Mark Rants & Raves

Digressions into a variety of topics about the world.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The US foreign policy must become non-interventionist

I recently sent a letter to Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) :

I am not a constituant of yours, as I live in NC. However, I have recently read an article that details your comments on the floor of the House recently and felt compelled to commend you on the clarity your comments lend to the situation the USA finds itself in today.
I have to admit that in the past I would have disagreed with you. I thought that the USA, as the most powerful nation on earth currently, has an obligation to help others around the world. At some level, I still believe that, but I also now realize that, as powerful as we are, we cannot solve the world's problems - not even close. What we end up doing is, as you state:
"Spreading ourselves too thin around the world actually diminishes our national security ... a constant interventionist policy is perceived as arrogant"
Those we try to help often turn around an spit in our eye (or worse). It is a fact that there are many evil people in the world and many terrible tragedies on an ongoing basis. We, as Americans, need to continue to be the compassionate people we have always been, but in a charitable rather than militaristic fashion.
Government is many things, but efficient and timely it is not. We need our government to focus on things that are real problems for Americans:
  • A social security system that is heading toward bankruptcy as the baby boomers retire
  • An education system that is failing our kids, with lower test scores and higher dropout rates
  • A ridiculously large and unfair tax system that no one can understand
  • A broken immigration system, with millions of unidentified people here illegally
  • A border that is more open that arguably any other nation, leaving us vulnerable to not only criminals but terrorists
I realize I am preaching to the choir. It helps to know that there are politicians that share some of these views. I wanted to tell you I appreciate it and would be proud to have you as my representative in Congress...perhaps you can talk to your peers from NC.

I don't know how much of America sees this. We hear a lot about the war in Iraq, but what about the many other areas of the world we're involved in? Lets be clear, I am not advocating isolationism. We know from history that does not work in general. However, in the area of foreign policy, I believe we should have learned the lesson by now that trying to police the world will not work - even the USA has limits of what is possible. The result is that the world views us as arrogant...and most of the time, the situation ends up as bad or worse than when we started.

This is quite different from protectionism, which is the polar opposite of a free market system. If you believe in capitalism, private ownership, and free trade (i.e. what America is all about), you realize that trying to control local or global economics does not work and we really don't want to even try. There are ebbs and flows of where industries are primarily located and while that causes temporary regional "pain", it is a reality that cannot be denied. But I digress...

America is a wonderful place, currently IMO the best place. We are a great nation composed of peoples from around the world and we need to be good citizens of this world. But as far as foreign policy goes, we need to take care of our own house and stop asserting our views unilaterally.