COLUMN: U.S. foreign policy is terrorism

Chris Kok

To end Middle Eastern terrorism, the United States must stop committing terrorism in the Middle East. It is time for international relations to be based on cooperation and not realism.

Realism is a guiding principle in American foreign relations. It assumes states are primary actors, the world is anarchic, and each state acts toward its security interests. The goal of states in realism is to have freedom from outside control. To do this, states must increase their power, leading to a situation of conquer or be conquered.

During the Cold War, the U.S.S.R. and the United States were the major powers. For each to not be conquered, they had to conquer other areas. The U.S.S.R. had Eastern Europe and China; the United States had Western Europe and Japan. The third world was the chessboard on which realism was played.

Oil has been an important resource for all economies, and was a necessity for survival in the Cold War. Because the Middle East contained enormous amounts of oil, it was an area of strategic importance.

To gain control of this area, the United States committed serious crimes against the people of the Middle East. Our government overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953, supported brutal governments (Iran 1953-1979, Saddam’s Iraq 1980-1990, Saudi Arabia), trained terrorists (Afghanistan in the 80s), and supported Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

After the fall of the U.S.S.R., the United States expanded its power in the Middle East. In response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. built military bases in Saudi Arabia, home of the two holiest sites in Islam. U.S.-backed sanctions against Iraq, though aimed at Saddam, were devastating to the Iraqi people. Several U.N. officials resigned from enforcing the sanctions; they called it genocide.

In 1996, bin Laden published his fatwah declaring war against America. The primary reasons he mentions for declaring war are American occupation of the Holy Land, support for corrupt governments in the Middle East, support for Israel and the deadly sanctions against Iraq.

On Sept. 11, bin Laden’s threat was realized. Since Sept. 11, our government has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 100,000 Iraqis have died because of the invasion. Torture and prisoner abuse by the United States has been uncovered time and time again. These actions are only going to increase the amount of terrorism in the world.

In 2004, bin Laden said, “I tell you in truth, that your security is not in the hands of Kerry, nor Bush, nor al-Qaida. No. Your security is in your own hands. And every state that doesn’t play with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.”

If we want to have peace, we must stop our aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East. There is no justification for U.S. troops to be there, or anywhere else for that matter. We must use our influence to demand that Israel grants Palestinians full human rights. We should also support democratic movements in the Middle East and stop supporting undemocratic governments.

Should we let bin Laden go free? No. He is a criminal and should be brought to justice, as should the criminals Bush Jr., Blair, Clinton, Bush Sr. and anyone responsible for developing America’s cruel foreign policy.

Chris Kok is a senior international relations major and point/counter point columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]