By: Jonathan S. Hogue ~Opinions & Editorials Editor~
It is true, the world is a dangerous place. People should not be surprised when they hear political leaders stress this fact during highprofile speeches.
With recent attacks in Paris, Beirut and Syria, it is hard to watch the news and not feel sad about the state of our world. Unfortunately, we created many of these problems, but there is hope because we can also solve them if we work now.
Groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda were not created solely to rebuke the United States. These terror groups were created partly by outside forces meddling in affairs they did not fully understand.
For centuries, the Middle East has been in turmoil and has experienced cultural, political and social changes that have challenged the region’s ability to adapt in modern times.
While the regional problems present trouble, a greater threat arises when external powers intervene without a proper understanding of the people and their political needs.
This deprives nations of their freedom and leaves them at the mercy of a consensus developed half a world away from the root of the issue.
In numerous cases, Middle Eastern countries have resisted Western occupations because of this misunderstanding. Americans, E u r o p e a n s , D e m o c r a t s , Republicans, Blacks, whites all have a hand in the conundrum that is instability in the Middle East.
From WWI to the Iraq War, the United States and allies have used the region as a petri dish for policies, pursuing political goals pertinent to their nations.
Careful students of world history will see an invisible hand of shaping international diplomacy in countries like Iran, Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, Libya and others, that placed authority in political groups aligned with Western ideals but not those of the people in the nation.
It is dangerous for individuals to impose a one size fits all policy for the world. It creates a rift in relations and causes political systems to break from the pressure ignorance imposes on fragile governments.
For anyone reading this editorial, this is in no way an argument for extreme violence or acts of terror. The attacks the world has seen this century have at times been hard to bear. But it is foolish for citizens to expect political leaders to solve issues they did not initially create,and will not be able to solve in four to eight years.
International affairs is a like a game of chess. It requires patience, focus and strategy to win. In the same way people expect an expert chess player to adhere to strategy, citizens should expect the same from political leaders. Intervention strategies are useful if the region is receptive to the use of force.
Also, rhetoric used by leaders, at all levels, should attack the terrorists and not the victims.
If you feel helpless or that your voice is not heard, in a way, you are right. As Americans, we cannot be involved with every policy administered by Washington, but we can still influence enough to make a difference.
Our role as good citizens is to support leadership, in both parties, respect allies and learn from the successes and failures of our adversaries in order to remain secure. Anyone who takes a knee-jerk approach to international affairs will do more harm than good in the political system.
As you watch the news, take a moment to think about the men and women in war zones who fight for peace. Think about Barack Obama having to hear stories of war and terror each day while serving in the thankless job that is the President of the United States.
Yes, there will be leaders who will use fear to influence diplomacy, but this does not completely represent the government of which you and I are a part.
We stand with the thousands of citizens who work in our intelligence
agencies, serve in the military and protect the streets to ensure that terror — foreign and domestic — is stopped before it disrupts our way of life. These strategists and planners are the ones who deserve our respect as we face the unknown.
Thoughtful reactions make a bigger impact than impulsive responses. Citizens should maintain a watchful eye on elected officials but also give government the respect and support it needs to effectively do its job. Above all, people need to remember that the world is unsafe, but troubles are man-made.
If we cause war, we can end war. It takes an educated citizenry to fight ignorance and make the long term sacrifices necessary to ensure that justice prevails for all who want it.