Latest word is that over 100 Iraqis per day are dying violent deaths in Iraq. To my untrained eye, Iraqis appear to be killing Iraqis at an increasing rate and American troops are trying and failing to keep the peace. Somehow, America will be blamed. And, in truth, America has not been able to fill the power vacuum that resulted from their invasion. If this is not a civil war, it will do until one comes along.
One popular red-white-and-blue liberal bumper sticker says “These colors don’t run . . . the world.” It does seem like we do make a mess of things when we try to. So, is there a Civil War going on in Iraq, and what, if anything, can we do about it? One reason I opposed going into Iraq is that we had no idea how we were going to get out. We still don’t. We’ve had some interesting exchanges in the Bookwormroom about where we go from here in Iraq. But perhaps the more important question is how can American foreign policy be made more effective. We are the last remaining superpower, yet seem entirely unable to translate that power into success in the rest of the world. This goes far beyond the Middle East. It covers everything from our failure to win allies in the United Nations and in the rest of the world generally to our mammoth and ever increasing trade deficit (caused in part by our inability to sell our goods abroad).
Let me throw out a few suggestions and ask you for your ideas. We should refocus on America itself: put our financial house in order by balancing our budget (the attitude must be that if we are not willing to pay for it, we should not do it); rediscover our shared core values; regain the ability to conduct our political discussions in the respectful manner the Bookwormroom tries very hard to nurture; quit arguing about which is best and develop every possible form of American energy (solar and wind and nuclear and geothermal, etc.); make “illegal resident” an oxymoron (figure out who can be here legally and deport everyone else, keep deporting those who try to come back, prosecute those who employ them); protect our borders; support American business in their efforts to sell abroad (and it wouldn’t hurt to buy American, either); make education a priority not by throwing ever more money at it but by developing a culture that values learning; and do no delude ourselves about the international situation (the enemy has declared war, believe them and act like we are at war).
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