Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Approaches of John McCain and Barack Obama

As we saw so often during the presidential race, the approaches to foreign policy by John McCain and Barack Obama couldn't be farther apart. On the elections in Iran and the subsequent protests we see the same old, same old from Senator McCain: American tough talk that has only served to turn more people in the world against us, than it has rallied them to our interests.

In a New York Times article today (as well as many other places reporting on this story) we see what will surely come of U.S. officials taking a hard line on this issue:

"The [Iranian] Foreign Ministry, meantime, summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran, in protest of what it called “meddling” by the United States into its affairs because of statements by American officials on Iran’s elections."


There's no sense in making it seem like we are attempting to plant a pro-Western politician, as we have been known to do so often. Let the Iranian people take up the fight. When will those of John McCain's ilk realize that tough talk isn't always the best way to go about things? As John Kerry put it in a recent Times op-ed:

"If we actually want to empower the Iranian people, we have to understand how our words can be manipulated and used against us to strengthen the clerical establishment, distract Iranians from a failing economy and rally a fiercely independent populace against outside interference. Iran’s hard-liners are already working hard to pin the election dispute, and the protests, as the result of American meddling. On Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry chastised American officials for “interventionist” statements. Government complaints of slanted coverage by the foreign press are rising in pitch...

[I]f the street protests of the last days have taught us anything, it is that this is an Iranian moment, not an American one...

What comes next in Iran is unclear. What is clear is that the tough talk that Senator McCain advocates got us nowhere for the last eight years. Our saber-rattling only empowered hard-liners and put reformers on the defensive. An Iranian president who advocated a “dialogue among civilizations” and societal reforms was replaced by one who denied the Holocaust and routinely called for the destruction of Israel."

2 comments:

Charles said...

I want people to understand what it must have felt like to live through the Holocaust. Can you imagine the constant fear, the intense hunger, the suffering from malnutrition and chronic illness, the loss of loved ones and the separation from everything that was your life? Can you imagine watching as your children are torn from your arms, screaming your name, knowing that you will never see them again? Can you imagine watching your parents march into a gas chamber, knowing that you will never see them again, never hear their voice, never touch their skin or hold them in your arms again? Can you imagine being trapped into slave labor, from sunrise to sunset, six days a week - for years? Can you imagine being forced to stand in line for hours each day, in the freezing cold and blazing sun, all the while choking on the ubiquitous, odorous smoke while inhaling the ashes of your friends and family? Can you imagine watching loved ones have medical experiments performed upon them, without anesthesia and with no hope for a release from the agony? Can you imagine being forced to burn the bodies of gas chamber victims, only to discover that among the bodies are your wife and children?

I wrote "Jacob's Courage" as a tribute to my relatives who perished in the Holocaust. I also wrote "Jacob's Courage" to teach young people about the Holocaust. It is a love story and a history lesson, filled with suspense, delight and unyielding anticipation. I wanted to demonstrate the power of true love within a backdrop of pure terror. The lurid world of the Holocaust encompassed everyone, like a swift thundering darkness decending upon a soft summer afternoon. Yet, within the terror lies a coming-of-age tale of intense love and familial devotion.

Mostly, I wrote "Jacob's Courage" to show how normal people reacted to the most brutal environment possible. These charcters were not heroic archtypes, filled with superhuman resolve. They were people, just like you and me, forced into unrelenting terror. I wanted people to realize that even the survivors were burdened by unending and encompassing guilt. They felt guilty for surviving when their loved ones died. They felt guilty for doing the Nazis dirty work. The few surviving victims carry this guilt today, along with brutal memories that no one should have to endure.

If we "allow the Holocaust to fade away," as some desire, then we permit our progeny to commit the same sort of genocide in the future. How can they learn right from wrong if we do not teach them? Providing appropriate ethical standards for our children is our most critical responsibility. If we bury past genocide, what will prevent its reoccurrance? We also teach about the Holocaust to honor its victims, Jew and gentile alike. All of this is why I wrote "Jacob's Courage." My greatest desire is that someone will read the book and resolve to prevent genocide.

David Luke Doody said...

Charles,

Good luck with the book.

That being said, what does is have to do with this post or my blog in general? (I'm not sure I've ever posted anything on the Holocaust.) Are you commenting on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's distorted views of the Holocaust? If so, you should take this opportunity (through the comments section of this and other blogs) to make that point, rather than using the space as random advertisement for your book.

As is, your comment makes me wonder if you even have read this post, or if you just place this same comment as promotion on any random blog you come across. Holding this view, I seriously doubt you'll come across this response to your comment, as I don't actually believe you read any of the content on this blog.

Still, I wish you luck with your book. If you are serious about it, I suggest actually promoting it in a serious manner, rather than haphazardly placing comments on blogs that have nothing to do with the Holocaust. This, I'm sure, will do nothing in service of your book and may indeed turn people off to the possibility of reading it.

David

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

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