In moves by the United States government designed to downplay a planned International Burn a Koran Day, the State Department has said that a pastor involved in Florida’s actions are “un-American” and “inflammatory.” General David Petraeus has also been quoted as saying that American troops in Afghanistan may be put at risk, according to a report filed by Fox News.
Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center intends on going ahead with the Koran-burning, despite having a permit denied by the Gainesville, Florida, fire department. The standing of the United States on the foreign policy front may lose ground, since desecration of the Koran is considered a major offense by Muslims.
Other moves made by the United States have strained relations of the United States in the Middle East and other regions of the world as well. The most prominent example is the current Iraq War, which recently saw the last combat troops leave Iraq after more than seven years.
Insurgents all over Iraq have been responsible for suicide bombings ever since American troops entered the country in 2003, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. After the initial stages of the war, sectarian violence threatened to tear the country apart since there was no central power in Iraq anymore after Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard had been demolished.
Perhaps a more apt example of what may happen to United States interests lies in the Iranian Revolution, when the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was stormed and hostages were held for over 400 days during the Carter and Reagan presidencies. At that time, it was considered a major blow to relations of the United States in the Middle East as Iran overthrew the Western-supported government.
In what was termed a religious revolution, the secular government was overthrown and a more conservative Islamic state was put in its place, according to the Macrohistory and World Report. Clerics helped to overthrow the pro-Western government that had done things such as adopting the Western calendar, releasing political prisoners, and murders that were blamed on the government.
When the rich in Iran were getting wealthier and the poor were getting poorer, the people had enough. When the revolution happened, all Westerners were not safe in Iran as the backlash against a secularized Iran had reached its peak in 1979. The Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah had been put in his place as a religious leader and head of state. The hostage crisis may have even been part of the reason why Jimmy Carter lost his bid for re-election in 1980.
If tensions escalate because of the Koran-burning, the unfortunate consequences for the United States’ foreign policy could set it back to the time of the second Bush Administration. The United States was seen as a wayward power doing whatever it wanted, including invading Iraq without U.N authority. Hopefully all of the diplomatic work and military victories that have occurred since then won’t be negated by Terry Jones and his outspoken and erratic behavior.
Fox News, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Macrohistory and World Report all contributed information for this article.