Voters again showed they are not happy with how things are going. What the problem is seems to escape most people, even when they sense its' existence. We have had a theme running though U.S. foreign policy much longer than I have been alive which has caused many problems. There was a time when U.S policy was isolationist. Our choice of foreign involvement has failed us, and belies internal problems.
Having embarked on a policy of "containment", we tried to impose our will on the world. Initially, Hitler was an enemy of Godless Communism who could block it from Europe. Castro could overthrow the dictator Batista, Marcos could stop Communism in the Philippines, and removing the elected socialist Salvador Allende to make way for General Pinochet all in defense against Communism. The Shah of Iran replaced the elected leader for the same reason. We faked an attack in the Bay of Tonkin to wage a war to stop Communism is southeast Asia, after going back on our word to abide by their elective choice. In short, the worst dictators we have had to deal with in the last century were ones we helped put in power. Trying to impose our will on the middle east has resulted in our pawn against the Russians, Ossama bin Laden, using the same asymmetric warfare techniques against us. Conservative thought was so locked into this concept that when Communism failed to be an effective threat to guide imposing our will on the world, they shifted to Muslim Terrorism.
In the mean time, China, which we have been dealing with, no longer looks like Communism, with no imposition, just trade. We claim we want democracy, but when other people voted for Socialist ideas, we opposed them, preferring to aid a dictator. At home, while we sing the praises of sacrificing lives to vote, most won't. They don't register, and even when they do, they don't vote. They sanction actions against others that they would call acts of war against us. The actions of the Taliban that offends the Bush supporters looks very much like their own behavior: trying to impose their own religious rules on everyone. They want their religious laws enforced on all, be it keeping women covered and out of the public, or putting the "Ten Commandments" in schools. Funny how Fundamentalist means the same values, at least among the "People of the Book".
If trading with China, against whom we have no real weapon (they own 1/3 of our national debt) has resulted in such dramatic change, why don't we try it elsewhere? Trading with impoverished Chinese changed ideas, so might it not change Cuba, with cheaper sugar and less illegal immigration being the cost? Could al-Qaida recruit suicide bombers against the U.S. if we are not trying to control their lives? The pacifist Quakers of Pennsylvania were never attacked by the Indians, but when the same Indians were attacked by immigrating Protestants, they did return the favor.
Containment has failed to benefit us, and has cost us dearly. A change in paradime could save us from a huge military bill and much ill will, and create good will and genuine allies. Cooperation does not create enemies like trying to control others. Some claim we are a Christian nation. "Love thy enemy." "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."