US must abandon imperialist foreign policy


Photo by Maribeth Eiken

Luke Chval

In January 2015, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi resigned from his post just before rebel Houthi forces seized the presidential palace in the capital city of Sana’a. He later rescinded his forced resignation and escaped to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he currently remains in safety. The nation of Yemen fell into a civil war, pitting Hadi’s government against the Houthi rebels.
The war can be boiled down to a main point: religion. The Houthi rebels are Shia Muslims, which is a minority in Yemen, and they claim that the Sunni Muslim government in Yemen discriminates against them. Because of the religious divide, the Shia majority country of Iran is currently supporting the Houthi rebels, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Saudi Arabia, a Sunni majority nation that supports the Hadi government, has launched several airstrikes in the country in an attempt to limit the spread of Houthi control. The United States has not yet deployed military forces in the country, although after their collaboration with Saudi Arabia in the attacks, it is a supposed next step.
However, President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter need to ask themselves if keeping the Houthi rebels out of control in Yemen is worth the cost of a third war in the Middle East in this century alone.
America is not the police of the world. The majority of countries around the globe denounce the interventionist foreign policy of the United States, and it is foolish to fall into the trap of assisting a country in a civil war simply because they solicit it.
While Iran is a country that is clearly one of the most antagonistic toward the United States, it does not serve the best interests of Americans for the U.S. Armed Forces to enter this conflict simply to limit Iranian power.
As in most revolutions, neither the Houthi rebels nor the current Hadi government are clearly more benevolent than the other. It is hard to know what kind of government will be formed after a successful rebellion, and the Houthis do not present a clear threat to the United States. The only thing the State Department should be concerned with regarding Yemen should be evacuating the region of any American citizens.
While Iran may be invested in the war, it would be unwise to escalate into armed combat in order to limit Iran’s influence in the Middle East. As the war is about secular control, such assistance could cause some to see the American government as choosing to support one sect of Islam (Sunni)  over the other (Shia), which would damage the image of American foreign relations even further.
The approval rating of former President George W. Bush took a nosedive after many Americans wavered in their support of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; our country can only stand to lose in a third such conflict.
The Imperial Age is over; there is nothing to be gained in conquest. It’s time to start believing that in our foreign policy.
By Luke Chval