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US: Intervention policy

Miles Seeley says: "It is interesting to see the "blame America for everything" idea flower. Now we see phrases like "The Democrats are to blame," and "it began with Clinton." It seems pretty nonsensical to me, but many people in many countries will buy into it. Ronald rightly points out that intervention in another country's affairs has been going on for centuries. It is also true that every major country I can think of has done it recently and/or plans to do more of it soon. Chechniya, The Falklands, French African former colonies, Taiwan, and so forth.

It brings up an interesting question, for me. To refuse to intervene makes you isolationist. To use only diplomatic means not backed up by the threat of force seems to make you ineffective. To actually use force makes you the bad guy of the world. It's hard for me to see how to make a perfect policy. I opposed invading Iraq for practical (in my mind) reasons, and the mess there now seems to indicate that the United States was clueless about what the results of an invasion would be. "Nation building" is bad, "Peacekeeping" is good, but it's hard to tell them apart.

I still maintain, as I have said often before, that the seeds of today's Arab terrorism were planted in the Palestinian refugee camps I saw in the 1960s. And all nations who let that happen and never sought to remedy it watered and fertilized the seeds. All of this leads me to conclude once again that the world is a very messy place, and foreign policy and international affairs are complex and hard to do well. The easiest thing to do is to find someone else to blame".

RH: I would go further back than the refugee camps Miles mentions. It goes back to the creation of the state of Israel. Miles says "The United States was clueless". It may still be. The Economist (8/2-9/03) has an article on Sharon's talks with Bush entitled "Sharon gets his way, again". Israel's security wall is being bent to encompass Ariel, s Jewish settlement. When Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf came to Washington, he urged Arab countries to make peace with Israel, with which Pakistan has no diplomatic relations. Clearly Bush had bribed him to take this position. How the vehemently anti-Israel people of Pakistan will reacts remains to be seen.

Ronald Hilton - 8/8/03