One of the most unjustified acts our generation has had to witness is the foreign policy the United States has followed since the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.
President Bush and his administration has led a U.S. foreign policy that is not only unfair, but also counterproductive to our efforts to eliminate terrorism domestically as well as internationally.
No one can argue that the attacks on Sept. 11 were not disgusting and horrific.
But if we wish to take on the daunting task of preventing similar acts against our country and others, we must also accept the terms that inherently come with accepting that responsibility – looking past our own revenge.
One of the biggest lies our government has tried to feed us is the idea that Bin Laden, the Taliban and the Islamists are driven to terrorism because they are against what the Western world stands for.
By doing this, the Bush administration is able to anger Americans and thus is able conjure up support for its immoral actions.
Terrorism is driven not by what America stands for, but by what America does.
Our foreign policy is such that it almost completely favors those that provide the United States with some sort of benefit, while playing the bully over all the rest.
A member of the editorial board of the journal New Politics, Thomas Harrison writes, “Muslims regard the U.S. as an arrogant, hypocritical and totally self-interested bully, a global thug, a genuine rogue state that does exactly as it pleases.”
If the United States, which claims to preach justice, equality and diplomacy, wishes to deter terrorism in this country and the rest of the world, lashing back with violence is definitely not the answer. What should be a last resort has sadly become our first alternative.
Countries that produce and harbor terrorism do not fear our violent retaliation. Our enemy has no face, and no location on earth.
Terrorism is a villain that is supported not by any tangible or outright defeatable enemy, but through a belief system. How can this be fought? Definitely not with weapons.
The United States naively and pompously believes it can stalk the earth, fighting anyone in its way in order to meet its needs; but that is not the case.
We must not confuse our spiteful revenge with the human struggle for peace.
It is true that the terrorists wishing to harm us are not seeking peace themselves, but this does not mean that we should lose sight of our own mission for it.
Though vengeance is desired through violent reprisal, the greater need for a safer world can only be achieved through diplomacy. You cannot teach a child to walk by running yourself.
Harrison continues, “We want to do all we can- and to use the immense political and material resources of the United States- to help the peoples of the Muslim world liberate themselves.
Self-emancipation, not control and manipulation, should be the guiding principle of American policy.”
Only by reshaping our policy towards our rivals can we really alleviate and deter terrorism in the world.
Stanley Hoffman writes in the New York Review of Books that our fight against terrorism can only be achieved “with an adequate understanding of our adversaries’ grievances, if only to allow us to shape a perceptive policy.”
There has been nothing admirable about Bush’s actions as commander-in-chief, whether legally justified or not. Protests against the war not only from our own country, but all around the world were ignored.
We ostracize ourselves from the rest of the world and take on the role of the imperialistic, “privileged” world-police, and then wonder why we suffer from terrorism.