What Americans should learn from history. A long time ago the USA supported a totalitarian regime in Iran, headed by the Shah. In 1978 the Iranian people staged a revolution, overthrew the Shah and installed an Islamic Republic. The USA became Iran's main enemy, and Iran became the USA's main enemy. Two years later the crazy dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, declared war to Iran. Ronald Reagan was president of the USA. Since your enemy's enemies are your friends, Ronald Reagan decided to side with Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein managed to kill one million people and proudly experimented with the chemical weapons that Western countries had helped him acquire. The war lasted till 1988, when Saddam finally gave up. Ronald Reagan did not issue a single condemnation of Saddam Hussein's aggression of Iran or of Saddam Hussein's atrocities against his own people. On the contrary, Reagan accused Iran of sending children to die in the war (Iran had no choice). On the contrary, a missile fired by a USA warship stationed in the Gulf downed an Iranian civilian plane (mistaking it for a warplane) and killed all 290 passengers. Needless to say, this did not make the USA popular in Iran, and it helped Saddam Hussein stay in power in Iraq.
At about the same time, Ronald Reagan helped Saudi Arabia and Pakistan set up a special Islamic brigade to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Reagan asked the Saudis to provide a charismatic leader, and Saudi Arabia came up with a young man, the son of one of Saudi Arabia's most famous tycoons: Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden was trained and funded by the CIA, and began his terrorist campaign against the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan, Osama helped a group of religious extremists, the Taliban, to seize power and install an Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime was recognized only by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, both allies of the USA.
In the meantime, Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait. The West had watched silently when he invaded Iran, so he figured that it was ok to invade other countries. Unfortunately for him, this time he invaded a country that was a friend of the USA. The new USA president, George Bush, organized a massive coalition to kick Iraq out of Kuwait. In order to do so, Bush stationed American troops in Saudi Arabia.
Osama bin Laden's reason to fight the Soviet Union had been to expel an infidel from a Muslim country. From his point of view, the USA troops stationed in Saudi Arabia were equivalent to the Soviet troops stationed in Afghanistan. If the holy war was justified against the Soviet Union, the same holy war was justified against the USA. Osama bin Laden could also take advantage of Afghanistan, a country kindly abandoned by the USA after the end of the war against the Soviet Union. That is how Osama bin Laden became the USA's number-one enemy.
In the meantime, the USA was supporting the dictatorships of "friendly" Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Disaffected Arabs from those countries joined Osama bin Laden's crusade against the USA. The terrorists of September 11 were from those "friendly" Arab countries and used Afghanistan as a base.
Today, the USA is fighting two wars: one against Osama bin Laden's terrorism and one against Saddam Hussein's regime. Hopefully Americans are learning from their mistakes: both enemies were created by American actions. In fact, both were created by the same president: Ronald Reagan. It is ironic that so many Americans have never blamed Ronald Reagan for September 11 and for the Gulf War, when he (or, better, his reckless stupidity) was in fact the main cause of both.
Study history and geography.
Make sure you know what your president is doing on your behalf around the world
Trust historians and scientists, not politicians.
Do not sell weapons to other countries (they may some day use them against you)
Never support dictatorships, because a) the people who get oppressed by those dictators will hate the USA, B) sooner or later those dictators will turn against you, c) the crimes of those dictators will come back to haunt you, d) you lose your moral right to preach other countries