In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the Persian Gulf region vital to American interests. He announced that the U.S. would use military force to defend those interests. This declaration, now known as The Carter Doctrine, greatly expanded Franklin Roosevelt’s assertion in 1943 that “…the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States.” Every American president and the vast majority of American politicians in general have accepted this doctrine as policy canon. The Carter Doctrine has driven American Foreign policy now for 36 years, and for 36 years this country has been involved almost continuously in some sort of active, hot, shooting conflict.
The Carter Doctrine has done nothing to ensure our security, not even our energy security as it was largely intended. It has instead had the opposite effect and has created great uncertainty. It has also spawned, with U.S. assistance, organizations such as the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and yes, Daesh, whose origins can be traced back to Reagan’s “Afghani Freedom Fighters,” the Mujahedeen.
More importantly, it has spawned a culture of never-ending crisis’ and fear in the United States (and the west in general). It has supported a political establishment that wishes to curtail freedoms by first, dividing the American public (Dems v. Reps, Lib v. Con, White v. Every other color, Christianity v. Islam, Gay v. Straight, etc.and vice-versa), and then instilling in us a deep fear and hatred for peoples who, by a vast majority, have nothing to do with the crimes committed by the Takfirists (Muslim Apostates who embrace radical violence cloaked in religion). All the while, this same establishment is ignoring our own problems and creating mythical issues to be solved.
An American in America is literally more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist – in 2015, 43 people were shot by Toddlers, 15 people were killed – in comparison, 9 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in the same period. And yet, in the end we will spend TRILLIONS of dollars fighting terrorists to….what end? The politicians cannot say. As a distraction to this problem, the “right” is busy today creating “bathroom bills” related to non-existent issues meant to “protect the children” while ignoring the fact that 62% of the 62,000+ cases (2012) were committed by relatives and absolutely none were committed by transsexuals in public restrooms. These same people argue that no more laws are necessary, nor would be effective in stemming very real gun violence in the United States. These issues, all of them, are all for show. A sleight of hand, the carnival barker yelling “LOOK OVER HERE!” while the man behind the curtain picks your pocket.
The Carter Doctrine (and its addendum, the Reagan Corollary – expanding U.S. military protection to Saudi Arabia in any instance) is tacit approval for the U.S. to expand and further interfere with the Greater Middle East (or anywhere in the world for that matter). Almost all the issues of the past three decades can be traced back to President Carter’s announcement. It was reactionary to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, but also to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, a revolution that the United States and Great Britain laid the foundation for in 1953 by illegally overthrowing a democratically elected, if unfriendly government in Iran. Perhaps the worst thing to happen to the United States was the fall of the Soviet Union – for even while we checked the USSR in its expansionist aggression, the USSR checked us as well. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, the United States was able to initiate its expansion into the Greater Middle East without fear of any sort of reprisal.
People like to complain that the current president apologizes too much, but if he has anything he absolutely should apologize for, it is for the continuation of policies, expansionist in nature, that were, and are, designed to remake the world in the image of a fictional United States that has not existed since the beginning of the Cold War. He should apologize to the American people for wasting so much of our wealth, our lives, and our well being on the expansion of Pax-Americana in spite of the obvious evidence that this expansion has done nothing to enhance our well-being, our safety, or our standing in the world community. Nor has it, as is often stated to be the raison d’etre for these policies, expanded democracy and civil rights in any region we have entered. Is Iran more free than it was under a democratically elected government? Is Iraq? Is Afghanistan? the answer in all three of these cases is a clear and resounding, NO. These expansionist policies, dating from the earliest days of America, are defunct, While they may, or may not have been appropriate to a young and growing nation, they have proven to be obsolete in the face of an American public unwilling fight against American imperialism, unwilling even to sacrifice to achieve imperialistic victories, unwilling even, to recognize our foreign policy of the post-Cold War era for what it is…unchecked imperialist expansion.