We all knew it would happen: people on both sides of the political aisle would try to politicize the removal of combat troops from Iraq. President Obama seems to be on pace to complete his promise of being down to 50,000 troops by September 1st. Some would say this is because of his great leadership, others would say it is because of the troop surge of a few years ago that made it truly safe in Iraq. For whatever reason, let’s be glad that another foreign entanglement is approaching an end and most of our troops will be coming home.
I’ve mentioned it before but it is truly amazing how brilliant the Founding Fathers were. Thomas Jefferson had said “Commerce with all; Alliance with none.” He felt that alliances would get us entangled in wars that are not ours (Korea and Vietnam, for example). Commerce with all promotes economic interdependence and helps to preserve peace (part of the reason Clinton, Gingrich and company promoted NAFTA and CAFTA. They saw it as a way to help stabilize peace in the hemisphere). If we did not have such a close alliance with Israel and such dependence on one small region’s oil supplies, would we have needed to be engaged in the Gulf War or Iraqi Freedom?
Of course, as with all actions, there is a down side. The down side of non-interventionism is that we get to watch innocent people get slaughtered on CNN. For example, Sudan, Cambodia (after Vietnam) and Jews before our entrance in WWII. We’ll get to hear of occupied nations such as Tibet and Northern Ireland struggle for freedom against a superpower. We get to sit back and watch struggles for independence and democracy get brutally put down. Is that the correct thing for us to do? Would the United States have ever been founded had the French not intervened during the Revolutionary War?
So, as with many contentious issues, we have to pick the lesser of two evils: we can get involved in foreign affairs and try to save people that are having similar struggles to early Americans or we stand by and watch as brutality continues just being happy that it’s not us or our family. But I can assure you of one thing: no matter what the U.S. decides to do, we will be hated. If we ignore others’ struggles like we do with Sudan, we are a heartless, arrogant nation that does not care about others. If we do something like with the Iraqis, we are an imperial power bent on dominating and ruling others. We can’t win. No matter what we do, we are wrong.