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Words from Winterbilt

America’s foreign policy

Shannon Bohrer

(10/2013) The United States always seems to be involved in the affairs of foreign nations and governments. This often involves foreign aid in the form of money, invasions and government replacements. People often ask why this is the case, and the response is often because we need the influence. Influence sounds like something we would like, but has it worked?

In Egypt, when the demonstrations took place that toppled the Mubarak government, we stood by and watched. There were politicians that criticized our government for not supporting Mubarak— after all he was a friend of ours for thirty years. Sure he was a dictator, but he was our dictator, I mean our friend. Then when Egypt held elections and the Muslim Brotherhood was elected, there were politicians that criticize the election. Then came more demonstrations, along with the military, which toppled the Muslim Brotherhood, we had more criticism. Are we giving aid to a Military that, if they do not like the party in power, they just overthrow it? The majority of the aid goes to the Military so the thought is that no matter who will be eventually in charge, they need the support of the military. Not very idealistic, but logical, at least it sound logical.

Recently we had an individual that spilled the beans about NSA programs and he has sought asylum in Russia. The Russian government has given this individual temporary asylum, by issuing him papers and allowing him to leave the airport. The political response to this has been that we should demand that Russia send this traitor back. It was even said that the United States should boycott the upcoming Olympics to be held in Russia. Maybe some have forgotten that history is full of individuals that took asylum from Russia in the United States of America. And when the Russian government wanted them back, we said no. Why do we even think that we should be able to demand something from a foreign and sovereign nation and that they should comply? We don’t give them foreign aid, do we?

Of course a lot of the complaining about Russia is related to the fact that they are supporting President Assad in the Syrian civil war. The Assad regime is also being supported by Hezbollah. Hezbollah has been firing rockets from its military bases in Lebanon at insurgent Syrian Army rebel positions inside Syrian territory. Remember, Hezbollah is supported by Iran and they have been training terrorist to fight in Iraq and of course Iran is our enemy because they are building a nuclear bomb. We don’t want Iran to have a nuclear bomb because the terrorist group: Hezbollah would then have access to it. Maybe that’s why we are really mad at Russia.

To counter act this we need to support the Syrian rebels, well maybe we do. There was the call to arms by several senators, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham to support the Syrian rebels. Senator McCain visited Syria and during his mission he meets with rebels and appeared in photos with them. Some of which have been identified as; Mohammed Nour and Abu Ibrahim, two members of the Sunni "Northern Storm" brigade, which is a terrorist group. These are the rebels?

Also on the rebel side of the war, which McCain and others would like to support, are other al Qaeda – affiliated groups and Iraqi Sunni insurgents. These are the same Iraqi Sunnis who killed American troops and Iraqi Army soldiers. If the insurgents win we will have helped defeat member of the Hezbollah army, but we will have given rebels affiliated with al Qaeda a place to call home. And this is a very brief summary of the players. Could the Syrian civil war be a regional civil war?

Do we support terrorist, or do we support terrorist? It would appear that supporting either side is good and bad. Good because we would be supporting groups that fight terrorism, and bad because the groups fighting the terrorists are terrorists themselves. Our choice, if we intervene, is between bad and worse. The fact of the matter is the other side is no better, no matter which side we are on. Of course the use of chemical weapons is bad, so we need to— wait a minute… When Saddam Hussein used chemical agents against his own people we ignored it, because he was fighting the Iranians. That’s right - the difference is he was our friend then, but not now.

The peace process involving Israel and Palestine has been an ongoing event for more or less about 40 years. The United States had been giving aid to Israel and Egypt since the peace accords in 1979. And at some point Palestine was added to the list. Have our aid packages kept peace in the east region? We, the United States, say to have an election and form a democracy. Then, in 2006, Palestine had an election and Hamas gained a majority and Mahmoud Abbas became the president. After the elections, a letter was sent to President Bush, in which Hamas offered a long term truce with Israel. President Bush did not even answer the letter and US and Israel maintained a boycott of the Palestinian Authority. We do not deal with terrorists, elected or not. Apparently, we are only willing to recognize the elected officials providing they are to our liking. You know, like Egypt?

Then there was Iraq, I’m sorry, I mean Iran. We supported the Shaw of Iran (another dictator) and after he fell – well let’s just say we have some issues with Iran. We want a democracy, when they have elections if someone or a party that we do not agree with is elected – we don’t recognize it. Apparently, what the United States wants is democracy, when the elected officials resemble what we think would be in our interest.

Read other articles by Shannon Bohrer