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Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:55 PM

Isolationism, Policemen for the World, or Something Else?

It looks like the sides have been drawn up on the Syria debate, with some surprises as to who supports what this time, but mostly along the same familiar lines. The nature of the argument, predictably, has come down to either ignoring the lessons of WWII or cheerleading for WWIII. So which is it?

I have to admit, I'm no isolationist. There are times, when even though not in the immediate interests of the United States, I believe force is justified. There are many times we should have stood up against genocide or mass murder and did not. Perhaps this is one of those times.

On the other hand, I don't support the United States acting unilaterally as the world's protector, either. The US is powerful but it is not omnipotent, nor is it all wise. We have made more mistakes than not when acting as the policeman for the world and these mistakes have made us less secure, not moreso. In the short term interests of business, we have propped up dictators against democracies and supported fascists against the will of the people. We have destroyed nations by using them as pawns in our own power struggles and built them for no purpose other than profits. Perhaps it is the nature of a relatively young country that it have difficulties in understanding the long term ramifications of action, but perhaps it is also time we grew up.

Whether one leans toward the isolationist or the policeman, entering a volatile conflict such as Syria is a disaster waiting to happen unless we have the support of the world behind us. We cannot go again into the Middle-East and expect that we will suffer no reprisals from other nations. Russia is already making threats and China is likely to follow suit if it's rulers see a weakness in US hegemony. As the UK has voted against action and France is mentioning diplomacy more than direct action, it is easy to believe that such may be the case.

Something else, other than strict isolationism or rampant assertions of military might, is necessary if we are to actually resolve the problem in Syria. And that something else is now on the lips of a majority of world leaders: diplomacy. Regardless of the atrocities being committed (and the question of exactly who is responsible for these atrocities is still not answered), going into Syria without the backing of the world community will only create a vacuum of power which will be filled by the largest non-governmental power in the region, militant Islamic extremists. This is what has happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya so why do we believe this time will be different?

Assad is a horrible dictator who has little regard for his people, but we've yet to see anything from the rebels that makes them any better. As with Afghanistan and Libya, we will likely exchange a dictator who enforces cruel laws with dictators who enforce even harsher laws. We will again be the agents of oppression in the name of Democracy.

So before we invade with boots on the ground or strategically bomb cities, why don't we try something else?

Why don't we try diplomacy?

14 replies, 1754 views

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Response to last1standing (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 01:18 PM

1. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Response to iandhr (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:23 PM

2. Thanks. It's a shame that the only posts that get rec'd or responded to are flames.

But that's the nature of online forums.

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Response to last1standing (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:25 PM

3. Online forums have never been the place for level headed debate.

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Response to iandhr (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:28 PM

4. No, and I knew that going in.

I mostly wanted to clear my own head on the issue but it would have been cool to have a real discussion.

Thanks for responding.

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Response to last1standing (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:29 PM

5. If we have to be the World Cops, each American should be compensated for doing that.

 

We get no healthcare, no dental, no vacation time, 29 States allow discrimination against gay people, and yet we are all supposed to have some Magical Responsibility that citizens of other nations don't have, to pay for and to be the World Police? That is our 'moral duty' but we continue to treat our own poorly and without respect?
Do you think people in other countries feel responsible for our sorrows? No, because they are not responsible for them. Should France come deal with the Chicago gun problems? If they don't should we say to them 'oh, so you just don't care about innocents shot down in cold blood'?

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 02:37 PM

6. I don't think we should play policeman for the world or neglect our own people.

You're 100% correct when you say that our leaders abdicate their responsibility to ensure our welfare while micromanaging that of other nations. A great example of this is the fact that bush provided universal healthcare for Iraq while calling it socialism here.

However, I don't believe that we have to make a choice between being active in world affairs and taking care of our own basic needs. We can, and should, do both. Unfortunately, our leaders have a history of mismanaging both. Can we create a system of universal healthcare, equality for all, and help other nations when they are in chaos? Yes. Not only could we do it, but we could do it for about 10% of the cost we now pay.

There is only one group that benefits if we attack Syria with troops or missiles, the Military Industrial Complex. Everyone else will lose, here and abroad.

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Response to last1standing (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 09:42 AM

7. Kicking on the off chance someone might want to discuss actual issues.

I'd love to have an honest conversation about the practicality of our actions toward Syria at this time.

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Response to last1standing (Reply #7)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 09:47 AM

8. I see.

So it's only "an honest conversation about the practicality of our actions toward Syria" when done on YOUR terms. Who appointed you Comptroller of Discussion?

I'll pass on that.

Have a nice day.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #8)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 09:54 AM

9. I'm not sure I understand the reason for your anger.

I posted the thread so I suppose that makes the discussion one on my terms, but I'm glad to discuss them on your terms if you'll tell me what they are.

Overall, I've suggested we use diplomacy before bombing. Are there other terms you'd like to discuss? Would you like to disagree with me? I'm not sure what your viewpoint is.

And I hope you have a very nice day as well.

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Response to last1standing (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:24 AM

10. This pretty well outlines my terms.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:33 AM

11. As I thought my OP stated, I agree with Grayson regarding Syria.

The point of the post was to discuss the reasons for not backing a unilateral strike and what the better solution might be.

I believe that we should neither attempt to be strictly isolationist nor act as the world's policeman only enforcing laws to our liking. There's a middle ground that begins with diplomacy and is realized when we act, in whatever fashion, in conjunction with other world players and with the backing of a majority of nations.

I won't say that I know exactly what Grayson's views are, but I wouldn't doubt they are similar.

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Response to last1standing (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:08 PM

12. Bumping because this is the exact opposite of what Obama/Kerry decided to do.

Why develop plans or attempt to solve things diplomatically when you can lie your way into war?

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Response to last1standing (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:10 PM

13. Can this even be solved diplomatically, though?

I certainly wish that it could, but I think that line got crossed ages ago.

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Response to Hayabusa (Reply #13)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:14 PM

14. I have no clue, but then neither does Obama.

Because he hasn't tried.

If diplomacy doesn't work then we look for other options that my include strikes - with either UN or NATO support. And by support I mean more than a pat on the back and a 30 man peace keeping force. If other countries can't lend funds and troops then they aren't that interested in the situation.

but the order of this operation should be:

1. Diplomacy
2. Obtain UN or NATO support
3. Develop a plan that included escalation, alternatives and withdrawal strategies.
4. Get Congressional approval for any action.

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