America the… Bully?
America has turned from being World Peace keeper to “bully”
America has sometimes been called a bully on the national stage.
Some of this is because of the importation of American ideas and trends into other cultures across the world, which many people say ruin old traditions. It is also an inevitable slur, since we are the top-performing country in the world, both economically and in terms of military might.
But the accusation frequently derives from what many perceive as interventionism. The Vietnam War, for example, while in response to the growing threat of communism, was loudly decried the world over. And, while it was poorly handled in many respects, that was due to playing the apologist’s game, rather than putting on the show of military and political force that would have sent the Russians and Chinese packing, along with their Communist ideology. We made the same mistake with our multiple wars in the Middle East. While we ought to have been putting up a strong front that would cause our enemies to fear us, we were busy trying to institute democracy and play our idea of the good guy.
But these are the exception rather than the rule, and in our quest to not intervene, America has ignored some of the greatest human tragedies of our time; the killing fields of Cambodia, the great Gulag that is North Korea, the Darfur genocide, not to mention the experiment of Russian communism which resulted in the slaughter of millions. This is not to say we ought to be involved in every atrocity, but our hands-off approach thus far should be noted.
America has never been a bully.
If anything, we are the great pushover of the world, remaining complacently out of fights until we are forced to get involved. But recent events evidence that our tactic may be changing. First, Russia invaded a part of Ukraine, and then shot down a commercial airliner carrying nearly 300 passengers, while not far away, the terror group and elected government of Palestine, Hamas, managed to land a rocket within a two-mile radius of the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Further, three more rockets were fired today, after the last one caused a brief shutdown of flights to the area, a strategic win for the Palestinian terrorists.
It is notable to state here that Israel and the Ukraine are both friendly governments who are being aggressed by familiar foes. Israel has had rockets fired at them from Palestine, even though they ceded the Gaza Strip to Palestinians in an effort to make peace, since 2001. Israel is also a part of our important NATO alliance. As far as Ukraine, in 1994, they signed an agreement to give up their nuclear capabilities in exchange for agreement from both Russia and the U.S. that they would not take military action against it, an agreement Russia has clearly broken. In light of these facts, it is clear where America should stand on this issue.
However, the United States, while blustering about these atrocities, has done little but impose meaningless sanctions on these governments.
But we have done worse than take no action in these recent scuffles.
While tying Israel’s hands as best we can, our leaders and media are decrying the plight of the Palestinian people who both elected Hamas and support them (it is also notable that we are sending $47 million to this government, which is a known terrorist group, in “aid”), and we controversially used the shutdown of flights to Ben Gurion as a way to put pressure on the Israeli government to cease retaliation.
Meanwhile, in the situation with Ukraine, journalists and Putin-apologists in our own country have tried their hardest to play to the Kremlin’s PR, allowing Russia to get away with the claim that it only annexed Crimea to protect Russian citizens, a tactic similar to Adolf Hitler’s annex of Austria in 1938. And, while there have been many emotional and well-written stories in the aftermath of the Malaysian Airlines flight being shot down by Russian separatists, few are blaming Russia directly for the attack, even though the separatist movement is being handed everything from the Kremlin in a similar fashion to their 1970’s and 80’s Afghanistan war. And the U.S. is still standing behind the $400+ million we give to Russia for shuttle services in lieu of maintaining our own space program.
So what does this lead us to conclude?
America has finally become a bully.
Maybe we aren’t the ones out there punching the smaller kid on the playground, but in our effort to not be a bully, we stand and watch the violence instead, which makes us complicit. And with our massive funding of the United Nations, the power of our NATO alliance, and our potential to have a strong military, it’s almost worse than that. We’re not just another kid out there on the playground; we are an adult, standing at the edge of the crowd watching the tussle, at best shrugging before we go on our way, and at worst holding back the smaller kid’s arms so the other can get a better shot.
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