Dateline – December 30, 2019
Chanting “Death to America”, protestors attack U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Protesters broke into the heavily guarded compound of the United States Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday and lit fires inside to express their anger over American airstrikes that killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia over the weekend.
Dateline – November 4, 1979
Protestors attack U.S. embassy in Tehran.
A group of Iranian college students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, the morning of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. Not coincidentally, Reagan campaign officials made a deal with the Iranian Government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the fall of 1980 , which led to "limited investigations." However "limited," those investigations established that soon after taking office in 1981, the Reagan Administration secretly and abruptly changed United States policy – which eventually led to the Iran-Contra scandal of 1985.
Diplomacy is always cheaper than military expenditures. For fiscal year 2020, the State Department budget request is $40 billion. For fiscal year 2019, it was $37.8 billion. For fiscal year 2018, it was $37.6 billion. In 2017, it was $53.1 billion, $15.5 billion HIGHER than the 2018 budget. Between 2010 and 2012 (the year of the Benghazi attack) Congress cut $296 million for diplomatic security and embassy construction.
For fiscal year 2020, the proposed military budget is $750 billion. For fiscal year 2019, the budget was $693 billion. For fiscal year, it was $639 billion.
The Ugly American is a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer that depicts the failures of the US diplomatic corps in Southeast Asia.The book caused a sensation in diplomatic circles and had major political implications. The Peace Corps was established during the Kennedy administration partly as a result of the book. The bestseller has remained continuously in print and is one of the most influential American political novels.
To a very large degree, increased military spending does NOT lead to peace, for this reason:
“We are creating enemies faster than we can kill them”. The article below explains a better way:
Having embassies on foreign soil, of course, does not come without risk.
In August of 1988, more than 200 people were killed in nearly simultaneous truck bomb explosions in two East African cities, one at the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the other at the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. The bombings are widely believed to have been revenge for U.S. involvement in the extradition, and alleged torture, of four members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) who had been arrested in Albania for an alleged series of murders in Egypt in the two months prior to the attacks. The group responsible for the attacks was al–Qaeda.
On 9/11/2012 (why does that date sound familiar?) the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia attacked two United States government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, causing the deaths of 4 Americans. There were ten investigations into the Benghazi matter: one by the FBI; one by an independent board commissioned by the State Department; two by Democrat-controlled Senate Committees; and six by Republican-controlled House Committees. After the first five Republican investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing by senior Obama administration officials, Republicans in 2014 opened a sixth investigation, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Trey Gowdy. This investigation also failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing by senior Obama administration officials
To put the Benghazi investigations into perspective, they were longer than the investigations into 9/11. Watergate, the JFK investigation, and Pearl Harbor.
In July of 2015, the Obama administration, recognizing that more than 50 years of isolation had not been effective, announced the full restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba.
On December 6, 2017, Trump announced that the U.S. Embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which led to riots, and the death of 60 Palestinians. Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem isolates the United States on one of the world’s most sensitive diplomatic issues. It has drawn a storm of criticism from Arab and European leaders.
When the embassy officially opened in May of 2018, Trump made matters worse by inviting Robert Jeffress, John Hagee, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, and David Friedman (the U.S ambassador to Israel) to the event.
We are at perilous times in our history. At a time when we need seasoned diplomatic officials to “calm the water”, we have Donald Trump as president and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. People smarter than me will have to argue who the best Secretary of State was, but it IS a fact that Hillary Clinton visited more countries (112) than any of her predecessors. Madeline Albright is #2, with 96 (Her recent book, “ Facism – a warning” is worth reading.)
Now that you have suffered through close to 1000 words about this topic, set politics aside, and have a Happy New Year!