Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Sure.  Or I can at least give you my hypothesis.  I'm all for US intervention by peaceful means in the name of human rights -- liberty, democracy, equal application of law, and so on.  And I would even support, even volunteer for, military intervention in the name of stopping genocide.  But the problem I see is that the US suffers from one side of the aisle, the Republicans, being followers of neoconservative foreign policy -- meaning, "It's all about power in the international arena."  And I think that inevitably breeds a desire to intervene, militarily, in other countries' affairs when they don't agree with the neoconservative view of what constitutes "our interests" -- or, more accurately, "what brings us more power."

It all comes down to my view that, whether in a democracy or in a totalitarian state, bad people will seek power and attempt to use it for their own interests when the opportunity presents itself -- whether it's, in the very extreme case, someone like Mao Zedong or, in the less extreme case, someone like Dick Cheney.

Americans are, believe it or not, isolationists at their core, when it comes to the military -- the reason, I'm convinced, for why our leadership has consistently involved itself in foreign affairs secretly.  That goes back all the way to George Washington, who warned the country to avoid "foreign entanglements".  (He meant treaties, but only because they connected with foreign wars.  I have no doubt that Washington and the other Founders would've supported agreements like Kyoto.)  This was the (in my view incorrect) stance America took at the beginning of both World Wars, too.

Americans would never have supported the Iraq invasion had it not been for 9/11 and the constant stream of propaganda that followed.  They opposed invasion back in the late-1990s, when Clinton was threatening it.  They opposed getting involved in WWII until the Japanese attacked.  But, when the country is attacked, and when the population is given a target, -- in the case of Iraq, it was, obviously, the wrong target -- it goes into a "We Will Kick The Living Shit Out Of You" frenzy.  People who have been attacked will look for a reason to beat the hell out of someone.  And, when led by such a dangerous group, that's a deadly combination.

But Americans are also -- again, believe it or not -- idealists at their core, to an admittedly obnoxious extent.  They want to believe they're doing great things.  They want to believe they're freeing the world from injustice.  And it's much too easy for people, like the Neocons (who are really just the modern form of the so-called "Cold Warriors," or, more accurately, the McCarthyists), to prey upon those feelings.

So the answer, in my mind, is to keep the country away from foreign intervention, because it will inevitably lead to unnecessary military assaults.  The actions of the well-intentioned are not the problem.  It's the precedents they set -- the doors they open -- that are the problem.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 11:08:37 AM EST
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