Some 200 years ago, the persecuted and the poor came to this virgin land in search of a better life. They conceived a constitution that protects the rights of the persecuted and the poor and provides for equality, justice and liberty for all.
And so it was; this country prospered beyond its wildest dreams and in a blink of history became the most powerful nation on earth. Unfortunately, America did not heed the lessons of history.
So here we are today confronted with dilemmas of our own creation. Our success engendered arrogance and indifference to the plight of others. We became obsessed with the trappings of power and held onto it with disregard for the consequences.
Our misguided policy in the Middle East led to the emergence of global terrorism. Starting the war in Iraq was a foolish exercise of power that ended in failure and cost this country dearly.
The invasion of Afghanistan was doomed to failure for we did not heed the failure of all those who went there before us.
We are in debt. We live on money borrowed from our adversaries and like a ship of fools we are on a course to “self-destruct.”
We ignore the fact that we cannot pay off our debt for generations to come, yet we continue to borrow because we don’t want to tighten the belt and live within our means.
It is time to change course. Let us stop these preemptive wars and redirect the resources wasted there to the improvement of the well-being of the people and to paying off our debts.
Let us not use force to achieve our objectives in foreign affairs for we can do that through diplomacy, peaceful means and fair play and let us leave the use of force for another day.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Putin feels Russia has been relegated to a secondary role on the world stage; a status he rejects; hence his attempts to annex the Crimean peninsula and at least the eastern part of the Ukraine.
He amassed a 30,000 strong mechanized Russian army along the eastern border of the Ukraine and virtually occupied part of the Crimean peninsula with the pretext of protecting indigenous Russians in these areas.
These actions are reminiscent of Hitler’s occupation of Poland and Czechoslovakia as a prelude to World War II. He too invaded these countries with the pretext of protecting indigenous Germans.
Instead of using the threat of war to counter Mr. Putin’s aggression our government is wisely relying instead on diplomacy and economic sanction, a welcome change after our recent military adventures in the Middle East.
Our government is employing the same policy vis a vis Iran. In this case though, it would be enlightening to review briefly our actions relative to Iran in the recent past; at the height of the Cold War, we supported the unpopular Shah to prevent the Soviet Union from encroaching on the oil fields of the Middle East.
And to keep the Shah in power we resorted to covert CIA operations to remove a democratically elected prime minister. Subsequently we conducted yet another covert CIA operation to topple the sectarian regime there that failed and led to taking the entire American embassy staff as hostages. No wonder then that the Iranians do not like us.
So it seems proper now to acknowledge this history and to conduct our forthcoming dialog with Iran in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill and not impose the harsh demands insisted upon by some of our allies in that region.
Then there is Syria, where at this time, neither force nor direct diplomacy would work; for how can anyone come to terms with a plethora of zealot Islamists and Jihadists, Hezbollah, al-Qaida and a dictator?
Here again diplomacy is the most likely course of action to succeed, this time by including Syria in our dialog with Putin relative to the Crimea and the Ukraine issue and including it in our dialog with Iran relative to the nuclear issue, with the aim of eventually conducting national elections in Syria under the auspices of the United Nations.
Finally, it seems we are on the right path for dealing with international issues. What remains is to make a serious effort to pay off the national debt. This would put our economy on the right path and enhance the credibility of America as leader of the free world.
Sid Bekowich is an Incline Village resident.