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The United States has remained a long-standing military and economic power throughout its 200+ years of history, and has contributed its efforts into exporting democracy and helping other nations abroad establish democratic governments after their own decentralized and destabilized forms of government have collapsed. After rendering these countries lawless in the midst of power vacuums, various third-party groups looking to fill these voids and create governments that will serve their own interests and declare their authority in the nation. The communist party in Vietnam, and the nationalists, followed by religious fundamentalists in Iraq, are but two examples of this historical cycle of collapse and restructuring of government.
In the ongoing Cold War, Vietnam had fallen into the hands of the Communist Party led by Ho Chi Minh and his following, and the emergence of a new communist government was soon to follow. In order to prevent another country from going “red”, the United States led a proxy war, which meant that Vietnam was only a battleground for a larger, nonviolent conflict, against the Soviet Union. JFK, and then Nixon, engaged the Viet Cong and People’s Army of Vietnam, whom were supported by China and the USSR, through deployment of troops to support the democratic Southern Vietnamese Army. After years of constant losses and stalemates going nowhere, the U.S. quietly accepted defeat and pulled out of Vietnam.
The United States presumed that their military and economic might will serve them well in the unexplored and thick jungles of Vietnam, and their attempt to re-establish a democratic authority in Vietnam would be worth the lives lost and humiliation at the hands of the communists. However, their long-shadow of influence wasn’t enough to welcome Vietnam back into the fold of democracy and have China and the Soviet Union take this loss into account. Though it was a hard-earned defeat, it didn’t discourage the U.S. from going forward with their plans to spread democracy wherever and whenever they could.
U.S. intervention in the Middle-East, at first, was less-covered by media and other outlets and far fewer people weren’t as interested in the subject, as the clash between democracy and communism, as a headline, garnered more attention from American viewers. Nevertheless, the United States played the role of the observer, carefully watching whether Middle-Eastern nations were leaning more towards democracy or communism. While communism was practically a failure in this area of the world due to its atheistic background, with the exception of Afghanistan, most countries didn’t embrace American democracy either. Instead, religious fundamentalism rooted in Islamic politico-religious ideology such as Sharia law, or installing religious leaders, such as Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, into seats of political power: “Two possibilities suggest themselves, those of religion and nationalism. The rise of religious fundamentalism in recent years within the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions has been widely noted” (Fukuyama).
Nationalism has played a major role in world history and has been the cause of several wars to date: “Two cataclysmic world wars in this century have been spawned by the nationalism of the developed world in various guises, and if those passions have been muted to a certain extent in postwar Europe, they are still extremely powerful in the Third World” (Fukuyama). After the destabilization of the nationalist government in Iraq, following the death of militant leader Saddam Hussein, after claiming that he possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the United States felt the need to intervene and provide their support in establishing a democratic government, though their strategy was weak to say the least, and the consequential lawlessness and looting was due to U.S. inaction and their narrow focus of creating a democratic government that shielded them from the reality of needed to restore law and order to the area before the situation worsens, and then democracy won’t ever work out in their favor.
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