The other day Vice-President Joseph Biden said in an interview that “The Taliban is not our enemy.” We have been in Afghanistan since 2001 and everyday we have been fighting the Taliban along with Al Qaeda. If the fighting Taliban is not our enemy than who is? Fortunately, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama know much better. This brings up a very important point. It is crucial to our national security to have a solid strategy and observation when it comes to foreign affairs.
That, plus a strong defense, is essential to America remaining strong and free. Let’s take a look at a few examples that historically got us into serious trouble.
After World War I, we became isolationist. We wanted no part of any conflict in the world and our policy became laissez-faire.
Also, we put little money in our Department of Defense. As a result, Germany and Japan saw an opening to conquer the entire world. Germany invaded nation after nation and we just sat there as if they would never look our way. Japanese spies visited our army bases and saw our troops having fighting drills with broom sticks because there was no money to buy our troops rifles. They reported back to their superiors that we were totally weak and would immediately surrender under fierce attacks. Thus, one morning we woke up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the invasion of friendly nations throughout Asia and the Pacific. Germany was now warring with all of our allies in Europe and we would be next. World War II had begun because of our sloppy foreign policy.
Fortunately, we got out of this big jam through our industrial might. We converted our massive auto industry into a military machine. We put out 2,000 ships per year along with 9,000 planes along with other military essentials. We supplied our troops as well as the troops of England and the Soviet Union all at the same time. In the end, we got out of this and became a world power.
A few years after the war, we would repeat the same mistake. The communist powers, China and the Soviet Union, had its eyes on the Korean Peninsula. Korea was divided into a communist North and a quasi-democracy South. We felt the North would never become aggressive and forbade the South from adequately building up its army and started to decrease the funding of our own defense. All the while, the Soviet Union was stocking the North in preparation of invasion. Soon, they invaded the South and the Korean War was on. We miscalculated China coming in and slaying many of our troops. We settled the conflict with an armistice. For the second time in our history we had a war without victory but a settlement (the first was the War of 1812). Today, the tension on the Korean Peninsula remains the same.
Then came the debacle of Vietnam. It started back in the 1920s. The hero of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, approached President Woodrow Wilson to mediate between the people of Vietnam and the French colonialist. Wilson was a bona fide racist and would not give five minutes to the upcoming hero as he was brown and Asian. In fact, no European nation paid him any attention. He finally got attention from the Soviet Union. Thus, the future liberator became a recipient of communist funding and had to sing their “song.”
Vietnam ran the invading Japanese troops out at the end of World War II; overthrew the French colonialists and eventually would defeat the mighty United States. It was our first and only defeat in history. We left Vietnam on the run.
We haven’t learned much from the above errors. The Middle East and lower Mediterranean are starting to boil. We don’t know how to get out of Afghanistan and probably left Iraq too hurriedly. Iraq is about to go into civil war; Afghanistan will as soon as we leave there; and we don’t know where Egypt, Libya, Syria and others are headed. All the while, Iran who hates us immensely based on our foreign policy against them for decades is fanning the “flames” whenever it can. We need a sound foreign policy.
One last thing. We have a CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) that is out of control and hurts our foreign policy. The movie, Colombiana, illustrates just how out of control the CIA is. Remember, there wasn’t an opium poppy growing in Afghanistan when we went in. Today, the nation is the drug capital of the world. It isn’t a coincidence. It needs to be checked.
(Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)