Impoverished Politics: On the movement of arms

The end of the summer also marked the end of a weeks long battle between Israel and Hamas. The fighting claimed over 2,000 lives, mostly Palestinian and many of them children.

This summer’s conflict incited more international protest than any of the previous, mainly because of more journalists on the ground in Gaza being able to report via social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook on the atrocities that non-Hamas Palestinians were subjugated to, whereas historically speaking, corporate media generally dehumanizes the people of Palestine and makes them out to be terrorist sympathizers.

Another huge revelation that came from the fighting was how much money and military aide is given to Israel by the United States. As of right now, about 3 billion dollars a year are given to Israel by America as military aide. This begs the question, as people begin to accuse Israel of war crimes against the Palestinians, is America guilty of funding war crimes?

The United States’ philanthropy does not end with Israel though: roughly 300 billion has been given to the Middle East alone in the last six decades, which clearly has not gotten the region any closer to stability. In truth, it is easy to attribute our involvement to the current fighting, feuding and political unrest in countries from Iraq to Egypt. While it might seem like an excellent idea to arm rebels fighting against an oppressive leader, the truth is that is can do more harm than good.

In Syria, some of the militant armies we have provided weapons for have abandoned these arms and they have made their way into the control of IS, or formerly ISIS, an organization we are on high terrorist alert for in the Iraqi/Syrian region. America essentially bombing millions of dollars of its own military equipment in Iraq perfectly sums up all that is wrong with our foreign policies, especially in the Middle East.

When Ukrainian militants tragically struck down the passenger flight MH27, the Western world was quick to point fingers at Russia for arming the militia that committed this heinous act. Of course Russia should be held accountable for what happened, but America is just as guilty of the same thing in a multitude of countries. The same way Russia is funding Ukrainian separatists to advance their own agenda, we fund armies in the Middle East to advance ours.

We live in a global community; the world is open and more closely intertwined than ever in history. You can turn on a computer and quickly read the news from across the planet. In such a time, it is impossible to ask for isolationism.

We cannot recede into ourselves and pretend the rest of the world does not exist, but we also cannot believe that aiding other nations in blowing each other up is going to solve anything.

Our politicians, though they may seem leery of military action, are often quick to jump to that option when dealing with unrest in the world because it is simpler than trying to understand the issues of that region and come to a diplomatic solution. In the case of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, a two-state solution and the end of apartheid are absolutely possible the same way it was accomplished in South Africa.

In Syria and Iraq, while negotiations with IS are out of the question, it is possible to uproot their hold on communities, whom ally with and go along with their Caliphate because it is better than the ruler before them.

There are many different religious and ethnic groups in this region, and at any one time, one of them feels oppressed which leads to fighting. If the West can help establish a non-corrupt government that helps all of the communities of that area, people would no longer feel a connection to IS and they would lose their power, or at least enough of it that the Iraqi army could overtake them.

The time for the sword has ended, and we have now entered the era of the pen. It seems ridiculous that societies that claim to be so ‘advanced’ and ‘civilized’ as our own still send young men and women to die to prove ourselves superior to others. So as we begin another potentially drawn out, seemingly unending military operation in Iraq and now Syria, think of all the blood that is already on our nation’s hands from not only our own wars in the past few decades, but by aiding other nations in theirs.

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