American foreign policy destabilizing world safety

Grave need for non-interventionism


Ryan Kim

The U.S. spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined. The Sidekick staff writer Emma Meehan thinks, as the most powerful country in the world, there should be an obligation that the United States supports peace and negotiation and avoid war, while prioritizing the needs of its people.

Emma Meehan, Staff Writer

I was constantly told as a child that the United States was the greatest nation in the world and never faltered in its dedication to democracy. I saw my country as a force for good, selfless in its commitment to promoting peace and stability across the globe.

I was quickly disillusioned. My view of American foreign policy soured as I grew up and started reading and thinking for myself. 

The United States does not promote democracy abroad. In reality, we have a history of overthrowing democratically elected governments and replacing their leaders with America-friendly dictators and military governments. Such is true in at least Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Brazil and Chile.

When I was a child, I could not fathom the possibility my country would be aiding a Saudi-led genocidal war in Yemen. I would have assumed my country was part of the solution, rather than the problem. 

I would have assumed if my country went to war, it would be in the interest of civilians and their liberation from tyranny. However, one of our greatest allies is Saudi Arabia, a theocratic dictatorship that prevents medicine and aid from entering war-torn Yemen and does so with our support.

Many of my peers are now old enough to fight in a war that started before they were even born. The longest in American history, the war in Afghanistan began more than 18 years ago in October 2001

Beyond the absurdity of its length, we have been lied to about the realities of the war in Afghanistan for years, as exposed by the Washington Post’s Afghanistan Papers. If we are unable to make any significant progress in Afghanistan, why should we stay? We should not continue draining money and sacrificing our soldiers in any war we know will never end in victory, regardless of how long we stay.

American and Afghan ally forces have killed more civilians than the Taliban since the start of the Afghanistan War more than 18 years ago. In targeting civilians abroad to promote political interests, the American government has proven a lack of humanity and regard for innocent life.

Public trust in government nears historic lows. A Pew Research poll suggested only 17% of Americans trust the government. If the government is so unpopular, why should we instill in political leaders the power to so easily go to war? 

As tensions rise between Iran and the United States, we have to question the structure of American intervention and how we are seen by the rest of the world.

We are constantly spoon-fed American exceptionalism as fact. We are told the United States is undoubtedly the greatest country on Earth and as the globe’s sole superpower, it is our duty to act as the world’s policeman. 

However, this idealism places far too much power and control in the hands of a single nation. As a country, we are self-interested, almost by definition. It is extremely unlikely any nation would act without bias and self-interest if given the same military and economic power the United States wields. 

Though some Americans believe the world views us as liberators and agents of freedom, the opposite is true. In a poll of more than 60,000 residents in 68 countries, 24 percent said that the United States was the “greatest threat to world peace”, tripling second place Pakistan’s 8 percent.

It should sadden every American that the world views our country as the greatest threat to global peace. Why should we want the world to see us in such a negative light? Minimizing our military involvement abroad could help restore the confidence of the international community in the United States.

Criticism of the government and country is often seen as unpatriotic and radical; however, dissent is extremely important in resisting injustice.

It pains me to write so critically of my own country, but true patriotism stems from an unrelenting ability to criticize your own country’s mistakes and improve going forward. After all, what progress can be made without dissent? How can we hope to learn from our past if we cannot criticize it?

Imagine a world in which the United States is not seen as the greatest threat to world peace anymore, in which we prioritize diplomacy and trade over war. Imagine the government spending your hard-earned tax money to improve your life, rather than spending it to kill soldiers and civilians abroad. 

I dream of a more peaceful world, or at least one in which my country does not contribute to the destruction of peace.

Follow Emma (@emmameehan_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.