One of John Kerry’s biggest criticisms of the President regarding the Iraq war has been Bush’s failure to build a multi-lateral effort before proceeding into Iraq. For the record, I would certainly have preferred that we had the support, in name, capital and military, of Germany, France and Russia.
Kerry says that he will work with the nations of the world so that they will share the burden. He said this last night:
I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.
That’s wonderful. No one could argue with that. Kerry will have a lot of difficulty fulfilling this promise. George Will agrees here:
Like Bush, Kerry says that success in Iraq is necessary, and he defines success as Bush does — Iraq secure, prosperous and democratic. The drama of a Kerry presidency would not be in his attempts to enlist “the world” in helping to achieve that, but in his reaction to his failure to do so.
The problem is that other countries just don’t care as much as we would like them to. They criticize us for being bullies with self-interested foreign policy.
Every country has a self-interested foreign policy; it would be crazy not to. At the same time, however, I simply don’t think we’re as bad as we are painted to be.
Let’s look, for example at the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. According to Reuters:
At least 30,000 civilians have been killed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, 1 million have been driven from their villages into barren camps and 2 million need food and medicine in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the U.S. Congress has branded as genocide.
The problem is that the Sudanese government is doing very little to ameliorate the problem. As a matter of fact, many suggest that the government is funding the Arab militias who have driven the above million citizens from their homes.
Yet the US drafted UN resolution to demand that the Sudanese government disarm and prosecute the very militias they supplied, or face “sanctions,” was rejected by 7 of the 15 UN security council members because they objected to the use of the word “sanctions.” Clearly, sanctions didn’t work very well in Iraq, but saying nothing and doing nothing while Sudanese die at the rate of 1000 / week (and accelerating) doesn’t seem like a good solution either. After this rejection, the US simply changed the wording, removing “sanctions” in lieu of “punitive measures.” The effect is the same. Sudan can still be punished by the exact same method. A rose by any other name, I guess. In any case, the US sponsored and drafted this resolution, and did everything they could to give it “bite,” to make it count and to prompt action from the Sudanese government, without whose help this situation simply won’t get better anytime soon.
As a result of the million refugees, there is, of course, a health crisis. The UN has also attempted to raise up to $350 million to provide relief to the suffering Sudanese. The big, bad, warmongering United States has pledged $62 million. The equally nefarious Britain $11 million. The conscientious, humanitarian states of Germany and France? Less than $4 million each.
That’s still, of course, a lot of money, but it’s a helluva lot less than the US is giving.
Could we, as Americans be doing more, giving more, pulling our heads out of dark places to note the worldwide realities more? Yes. We should be. We’re all people here, and we owe it to ourselves to treat other human beings with the dignity and respect that we would hope from them. But, despite what some of the misguided and ill-informed might indicate, we’re not all that bad. I’ll leave you with a message of thanks from an Iraqi that took the wind right out of me. It comes from the blog, Iraq the Model’s Fourth of July entry:
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!
So sorry for being late in this but Omar and Mohammed aren’t here yet and I had a duty at the hospital yesterday and I have just came now and the 1st thing I want to say is:
Happy 4th of July!
God bless America.
God bless American soldiers wherever they’re.
Happy 228 independence anniversary. This is a happy anniversary not only for Americans but for all the freedom loving people, as this day announced the birth of a great nation that served good and fought evil since that day and rescued humanity several times and prevented evil powers from controlling the world.
We all should be grateful for America; Yes they make mistakes but who doesn’t. We should be grateful for Americans because they saved the world from Nazism, totalitarian communists and we, Iraqis have more reasons to be grateful and to love Americans. They have saved us from one of the worst dictatorships ever, gave us freedom and are helping us so generously as we march towards democracy and as we try to build a prosperous stable and developed Iraq.
And here’s America volunteers again to save the world from one of the most fanatic, evil and dangerous power that wants not only to control the world but also don’t hesitate to declare that their ultimate goal is to destroy civilization targeting it where it stands best, in the USA. We should all stand by America in this war and opposing her for the sake of narrow interests or even standing aside and watching is not only a disgraceful attitude but also one that carries very dangerous possibilities.
Go America Go! And we are with you all the way.
Happy 4th of July my brothers and sisters and I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
This article was originally posted at pacetown