identical to the Islamic revolution in Iran. The common thread is our involvement. Without US intervention, attacks on our embassies and the murder of our ambassador and others could not have occurred. While the violence remains the sole responsibility of the individuals perpetrating it, our foreign policy directly enabled it.
The anger created over our lasting military presence in the Middle East helped fuel the popular revolts that toppled these leaders. Our money and weapons did the rest. It is no surprise that the people got bolder, or that the Muslim Brotherhood – which we knew we were funding – got stronger. This was the black flag of jihad – enabled by our policies – that was hoisted over our embassies.
With soldiers on bases in 140 countries, and over a decade of continuous war, the American people are tired, our soldiers weary, our wars expensive. Rome’s problems are our own. The attacks on our embassies were incubated in an environment our foreign policy created. We must extinguish the all too easily stoked flame of infringement upon sensibility and cultural pride. This will squelch the ability to attract eager recruits to the jihadi fold, like depriving oxygen from a flame.
We must also cut down our exposure with overseas bases and stop inflaming tensions where they are not necessary. We must also begin legitimate discussion on cutting off foreign aid to all countries. We cannot continue to subsidize foreign states on the backs of our taxpayers.
Make no mistake, the attacks on our embassies were acts of war begging for a legitimate congressional declaration of war. It likely won’t happen. A strong appreciation for irony is mandatory when seeing our country have wars where they’re not necessary and not have wars where they are. It shows a contempt for our own, a disregard for those not our own, an eagerness to do what is temporarily politically expedient and a lack of resolve to do what is necessary, regardless of the consequences. We owe it to ourselves, our children, our Founders and millions around the world to cease unnecessary conflicts and intrusions into the affairs of other countries. Our future as a western civilization may depend on it.
Crown Prince Amir Saud of Saudi Arabia with other dignitaries, outside George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon; Jan, 1947; Author: Abbie Rowe (1905–1967); National Archives and Records Administration; public domain.