Land of Confusion: Why Divisive Foreign Policy Takes are Bad for Americans at Home
As Israel and Palestine reach a ceasefire after 11 days of bloody conflict, top U.S. leaders fail to provide a definitive stance concerning the military strikes by both our long-term ally: Israel and the flagrant, Palestinian terror organization: Hamas. Historically, the U.S. has always aided Israel in its ever-constant defense against terror groups and hostile neighboring countries. In the largest escalation of violence since 2014, progressives have blatantly shifted the tide against Israel, going so far as calling the state’s defensive countermeasures acts of terror against Palestinians. While top Republicans call for unwavering support of Israel, the Biden Administration has been both vague and largely hush on in its view of the conflict. The apparent waffling of the situation by U.S. leadership not only leaves Israel needing support but more importantly, does not convey to the American people what to believe.
It may be no secret that America remains largely divided on many policy issues but common ground is not the enemy. It’s important that those that shape our foreign policy unite on specific stances when dealing with international political issues. The primary reason being the welfare and understanding of the American people. Unified stances in foreign policy give our people common ground to stand on. It allows for understanding the fundamentals of an international dilema without room for confusion and manipulation from hostile, foreign forces.
Historically, Americans lack sufficient knowledge in foreign affairs, primarily focusing their attention on domestic issues. This seemingly obvious knowledge gap provides a perfect exploitation opportunity for both hostile foreign governments and non-state actors. And Americans too often fall victim to this very type of false information on social media.
One way to combat America’s lack of knowledge on foreign affairs is to have lawmakers with unified stances who can present information in such a way that does not muddy the picture.
The unfortunate reality is that many U.S. leaders are presenting information that is, at best, contradictory and misleading. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI 02) proclaimed the escalation of violence not to be a “both sides issue” advocating for staunch support of Palestine and simply proclaiming that the Israeli government didn’t have a viable leg to stand on. On the other hand, the President also spoke holistically that his party still supports Israel. From an American citizen’s perspective, none of these statements make sense when taken together. Hostile foreign governments know how to take advantage of this confusion and uncertainty.
Trust is a form of currency in foreign relations, not just in dealing with sovereign, foreign governments but also within our own as it works to provide credible information on places and events around the world. Keeping Americans properly informed with accurate information should be the common ground we build upon. If this trust cannot be formed across party lines, American citizens will suffer the consequences, continuing to be misinformed and confused by contradictory information.
Throughout the 20th century presidential administrations and congressional lawmakers all held varying opinions to varying degrees on a variety of domestic issues but many, regardless of party affiliation, came together to fight the spread of communism. As we approach similar “near-peer” scenarios with countries that obtain capabilities to exploit Americans on the homefront, we must begin adopting principles of trust, unity and. cooperation across party lines. Leaders within the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House should strive to be arbiters of truth in the world, not for influence and power within the international realm, but for the sake of the American people.