Foreign Affairs
US Foreign Policy: Bridging Gap between Past and Present

The Watson Institute of Public Affairs at Brown University reported that since September 11, 2001, 7,057 US military personnel have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. Civilian contractor deaths reached 8,000, with 30,177 US service members committing suicide after deployments to these war zones.

Over 1.8 million veterans have some degree of officially recognized disability, with veterans of the current wars accounting for more than half of the severely disabled veteran population. The US government has participated in three major conflicts since September 11, including the second war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and military operations in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. They have conducted operations in Libya to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and in Yemen to support the Saudi government.

Twenty-three years after September 11, neoconservatives in Congress, the State Department, and the Pentagon continue to push the same war hawk policy in Ukraine, Israel, and Syria. American foreign policy is out of step with the Constitution and the original intent of the founding fathers, and it is time for those who push this policy to be held accountable.

Some Americans prefer isolation to engagement, attempting to undermine the cornerstone of American leadership and security architecture that has produced decades of prosperity without great-power war. Secretary Austin needs to learn from the founding ideals of the United States, as American figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were not bad leaders.

Washington issued a neutrality proclamation in response to the revolution in France and declared war on Austria, England, and Prussia. Jefferson set the principles that the government and his administration would follow, which were part of the spirit of the American Revolution and held a strong footing until the Progressive Era in the early twentieth century. However, these principles are deemed cowardice by Secretary Austin.

The US government’s alliance with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has led to America becoming a leviathan empire, sacrificing lives and money, taxing citizens, and destroying currency value. Secretary Austin should reevaluate war costs. The US fiscal outlook is deteriorating, with the deficit for FY2023 exceeding estimates at $1.7 trillion, a $320 billion increase from FY2022 and above earlier estimates. The total US debt now stands at $33.6 trillion, with the cost of servicing the debt rising to record heights of $879 billion, a 23% increase from FY2022 due to higher interest rates on the rising national debt.

The cost of servicing the US debt is now surpassing the annual spending on national defense appropriations.Future generations will be forced to pay this debt, while current and older generations will face economic consequences from endless war and easy money. The war-on-terror policy has also compromised civil liberties, as Congress approved a short-term extension of warrantless surveillance.

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the bill, stating that it is disheartening that Congress has extended an easily abused law without any necessary reforms to protect privacy. The New Hampshire legislature approved House Bill 229, requiring Congress to declare war for the New Hampshire National Guard to deploy to a combat zone. This move aims to protect life, liberty, and property during legislative sessions.

However, politicians and bureaucrats, many of whom have been in office since September 11, have not learned anything in the last 24 years. US citizens, despite having their privacy violated, continue to support politicians who push the same war-hawk agenda. This move highlights the far-reaching distance from the idea of liberty, as Founders like Jefferson and Washington would be ashamed of the progress made.

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