Stipulating that foreign aid can be an important part of American foreign policy, and further that trade is an important component of U.S. foreign policy; Secretary of State John Kerry made two really important mistakes in his maiden speech, delivered to a fawning audience of American university students.
The first was in the definition of America’s challenges in the second decade of the 21st Century. Mr. Kerry posited:
“Our challenge is to tame the worst impulses of globalization even as we harness its ability to spread information and possibility, to offer even the most remote place on Earth the same choices that have made us strong and free.”
“Our challenge” is, in fact, to defeat the forces of Islamic radicalism that threaten us at home sometimes, and that threaten our friends in the Middle East, Southwest and East Asia all the time. Secular people, Christian people, Jews, women and progressive people in those regions — including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, North Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Mali, Iraq and Turkey, and more — feel the pressure of the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, al Qaeda and Taliban forces snuffing out the tentative whiffs of freedom and equality presaged by President Bush’s “democracy agenda” and the now-cold “Arab Spring.” The less-than-optimal “impulses of globalization” are far more benign than the less-than-optimal impulses of a political-religious philosophy that holds the 7th Century to be the apex of human endeavor.
The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the Sufi treasures of Timbuktu are object lessons; Nedha Sultan and Malala Yusufzai are object lessons in the threats posed by a maleficent strain of Islam.