Thursday, January 24, 2008

I approved this message part 3 - Isolationism

This is the third plank in my platform building. The subject matter is isolationism vs becoming entangled in the affairs of other nations. There is one presidential candidate who is currently advocating that we stay out of the business of other nations.

The quote about entanglement goes to Thomas Jefferson when he said "Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations except as to commerce ..."

Good ole' TJ made a lot of sense. The more we get into the business of other nations, the bigger the mess.

But even in TJ's day, there were exceptions. The Barbary Wars were fought during his day and another quote from him was "Millions For Defense, Not One Cent For Tribute." Basically, these bad guys (evil doers if you allow me the term) were raiding American ships and taking hostages. Common policy at the time was to pay ransom (tribute) to the bad guys. TJ disagreed. He helped built up a good Marine force and fought the Barbary wars. Ever hear the Marine song? The shores of Tripoli (modern day Libya) is where one of the famous battles was fought.

In seems to me that today is not so different from TJ's day. Oh, we don't have pirates raiding ships, but we do have them flying planes into buildings. And they don't demand ransom, but they do make other demands.

So based on TJ's wisdom, I think it's sometimes necessary to become entangled. This lesson was also learned after WW I, when the US sought to stay out of WW II. But we got drafted with the sinking of the Lusitania and Pearl Harbor. Same goes for 9/11.

Some may disagree, but that takes care of us getting entangled in Afghanistan and Iraq, probably in other Middle Eastern Nations. And possibly in other nations, to avoid another 9/11. But what about the affairs of other countries? Say a country in Africa or South America where possibly a dictator kills his own people?

This becomes dicey. These nations probably pose no serious threat to the US, they can't fly planes into our buildings, nor attack from the sea as the Japanese did. Our standards and our democracy may not fit them.

I believe that there are some issues that transcend governments and nations. There are times when, as human beings, we should step in and either 1) provide assistance or 2) provide defense. This means that we should provide aid when a country needs it, provide food to the people. It may be necessary to work around the leadership of the country and work with some people who fight against the leaders. And there may be a time when it is necessary to topple an existing government. If this was reviewed in the 1930's & 1940's, Hitler's extermination of the Jews would be a good example, in the 1970's Idi Amin (killed an estimated 500,000 and at one time bodies floated on the Nile in quantities sufficient to clog a hydro-electric dam).

If an existing government is toppled, it may be necessary to rebuild, just was we rebuilt Germany and Japan after WWII.

Note that Iraq falls into this category (in addition to the defense). Saddam was definitely a bad dude. With machines that were effectively meat grinders for entire human bodies, the man needed to be removed from power.

Where do you draw the line between an Idi Amin/Saddam Hussein/Hitler type and a Kim Jon Il? Which leaders/nations should be taken out and their countries rebuilt? Well, you can't face them all at once. You have to tackle them one at a time. And you have to hope that, like Libya's Muammar al-Gaddafi, some of them will have a change of heart before you get around to them.

This is Randy Barnett and I approved this message.

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