America's International Actions Brings Doubt to Patriotism

Sometimes I wonder about being an American citizen. I don’t always feel the pride that I think I should feel. Hearing the national anthem doesn’t fill me with patriotic fervor. I prefer meeting people from other countries rather than my fellow Americans.

I fully appreciate the rights and privileges that I have in America. Yet, sometimes I cringe upon learning of our government’s actions.

I am most concerned with our country’s role in international affairs. In many instances, I am not educated enough to take a side and may not have a full understanding of the problems, but I know enough to question what goes on. Some problems in this world have no sure, noncontroversial solutions, but it is possible to reduce U.S. involvement.

In a recent article I read, the Bush administration discussed its stance on Iraq. The Bush team was split on strategy and the degree of support the United States should give to forces opposing Saddam Hussein.

Some wanted an aggressive strategy to oust Hussein, while others were for a more moderate strategy of sanctions and limited support for the opposition groups. It seemed it would be a while before a consensus could be reached, but less than a day after the article was published, the United States was leading air strikes against Iraq. Was this the proper decision for us?

The opposition forces wanted and needed the support from us, but should we have given it to them? What position are Americans in now? Air strikes are terrifying. During air strikes on Belgrade, my Yugoslavian friend was in the United States and her family stayed behind, scared and vulnerable. Such fear is unknown to me and most other Americans. Walking around at a posh university, it is difficult to understand the magnitude of the situation.

Regardless, it is understood that decisions must be made by our government that gravely affect the rest of the nation, and the world for that matter. But one must at least question those decisions. It is too idealistic to think dramatic change can come instantly. World peace will not exist tomorrow, but there can be more serious effort to move in that direction.

Does the United States need to be part of every world conflict? There will never be a consensus on any issue involving international affairs, and U.S. involvement may perpetuate the problems. But then the United States also does a lot to support those in need.

The “”world police force”” (the U.S. military) will be called often, but it does not have to respond the same way every time. To what extent will the involvement of the United States help the problem, and to what extent will we add to it?

I don’t want the rest of the world to glare at the policemen and mutter “”pig”” when they pass, but it already happens now.

My concern is that our government’s decisions are seen by the rest of the world as representative of U.S. citizens, and I hate that. Even if one should think to openly oppose the decisions of the government, the shouts of that citizen are lost in the roar of the governing power.

There are no concrete solutions to this problem, but that is incentive to delve further into the problems on an individual level. We cannot deny the resources we have, and since it is easier to talk about change the world than actually changing it, why not form an educated opinion?

I do not regret my U.S. citizenship, but I am pessimistic in the midst of the problems involving my country.

For now, it is enough to know that regardless of the situation, I am free to speak and to oppose openly in this country.

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