by Richard Saunders – June 20, 2014 (opinions expressed don’t necessary represent eventsfy views)
Would the REAL U.S. Patriots PLEASE stand up?!! I said—would the REAL U.S. Patriots PLEASE stand up?!! My fellow PATRIOTS and REAL Americans, my objective for this article is to significantly clarify America’s position and options with its current foreign affairs. Our 24-hour news cycle and our current politicians have devolved our society into reflexive and short-term thinking with misinformation and conspiracies running amuk. Almost every politician or 24-hours news segment attacks the opposite side with so much righteous vigor—claiming how evil and wrong the other is! Self-evidently, this cannot be productive yet we still allow our politicians and 24-hours news channels to sow their destructive and venomous anger throughout our society. In our society, the most negative political campaigns win so WHY would any political consultant strategize to do anything different? Do we really believe that all this vilifying of our politicians doesn’t have any negative effect on our society? I say absolutely—Congress’s approval rating is an abysmal 12 percent! We have vilified the other side so relentlessly that now nothing can be accomplished in Washington because our politicians can’t even be seen working constructively with the other side. Equally baffling is how POSITIVE words like “compromise,” “empathy,” “fairness,” and “government” have been corrupted to be deemed NEGATIVE behaviors in our political discourse. You think this isn’t affecting them from getting anything done? Absolutely it is! Yet why do we continue to elect divisive and unconstructive politicians??
With that said, the first topic that I would like to discuss with you is the crisis in Iraq and Syria with the extremist ISIS group wreaking havoc and unrest throughout the region. Let’s start with a long-term and informed perspective (rarely seen in today’s instant informational society) on WHY we are currently in our present situation in Iraq and Syria. Just like everything in life, if you don’t understand why you find yourself in a particular situation, then you will never know how to appropriately and constructively respond.
In 1951 Iran elected Mohammad Mosaddegh prime minister. But because he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves, we helped in orchestrating a coup d’état (violent overthrow of a government) of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Do remember that America was extremely frightened at the time with the Soviet Union’s growing influence around the world and we were quick to side with any leader opposed to communism—feeling confident that communism was the greater evil. However, this doesn’t change the facts of what happened in Iran. After this coup in 1951, we helped to install the Iranian Shah (the leader), who crushed all forms of political opposition and greatly repressed his people until the 1979 Iranian revolution, which was a direct result from their disdain of their Shah and the American/West foreign policies of interfering.
During the 1980s—soon after the 1979 Iranian revolution—The United States supported the thuggish Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, with his war against Iran providing him chemical weapons that he used not only against Iran but also against his own Iraqi people. About a million Iraqis and Iranians died in this Iran/Iraq War in the 80s. Obviously, we must interject that America didn’t cause or fight this war—but its actions, undoubtedly with hindsight, were NOT helpful.
After allying with Saddam Hussein in the 80s, we became bitter enemies—attacking Iraq in the early 90s for trying to annex Kuwait and then invading and taking complete control of Iraq in 2003 on the false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s connection with September 11, 2001. The accusations of weapons of mass destruction were our knee-jerk reaction after 9/11 happened. Our collective fear at the time greatly distorted any rational thinking on our part. You could say that we were collectively making a very difficult decision under the influence of emotions, which rarely pans out well. Since we went into Iraq COMPLETELY on false pretenses, a JUST war became untenable for us. And since we completely blundered the rationality to make Iraq a JUST war, misstep after misstep would inevitably ensue us in Iraq. A non-exhaustive list of our many blunders in this Iraq war below:
1. Not following the military’s recommendation for more troops to stabilize Iraq after invading
- Outcome: led to mass looting and chaos, which bred anger and frustration
2. Not being greeted as liberators as many foreign “expert” predicted
- Outcome: bloody insurgent campaigns quickly commenced—Fallujah, Sadre City
3. Torturing and mistreating prisoners of Abu Ghraib Prison (complete debacle)
- Outcome: foamed mass anger and trust greatly deteriorated—terrorists created
4. Disbanding the Baathist Party from Iraq’s Government because Saddam Hussein was a Baathist
- Outcome: disenfranchised a whole segment of Iraqi’s society that definitely enhanced sectarian divisions between Sunnis and Shiites
5. Not holding Saddam’s trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands
- Outcome: Saddam was ruthlessly hanged by Shiite thugs and this enhanced even more sectarian divisions. World never got a chance to see any righteous with our invasion
6. Grossly failing to realize that a democratic Iraqi government would undoubtedly be run by the majority Shiites
- Outcome: Iraq and Iran are allies now
It’s not too difficult to ascertain what a mess this war has been from the onset. Abraham Lincoln said it perfectly, “RIGHT makes MIGHT.” Well, we didn’t have the RIGHT in Iraq; therefore, we don’t have the MIGHT now—it’s that simple. And NOW we have the same characters (let’s call them the “misguided ones”) who led us into Iraq having the audacity and chutzpah to blame President Obama for the current Iraqi situation! Amazing! Let’s all remember that Obama was a staunch opponent of the Iraq war—a very unpopular position at that time—endlessly and righteously criticizing the invasion into Iraq. These “misguided ones” who led us into Iraq fervently complain that it’s all Obama’s fault that:
- ISIS, the radical group that exists PRIMARILY because of our Iraqi invasion, is taking over Iraq
- The U.S. didn’t leave troops in Iraq past December 2011—even though Bush signed the agreement for our troops to leave after 2011 AND the political climate in Iraq due to our numerous blunders (see blunders’ list above) NEVER politically allowed us and Iraq to extend this agreement.
- The U.S. is weak because of Obama’s policies. This is completely empty rhetoric—although I’ve heard this countless of times. The United States strength comes from its constitution, economy, military, and its people—not its President. The President is strictly a byproduct of its people.
- You name it—just turn on Foxnews and you’re guaranteed to see numerous individuals blaming the President for God knows what EVERY single day. Anything good that happens, Obama has nothing to do with it—anything bad that happens, he is directly at fault. Such a shame and a disservice…Foxnews sells fear (this is precisely and undoubtedly what they sell) and we all need to understand this so that we can move past all these nonsensical arguments and get something constructively done.
So let’s bypass the petty arguments and conspiracies espoused on a daily basis and take a REAL constructive look at what Obama has done since day one of his presidency with his foreign policy. Obama rode into office with the principles of mutual respect and talking with our enemies—most notably Iran—to resolve world conflicts. Obama received immediate criticisms from all sides—just like his opposition to the Iraq war—because this wasn’t at all a popular position at the time. BUT he continued pursuing a desire to negotiate with Iran. How did Iran respond? Initially dismissively, with the Iranian President Ahmadinejad continually stating inflammatory remarks towards America, Israel, and the West. However, these inflammatory remarks by Ahmadinejad obviously didn’t work anymore to increase his stature among the Iranian people because they sparked their 2010 Green Revolution against their Iranian leaders. And because Obama rightfully chose not to invade Iran during their Green Revolution (contrary to the loud and warmongering“misguided ones”), anti-Americanism in Iran didn’t grow. In fact, anti-Americanism has decreased in Iran because we know that in 2012 the Iranian people chose the much more moderate and Western friendly President Rhouhani, who immediately sent conciliatory tweets to both the American and Jewish people after being elected. Today for the first time since 1979, the American and Iranian governments are speaking directly on a range of issues—Iran’s nuclear program, Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s instability, and others. The permissible political climate for Iran to finally speak with the American Government is unquestionably and directly correlated with Obama’s principles of mutual respect and talking with enemies—to understand why the other thinks the way they do. Enough with saying this country or that country is evil—this is absolutely not constructive! We need to know and understand Iran and its people so that we can resolve our differences and find solutions that move us towards a more stable and fairer world (we both want this)—just like you would with someone with whom you want to resolve differences in order to create a better work or living environment. Have you really ever resolved differences with someone if you never talked and understood that person? Absolutely not! It’s the exact same thing with countries and peoples too.
Where does the United States find itself today from Obama’s foreign policies? A list for clarifications:
- The U.S. has ended two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
- The U.S. has mobilized the international community to implement crippling sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program—these were not achievable in past administrations
- The U.S. has avoided going to war in Iran, Egypt, Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq (again)—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
- U.S. troop deaths and injuries have dramatically decreased
- Osama Bin Laden killed—never achieved under the previous administration
- Benghazi attack mastermind had been captured in less than two years
- The U.S has avoided another costly and bloody war with Russia and has mobilized the international community to implement economic sanctions against Russia—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
- The U.S. and Iran are negotiating for the first time since 1979 over Iran’s nuclear program and potentially cooperating together on the Iraq and Syria conflict—contrary to “the misguided ones” recommendations
- The U.S. has kept its people safe thwarting numerous terrorist plots on its soil
However, if you were to turn your TV to the strictly “fear-selling” news channel or listen to any conservative talk radio, you would begin to think that Armageddon or World War III were just around the corner. These outlets continually push their same empty rhetoric and statements over-and-over that—I believe—they themselves begin to believe these petty arguments and conspiracies as news-worthy topics. Have you ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect? This is the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. Have you ever heard of the Golem Effect? This is the self-fulfilling prophecy whereby the lower the expectations placed upon people, the worse they perform. Studies have shown these hypotheses to be true YET we have convinced ourselves that our politicians are worthless and evil. We reap what we sow. No wonder our politicians can’t get anything done when we continuously demonize them into evil doers along with our OWN Presidents—in particular Obama. The political opportunists who should know better somehow have convinced large swaths of our population about the “evilness” of our President.
Calling countries “the axis of evil” or demonizing whole peoples is also just as destructive for resolving conflict. Let’s not pretend that Iran doesn’t do things that aren’t extremely destructive—to say the least—because it supports Bashir Assad (Syrian’s ruthless dictator), Hezbollah (Lebanon’s radical Islamic militia), Hamas (Palestine’s radical Islamic militia), and Shiite Militias that fought American troops in Iraq. However, we must truly understand that Iran’s main objective is to protect their sovereignty and national interests. Try to think about the psyche of the typical Iranian—remember: the United States supported Iran’s previous ruthless Shah for over 20 years, supported the Iraqis during Iran’s war against Iraq, invaded both of Iran’s neighbors (Iraq and Afghanistan), and threatened the Iranian government on multiple occasions with potential military involvement. We need to get past the rhetoric that Iran is evil or the United States is evil—obviously, neither are true. We need to focus on what the United States and Iran both want:
- Stability in the middle east and world
- Sovereignty over its own land and government
- Economic progress
- Assurances that the other side won’t attack them
- Decreased hostilities towards each other—the people at least
If you believe like I do that these WANTS of both the United States and Iran are a great foundation to move forward constructively to resolve century old conflicts, then we actually can and should move forward cautiously with Iran. Again—it must be repeated: based on his doctrine of mutual respect and talking with our enemies, Obama has given Iran—and America—a golden opportunity to get things RIGHT in the Middle East. Enough of the empty rhetoric that Obama is the weakest President of all time—this means absolutely nothing. Once again, America isn’t strong because of who is sitting in the White House; America is strong because of its ideals derived from its divinely inspired constitution, its economic power, its military power, and its political relationships around the world. So, once again, let’s just bypass these silly criticisms that Obama isn’t macho enough or is the weakest President ever!
The Dick Cheney conceived principle of pre-emptive strike must cease to exist for the United States. John 8:7 He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. Is any country without sin to be allowed to cast the first stone? NO! Jesus believes we all have sinned; therefore, no one should cast stones. We must understand others to make better decisions collectively. We need less judging and demonizing of others and countries. We need Patriots that support our President and Government instead “faux” Patriots who constantly criticize them. We need humility and accountability to understand why we are in our current situation—we reap what we sow. And we need faith and patience to understand that we DO move forward in providing a better tomorrow. Obama has provided this real opportunity for the United States and Iran to take this GIANT step forward to improve the lives of millions in the Middle East and around the world—with potential stability, potential economic progress, potential partners, etc. Obama received the Noble Peace Prize in 2009—will this be another Pygmalion Effect moment. Self-fulfilling prophecies are funny how often they come true. We in America believe we can achieve what we believe. In America perhaps we need to believe Obama CAN achieve great things instead of constantly tearing him down because he has already achieved so much that we can all be proud of. As I started this paper, would the REAL Patriots please stand up?!! I said—would the REAL Patriots please stand up?!!