Every time the United States has gone to war, and even during a postwar period, there is the inevitable debate of isolationism versus intervention – diplomacy versus a military solution.
Going all the way back to George Washington, where many mistook Washington’s want for neutrality as isolationism. Prior to both World Wars, there were many who called to remain isolated.
It’s a natural tendency, particularly after a long protracted engagement, simply to say, “the heck with the rest of the world – we can’t solve everyone’s problems, and we can’t be the world’s 911.”
In other words, this foreign policy debate is nothing new.
So I found it interesting when I discovered a CNN.com article I printed from last December and just forgot about. It was entitled, “Against a New American Isolationism” by John Glenn (not the astronaut and Senator John Glenn).
The article began by stating, “At a moment when diplomacy is back in the international spotlight, are Americans becoming isolationist, wanting the United States to pull back from the world?” And that, “Democratic strategist Doug Sosnik released a memo identifying ‘pull back from the rest of the world’ as the number one area of consensus across the political spectrum ahead of the 2014 elections.”
He then goes on to write that it is not isolationism but rather a choice between solving domestic issues and foreign intervention.
“Yes, poll after poll has shown that if you ask Americans to choose between focusing on problems at home or abroad, they overwhelmingly call for focusing at home.”
There are a couple of things that should stand out regarding those statements. First, they are a shining example of campaigning by polls. Don’t stand for anything – just read the results of the latest poll and promise to fix whatever the poll determines needs fixing.
Second, the poll numbers are simply the result of purposely skewed questions and other hidden factors. It’s like asking you to pick between helping your child through a legitimate crisis or helping Ted and Carol down the street with their rocky marriage. You can’t choose both.
The answer would be obvious to most. You’d choose the domestic issue. That doesn’t make you an isolationist. Those who only allow for an either/or answer have an agenda – both the pollsters and the article’s author.
He reveals his bias by stating the following:
“Americans know that today’s global threats rarely have military solutions and no longer resemble the Cold War conflict between strong states. An overwhelming majority say that, in today’s world, economic power is more important than military power – as do most people around the world. But if you ask Americans whether under some conditions war is necessary to obtain justice, three quarters of Americans still agree…”
As the liberal that he obviously is, he assumes that a country can’t have both economic prosperity and military might. Of course, in a socialist/communist economy, he’d be correct, although, I’m sure he wouldn’t see it that way.
And “Americans” are wrong about today’s global threat, being that he apparently speaks for “Americans.” That’s an old politician’s trick. Just exclaim that “Americans” favor your point of view. (There are always some who do.)
Many potential “global threats” (terrorism) can neither be solved by isolationism or diplomacy. There is no solution beyond a military one.
As for obtaining “justice”… please! That’s just another liberal codeword meant to replace victory.
He finishes the article by stating that
“We’re seeing a remarkable resurgence of diplomacy, whether in the first steps toward a deal to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or in the Middle East peace process. But passionate reactions against the Iran agreement suggest that some have come to see diplomacy as weakness. This is unfortunate, as Americans are looking for leadership, not conflict, in a world that they feel is growing ever more dangerous. Let’s hope that cooler heads will prevail in the months ahead and see this as an opportunity for the United States to work with allies to lower the temperature and work to build a safer world.”
It’s remarkable to look back just six or seven months and witness the stupidity of those statements – how his “resurgence of diplomacy” has worked. Iran has resumed its nuclear quest and the Middle East is about to explode. Russia is expanding and China is most likely preparing to.
But fear not. Just imagine how much worse things would be without the Obama administration’s “cooler heads” on the case.
If I have to pick between isolationism and Obama’s foreign “diplomacy,” I’ll take isolationism.