by John Abshire
America has only been engaged in six declared wars, and those wars are: The Second Barbary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, the First World War and the Second World War. In those times before, and after each conflict, America has been engaged in what are commonly called “Small wars of Peace”. The Small wars of Peace are examples of attempts of the United States to nation build, spread “democracy” and of course it is always conducted with the best of intention, or so it would seem. These attempts to help build nations and “save” them from outside influences directly contradicts what this nation is all about, which was founded on a firm belief system that did not include or provide for the act of nation building. The biggest failures of these policies of nation building come from the attempts to put up “democratic” governments in the Middle – East. That region alone has been the target of most recent political debate, and is the source for many examples of exactly how and why America fails at Nation building. Clear examples of failed attempts at nation building can be found in Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan; with some of these problems still ongoing today it is beyond important that American’s take note of the world around them, and why America drops the ball so often.
It has been said that the Pathway to hell is paved with good intentions, and America is not without their good intentions, especially in the area of Nation Building in the Middle –East. Since nowhere in the American constitution does it allow for nation building, it’s a really hard pill to swallow on a political and legal manner, yet throughout history the American Government wages these wars in the name of Nation building, and the American people often times back these attempts as a majority, because of the “good intentions”. When speaking of the Middle-East, it is hard to refrain from the whole oil debate as a reason why the American’s wage these wars of nation building, and while valid they are not the reasons sold to the American people, so why is that the center of so much public debate? Sure wars for oil are just as wrong as wars to build nations, so the American Government sells the people that building nations is our duty because “we have what ‘they’ want.” So when looking at why America wages these wars, try and not get caught up on them being wars for oil, when in fact they might honestly be, but rather fight and debate the reason Americans are sold on why “force” is needed. Fight them at their own game; only use facts backed by sources rather than opinions backed by fear and uncertainty.
The main problem with Nation Building in the Middle-East is the American approach to a problem, which may or may not even exist in the first place. Take for example the problem faced when the American Military did not back the Anti-Saddam movement that was going on in Iraq during the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The American government promised the Anti-Saddam movement that it would back them up with the might of the American Military, and all they had to do was stand up against Saddam. Well, they ended up standing up and what did America do? Nothing, and for that many, many people were slaughtered trying to fight the brutal dictator. How could such a brutal leader be in power in the first place? Saddam was placed into his position by the United States Government, to help stabilize the country and make it “better”. The common thought at the time was, if we place someone “good” in power in Iraq, they can help bring “democracy” to people who still live in the 7th Century. The problem is, the people are still rooted to their 7th century belief systems of highly tribal and religious sects that assert power and authority at the butt of a rifle or the blade of a sword. Thus it is impossible for “democracy” to work for people who lack the very foundation in which to support “democracy”. The very fabric of “democracy” depends highly on the will of the people to help each other through having non-biased voting abilities, and the ability to stand up for what you believe without threat of persecution. The problem with the Middle-East is, that is exactly how their politics work, they are still very tribal people who simply cannot grasp or conform to the American way of thinking. It does not make them “stupid” or “ill educated” it makes them different. That is the root of the problem right there. America sees these people as poor, starving, oppressed people, and at times that may very well be the case. However, just because these people appear to need help, which does not mean that they want our help, or even think they need it.
In the Middle-East the American Military is currently fighting a two front war against an ideal, how does one expect to win a war against an ideology? You simply cannot win a war against an ideology, and in this case the American military is also fighting a war against a tactic, Terrorism. America has not won a war against an insurgency since the Philippine Insurrection during the early 20th century, although arguably we are still waging that very same war in the Philippines a century later; new enemy, same war. How does America expect to win the hearts of minds of people that they fail to understand anything about? We send them CD players, DVD players, Cell Phones, and I-pods, but what has changed there…or is that what we measure as Nation Building, give them candy while we neglect their bread?
It is a simple and easy solution, which has been destroyed by the lobbyists, special interest groups, political bureaucracy, and good government bull-shit. If you want to build a nation, you have to understand the people you are trying to help, and you never do so by force. A nation that is built by force will require force to maintain it. Here in the United States, the Nation was built and framed after the Americans fought for their independence. It was a revolution that came from within, with the spirit of the people backed by good luck, good fortune, great leaders, and great thinkers. It was not formed by another nation sending thousands of troops and handing out teddy bears and telling the American people that they need to be “free”, freedom was a concept born from the American people, not forced upon them by an outside source. However, it seems that the American government is hell bent on “sharing” freedom with everyone in the world, whether they want it or not. Under not authority granted by the U.S. Constitution, troops are sent to spread “freedom” which is in direct violation of the laws set forth by the framers of the country, and why it is allowed it happen is appalling.
America needs to go back to non-interventionist policies and no more nation building. It puts American lives in jeopardy, it is against the law of the land, and in every case it has left the place that was intended to be helped, in far worse condition that it was in the first place. It was our failed foreign policy that got us involved in World War One, World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle-East, the Balkans, and Africa. So instead of trying to save the world, America needs to fix itself.
“We the people need to work on keeping our civil liberties, our freedoms, that does not mean that everyone in the world who does not share our opinions and it certainly does not give us the right to assert freedom by force. Freedom by force is like fucking for virginity.” John Abshire