I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter on Facebook and Twitter, about how we should cut off all the foreign aid to Libya and other countries that are currently experiencing anti-US riots and protests. I guess it’s easy to get all het up about us giving money to people who supposedly hate us. No, I’m not going to like or repost or RT, because it’s too black and white. It’s too simple to respond to unfocused anger in kind.
This stuff is not simple. I don’t yet know enough about it to have a coherent opinion beyond “wow, some shit is going down.”
Maybe a lot of the protests are about the anti-Islam video on Youtube. There are cogent arguments that what happened in Libya is a different animal entirely. The FBI is in on the Libya investigation now. That sounds a lot heavier than what have been described as soccer hooligans rioting.
Some kind of creepy right-wing Christian group may be behind the video that started it all. Not as if that in any way justifies people rioting about a video, but there is an extra layer of yuck if people are calling for a knee-jerk foreign policy response thanks to what amounts to grandiose trolling.
There are protests and riots and violence. But it’s not the whole of those countries in the streets, throwing Molotovs and clashing with the police. This is not just us versus them. There are a lot more “us” than this black and white view allows. We Americans don’t like it when the rest of the world characterizes us on the shameful actions of a few. It’s not a perfect parallel, but I remember a lot of us wanted to make sure the rest of the world didn’t think we were with Terry Jones, the burn-a-Koran-day asshole.
I don’t think that the only people in these countries benefiting from US foreign aid are the ones that helped murder Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, or the ones in the streets and shouting their hate. Maybe it feels good to have a simple reaction to something that isn’t simple at all. It’s us versus them. Everyone likes that. It’s easy. But reacting in anger to something so complex isn’t going to hurt the people who hurt us.
But more than that, looking at everything floating around, fact and not fact and wishful thinking, the only thing I know for certain is that I don’t know enough to have a cogent opinion to begin with. And neither do you.
Maybe this guy does. He probably has the best chance out of any of us.