Kristian Davis Bailey Thanks for countering, Georgi. I'd like to highlight a comment from Karl below that 'imperialism' is likely an apter term to use to describe my frustations with American foreign policy. I do think globalization, capitalism and international business can all fall under the umbrella of imperialism and am curious to hear whether you think this is fair. If you'll forgive me for mixing up the two - which are very close, but not the same, do your critiques change at all?
Kristian Davis Bailey New thought: Saudi Arabia is our biggest Arab ally and is also one of the most repressive. It’s misogynistic (women can't even drive); it doesn’t acknowledge Israel’s existence; and it punishes homosexuals with death. Saudi effectively has no elections and its dominant religion iis inextricably fundamentalist. Osama bin Laden was born, educated and radicalized in Saudi. 15 out of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi. Yet, due to Saudi's strategic importance to American interests, we allow them to propagate human rights violations and terrorism. If American interests were truly about combatting terrorism/injustice, we'd have to hold this ally accountable. Not doing so calls into question where US interests actually lie. Responses?
Kristian Davis Bailey I'll point out that the United States is an extraordinarily strong ally to the biggest fundamentalist nation in the world - Saudi Arabia - and its silence on this state's actions and contributions to global terrorism is striking. The dominant religion in the state is inextricably fundamentalist. Osama bin Laden was born, educated and radicalized in Saudi. 15 out of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Yet, because of Saudi's strategic importance to American interests, we allow them to propagate the same human rights violations that we criticize Iran for. If American interests were truly about combatting terrorism and/or injustice, we'd have to hold this ally accountable. Since we don't, all sorts of questions are raised.
Kristian Davis Bailey Hi Robert, Why do you think the US is its own foreign policy threat? I don't think a force that receives rockets from Iran can compete with a force that receives $8 billion a year in military aid from the United States. To say that Gaza and Israel are on equal footing seems inappropriate, especially when we look at the disparities in people injured and killed. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stats/injuries.html And this is to say nothing of the West Bank, where there really is no comparing combat capabilities of Palestinians and the IDF. And with respect to drones, since the US declared this 'war', it is American soldiers who should put their lives on the line- not innocent civilians who did not invite such action.
Kristian Davis Bailey Thanks, Mos. It seems that the Nobel Prize Committee agreed with you - Obama received the Peace Prize largely due to the potential the world thought he had to fix the negative perceptions of the United States that the world developed further during the Bush Administration. One can hope, can't he?
Kristian Davis Bailey Will you then agree that the 3,000 lives lost on September 11 were justified in the eyes of some portion of the world and that those people were all fair targets, again in the eyes of some portion of the world?
Kristian Davis Bailey Thanks, Dan. I recognize you'll disagree with the universalistic position of this but I posit it anyway: these civilian deaths are illegal (and implicitly immoral) based on international law from an international body that the United States purports to uphold. These people, regardless of your beliefs, are innocent under international law that the United States has apparently agreed to abide by. Will you agree at the least that this is a hypocrisy in policy? And on your belies about Pakistani civilians, can you elaborate on how women, children, the elderly and disabled "are not innocent in any sense of the word"?
Kristian Davis Bailey Our "enemies" may be "terrorists," but the victims of our war are still innocent civilians and that's extraordinarily problematic for ending this cycle of Western-Islamic fundamentalist antagonism. Killing innocent people only provides more legitimate reasons for violent resistance.
Kristian Davis Bailey Hey Georgi, I think Wikipedia defined neocolonialism in an acceptable enough way, but I agree with you - I don't use it for my analysis beyond that. :) Our failure in Vietnam, our failed and/or backfired coups in the Arab world, our candidates' simplistic description of China as a "cheater" and Iran's ascendance as our "greatest national security threat", and the fact that we spend $8 billion a year backing the Israeli government's colonial occupation of the West Bank and economic impositions on Gaza all show that the country is grasping to maintain political dominance over the world, and that we're on the wrong side of the battle. Giving Israel more aid than Africa/Latin America combined demonstrates how desperately we're holding on.
Kristian Davis Bailey The Green Party and Justice Party candidates are also ones to consider! Check out their platforms here: (Justice) http://www.voterocky.org/solutions (Green) http://www.jillstein.org/issues http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2012/democracy.php#RealRoad
Kristian Davis Bailey Hey Dan, Fascinating indeed. :) This is not an antagonistic statement, but could you expand upon what you disagree with and why? And what reasons I would support and you would reject? I haven't yet seen a laid out response to the totality of my claims and would be very curious to see what that looks like.
Kristian Davis Bailey Hey Jeff, I agree that major changes to be made and that the US can't be faulted for everything - but I do think it is responsible for most of the post-WWII policy disasters. Much as I like Obama, I think the two party system will ultimately be ineffective in large scale reform. As McChesney writes in the article on neoliberalism I cited: "the two main business-dominated parties, with the support of the corporate community, have refused to reform laws - some of which they put on the boos - making it virtually impossible to create new political parties (that might appeal to non-business interests) and let them be effective." Romney is worse than Obama, but Obama still has to deal with a gridlocked Congress. And he's still a defense hawk..
Kristian Davis Bailey Hey Georgi, I don't want to start talking counterfactuals so I'll leave the question of how the world would be without the US alone, but with regards to post-WWII policy: neocolonialism defines very well what was and still is going on. To quote from Wikipedia: "is the geopolitical practice of using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to control a country, in lieu of either direct military control or indirect political control." The term was coined in 1965 and you can read the original document here: bit.ly/XRhfBz It makes sense that the current arrangement reflects US interests. What doesn't make sense is the US fighting to maintain this control when it's clearly losing. What do you think?
Kristian Davis Bailey Thanks, Alex! Even if Iran presents a threat to US interests, though, I do not think they by any means become our "number one threat to national security," as Gov. Romney labeled them in one sentence during yesterday's debate. Such a label seems to imply that military action of some sort against Iran will be justified due to its alleged position as our number one threat. How do you interpret such claims?
Kristian Davis Bailey That's the scary thing, Yanwen--I don't think that most people usually protest. Our nation and world have the potential to mobilize around this moment and agitate for change. We need to stop being silent.
Kristian Davis Bailey Hi Thaelman, Thank for your responses--I think most have said what I'd like to say already, so I'll try to be brief: I understand that history didn't start "finished," but I still feel the duty to object to how it played out. Much as I know it's a large challenge to end injustice, I think simply accepting the historical developments that lead to our present situations and accepting the notion that struggle won't end ultimately leads to complacency and perpetuating the cycle. I hope that future generations judge me and ours as harshly as I judge the past for not recognizing our common humanity sooner. I also caution you not to look at "a black man is in the White House" as signifying that race is not an issue any longer.
Kristian Davis Bailey Thank you very much, Blakely. I didn't notice my own tendency to laughing as an emotional crutch until talking with a friend the day after I posted this article. If you haven't seen it already, please check it out here: bit.ly/INdIxx
Kristian Davis Bailey Thank you, Alex. I agree with you that fighting the system is better than wallowing in the injustice, but a point that I tried to address in a second and longer post (please see here: bit.ly/INdIxx) is that society won't start to care (and be amenable to hearing out the "fighters") until we start humanizing issues of injustice by telling our own individual stories. In the link I gave above, I also spoke about how tiring it is to have to constantly be fighting/defending. I'm not going to give up the charge of fighting because I hope we can create a future society in which people don't have to defend or prove themselves. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on all of this.
Kristian Davis Bailey Thank you very much, Monica! This was actually my first foray into PolicyMic--I'm really excited that such a site exists with readers who seem to care about the world. Please share my story with others--I hope that by exposing more and more people to my story, and by encouraging them to tell their own, we can start agitating for change. If you haven't seen it already, I wrote a second, longer post--expanding upon some of the themes I touched upon here: bit.ly/INdIxx