What should US foreign involvement look like?
We are facing dire times in America. With war in Afghanistan and potential nuclear proliferation in Iran, our government has its hands full, and our coffers are depleted of funds. Multiple lower-scale conflicts are escalating around the world, and they have generated debate regarding U.S. foreign involvement.
Instead of continually getting entangled in foreign conflicts, we must elect a president who will focus on nation-building in America.
The civil unrest, violence and poverty pervading foreign regions is staggering, and it is difficult not to advocate extensive foreign aid to ameliorate the situation. The amount of conflict, however, makes this task impossible.
We can decide who lives by committing our resources and manpower to certain foreign efforts, and we can decide who dies by ignoring equally disturbing situations.
Take our involvement in the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi’s authoritarian regime in Libya last year. Humanitarian interests were a significant justification for our air strikes and associated expenditures. A little bit south of this oil-rich nation, meanwhile, young African children were being forced to join the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army of child soldiers and to commit atrocious acts of violence against remote villages. Needless to say, there were no serious efforts made by the United States on this front.
We cannot continue to pick and choose humanitarian operations when the nations we get involved in pose no threat to American national security. The federal debt is more than $15 trillion, and unemployment is at 8.3 percent; we do not have the money or resources to spare.
By extricating ourselves from complicated situations in foreign countries and by using our resources to fix equally complicated domestic issues, we can work our way to economic recovery and improved living conditions in our own nation.
Addressing foreign crises on a national level is unrealistic. Individual action, however, makes sense.
The best thing we can do is to use our position as students in an elite collegiate community to draw attention to foreign crises from the grassroots level. This strategy has the potential to aid humanitarian causes and to raise money without increasing costs for everyone. Trojans can join plenty of student groups in this pursuit, such as Invisible Children, Global Medical Brigades, Students for Justice in Palestine and SC Students for Israel.
The sad truth is that human nature renders conflict inevitable in every corner of the world. It will never be stopped regardless of how many troops we send or how much money we spend. Voting for a president who will focus more energy on and allocate more resources toward fixing the many problems in our own country is vital.
Otherwise, we can expect post-graduation America to be continuously war-ridden. And we will foot the bill.
Sarah Cueva is a sophomore majoring in Middle East studies and political science. Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.