From the Left: American foreign policy gone wrong
The first years of the United States were remarkably free from governmental involvement; federalism was still in its infancy, and the nation had not grown to the point in which the state-country relationship had evolved so that the former was not consumed by the expanding power of the latter. Individual liberty was at its zenith: judicial precedents, legislation and executive orders had not yet been set down that restricted self-government. The dawn of America could be considered the advent of a libertarian utopia and the "proven" success of classical liberalism.
Yet the existence of world wars, political conflicts and ideological schisms have all proven to contribute to the perversion of America. We were an embryo for liberty that could have very well have evolved into a glorious, people-driven republic, but we have not followed that path: we've entered the era of the corporate police-state, with boundaries set upon our civil rights. Time has not proven the American experiment to be true, but rather has warped it into something that our Founding Fathers would decry.
Modern America prides itself on being that, though - we pride ourselves on being the paragon of Western democracy, acting as the singular and last night in the darkness of emerging statism and collectivism. We desperately try to ignore the fact that our nation has changed; we hold fast to the concept that we are still the freest country on earth and the only place where freedom and patriotism truly exist. We do not willingly acknowledge the fact that the government's control is rapidly expanding or that our civil rights are being constricted at an accelerating rate, but rather remind ourselves that we are still the home of the free and land of the brave.
We allow everyone - both ourselves and our self-righteous politicians - to flippantly throw around the words "freedom" and "liberty" without thinking critically of what they mean. We tell ourselves that we are a free and democratic country and that we advocate for democracy abroad, but we shut our eyes to our own government's foreign policy. We ignore the American-sponsored dictators of Latin America, the generous donations and double-dealings with Middle Eastern radicals, and the intervention into the affairs of governments of other countries. We pray that our "democratic" country will live forever as the bastion of liberty while cringing away from the thought that our nation is involved in some of the most undemocratic actions conceivable.
Newly founded America gave birth to free markets and constitutionalism. The free market gave rise to capitalism and personal profit, and even this mutated into corporatism and outright imperialism. Economic and social intervention is now the lifeblood of our government, and imperialism is the new patriotism that our country espouses.
What of the propaganda that we savagely throw against Hugo ChÃ¡vez, calling the man a tyrannical leader that has dictatorially nationalized Venezuela's petroleum industry and erected a statist bureaucracy? Is this propaganda truthful, or is it merely a slander campaign against someone who no longer agrees to run his country based on America's economic interests in the South? In reality, ChÃ¡vez has done wonders for the people of Venezuela - he does not flippantly talk about "democracy" as we do, but has rather supported it by helping his citizens create over 100,000 new worker-owned cooperative businesses. Yet because he does not share the same economic interests as the United States, we have launched a full-scale media war against him, the same as we did in the early 1970s with the wildly popular, democratically elected and self-avowed Marxist president of Chile, Salvador Allende.
What is most troubling nowadays, though, is an over-zealous support for Israel. Now, it needs to be said that there is nothing wrong with Israel itself, and the nation has the right to exist and defend itself from any and all threats. We should support and protect our allies, but we should not do so blindly. What's most disturbing is the way that some support Israel despite the human rights violations that it continuously commits - such support for Israel stems from a need to reaffirm oneself as patriotic, as if an unwavering, absolutist commitment somehow makes one better and more valiant than those that do not. They support Israel simply because it is Israel, not because of any specific or noteworthy thing that the nation has done.
Israel's attempt to preserve its purity by disenfranchising Palestinians does not promote democracy or liberty in any way - it exacerbates ethnic tensions and political conflicts. The way that the Israeli state - and the Israeli Defense Forces, in particular - treat Palestinians, Muslims and other non-Israelis does nothing to bring about a peaceful solution to the never-ending conflicts in the Middle East. Yes, there are Palestinians who have engaged in radical policies (indeed, some that may even warrant the over-used title of "terrorist," but both sides are guilty for past crimes), but that is not justification for the complete marginalization of an entire racial group. If there is anything that history has taught us, it is that the things that Israel is doing will not end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: bombing, slandering, and subjugating a race of people in the hopes that they give up and acknowledge defeat is not wise. It only angers them more, and fuels both of them. Both the Israelis and Palestinians are willing to fight to the death, and one perpetually assaulting the other is not conducive for a productive outcome.
Both sides need to come to the table and have an honest discussion about their past actions, future goals, and where they can meet in the middle so as to establish a two-state solution. If we are going to have a peace accord between Israel and Palestine, we need to end the incessant American intervention and warmongering and actually promote diplomacy and pacifism.
Dan Fournier is a pre-medical undergraduate majoring in evolutionary biology. He considers himself to be a left-wing progressive and liberty-minded individual.
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