The former US foreign policy towards terrorism
It was George Bush who declared a new American foreign policy when he said: “either you are with us or with the terrorists”.
This phrase implied some facts. First of all, it’s a direct threat to the countries who actually suffer from the existence of some terrorist groups, even if the civilians have got nothing to do with them. Secondly, it divides our world to 2 parties; either you are black or you are white, no other choices. But what if some chose not to involve themselves in this issue? Bush’s phrase was a direct threat to them too. Third, such a phrase raises hostility towards The United States which is the last thing The United States wants. Fourth, such a phrase shows the shallowness of the US foreign policy. It shows how “Bush had immense simplicity in how he saw the world” as Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, wrote in his latest memoir. And finally, this phrase, which defined the US foreign policy for some time, caused America to urge, push, insist and lead, while other countries complying because apparently they had no other choice.
This former US foreign policy approach affected the American strongly and made them feel that US is the centre of “fighting terrorism” in the world. Torture scandals, facts of killing civilians in this war on terrorism, the huge American losses, the strong degradation of the US reputation not only in the Middle East but in the whole world, did affect the American masses, but not well enough.
What changes did Obama bring with him?
Obama tried to change this policy when he started his presidency with a visit to some major Arab and Muslim countries, and his famous speech which he gave in Cairo, Egypt, addressing the Muslim world. He tried to stress on the changes in the US foreign policy. This speech had a magical effect on the Arab and Muslim masses, but for a short time.
People around the world are beginning to lose faith, and patience. While Guantanamo Concentration Camp is still open with 180 detainees today, this simple fact is deteriorating America’s credibility, if anything, because Obama promised to close it.
On Saturday, August 28th 2010, the Obama administration is reconsidering the way with which terrorist suspects are treated. This is indeed a very good step forward, but will it be undertaken to the end? Or will it just fade away like the Guantanamo closure promise?
The Obama administration may not say “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” anymore, but still that doesn’t deny the fact that The United States has got a little patience concerning foreign governments controlling their borders or the acts of its individuals. But isn’t this precisely what The United States has failed in?
Even with the extensive checking at the airports and strict policies towards foreigners, and even Americans in some cases, The United States will never make a 100% success in confronting individuals with terrorist deeds. Accordingly, America can never demand other countries, especially third world ones, to apply and succeed at what she failed. Right now terrorists don’t come only from outside of The United States anymore, but from within too. Doesn’t that mean that the negative effect of The US foreign policy towards terrorism is raising more problems and isn’t doing much good?
Doesn’t all of this imply weak and shallow efforts to correct the mistakes done by the former administration? The current US foreign policy didn’t show any strong results until now. On the contrary, it still causes some foreign partners to push back and not to cooperate. Also, we can’t ignore the big numbers of Arabs and other backgrounds in the United States, especially in states like Michigan and towns like Detroit in which the Arab and Muslim community is quite large. Those people are trying hard to prove that they aren’t terrorists, but unfortunately many times they haven’t got the chance to prove so.
The final question is; isn’t the US foreign policy somehow raising hostility towards America and making people, especially the ones who are directly harmed by this policy, hate her? Doesn’t that mean that the chances of appearance of new terrorists against America are high?