The Counterculture Watch: Rebutting Naiveté in a Dangerous World

Dillon Zhou

Most of the youth in our world live without understanding the critical nature of the current era – a time when the world is becoming one with itself, in terms of its socioeconomic polity, and the dangers that come with it – due to their unwillingness to seek the facts from the frontlines.

The principle threat to the average citizen of the world is the terrorist agenda pursued by the disenfranchised, disillusioned, and disconnected people of the world, who believe that they can achieve personal ends by using very public acts of mass destruction to alert people to their belief and fulfill whatever end each group and its factions follow. Ms. Stephanie Fail’s “A Nation of Savages” in the recent issue of the Mass Media was a poignant example of this view of current headway of human history.

It should be noted that modern youth like Ms. Fail are not writing with bad intention, but with a form of thinking called “Convenient Liberalism,” a new term coined by the writer of this piece. It refers to the unimaginative approach that is used in “A Nation of Savages” to analyze the US foreign policy and its wars in third world countries that Ms. Fail ascribes as “a struggle to forge colonies across the world” and “attempting to convert the ‘natives’ to our beliefs in ‘Christian Ideas’ to assert dominance over the rightful owners of the lands.” These words aren’t her words per se, but they represent her beliefs in concise terms and give the observer an idea of the naiveté of the writer’s perspective on this issue. They are the tired and recycled platform used over and over by other so-called “Critics of American Foreign Policy” in terms of its message and rhetoric. To put it in logical terms, there are three principal problems with this article: 1) the US has not pursued colonies in the latter half of the 20th century as the Ms. Fail claims; 2) the Christian rhetoric and ideas invoked by the US officials, who want to support the War on Terror, are used to keep support of government actions afloat and to boost morale among the men and women of the US Armed Forces; 3) pursuing the basic aims of the War on Terror is necessary for the safety and prosperity of America in this era of Globalism due to the dangerous stances of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah.

It’s my firm belief that any analysis of American Policy, or any other current issue, should be examined with imagination and an enduring journalistic passion rather than what’s convenient to say in the support of any issue or what is popular in the liberal youth culture of today.

The American nation, under the reign of the George W. Bush Administration, has pursued a unilateral approach to foreign policy called “the Bush Doctrine.” The aim of this doctrine can be summarized by this frequently cited quote from the US National Security Strategy published by the White House in March, 2006:

It [the Bush Doctrine] is an enduring American principle that this duty obligates the [US] government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense.

Four focal points are highlighted as the nucleus to the Bush Doctrine: Preemption, Military Primacy, “New Multilateralism”, and the Spread of Democracy. The war in Iraq was aimed an building a Democratic Middle East that would serve American interest by providing a source of oil through states friendly to the United States’ needs in energy and security. The plan and execution have failed in large due to the bad planning of the Bush Administration in terms of how it would rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ideas of the recent and controversial 2007-2008 troop surge into Iraq weren’t considered desirable options, despite their logical nature resting on the belief that stability can be established by having American and Iraqi Troops “take and hold” the most troubled areas of Iraq’s war-torn cities.

The first phase of American occupation – as opposed to colonization – was focused on rebuilding the damaged nation and building a democratic government from the local population. The problem lay in that most important prerequisite towards the creation of a democratic state: stability within Iraqi society. The trouble comes from the guerilla resistance propelled by the disenfranchised Baath Party, which included a large portion of the old Iraqi Army, and the al-Qaeda Branch led by al-Zarqawi, which is composed of unemployed Arab youths and religious fanatics. This policy was not colonization; rather it was the pursuit of nation-building through military might. Few would say that this war helped further American security or interest in the world.

The few areas of marginal progress and the multitude of disturbing failures in the “War on Terror” have created strong doubt and outrage among the citizens of the world and especially those from the US. Many have come out to criticize the Bush Administration for its dishonest policy of pursuing preemption in Iraq and its failure to preserve the one victory in recent times: the new Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai. The price being paid everyday has had its toll on America and the morale of the “hawks” and GOP supporters among everyday Americans by stripping morale and faith in the government and its aims.

It is no wonder, then, why the Christian rhetoric was brought up and its highest ideals were sold to the American public. The US government needed to maintain support and momentum for the war. It has never sought to convert any of its newly acquired constituents in Iraq or Afghanistan to the Christian Faith, as Ms. Fail claims in her article. Most Americans are Christians and are willing to subject themselves to Christian agenda: promoting human dignity, political freedom, and other universal ideas of brotherly love. By making the “War on Terror” a necessity through speeches, campaigns, and other means of interaction, Christian values have not been an idea forced upon the Iraqis or Afghanis; instead, they are used to prop up this costly war.

The numerous terrorist organizations of the world are a threat to the peace that so many enjoy in the US and abroad, where the flame of hate has not yet spread, that must be resisted through the organized defense and productive offense of the strongest governments in the world, including the US. There exist dangerous people who have chosen to use violence against groups of perceived enemies.

Many of those who fight the US and its allies are the unemployed Arab and third world youth who have not found means of self-sustenance and have chosen to vent their discontent at the prosperous and irreverent West, who, in their eyes, have actively blasphemed and mocked their beliefs and undermined their values for unholy and unjust purposes. Some, like Osama Bin Laden, have pursued terrorism as mission for their lives, and doing so with full awareness, intent on causing mayhem for their jihad or against both the privileged and the different. The rest of the world has sinned by following the modern lifestyle and professing a different faith from theirs, so the thinking goes, and therefore they must pay the price of their sacrilege.

Terrorism is not a “boogieman that shouldn’t be chased anymore.” It is a way of life that must be countered through the destruction of organizations that facilitate the anger of the Third World and the crass ambitions of the bin Ladens of the world. America and its friends need to pursue a constructive program of socioeconomic reform in third world countries across the world to alleviate frustration and put a light in places where spore pockets of ignorance and hate fester in the darkness.

I love my country and believe that America isn’t perfect or without moral fault. But its interests abroad must not be categorized as colonialism or warmongering. The foreign policy of the Bush years has been one of unilateral reshaping of the world through with the backing of the most professional and best equipped military in the world. This policy has many faults and needs revision by the next President of the United States.