June 19, 2005

In Post Cold War US, Dictatorships > Democracies

Containment. That one word was the entire US foreign policy around the globe. Back when communism was still a threat and the number of superpowers was even, containment was all the justification Americans needed to act anywhere around the globe. This oftentimes resulted in bad situations, such as the ones in South America, most notably Chile, where US support backed cruel dictators just so that the communist guerilla fighters wouldn't win. We even backed Saddam Hussein and his enemies in Iran, both at the same time.

That wasn't a very good policy.

Although it was an admirable effort, the effects of containment leave us today in very bad shape. It turns out that since we won, those dictators and other notorious people who at the time seemed better than communism are still in power. The United States in now in a position where the majority of the people living under those countries hate us.

Even if we hadn't backed these governments, we would have won the Cold War anyway. Simply by following Reagan's policy of outspending the USSR, we won. It wasn't through containment, it wasn't through warfare. It was through spending money. And as soon as the USSR had fallen, what do you think the communist countries would have done? They would have instantly lost their biggest trading partners and supporters, within fractions of a second.

But then, hindsight is 20/20.

So now we come to today's day and age. The dictators are still there, and we have to wage a War on Terror. Instantly, we need allies for every action. But due to an unfortunate side effect, we're now turning to the same people we supported during the Cold War.

That's right. America's valuing those dictator allies.

Why shouldn't we? It makes logical sense. We supported them in their time of need, they OWE us, don't they?

But such alliances must be made against the backdrop of morals and ethics. If we, as a nation who claims to support freedom and liberty, back countries who brutally repress people and then seek their help, what kind of message are we sending? Go ahead, oppress your people, just don't be communist?

On top of all that, we're shunning our oldest and most democratic of allies. France, Germany, and all the countries of Western Europe whom we were friends with during the Cold War are now being turned away easily. Instead, we support countries like Pakistan, a known military dictatorship, Saudi Arabia, a regime known for repressing human rights, and China, soley because US corporations make money from them.

In the future, will the United States be remembered for losing its democratic principles to side with the dictators?

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