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Resolved, that the United States should stay out of foreign conflicts for the next half-century.

Background: Throughout much of this nation’s history, the United States maintained an isolationist attitude towards foreign conflicts. However, globalization, brought about by extensive trading around the world beginning in the 19th century, made it more and more difficult for the US to maintain neutrality in multinational affairs. Those in favor of American disengagement from foreign issues cite domestic problems and the non-productivity of involvement as reasons for upholding neutrality. On the other hand, opponents of isolationism argue that keeping engaged in global affairs strengthens relations and helps stabilize vulnerable countries.

Pro:

  • The United States’ current fragile economy is helped by trade with countries worldwide. If the US became involved in foreign conflicts instead of upholding neutrality, it would greatly reduce the options for global commerce as we could not trade with the enemy.
  • The shift to an involved foreign policy, starting with the World Wars, and continuing with the proxy wars in Vietnam and Korea, as well as oil-driven and anti-terrorism involvement in the Middle East, all cost massive amounts of money. Out-of-control military spending is one of the main reasons for this country’s debt, and to keep out of foreign affairs would help alleviate some of this pressure.
  • Incompetency     and overburdening have caused many Presidents to leap into foreign     conflicts to appease citizenry in the short term without thinking in the long term. Adoption of an isolationist policy would enable     American leaders to focus on domestic issues without making rash, impulsive decisions.

Con:

  • As illustrated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s actions before World War II, isolationism is difficult to practice for a global power such as the United States.
  • It is crucial for the United States to uphold treaties and alliances made with other nations to preserve amicable relations. Because it is unclear how American allies will be involved in future conflicts, it is impossible to guarantee US nonintervention for the next 50     years.
  • With the instability of many Arab nations, as well as the rising power of Brazil, India, China, Russia, and other countries, the United States should be poised to step in and resolve disputes at any time, rather than simply watching conflicts happen.

Sources:
– Carnegie Endowment (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=19637)
– Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR2007032201652.html)
– US State Dept (http://www.state.gov/www/policy.html)

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