Sometimes, we do support tyrants
To the editor:
Tricia Saenger correctly wrote that America has supported dictators. However, that support should be placed in context. Supporting a dictator is necessary when the alternative would be worse.
During World War II, America supported Stalin, a tyrant, because the alternative of a Nazi victory would have meant the demise of western civilization. F.D.R. was right in believing that America would survive as a democratic republic with Soviet victories in Europe. We did survive. America would not have remained a free nation if Hitler had won. The Holocaust would have spread to our shores.
Our support of dictators during the Cold War was designed to stop the spread of communism. Latin American military juntas did not pose a threat to America. Communism’s goals were to abolish private property, political and religious freedoms, and our way of life.
Military dictatorships were authoritarian but not totalitarian. They did not last as long as communist regimes. Would you rather live in Chile or Cuba today?
I do not admire Saudi Arabian society, but we support the Saudi government because they are our allies in the war against al Qaeda. Al Qaeda wants Americans to leave the Middle East, convert to Islam, and give up our “materialistic” way of life. Saudi Arabia has been our ally since 1945 and poses no threat to America. Al Qaeda has murdered thousands of Americans.
The Palestinian Authority receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the U.S. government, and its security forces are being trained under an American general. That constitutes de facto recognition. We do not support Hamas, a terrorist organization.
American foreign policy has a strong humanitarian element: the Peace Corps, the Marshall Plan, economic foreign aid, Agency for International Development aid, emergency food and natural disaster relief, and the National Endowment for Democracy.