International student feels effects of U.S. foreign policy

I remember sitting on the floor of my living room when President Obama gave his inauguration speech in 2008. My family was also spread around the room with their eyes glued to the television in anticipation.

The scene probably repeated itself in the entire world as well. Everyone was going to be affected by America’s choice of its new president. The Arab world, however, had long lost hope of any change in U.S. policies in the region.

Monday night’s presidential debate did not prove the region wrong. Both candidates were talking about the countries in the Middle East as if they were dice hanging in the air.

Sure, both of them voiced their concern for the development of the people there, but they also argued on who would be better at “taking advantage of the opportunities” there.

I personally think the U.S. has taken more than enough advantage of the “opportunities” in the Middle East over the past years. One example is the war in Iraq, which was started for wrong – and to this day unclear – reasons. It has left and continues to leave the country with nothing but destruction and loss.

The candidates explained how America should stand for its principles. I presume these include the people’s freedom of determination and dignity. However, both candidates proposed several actions that  undermine them.

For instance, America’s support to Israel, which reached $3.1 billion in foreign aid in 2012 – excluding loans and other types of aid – has cost the Middle East a lot of opportunities of its own.

The aid goes to help the regime grow stronger while Palestinians, who also live there, are left unaccounted for. Among other things, Israel uses the funds to commit more breaches of international law, like continuing the blockade of the Gaza strip, left  with little means of life for the fifth year.

In my opinion, overlooking Palestinians’ rights and Israel’s constant international law and human rights violations against them does not indicate freedom and dignity to me.

Furthermore, the president and the governor, along with other big nations, have been trying to get Iran to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions to stop their nuclear program, as they should. But on the other hand, nobody has been campaigning as aggressively to get Israel to abide by U.N. resolutions to stop its violations against Palestinians.

I am tired of politicians holding countries to different standards just because it suits their interests and aspirations. I am even more appalled that their actions are flagged under high principles the world adheres to like equality, when in fact they’re not.

I know the actions of the government rarely reflect the will of the people, and I also know that this election is American and is for America. But I implore you to educate yourself on matters – domestic and international – before you cast your vote. Your vote does not only impact your way of living, but that of everyone else’s as well.

Please, think outside the borders.



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