If Not Us, Then Who?

By Danny Zeng

Today is the last presidential debate between the two candidates in this heated election season. The subject will be over foreign policy, an area that most Americans, I would say myself included, are not educated enough to to know fully what is going on. But I believe common sense suffices to have a broad position on foreign policy. After all, simplifying complex issues using principles as guidance is the closest approximation to good decision making. If we all exercise a certain level of common sense, then we all be better off.

A brief review of the last four years signal that we have not lived a quiet four years: Gaddafi is dead; Mubarak is done; Bin Laden has been decimated; Arab Spring fanned across Middle East and Norther Africa, providing hope for millions living under totalitarian regimes; even places like Russia and China, pockets of democratic idealism sprung up and challenged the status quo. This administration has achieved some deserved victories, but it has failed in larger part to lead the free world without a coherent vision; indeed, challenges remain and the world searches for the proactive leadership in us.

In the last four years, we have failed to lead abroad on multiple fronts. We have failed in stopping Iran’s advance in acquiring a nuclear weapon, which has been an objective widely accepted by bipartisan consensus. We have failed to stabilize Libya after Gaddafi’s fall, leading to extremist groups to attack on our consulate in Benghazi, murdering our brave civil servants. We have undermined our relationship with Israel, not offering the kind of support that it needs to fight against its rogue neighbors who want to wipe it from the face of earth. We have not seized on opportunities in Africa, letting countries like China investing and effectively economically colonizing the continent for the remainder of the century. Most troubling of all, we have failed to lead in providing Syrian people with hope and relief, especially after 20,000 have been massacred by the Assad regime, only a handful of Senators – John McCain, Lindsay Graham, etc. – have actively called for American leadership on the Syrian front.

I understand that our country is war-weary and sick of the “saving the world” mantra or the notion of America as the police of the world. However, I challenge those critics to pause and consider the security of a 21st century world order. If not us, then who? Who else in this world has the power of conflict resolution as effectively and efficiently ast the full force of the United States government. Who else in this world can stand up against evil forces so resolutely like the United States without a blink of eyes or a shadow of doubt? It appears to me almost irresponsible to dismiss what this country has accomplished in the 20th century, namely promoting a more secure Europe and tearing down the fabric of Soviet Communism, and to simply throw our hands in the air now, when the world, our friends and allies, need our leadership the most.

A freer world is a more prosperous world. “Peace through strength” is a proposition that intuitively makes sense and has shown to have worked in practice, namely guarding our interests for the last fifty years. A stronger America means a stronger world. I will gladly accept my lone, minority voice on this proposition, in which I believe that an active foreign policy is not only smart policy in support of American interests abroad but also the best safeguard we have for a freer and more prosperous 21st century. Let not our myopia and transient platitude supplant our end goals for global security and international prosperity, but allow our hopes to translate into concrete, principled action items. Twenty-first century may be the greatest century the world has ever known. I ask you to believe in America, believe in our people, and believe in our sincere hope to make the world a better place.


About Danny Zeng

College student, political junkie, I like to read, and I like to learn

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