Thomas Jefferson proclaimed a foreign policy when our country was but a newbie, that was quite different from what we have today. His outlook was "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." The latter part may seem isolationist, but the first part proclaims otherwise.
Since September 11, there has been no lack of "reasons why this has happened," many members of the radical Left claiming that America brought this on itself, that it is the victim who is in fact guilty. It is because we support Israel! It's the oil, stupid! It is because of the arrogant attitude of superiority of the American government. It is because of our meddling in other nations' affairs, whether it is Bill Clinton creating a distraction to cover his butt, or W's current financing of the Colombian civil war. A lot more of this is truer than many of our leaders care to admit, but it still has the same appalling ring as claiming that a rape victim "brought it on herself."
A recent article on the Middle East Studies Association, (MESA) reveals a very telling point. While boasting a membership of over 2,600 which has absorbed millions of dollars over several decades in federal grants, MESA has produced a dismal record of providing real insight into Middle Eastern affairs. Yet MESA's former president, Rhashid Khalidi, complained to its membership that "the consensus of experts in the Middle East field (meaning MESA) on a given matter is ignored by leaders and governments in framing their policies." The real issue for this group, and doubtless many others like them, is that they are not being allowed to directly influence or control the foreign policy of our nation, or the internal policies of other nations.
At a recent convention in San Francisco MESA held a talk on "Empowering Muslim Women." According to our standards women should be treated a certain way, and we don't feel that this is a relativist point of view, but a human rights issue. Many may rightly protest that we have no business interfering with other nations' internal affairs, but this is exactly what is happening when a group such as MESA attempts to influence a Muslim nation on how they should treat women. As right as we may feel, as right as we may be, the imposition of our moral viewpoint on others is wrong. They have the right to their own moral viewpoint as much as we have ours, just as much as we both have the right to disagree over those diverging viewpoints.
But the issue changes from a mere disagreement over moral opinion when we seek to impose our values through the political influence or outright action of a political body, be it the U.S. or the U.N. That becomes outright tyranny. What is particularly disturbing is when a group such as MESA or another like it, presents itself as the expert on Middle East affairs and then uses that position to justify its demand to determine the course of another nation's internal affairs. Failing to directly control a government's foreign policy, a group may move into the position of being a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). They then can utilize this position to control the UN policy that is inevitably enforced by international social pressure on what is otherwise a sovereign nation. In whatever way they find, asserting their agenda over others, butting into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, because they believe in its rightness, is the very arrogance we are now hearing them complain is the cause of the Manhattan Massacre. What makes it heinous is to do this and to allow it to be presented to the world as the arrogance of the U.S. Yet these groups who claim America brought this outrage on itself, are the ones butting into the affairs of these other nations and refusing to look in the mirror.
Individual American citizens in the WTC and the Pentagon are the ones who paid the bill for what is perceived as American arrogance and interference in the affairs of others. Many of them did not share the opinion of their government on foreign intervention. Many did not share the opinion of Left leaning think tanks as to how everyone should live. Many did not share the opinion of these NGOs who claim the right to determine the workings of foreign governments. They still paid the bill rung up by others. Our leaders still argue whether the "Manhattan Massacre" was an act of war or merely criminal. It was war. What was criminal is that the people who died did not have the benefit of Jefferson's foreign policy.