American foreign policy since World War II has had only one goal: to maintain American supremacy and military force around the world, in order to actively pursue our own interests.
The process began long before President Barak Obama or former president George W. Bush entered office, and it is implicitly embedded in our nation’s government, no matter which party is in power.
Republicans focus on how Democrats are willing to wave the olive branch, cut defense spending and generally be weak on national defense. In response, Democrats attempt to bolster their credibility by claiming how tough they are on terrorism and how they will increase defense spending.
However, the reality is both parties prioritize the nation’s defense, for better or worse. When it comes down to the facts, Obama has increased drone attacks in several countries while going back on his word by keeping Guantanamo Bay open. His foreign policy, to a large degree, is an extension of Bush’s.
What is much tougher to analyze and even discuss is how embedded our country’s military influence has become in sovereign foreign nations. Most people know the U.S. has military bases in many foreign nations, in combination with intelligence gathering in certain countries of interest.
Many probably do not know, however, that the U.S. Special Forces are at any given time actively running missions in 70 countries. The Special Forces includes Navy SEALs and Army Deltas, among other operations.
The range of power granted to the Special Forces has increased during the last decade, along with their numbers. They have grown from an operation numbering in the hundreds to the tens of thousands within the past two administrations. They run intelligence-gathering missions in foreign nations, a job previously reserved for the CIA.
Post-9/11 foreign policy has heightened pressure on the president and government to be stronger and tougher in response to perceived threats. The increase in Special Operations missions and its personnel highlights the implementation of this policy.
The danger with this strategy is a never-ending cycle of violence. We are sowing seeds of hatred in a generation of people who see the United States unlawfully invading and subsequently destroying their countries. They then see retribution as their only option.
The role of the United States as world policeman is no longer feasible — if it ever was. Our government has a responsibility to maintain a strong military for the nation’s defense, but the level to which our involvement in foreign nations has risen is unacceptable and exceeds the military’s mandate. We like to consider ourselves the “good guys” on the international stage and seemingly would like to foster cooperation and good will among our allies.
Contrary to that picture our government paints, the U.S. repeatedly treats the United Nations as its personal tool and circumvents unanimous decisions. The war in Iraq was a recent example of a major unilateral decision by the United States against the will of the rest of the globe.
Currently, domestic issues are garnering much of the attention in the general election coverage, as they should. With our growing deficit and other economic ailments, both candidates are extolling the virtues of their “unique” recovery plans.
They conveniently ignore the enormous amounts of money we place into the all-encompassing category of defense spending.
Neither party wants to be painted as unpatriotic by cutting the defense budget. But the money we spend “fighting terrorism” abroad could be used much more effectively to help our citizenry here at home.
It is clear why Mitt Romney — and even Obama, to a certain extent — have avoided referring to America’s true foreign policy objectives. Americans do not wish to hear about missions we run in countries they cannot even identify on the map. They want our deficit to shrink and the unemployment rate to decrease.
At the same time, they believe our government is fighting the good fight to bring democracy and freedom to the world, and that we need to maintain a military stronger than any other nation. We have kept this falsehood alive too long, and it will continue to survive until we demand an end to our imperialistic agenda.