Recently, I’ve found politics to be a gauntlet. I’ve watched people twist themselves into knots in order to preserve their biases. I realize it probably won’t happen, but I hope that in the future more individuals will take a wider view of history as a substitute for their narrow view of politics.
Take for instance the killing of Iranian General Soleimani. He directed the killing of hundreds of Americans and put scores of others at risk. Because of his actions, I’m glad that he assumed room temperature.
But, foreign affairs rarely shift after someone dies. Another has already taken his place. Iran continues to be a leading sponsor of terrorism, a distinction the nation has held for 40 years. Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two American bases in Iraq in retaliation for Soleimani being targeted by a drone strike.
Thankfully, it appears that no American service personnel were hurt in Tuesday’s missile attacks. America should take this opportunity to reset and reassert itself in the Middle East with experienced diplomats actively engaging Iran seeking solutions.
After being one of the countries which divided the Middle East along arbitrary lines following World War I, many Americans now want us to wash our hands of the region. We forget that our predecessors and policies played a part in creating the current mess.
President Trump’s foreign policy seems to advocate ceding the Middle East to bad actors with interests contrary to our own. A strong American diplomatic presence bolstered by American military strength reduces the chance that more missiles will fly in a region already steeped in American blood.
Furthermore, I’m distressed that so many have already developed a thirst for war. Some choose to be keyboard warriors gnashing their teeth with General MacArthur like zeal.
His overconfidence and inaction left our troops vulnerable and left Americans and Filipino’s to endure the Bataan Death March. He directed American soldiers and Marines to fight to the last man after he was safely evacuated. He is considered an icon for returning to the Philippines in 1944. The heroes are those who stayed.
Planning almost always bests impulse. Foreign policy successes rarely appear overnight. Instead diplomacy is usually the product of slow progress. To their credit President Trump and the Iranian regime seem to have ratcheted down the rhetoric when many expected escalation.
Still, those who want to punish Iran fail to realize that armed conflict will have long lasting effects. Economic sanctions also require balance, too harsh and they will cause Iranian civilians to sour even more on America. The vast majority don’t burn our flag, they love America and crave our economic and personal freedoms.
It will take generations and a worldwide commitment for there to be recognizable changes in the Middle East. Westerners need to be cognizant of religious and cultural sensitivities, factors which influence the reasoning and intensity of any conflict. The question is, do Americans have the patience to see the changes through or will our attention span last just enough to watch bombs drop from the sky?