SYRIA AND ISOLATIONISM

Isolationism is defined as – nonintervention, the diplomatic policy, whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense. 

The urge to revert back to the views of our founding fathers regarding Foreign Affairs seems to be growing. It is an understandable reaction to years of America being the policeman of the world. America being the policeman of the world has been a thankless task, as Americans have shed their blood on many shores since the world changed for America when World War II began.

Clearly,  the United States has by far the strongest military in the world and it would be folly for any nation to attack America. There can be no doubt that the American people are tired of war. We are tired of the lies that led us into Vietnam and into Iraq. 

How is it in America’s interest to become involved in Syria? On the surface the civil war that is going on in Syria will not impact our own security. There is no oil in Syria that could impact our economy. It is only natural to want to retrench and say the hell with the rest of the world, let them kill each other.

Rand Paul who it seems wants to run for President of the United States has articulated the age old beliefs of Thomas Jefferson in wanting to have a non-interventionist foreign policy. He wants to exit from the United Nations as well.

These refrains of some of today’s politicians of both political parties sound eerily familiar to the ghosts of the past when America was protected by the geographical isolation we had from the world. We seemed safe and secure. We were only interested in other countries if we could sell our goods and services to them.

It seems like a great idea to just say let someone else take responsibility and forsake our leadership role that we have on the world stage.

If the world turns a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons who is to say that Assad will not decide to just gas his enemies and make it easier on his maintaining power? Then what will we have learned nothing from World War II when an estimated 50 millon people died during the conflict?

Contrary to the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, the Obama administration has shown that diplomacy has again regained its rightful place of importance in foreign affairs. War or a restricted military action is their last choice. Hagel and Kerry have experienced war. The Obama administration has come reluctantly to the decision that a limited miltary strike should be used as an object lesson for anyone who would consider using weapons that are against international law. 

President Obama for whatever reason has decided to dial back on the power of the Presidency, by seeking the approval of Congress. It is a rare political act that any president would lessen the powers that he inherited from prior presidents.

No matter how reluctant we are to get involved we should do the right thing even if the rest of the world does not care. If we choose to deny the lessons of the past we may well be entering into a new era when the horrors of the past are revisited. We are looked up to as a leader and with that, we are also hated by those who would choose to victimize their own people.

Responsibility comes with being a leader. The recent limited usages of military power in North Africa shows that we can use a limited strike without becoming emersed in Syria’s Civil War. Let us stand for international law and send a message loud and clear that using chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

 

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