The First Amendment and Foreign Policy Conundrum
One of the rights that Americans hold most dear also tends to complicate our foreign relations with the Arab world. While history provides many examples, few are better than what is going on right now with protests in over ten different countries over a movie on YouTube.
Remember, all of the protests that are making news and causing mayhem in various Arab countries right now are not based on inflammatory comments of an elected leader or candidate, nor a reaction to an editorial of a major newspaper.
The protests and associated violence stem from a yet to be released movie, currently only available on YouTube.
Seeing how a YouTube video could create this kind of reaction, it is easy to see the difficult position the United States State Department is in. How exactly do you negotiate with officials in countries that feel it’s okay to have violent protests over a YouTube video that is critical of a religion?
But a closer look at this conundrum exploits the key differences offered from the two presidential candidates here in the United States.
Essentially, how do you respond to people who take a stark and violent stance against one of the rights you personally hold dear?
How you would approach the issue may be a guide to how you may vote in November.
For those that believe the situation should be approached with diplomacy, working to build in line with how President Obama has addressed the issue. Those same Americans are also probably voting for him this fall.
For those that believe no amount of calm conversation is going to change the situation and that the only value that countries like this truly respect is that of strength, you are likely supporting Mitt Romney’s stance and his campaign in November.
For those of you that are frustrated with the violence, but don’t have a direct solution to the problem, you probably have the same confusion with the presidential race, since neither candidate is seeking that middle ground.
If you are confused on what to do, it isn’t surprising since the problem we are discussing is one that has plagued American foreign relations in the Middle East for decades.
But this issue does point out how Islamic extremists in the world will not be placated by the United States simply getting out of the warzones in the region. Many optimistic Americans were hoping that after 7 years of war under George W. Bush, President Obama would begin to pull soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan and therefore give extremists less reasons to attack the U.S. And when Osama Bin Laden was taken out, optimism surged again, thinking that maybe we could be free of this nightmare with extremists.
But if a movie on YouTube can rile people in ten different countries into violent protests, then the United States will never be truly free of this problem, regardless of the status of any warzone.
The only thing we can affect is how we deal with it. Will it be with Obama’s plan or Romney’s plan?
We’ll see which plan voters prefer on November 6th.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.