Why Do So Many Nations That Are Neither Friends nor Enemies of the United States Become our Adversaries – and Eventually Grow to Hate Us?
By Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari and Steven Weingartner
Thirty years of U.S. foreign policy failures have created conditions and circumstances that must be considered when deciding whether to support President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration or to oppose it.
The executive order is not about fighting ISIS or living up to our democratic ideals. It is not concerned per se with the religion of the people and nations most affected by the order, nor is it concerned with larger issues of immigration philosophy and policy. It is not, in other words, about banning Muslims from the United States, as some the administration’s most vehement critics have asserted. Rather, it is about what we have done, and failed to do, over the last three decades in the foreign policy sphere.
Most of all, it’s about finally having to deal with the consequences of the fecklessness, incompetence, and outright stupidity that has so often characterized America’s handling of global affairs in general and Middle Eastern affairs in particular.
All too often we have abandoned our friends in the region or have given them only tepid support in the conflict against the forces of Islamist extremism.
Small wonder, then, that our friends have come to view America as an unreliable ally; and, worse, as a nation that has acted dishonorably in its dealing with them. The traditional view of America as the indispensable nation, as the greatest force for good in the world, is fading. As a result, some of our friends have lost faith in us; others are heading, either precipitously or tentatively as the case may be, down that same path.
It bears mentioning that a significant number of Americans are similarly troubled by their country’s foreign policy failings. These are loyal, patriotic Americans who feel used and abused by our government. They recognize that America has sacrificed much blood and treasure in the Middle East, mostly to no avail. They see with a clarity our foreign policy establishment and governing elites seem to lack that our enemies are winning.
And our bumbling, miscalculations, and shortfalls, needless to say, delight our enemies. They are only too happy to see us alienate our friends and cause our allies to question our commitment to a true partnership given our actions or lack of action depending on our needs, which are defined and redefined by each political generation. They are well able to do the math, which is really quite simple: our losses are their gains.
Fortunately the situation is not irredeemable. But we will have to take firm measures to turn things around and get them moving again in the right direction.
President Trump’s executive order is first step in making this happen.
Other steps that must surely follow will all involve re-learning, and re-applying the lessons of what it means to be a friend to other nations nations and peoples.
Among other things, that means being reliable, steadfast, strong, and honest. We must recover and restore our national honor. Our friends must know that we have their back when the going gets tough – that we have their six no matter what our enemies throw at us.
Just as importantly, however, we must also choose our friends wisely. We must choose as friends nations and peoples and individuals who will promote our shared philosophies and interests and stand by us in helping us to secure our foreign policy objectives in the region.
America needs friends in the Middle East, and globally as well. Friends are vital to our national security. But friendship is a two-way street. Our friends also have responsibilities to meet. They must be loyal to us. They must show us by their actions, by what they say and do, that America can count on them when the chips are down.
Above all, we must all move forward together with strong unity of purpose and absolute clarity as to the nature of our mutual enemy. To that end, we must recognize the following facts:
Fact 1: ISIS has infiltrated refugee camps in Germany and elsewhere.
Fact 2: ISIS members have been arrested inside refugee camps.
Fact 3: ISIS has used fake International Office on Migration (IOM) papers to gain entry to European nations and infiltrate the refugee camps.
Fact 4: ISIS has the ability to make passports.
Fact 5: ISIS is in possession of identification documents of innocent people who have fled the conflict zone in the Middle East.
Fact 6: The IOM pushed many people into the refugee camps in the final days of the Obama Administration.
Fact 7: Yezidis and other ethno-religious minority groups have been harassed, threatened, and harmed in refugee camps in Germany by other so-called refugees.
Fact 8: People who were held by ISIS and escaped have spotted their former captors inside their refugee camps.
Fact 9: ISIS wants to hit America and has stated openly and repeatedly that it will use the refugee process to do so.
Does ISIS have the means and capability to strike the United States? The temporary (i.e., 90-day) restriction on foreign travel to America will provide our domestic national security apparatus with the time and breathing space needed to answer that question and to implement any required measures aiming at preventing an attack.
What this will entail is “heavy vetting” of would-be visitors to America from seven countries that have been deemed most at risk, according to carefully considered criteria, of harboring terrorists. Those countries are: Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
If and when the vetting process confirms that an individual is not in any way involved in terrorist activities or has connections with terrorist organizations, that individual will be allowed to enter the United States.
It’s a simple as that. There is no Muslim ban, no racial or ethnic screening process. The goal is to prevent dangerous people from entering the United States; the means to achieve this goal is to find out who is dangerous and who isn’t.
Is that unreasonable? Our enemies may think so. We know it isn’t.
Sargis Sangari is the founder and CEO of NEC-SE. Steven Weingartner is NEC-SE’s Senior Editor.