The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



A new foreign policy

Mark Easley | Wednesday, March 7, 2012

President Obama has not followed any formula or precedent ever established before by a U.S. president to wage war, which is causing America to lose strategic advantage and U.S. soldiers to fight an enemy with no goals for victory.


First off let’s explain what is America’s role in the world. The United States is the most powerful nation and empire human history has ever known. Power, in this case, refers to military might. While the role of a modern republic no longer involves physically taking territories and absorbing them into our own, it still involves military intervention in other nations to protect our allies and economic interests and to establish free governments that reflect our own democratic principles and promote free market capitalism. This is a natural evolution of human governance that is proven to work and gives most people a fair stake in a better future. We owe it to our fellow man to spread freedom and liberate as much of the world from oppression as we can.

There is a large camp of Americans who foolishly think our unique form of government can somehow propagate itself naturally throughout the world without applying effort. Unfortunately, freedom is not free, but won, and without the help of a powerful foreign nation, liberation against tyranny is mathematically impossible. Our own revolution was a prime example of that.

An even more foolish camp of Americans, we will call them liberals, believe that the world doesn’t even need to be free and we should let others continue to live under unfair systems that marginalize and oppress citizens and keep people poor and ignorant.

U.S. foreign policy has never been built on spreading the greater good. It is built to protect the welfare of our citizenry. Although we have the resources to change the world, the will has never been there. Whether it’s indifference by the American public or the fear of our image in the world, it is hard to summon the momentum to do the right thing.

Our nation’s policy has always been responsive as opposed to aggressive. We have required a trigger to change the world. 9/11 allowed us to make monumental changes in the Middle East. Pearl Harbor triggered the effort to wipe out totalitarianism. The invasion of allies gave us an excuse in the past to go in and clean up the worst parts of the world. This is the wrong way to approach it. We should be proactive in rooting out the enemies of freedom.

President Obama has had plenty of excuses to make positive changes in the world through military intervention during his presidency. The Arab Spring was a great opportunity for America to take out terrible dictators that killed their own citizens to retain power.

Obama has proved one thing during his term: The president can bomb anyone he likes and no one is going to say anything. So why doesn’t he? Although Obama was right to intervene in Libya, he was quite late and did not put boots on the ground to secure democratic values. Egypt would have turned out much better had Obama stationed U.S. and international military advisers in the country.

Obama failed again by not removing Syria’s Assad regime from power in a similar fashion. Same goes for the paper tiger of Iran, and hostile governments in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The fact is we can wipe the floor with these puny regimes and free millions of people from fear. Instead, we commit resources to prolonged wars that have no achievable mission and put our soldiers in harm’s way.

Our new foreign policy should be to strike often and leave quickly. Nation building is proven for long term stability, but it is an expensive enterprise, especially in areas with sparse economic prospects. It would be better to do more with less, and properly engage our military without getting bogged down in unfriendly regions.

As in the days of the Roman Empire, there is no such thing as peace, there is only security for the homeland and our allies as we constantly engage the Barbarians that surround us. America is at perpetual war with terrorists, hostile regimes and radical militias, yet these black ops never make it to the front page of major news sources.

It is time to recognize that the days of peace are over for us and step up to the plate as the champions of what is right in this world. America isn’t perfect, but we certainly are on a track that might get there someday, and we should help the world get on it, too.

One day the world will see the end of authoritarianism, but only if we fight it now.

Mark Easley is a senior computer science major. He can be contacted at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.