I have been reading some of the posts that started this blog. To be honest, the first articles I wrote for this blog were written before I ever thought of starting a blog. One thing continues to bother me about them. Perhaps I was a little unfair with the Middle East. Even considering I wrote that first blog post when the news was telling us that people in the Middle East were protesting and angry with America because a film made somewhere out west, I was quick to a conclusion that was American to the core.
“They are just ungrateful.”
What?! I mean, honestly! What should they be grateful for? Americans, at their core, lack any understanding of the outside world. We are convinced that we are the envy of the world, and that everyone, deep down, wants to be us. We are told by our education systems that those that despise the United States hate us because our divorce rate is near (or over) 50%, or that we listen to Rock and Roll and lead sinful lives according to different religions. We are told that “those people” view us as the embodiment of evil.
People actually believe that stuff. We believe, as a nation, that we are so perfect that nobody could dislike us, given the exception of fanciful, or “false,” religion. We could have never given the Middle East reason, good reason, to detest our very existence.
This is what I mean by the American perspective. America, for a long time, has been empire building. America put a different spin on this process though. Instead of conquering the world with our own political system, we have merely tried to conquer political systems that we don’t like, and replace them with political systems we find favorable. These favorable governments are typically thankful to the United States, because without the US, they would have not gained power. This leads to favorable legislation in those countries towards American relations, no matter the costs placed on the local populations and economies. Iraq is just one example of this “empire building,” just gone wrong.
America has been trying this, with success and and failure, for a very long time. Examples include Latin America (where we still retain Puerto Rico as an American territory), the Philippines, Panama (which belonged to Columbia), Hawaii, Cuba, China (Open Door Policy), Mexico (Manifest Destiny), and now the Middle East. This process has included adopting a self proclaimed “world view” that is at its very essence, American. Anyone, or anything, that disagrees with this world view is typically viewed as a major threat to global safety, and we apply force, whether through military force or sanctions, that can be crippling. Often times however, the innocent population bears the brunt of these sanctions, while those responsible still live in lavish conditions. This is exactly what can be seen in Iran today.
The consequence of our actions abroad, and how they effect global populations is fairly clear. People do not like us. People living in countries affected by sanctions, such as Iran, can clearly place the blame of their current conditions on the United States. This, combined with our shady activities regarding the regions only profitable resource (oil), has led global population and global governments to despise our global presence.
This is a basic political argument. “America, the world police.” If the world needs a “police,” America is certainly a good candidate with its wealth (perceived or real) and enormous military force and presence. But, if we are the world’s police, we are corrupt to the core.
We do not seek to protect the world. We seek to protect ourselves, defensively and offensively. Really, by any means necessary. We, as a nation, have done atrocious acts in the name of cheaper and more readily accessible resources. This has come in the form of cotton, sugar, oil, and more. Some even question the role of lithium ion deposits in the war in Afghanistan.
I am not advocating a smaller world presence, or even a larger one. Honestly, it probably does not matter at this point. The point is that the Middle East does not detest our existence because of our divorce rate. We have wronged the Middle East over, and over again. We have given the region plenty of reason to dislike us, and our government, democratic and fair as it is, has lied to us to make us happier with our lives, and ignorant as to how we have achieved such a luxurious standing while majority of the world has been left behind.