Today in the Washington Post there was an article about how it was easier for women to commit suicide than seek divorce in Afghanistan; as heart breaking as that is its not an uncommon story that we hear from the Middle East. You hear about public stonings, rape victims being put to death for infidelity; women not allowed to leave their homes. These are just a few examples but there are many many more; they also include Egypt after the Arab Spring having someone try to be a new dictator; chaos in the government, army and police in Afghanistan; similar situations in Iraq. Full out Civil war in Syria. Iran who represses its citizens, has public stonings as well and is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon. And of course the never ending violence surrounding Israel and its right for existence.
My questions is what can the United States of America do about any of this. We have tried for a peace deal for Israel since the states inception. We have been in Afghanistan for over 11 years trying to help them build a better society but its not working. We tried in Iraq, we toppled a brutal dictator and tried to help establish an Iraqi democracy. Results there are tentative at best. But, we cant change everything. Condoleezza Rice wrote an interesting op ed piece in the Washington Post a few weeks ago; she discussed what America’s place in the world should be. That is a great question for all Americans; what place do we want in the world? Do we want to be the world’s police, get ourselves involved in every battle every insurgency? Or do we want to focus on our protection, like the war against terror and using drones.
These questions of course are extremely difficult to answer. Can anything we do change the hatred for thousands of years with the Sunni and Shia? Can we modernize societies that cut peoples hands off for stealing? Our being in Afghanistan should teach us that we cant change another country’s culture. Sure, maybe if we had a couple million troops there for 40 years we might be able to, but we would also be seen as occupying the country which would in turn make for even more fighting.
Its my belief that change will come only when those involved want it. The surge didnt make Iraq stable, the Sunni Awakening did. These people all have to want a better, safer, freer life. There are things we can do however. Number one is for us to get our act together. For us to act as a united country; no matter who is president we stand behind them. Right now we look like a mockery of what we once used to be. We have partisan bickering over the words Susan Rice said; when the real issue is what happened, why wasnt their security. We as a country need to come together. Our GOP and DEMS are acting like the Sunni and Shia; in constant battle. Obama meeting Romney for lunch today could be such a great uniting act; but I am doubtful it will be. So, first is have politicians here all on the same page, all with the same goals, making our country better. That would set a huge example to the world. Second we should create or help to create some sort of Arab Muslim UN of sorts where new democracies in the Mid East can go to for help. Turkey is a democracy that could help other countries learn to govern, protect themselves and be free. Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Libya they could all use guidance. Their peers should try to help them. Also America should always let it be known we stand for peace and freedom for all people and will help in anyway we can; without going to war.
There are things we can do to help around the world, the policies we have been pursuing are not working. We should rethink them using some of my suggestions above. But we need to get our house in order first, and our financial house too. We should be that Shining City on the Hill that everyone wants to live in and we should help others achieve it.