America's foreign policy should make citizens proud

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 12:25 a.m.
America needs a change of direction in its foreign policy. We are a country ruled by large corporations and the military-industrial complex, not by ordinary citizens who now have little influence on government policy.
Corporate policy involves exploiting the world's resources to maximize profits. We benefit from the high standard of living that these policies make possible while many of the world's developing countries pay the price of these policies, which exploit their human and natural resources.
We have a long tradition of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. The most recent egregious example is Bush's invasion of Iraq. In my opinion America should neither interfere with nor attack another country unless we are first attacked. Clearly we need a strong defense, but not 10,000 nuclear weapons nor a $400 billion "defense" budget.
We should make every effort to defuse conflict, talk to every nation and especially to those who disagree with us and give strong support to the United Nations.
Alas, the Bush administration believes you solve conflict by military means and/or threats of retaliation. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we had the sympathy of many nations and peoples. Our unprovoked invasion of Iraq has greatly increased the number of terrorists vowing vengeance against us and our allies. As a result, we are now probably the most hated nation in the world.
I would suggest that we drastically reduce our "defense" budget (by at least 33 percent) and use these savings to take care of our own people and to institute a new Marshall Plan for developing countries.
The original Marshall Plan made us heroes in countries devastated by World War II. The United Nations and private foundations do great work in feeding the hungry, vaccinating children, controlling disease, etc., with very limited resources.
How much more we could do should we decide to devote our resources to peace and justice rather than to war. Then we would gradually be perceived as heroes rather than villains by the rest of the world. We would not only be safer, but could take justifiable pride in our efforts to help humanity.
Robert H. Hornberger, Gainesville

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