Last week, citizens exercised their right to vote in the November tradition of our general election. Peaceful elections are a hallmark of democracy. Throughout our nation’s history, we have served as an example to other countries seeking the kind of freedoms that we, as Americans, too often take for granted. Veterans, more than anyone else, have made the sacrifices for such freedoms.
In the Middle East, our friend and ally, Israel, is the only democracy. Freedom House rates Israel and Tunisia as the only free countries in the Middle East and North Africa. It rates Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco as the only partly free nations. Freedom House rates all other nations in these regions as not free. American troops have expended much blood, sweat, tears and treasure in this part of the world.
Having spent much of my adult life in the Middle East on business (and some in Jordan in uniform), I was pleased to see the recent signing of the Abraham Accords (named for Father Abraham, progenitor of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Previously, Israel only had diplomatic relations with Egypt (since 1977) and Jordan (since 1994). This summer, Israel established relations with the United Arab Emirates (home of Al Dhafra Air Base) and Bahrain (home of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet). Last month, Israel established relations with Sudan (in exchange for the US removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism). I predict some of the next signatories will include Oman (home of Thumrait Air Base), Qatar (home of Al Udeid Air Base), Kuwait (home of the US Army’s Camp Arifjan), and possibly even Saudi Arabia. Clearly, the Abraham Accords will provide more stability in a turbulent region. This, in turn, will lead to the loss of fewer American troops to terrorism and on the battlefield.
Whether they have served overseas, domestically, in natural disaster relief, and/or now in Indiana’s nursing homes, please thank a veteran today! After all, they protect the right to vote at home and abroad.•