Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Renouncing Empire

Here is an interesting point for discussion;
Nonintervention and global neutrality should be the national security creed of the United States. Every soldier deployed abroad — whether in South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere — should be returned to deter and defend the United States at home.
The author is Bruce Fein. Not a fan of this White House or the VP - but I don't think his points are a Left/Right divide. Though some on the Left would have a neo-Isolationism lead to a neutered military - I think that the case can be made that Switzerland like, the opposite may be true, and it has a good pedigree.
In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned against "overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty." He warned against entangling or permanent alliances. As president, he insisted on strict neutrality between feuding European powers. But his words and actions have been honored more in the breach than in the observance.
The best defense is not a good offense, but a good defense. In his Fifth Annual Address to Congress, he explained that to secure peace, "it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War." Armed neutrality would be both a viable and desirable national security posture.

Washington elaborated in his Farewell Address: "If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving of provocation."
In other words, don't bother us, and we won't bleed you white, lay waste to you and that which feeds your aggression.

Just for full disclosure, regular readers will know that I am not a fan of having hundreds of thousands of military personnel garrisoned all over the world on a permanent basis. As the Europeans and Japanese with their sub-2% and sub-1% military spending shows - it is a bargain for them and a graveyard for the Americans that provide their security. We also have to ask though, will this nation support punitive expeditions? On line with this?
No patchwork scheme—and all our present recent schemes…are mere patchwork—will settle the Waziristan problem. Not until the military steam-roller has passed over the country from end to end, will there be peace. But I do not want to be the person to start that machine.
(NB: that quote is about 100 years old). Perhaps not - perhaps so - but we are not that Roman I am afraid, at least not yet. On the other hand, do we really think we can save the world from itself - chase all the dragons? I don't think the American people want that either.
Who feels guilty about the United States nonintervention policy toward the tens of millions who perished in Josef Stalin's purges, Mao Tse-tung's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, and Pol Pot's dystopia?
Why ask?
...as Bertrand Russell advised, "In all affairs, it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."
Indeed. Asking questions is a good thing. Even healthy.

No comments: