Letter: What really is our national interest?
What really is our national interest? When asked, politicians, generals and even business leaders spout “Our national interest” as justification to embroil ourselves in the politics and, on many occasions, the destruction of a legitimate government.
This has historically ended poorly, with the U.S. spending its fortunes and donating its children with the world no better for the effort. Before you think me anti-American or anti-military, let me assure you I am not. A soldier’s job is to do as his commander orders, not to debate world politics. This is what makes them so special, so valuable and us so much in their debt.
So, what is it?
Is it freedom? I think not. If it were, we would declare most of the African continent ours to liberate and occupy until freedom was assured. But much of Africa is populated with people not far removed from the Stone Age, with little in the way of resources we can utilize. Public opinion for the liberation and enlightenment of this place is all but non-existent, while hundreds of thousands die.
Is it national security? Why would it be? We can strike anywhere anytime—no boots on the ground, no paying warlords not to fight. We have one of if not the best intelligence systems on the planet, plenty of military to guard our borders, so bringing the fight to us at home is not as easy as advertised. Fear of attack makes a good excuse if you want to invade though. Ask the last two guys in the White House.
Is it oil? You bet your donkey. If the Middle East had none, would we care? Probably not, although protecting Israel, which they seem to do very well on their own, is high on our “national interest” list. Supporting Israel aside, the Middle East offers us nothing we can’t provide ourselves.
Point is, we as Americans need to redefine national interest to something that protects us on our shores, provides resources here at home, and most importantly stops using our children as a renewable resource.