Insult to GW

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Foreign Policy, George Washington Views: 1558

The current Middle East policy of the U.S. is an insult to George Washington as it grossly flouts the fundamental principles of American foreign policy that he outlined in his valedictory to the nation.

In his farewell address on September 19, 1796, the foremost founding father of the U.S. cast those principles as "the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel."  He urged "solemn contemplation" and "frequent review" of these principles for "the permanency of your felicity as a People." 

Definitely, unlike today's G.W. whose speech and acts are politically constrained or motivated, the founding father had a lot "more freedom" and wisdom when said goodbye to the nation. 

Washington told fellow Americans, "Observe good faith & justice towards all Nations." He advised them to pursue a foreign policy of "justice & benevolence" that would "richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it."  He said, "permanent inveterate antipathies against particular Nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded." 

He explained, "The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."

Washington warned that "a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation . . .    betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels & Wars of the latter . . .    It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others . . .    And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite Nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity."

The founding father cautioned Americans against "the insidious wiles of foreign influence." He said, "history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government . . .    Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real Patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause & confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."

Unfortunately, today, the foundational U.S. commitment to equal justice to all nations has been compromised, and the U.S. government has become a "slave" to its "passionate attachment" to some states like Israel and passionate hatred of some others like Iraq.  

Consider how passionately the U.S. rewards Israel and punishes Iraq for similar crimes.  The pattern is that when Israel ignores a UN demand, the U.S. government understands or supports its moves, but when Iraq does the same, the U.S. showers it with bombs and missiles or threats of invasion.

Israel has violated more than 70 UN resolutions, while Iraq has resisted less than a handful.  Israel invaded all its neighbors, while Iraq invaded two.  Israel continues to occupy the entire Palestine and parts of Syria and Lebanon. Iraq no longer holds the territories it seized.  Both states have committed war crimes and both have had to be disciplined.

Yet, Israel has received more than $100 billion in U.S. aid and commanded more than 30 American vetoes on UN resolutions that condemned or sought to change its illegal actions. In contrast, Iraq received the massive U.S. led war that killed several hundred thousand Iraqis in 1991 and the unending sanctions that have since killed a million more.

Today, all Israel's neighbors regard its aggressive policies and weapons of mass destruction as a threat to world peace.  None of Iraq's neighbors thinks the weakened Iraq poses a security threat any more.  Yet, Bush administration is rushing to invade Iraq.

In an ironic fulfillment of Washington's prophetic words, Bush has adopted "through passion what reason would reject"-a war on Iraq policy that many Americans and most people and governments of the world find morally indefensible and "contrary to the best calculations of policy."

It doesn't take a genius to figure out the "insidious wiles of foreign influence" that is prompting Bush's war.  The right wing Israelis like Benjamin Netanyahu and their American backers are in the frontlines of the rhetorical campaign against Iraq.

The U.S. citizens who are leading this campaign are like those who, Washington warned, "betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country" by creating "an illusion of common interest" with the nation-Israel-they are passionately, not rationally, attached to.  As a result, welfare and education budgets for the American people are cut in times of crunch, but the billions of annual aid dollars for Israel remain untouched.

Briefly, the U.S. government's Middle East policy-anchored in a passionate attachment to Israel and enmity to some Muslim nations-is indeed an insult to the memory of GW.  In addition, it is a disgrace for American democracy as it stands against the fundamental principles on which the nation was founded.


Mohammad A. Auwal is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Los Angeles


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  5 Comments   Comment

  1. Abdul Wadoud from USA

    As Salaamu Aliakum

    Kalid are you aware that you stand a better chance of being killed by an American citizen than a foregin national? Look at what is happening in Maryland. There are more murders in American in a week than most countries have in a year. If Bush is so concerned about national security let him look first to home and clean up his own back yard. The only security Bush cares about is his and his rich white friends,as a Muslim you mean nothing to him. George Washington slave owner that he was no saint he was a rich Virgina farmer looking to protect his ass if he was at all honest this country would be different today. I will tell you something else most of the first presidents of America were Masons and do you know what Masons receive when the reach the highest level.. A Qur'an.

  2. hamid from usa

    I agree with the current GW on his speech recently

    that he realy cares for US security BUT I am not buying that idea that it can only be accomplished by war on Iraq,

    instead he(current GW) should respect all the idea's and the guiding foreign policies which our founding father the grand old GW advised.

  3. Khalid from usa

    Hmm..I don't understand..why are so many Muslims fixed on the notion that U.S. founders are these great righteous people....

    They were in the front lines of killing an entire people, native Americans, to usurp their land....their foreign policy has always been the same, to achieve self interests, it's alright to kill foreigners, whether they be on the U.S. land or otherwise.

    Those thinking otherwise, are mistaken and are very naiive. Or to say the least, they are blinded by American glory and false perceptions.

    regards.

  4. Farid from UK

    America was founded by men like Washington who wanted to expand into the American-Indian's land. The British government wasn't allowing them to do this, and tried to respect treaties with the American-Indians.

    I don't believe the American propaganda about the revoltion being for liberty, freedom, etc. It was for land. America has always been an imperialist power. Long before the Jews had power America was an imperialist power.

  5. Mautaz Ansour from U.S.A

    Assalamu Alaikum

    GW brought nothing new to the American Foriegn Policy, Since the United States Gave it's promise to The Zionist in Israel in 1947, WE as Muslims And Arabs should expect nothing less than what's happening today.

    We are to blame to what is about to happen to the Iraqis, We are to blame to what is happening to Muslims everywhere (By WE i mean Muslims), Allah and his Prophet laid the platform To conducting relations with non-muslims. We know what America is all About no matter what Washington Said. It's all about interest, America can't use the same standard with Israel because they will be "whipped", they can't afford doing it,because Jews won't let them...on the other hand America has nothing to fear from the Muslims and Arabs ,and it wouldn't think twice before murdering Muslims, Why? Because we let them....

    Let's go back to the basics and stop fooling our selves, back what Allah loves and his Prophet foretold...let's hold dear to that,Then and maybe then Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala will decide to answer our Prayer...

    GW not only insults the intelligance of Muslims but also that of the American people when he says that America HAS and MUST do this for it's security, i mean come on who is he kidding.

    GW needs to wake up and smell the mess this country is in...after he does, trust me he'll realize that Iraq and it's people are the last he should be thinking about..

    Wants to bring Peace and Justice to the Iraqis..Pleeeeeeaaase, isn't that what he said about Afghanistan??!! And isn't afghanistan still a mess??????

    La Hawla Wa La Quata Illa Billaah...

    I'm about to throw up in this joint...

    Assalamu alaikum