Is Panetta right on USA’s role in the world?
Leon Panetta strongly believes that America must stay militarily strong and ever-present in the world to make it safe. However, an equal case can be made that our over-reliance on military presence all over the world, our failure to really understand other cultures and our arming and supporting regimes and factions who eventually turn against us has caused us much harm.
America armed and trained Osama Bin Laden to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, but with our later military presence in Saudi Arabia, turned him into our deadly enemy. We overthrew Saddam Hussein based on the lies that he had weapons of mass destruction and now look what we have wrought.
Our active support of pro western Ukrainians has now caused a civil war, and we blame it solely on Russia.
Our country’s infrastructure and standard of living is falling while we pay billions to buy arm and friends around the world, and for what?
I don’t know that isolationism is the alternative to Panetta’s program, but an honest analysis of what our muscular foreign policy has cost us and won us over the past fifty years is definitely in order. Unfortunately, as much as I respect Leon Panetta, I fear he is pandering to our fears.
— Jerry Kay, Santa Cruz
The Sentinel's editorial on August 19, 2014, to which this letter responds, can be found right here.