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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Did America’s flawed foreign policy give rise to militancy?

According to Asma Aftab, the endless war-ambitions of America fueled the flames of militancy and radicalism in war-ravaged zones like Afghanistan, Libya, etc. making them safe havens for Islamic extremist militias.

There is little doubt that the key principles governing the US foreign policy have been violence, destruction, and bloodshed associated with fueling the conditions of constant war in territories far remote from its own borders, with no moral or ethical confines whatsoever.

In addition to achieving far-reaching political objectives, these conflicts support one of the key industries of the USA – the weapon export – that with a value of USD 175 billion in 2020 contributes significantly to the total annual exports of the country. Today, the USA holds 37% of the global weapon sales.

Read more: US, China dominated arms market in 2019

However, this war-weapon-visage of America remains invisible under the all-good slogans of human rights, the empowerment of the civil society, restorations of the democratic values, free-market, if not something more nonsensical but very common in a bit extended past i.e. ‘bringing civilization to’ or ‘teaching them democracy’.

Often, these terms stand no standard qualification other than how the White House wanted to define them.

Read more: US is no champion of human rights, China’s spokesperson highlights five sins

America’s war mania

In the post-WWII era, the key highlight of the American foreign policy was a cold war against the ‘evil’ of Communist Russia, defeating it by organizing holy war through a systematic spread of Islamic militancy in the globe, especially South Asia and the Middle East.

Then came the decade of destroying the so-called dictators’ regimes in the Middle East, with the effect of toppling down Iraq, Syria, and Libya – to name a few. At the turn of the new century, this American ambition turned into a dramatic shift when in the post 9/11 era, it announced to wage a war against the emerging evil of ‘Islamic Fundamentalism’.

Read more: USA’s war on terror: bloodiest and longest in history

Do we not remember a group of Afghan Mujahidin who during their visit to the White House in the mid-1980s were graced with the acknowledgment ‘the moral equivalents to the founding fathers’ by then-President Reagan?

The same bunch of mujahidin in posterity were declared as a threat to world’s peace by the succeeding US President – Bush Junior, who for the most part of his office, had the ‘noble’ mission of ‘cleaning’ the world from this menace – a task initiated immediately post-9/11 and still remains ‘unaccomplished’.

Defendable it may appear to those experts in security and strategic studies where there are no permanent allies and adversaries save the national interest, such premise seems bizarre when we see the total and real cost of these strategic moves for it killed, maimed, destroyed, and forced to migrate millions of civilians, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, by also turning these progressively developing economies (except Afghanistan which was already devastated by the long American war with Russia) into a bunch of haunted buildings.

Read more: “War on terror”: Eradicating terror or spreading even more?

It is hopeless to see the other Western/European Allies who champion peace and human rights but never dare to question the legal or moral ground of this war-mania pursued by the USA. On its grimmer side, the endless war-ambitions of America fueled the flames of militancy and radicalism in these war-ravaged zones, making them safe havens for Islamic extremist militias.

The glaring double standards

Parallel to this strategic policy in times of war, the sheer insanity of the American foreign policy during peace, especially its intervention policy towards the sovereign states (in south/east/Asia and the Middle East) is self-evident.

For instance, we witnessed the strong support of the USA for General Zia and General Musharaf in Pakistan while it was launching massive military operations, targeting the malevolent dictators like Qaddafi and Saddam in Libya and Iraq.

Needless to remind, in many cases, these dictators rose into absolute power with the direct help and support of the USA in their regions. However, one is able to identify a method in this madness, when we see how this pretext of removing dictatorship and establishing democracy (in Iraq and elsewhere) gave American troops sufficient justification to enter and involve in an endless military adventure in the region (the 1990 Iraq- Kuwait war is just one instance).

Read more: America-prompted revolutions: Lessons for the Muslim World

Likewise, the unilateral support of the USA under the ludicrous pronouncement of the White House for Israel declaring it as the only democracy in the Middle East completely forgets this commitment to democracy a few hundred miles across the border, in Egypt, when it refuses to comment on General Al-Sisi’s coup against the popularly-elected government of Mursi in 2013.

Another more glaring display of this double standard comes in the case of Saudi Arabia, one of the worst tyrant dynasties at present, that enjoys the status of the closest friend to the USA, buying one-fourth of the total weapon export by it.

Read more: Playing US politics: Saudi Arabia targets Middle America

Misguidance in abundance

It is not surprising then to see how religious extremism took over the moderate and enlightened panorama of the pre-1970 era, in many of these above-listed countries.

American foreign policy experts who perceived the continuation of strong nationalist/secular leadership in the Arab World and elsewhere as a potential threat to their indirectly Israeli expansionist ambitions managed to replace these regimes, leading Islamic militancy to fill the empty space.

It was not hard to foresee that religious extremism would prove, at its best, a suicidal weapon for its own people and their collective national interests.

Read more: Is secular fundamentalism the answer to religious extremism?

Paradoxically, the common people in America, like elsewhere in the world, are often misguided to believe in the ‘sound’ judgment of their political leaders. Nonetheless, this American foreign policy, as Noam Chomsky has rightly argued, does not reflect and, on many occasions, even reverses the general opinion of these people as the so-called autonomous subjects of this politically and morally flawed functioning democracy of the world.

The author is an Assistant Professor of the Department of English at Government College University, Faisalabad. She can be reached at asmaaftabkhan@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.