This article talks about what the U.S. should do in light of the current situation in the Middle East. America has had multiple foreign policies dealing with democratization throughout the world stemming back multiple presidential terms. However, learning from our past, America is being cautious this time.
Under the Bush administration, the U.S. developed a policy called the "freedom agenda", to distribute democracy throughout the world. President Regan had a similar policy throughout the Cold War. The Bush policy was about world democracy. As Americans, we want democracy. But, the question now resides, what should we do with the situation in the Middle East? There have been multiple propositions, but no hard action. It was not until this week that President Obama took a hard formal stance. The article says that by taking a hard stance the problem is that, "The U.S. stands to lose stability in the area" (p. 1). This is where our past comes into play.
One idea that has been thrown around is the possibility of training local militia groups to overthrow the governments. In the interview, former Regan and Bush staffer Elliott Abrams says, "Give (the people) whatever help they can" (p. 2). This was an agenda strongly supported within Iraq and Afghanistan. However, we have seen the results of that. More importantly is the results of what happened with the Taliban. We supported and trained the Taliban militants against the Soviets, we even gave them weaponry; we see where that ended up today. Abrams makes the claim, "The Middle East is turning democratic" (p. 2). I agree with this. However, we should let them do so themselves.
NPR is a public news source using multiple non-bias sources. However Abrams is a former Presidential staffer siding towards American views.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Last week, President Obama delivered his second State of the Union address. In his speech Obama covered a wide variety of topics. However, what was more interesting in this address was the way the members of the Congress conducted themselves. As you may remember, during the last Presidential address Representative Joe Wilson yelled, "You Lie!" towards President Obama when talking about healthcare. During this address, no such events occurred. The inspiring part of this address to our nation was that the members of Congress both Democrats and Republicans sat together. Normally, Democrats would sit on one side of the aisle while Republicans on the other. However, this time they sat intermingled. Democrats and Republicans were unified while everything else they seem to do in congress is divided. President Obama made a comment saying, "What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow". What Obama is saying is that the fact that Congress was sitting together at the address does not matter. What is more important is if the Democrats and Republicans can work together in congress. We have been accustomed to recently seeing democratic filibusters in both the House and Senate. But now since Republicans control the House and Democrats the Senate it will be imperative for the two to work together to pass any legislature. America needs to work together.
Another interesting aspect of this address was the topics discussed and the overall feeling within the House Chamber. One of the first things that Obama addressed was to pray for Gabby Giffords. The comment that Obama made received applause from the whole Chamber. Additionally, instead of focusing on one major topic, Obama discussed a variety of topics. This is unusual in State of the Union addresses. But what was even more surprising was the feeling within the Chamber. In previous addresses, comments by the President generally only receive applause from either Democrats or Republicans. During this address, it was not uncommon to see both Democrats and Republicans standing together applauding. This is possible due to the fact that many of the topics covered by the President were ones embraced by both Democrats and Republicans. Additionally it showed a sense of unity within the Chamber. This years State of the Union address was not what everyone expected. However, it did deliver significant information on the current state of our union.
A full transcript of the State of the Union address: