On Foreign Policy, Pt. 3:?

iggleThe first two posts in this series dealt with the various problems with modern conservative philosophies on foreign policy. First, we examined the neo-con assumption that America should intervene where convenient around the world, and that it should employ nation-building if possible. This idea was proven costly and wasteful. Second, we examined the neo-isolationist ideal of America totally withdrawing its military from the globe. This was proven dangerous and short-sighted.

The best foreign policy is a via media. There is a middle path, in which the strengths of each way of thinking would be combined, while leaving out the failures.

In effect, the ideal policy would be one with a two-fold system. The first tenet is that the United States would never be unwilling to use military force to protect its citizens abroad if the host country is failing to do so. The second tenet is that the United States must exercise its military might ONLY in the defense of the United States or its citizens abroad. Therefore, nation-building is out, but upholding the Constitution is in.

This policy would have fundamentally changed the way the George Bush conducted the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, the United States would also have attacked Somali pirate bases, probably in 2011 when the attacks were at their highest. This action would reflect the precedent set by Thomas Jefferson in the Barbary Coast operations. If Americans are being continually attacked abroad, then the United States is Constitutionally-bound to defend them. For example, in Afghanistan, he would have simply pulled out our troops after destroying those responsible for 9/11.  Yes, soldiers would have been sent overseas. Yes, they would have killed foreigners. Yes, there would have been massive expense. Justice would be done. However, Bush would not have decided that our goal in Afghanistan was to establish a western democracy. Nor would we have gone to any of the trouble of foisting any type of government upon the Afghans.

The benefits of this system are quite massive. The United States would not be bogged down in endless operations around the globe attempting to make backward nations into modern self-governing entities. This would save money, time, and lives. Further, it would free up the military to act at a moment’s notice around the globe. Thus, when the next attack happens, or threat appears, we would be able to quickly deal with it. Lastly, unlike the neo-isolationists’ ideal, the military would be a constant, realistic threat around the globe to our enemies. There should be a deeply-instilled fear in our opponents that they might wake up dead if they choose to cross the United States.

What do you think? Is there a flaw in my argumentation that deserves righteous avenging?


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