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US Foreign Policy Middle East and Afghanistan

Under the new Trump Administration, we seem to see a popular rise against the banning of Muslims from the United States. What does that mean? Does it mean the average American is starting to have a moralizing opinion about the world’s Muslim population? Maybe. Muslims, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, have been the largest victims of draconian US foreign policy under the past two administrations, namely, Bush and Obama. The US foreign policy has killed thousands of innocent Muslims and yet much of this has gone on with very little objection from large populous movements.

Among the many examples are the bombings in Afghanistan with a history of hitting civilian targets and perpetuating a misunderstood war. The war, with no end in sight, continually breaks records for civilian deaths every year, with 2016 being the highest year on record. High casualties come from an inability to find peace and significant casualties from a declining security situation. There are also increased numbers of insurgents according to government documents showing the number the number of people in the Taliban has gone up significantly since the US invasion in 2001. The media paints a false narrative of Afghanistan, as Obama doubled down on a failed strategy when he deployed 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and still couldn’t defeat the Taliban. Now they are stronger than anytime before the invasion and the country is more unstable than ever. Additionally, Obama switched to a Drone war that seems to bring back less dead American soldiers but still ineffective at winning the war.  You can’t bomb yourself out of the situation and diplomacy is only way out.

Libya, where the US is increasingly committing forces after it led the campaign to overthrow Gaddafi in 2011 and is followed by increasing instability, has also been an area of particular gruesome casualties. Libya is known for the situation of Benghazi where a US raid killed a tribal leader by accident leading to an attack on the US Embassy where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed. Libya is becoming a failed state after US intervention and continues to fall victim to insurgents leaving the country ungovernable.

Lastly, the battle for Yemen is another example of a flawed and destructive US foreign policy. Yemen has witnessed US drone strikes over the past decades in order to take out suspected Al-Qaeda operatives. Obama cited Yemen as an area of victory in the “War on Terror”. In reality, the US policy in Yemen contributed to the development of a civil war in which the Saudis are now backing Al-Qaeda groups against the Houthis and other Shi’a rebels (look up the 1962-70 Yemen Civil War for better insight into conflict). Today we see increasing US support for the Saudi-led intervention that is targeting agricultural production in what is being accused of “genocide”. Yemen is at risk of mass starvation from the US and Saudi-led intervention. With an estimated population of 25 million on the brink. Yemen is predicted to have nearly 58% of its population suffer from food insecurity. In December 2016, the U.N. stated Yemen may be facing an impending famine. Many news organization leave out these facts and underplay the Western role in conflicts.

Will the average person’s position on US military intervention shift with the number of people standing against the immigration ban currently seen at places like JFK airport? Or, will it be another blob in the history books?

Picture of Yemen, from UN

Marco Palladino
Senior Completing Under Graduate in Political Science Minor in Sustainability at MU Competition is for the Weak. Jobs are for the sick. Hammers, Nails, One Tool, One Solution. Homo Homini Lupus.

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