Republicans were quick to criticize the Obama Administration for being slow to militarily assist in deposing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which eventually brought the Muslim brotherhood to power. Evidence now suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood was complicitous in the attack on the U.S. consulate that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The same Republicans are disingenuously criticizing Obama for not anticipating the danger and adequately protecting embassy personnel, yet they offer no explanation as to why President Reagan did not anticipate the danger to the 241 U.S. Marines killed in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing.
It’s time we reassess our foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, particularly among countries in which the prevailing theological and ideological mindsets are vehemently opposed to our values and existence. Under Shari’ah law, there is no punishment for denouncing or insulting Christians and Jews, yet there is no tolerance for any criticism of Islam, a belief that is just fundamentally “un-American.” We don’t want to live in fear of being killed for expressing an unpopular opinion. Countries that provide safe havens for terrorist organizations and anti-American extremist groups should be put on notice; we will only provide aid if you share western ideologies of democracy, human rights, free speech and sexual equality. The United States should remain neutral in civil conflicts unless we have assurances that the new government will promote Western-style democracy and respect the existence of their neighbors.
It all comes down to oil. I can think of no other reason why we keep trying to buy favor with such countries, making them very wealthy and providing the financial impetus to export their influence and terrorism abroad. We clearly need an energy policy that ceases our dependency on the Middle East and doesn’t needlessly place the lives of Americans at risk.
Kerry J. Watkins