OPINION: It is the nation’s duty to protect those in need of protection

The foreign policy of the United States of America primarily consists of four main goals: strengthen national security, strengthen international trade, promote world peace, and promote democratic governments. The U.S., in its pursuits of establishing these goals, has pursued various methods, both violent and passive, in asserting its global stance. As such, many in the global community, previously, have viewed America in a negative light, claiming that the U.S. is an arrogant state who behaves as if it is the police of the world.

Now the U.S. is seemingly too lenient when it comes to enforcing their foreign policy goals. We approve of many nations, often indirectly, in the continuation of their various human rights violations. In many places around the world, Syria and China most prominently, the U.S. is actively attempting to avoid any involvement in the affairs of foreign nations because its leaders fear losing too much economically and politically.

Radically different from the U.S. today, the U.S. had maintained an aggressive policy of anti-communism demonstrated in multiple global events during the Cold War. The Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Afghan Resistance were all overseen by the U.S. in an attempt to repel the Soviets from gaining any more influence than they already had. These conflicts saw the U.S. make many questionable decisions all in an attempt to resist the Soviet sphere of influence.

Yet America was not intentionally seeking war for the sake of war but rather to hopefully establish peace in the future. The U.S. could not have anticipated the adverse effects this would have and they do not leave these conflicts without attempting to heal some of the pain caused by the wars. The U.S. has always been faithful towards its allies and supporters. It has maintained a significant military presence in Afghanistan to help prevent terrorist attacks and you can find American soldiers along the demilitarized zone in the Korean peninsula defending the territory of its allies.

This starkly contrasts the current foreign policy initiatives the U.S. has undertaken under the Trump administration. The U.S. allows its morals to be twisted on a case to case basis, mostly dependent on the region’s economic significance to the U.S. and the effect it will have on the politics back home.

A Free Syria Army soldier makes his way through the rubble of Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Towards the end of the Obama administration, the U.S. undertook many operations and established local allies all in an attempt to destabilize the so-called Islamic State. One of these allies, the Kurdish, were one of the U.S.’s most valuable allies in successfully repelling the ISIS terrorists from Syria. Now after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the U.S., under orders from the President, has decided to pull back troops from Syria. This left the Kurdish vulnerable to another attack from ISIS and the Turkish, who want to deport 3 million Syrian refugees after public opinion on the refugees soured.

This is an egregious violation of trust. The U.S. has abandoned its Kurdish allies and has left it vulnerable to mass deportation, terrorist attacks, and persecution by the Assad Regime of Syria. This is unacceptable.

Trump’s America is increasingly becoming Trump First, Then America. The nation’s credibility and global position has been called into question as this event unfolds. It seems as if he has approved of President Erdogan of Turkey, who is effectively an authoritarian dictator, further insulting our nation’s morals. These people put their lives on the line for a foreign nation trusting that the U.S. would defend them and their freedom. Yet America turned its back on them and allowed the Kurds to be persecuted and threatened.

To be fair, this isn’t all Trump’s fault. The U.S. does have some questionable decisions in Middle Eastern foreign relations, most notably the relationship the U.S. has with Saudi Arabia. The nation allows the Saudis to commit numerous human rights violations because the Saudis they provide the U.S. with millions of barrels of oil as well as being another powerful military strategic ally in the Middle East along with the Israelis.

Most of these questionable relations can be attributed to the Cold War era where the U.S., to prevent Soviet influence from expanding, attempted to entrench themselves as allies of multiple Middle Eastern countries. Nevertheless, this is not an excuse for the U.S. to continue practices that only increase the strife in the region. The Middle East has been embroiled in war since the fall of the Ottomans and the U.S. withdrawing military support to the Kurds, a historically persecuted people group, does not help the situation.

To what extent do you agree that the U.S. should remain in syria in order to protect the turkish people?

Poll based on a cross-section of East students

This is an egregious violation of trust. The U.S. has abandoned its Kurdish allies and has left it vulnerable to mass deportation, terrorist attacks, and persecution by the Assad Regime of Syria. This is unacceptable.

A poll conducted by this publication has revealed that an overwhelming number of individuals support U.S. military intervention in the current crisis in Syria. Eighty-five percent of students agree to some extent that the U.S. should maintain a military presence in Syria while only 15% of students questioned believed that the U.S. should stay away from the increasingly tumultuous situation in Syria but not a complete withdrawal of troops.

Further into Asia, the U.S. relationship with China is one that should be severed but will not be because of the diverse market China presents to U.S. corporations. Trump only placed sanctions on China to appease his increasingly disgruntled voter base as he begins to fall flat on many of the promises he made during his election campaign. Yet even these sanctions have had a minimal impact as out corporate relationship with China is still strong.

For instance, only a few months ago, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, approved of an extradition bill, allowing suspected criminals to be deported to mainland China. Many Hong Kong natives recognized the power the Communist Party of China gained with this bills ratification. It would allow the Chinese to extradite “criminals” (in reality only political dissidents) from Hong Kong which would result in the suppression of the people’s right to free speech.

In response, the natives of Hong Kong protested fervently, calling out to many nations to aid them in their darkest moments. But due to America and China having many mutual interests economically, we did not resist the Chinese as they cracked down brutally on the peaceful protesters. In fact, many of our corporations stood by silent recognizing that resisting Chinese rule would mean loss of a nearly $2 billion large market.

This was most noticed by how the world reacted when the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong. In a single tweet, the National Basketball Association lost a substantial amount of revenue within a single week. The situation only intensified when LeBron James, small forward/point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen and an outspoken humanitarian, said that at certain times freedom of speech has its limitations. This sent the world into a large geopolitical conflict as many NBA fans in Hong Kong, disgusted by James’s comments, burned his jersey.

By supporting the Chinese, James has lost many of his most ardent supporters as people claim that everything he does is for money and not because he actually cares for the community. This statement has some credibility in it because if China blocks any relationship with the NBA, James would stand to lose a sizeable amount of money from his deal with Nike, whose shoes are made in China. For that reason James is willing to ignore the cries of millions.

It is not only NBA teams bending to the rules of China but also many other corporations such as Apple and many Hollywood production companies. We are allowing a foreign nation to dictate our economy, a nation which has been committing various atrocities for the better part of a century. It simply cannot be allowed.

It is our duty, as a nation who believes in individual freedom, to support other struggling nations free themselves from the bondage of corrupt leaders, governments, and terror organizations. Not for our own selfish military needs nor our economic desires but in order to stand up to injustice no matter where it is present. We as humans must support one another regardless of color, nationality, religion, language, and socio-economic status. By allowing our allies to be violated, America indirectly supports nations who infringe on basic human rights we discard the very foundational principle on which our country was built upon: Every man and woman has unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Anuraj Nair is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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