While the attacks against American diplomats have been blamed on an anti-Muslim video, it is no coincidence that it came on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, and it further illustrates that antipathy and aggression is still being leveled at Americans ("Violent clashes over anti-Islam film in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia," Web, Monday).
The current crisis in the Middle East harkens back to 1979, when U.S. embassies were attacked following the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. That same year also witnessed the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the failed U.S. response to free the Americans held hostage. These incidents point to the fact that American foreign policy in the region has failed. The lack of a firm response has also undermined U.S. credibility and allowed Persian and Arab intimidation and aggression to exploit American dependability in the region.
Our dependence on Middle East oil has shaped American foreign policy since World War II. Now the United States is forced to face history once again, and should realize that a foreign policy based solely on energy concerns is doomed to failure. The strain on the military, the economy and the nation's overall security cannot sustain such pressure. A gradual withdrawal from Middle East oil dependence and an increased emphasis on alternative energy will go a long way in re-establishing the United States as a powerhouse.
Also needed is a strong leader who will stand up to those who commit aggression upon America's citizens. Apparently, the days of speaking softly and carrying a big stick are gone, replaced by the need to apologize for past mistakes and failures.
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