(The Pontiac Tribune) – America has never been engaged in a foreign war for a longer duration of time than the current occupation of Afghanistan, and of course the war in Afghanistan is only one part of the global war on terror. The current administration doesn’t call it that, likely because it’s not popular, but the war goes on. The war goes on, and the cost of the war keeps growing. We have spent $1.5 trillion, conservatively, and that number is growing larger by the hour. However… the debt accrued pales in comparison to the loss of human life. The victims of U.S. foreign policy include those killed directly or from sustained injuries, their families and friends, and the rest of the world who will never know what the dead would have contributed to humanity had they still been alive.
Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan have all suffered massive damage to their infrastructures, economies, and overall social health. Radicalized groups of militant extremists, now battle hardened, have risen to power amongst the chaos. Drone warfare has instilled terror in the minds of people in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Though the figures range widely, it has been estimated that as many as 98% of those killed by the drone strikes in Pakistan have been civilians. It’s not unfathomable to think that the statistics might be similar in other countries as well. U.S. policy is taking advantage of people, and when you take advantage of people, you tend to piss people off.
Anytime civilian lives are lost as a result of U.S. foreign policy, you can be damn sure that anti-American sentiment will follow suit, it’s just human nature. How would you feel if you came home to a crater, and had to gather up the scattered pieces of your loved ones? Odds are you might not take it too well. Is it possible that you might try to extract revenge? Maybe. Is it possible that others would try to extract revenge if they suffered the same tragic loss? It’s not just possible, it’s guaranteed!
Largely a result of our foreign policy, we are perceived as “the bully”. The U.S. has lost credibility with the worlds’ people, and the U.S. Government is overwhelmingly viewed as the largest threat to peace on earth.
We have now been at war for thirteen consecutive years with no stated end goal. The cost has been immense both in debt and death. Entire countries have been decimated.
It kind of begs the question…
What are the objectives of U.S. foreign policy?
According to the Pentagon, the mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country. But how does a state of perpetual war deter war? And how does creating enemies make us any more secure?
We might have to consider the possibility that the mission statement of the pentagon is not reflective of the objectives of our foreign policy.
With what may be the largest budget of any government agency in the history of mankind, it is hard to fathom that the oldest government agency with the largest budget cannot realize what can otherwise be deduced from common sense. Namely that drone warfare, cluster bombs, 360-degree open-fire, white phosphorus, depleted uranium, and the inhumane treatment of prisoners, along with many other military actions, does not work towards making anyone more secure…
Which raises the question… “What is the actual intent of our foreign policy?”
One explanation worthy of consideration is the “petro-dollar” argument. It’s worthy of consideration because there is supporting data (here, here, or here). This argument basically claims that because global oil sales are denominated in U.S. dollars, oil importers are dependent on the dollar which in turn gives it a global demand allowing large fluctuations within the domestic money supply while having a disproportionate effect on the value of the dollar. The military is used to intervene when oil producers try to move away from the dollar, and towards other mediums of exchange. Seems to make sense.
But is that the only line of reasoning behind our military actions? What about the cruise missile? Those things cost one and a half million dollars a piece… doesn’t that give the manufacturers an incentive to go to war? There’s a likely example of “actual intent”. What about the financial institutions that lend the money to buy the missiles? They have an incentive for the country go to war. So while our militaristic actions may have a single geo-political goal it might just be that it is the arbitrary ambitions of various interests that push for war. For there are many potential reasons why various interests might want war… but security isn’t one of them.
And maybe we can’t figure out quite what the reasoning is… but maybe we can agree that it’s wrong to bomb innocent civilians. So perhaps we ought to put a stop to it.
Our foreign policy negatively affects the overwhelming majority of democrats, republicans, libertarians, anarchists, independents, socialists, occupiers, advocates of a resource based economy… whatever. It is not favorable to very many individuals regardless of their worldview, and so opposition to our foreign policy can be a unifying front if we can learn to work forward where we agree. And can we agree that U.S. foreign policy is leading to nowhere except for debt, death, and destruction? This really should be a no-brainer… so what’s it going to be? Are we going to march forward to oblivion and beyond? Or are we going to stand together… united by a shared rejection of the militaristic ambitions of a privileged few…