The non-interventionist approach to foreign policy is often mischaracterized as nothing more than dangerous isolationism appeasing our enemies. At one point during the most recent Republican presidential debate, the mere suggestion of endorsing peace through the golden rule in regards to American foreign policy was met by a round of boos from the audience.
The golden rule, taught by many of the world’s religions, is most commonly expressed as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The lesson is that if you treat others with respect, you shall be shown respect in return. Simple enough for third graders, this is mind-boggling for the Washington crowd. And when applied to an interventionist foreign policy such as that of the United States, it can essentially be boiled down to this: Don’t cause trouble around the world if you don’t want the world causing trouble at home.
It is beyond foolish and incredibly naïve to believe that the United States can go around the world dropping bombs on whomever it pleases without inciting a negative reaction. The fact of the matter is that the United States is resented in many parts of the world simply because it assumes the role of its policeman. If indeed another country, such as Russia or China decided to invade and even occupy the mainland United States, you can bet our reaction would not be all that dissimilar from those protesting America’s actions on their lands.
Take a glance at world history and you will unfortunately see that the United States has done its fair share of putting our nose where it didn’t belong. Of course to point this out, one would be harshly criticized by many as doing nothing more than blaming America for the problems we face from perceived foreign evils. Rather, the blame falls squarely on the feet of Washington, D.C. However, in order to correct the mistakes of the present and hopefully to prevent them in the future, we must accept the mistakes of the past. This is called learning and it’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do every once in a while.
Implementing the philosophy of the golden rule is an ideally more rational approach to pursue in foreign policy because the end result would undoubtedly bring about greater peace. But peace is tough to achieve when many in government favor war and conflict. Accepting this world view does not mean we would render ourselves defenseless against the aggressions of other nations seeking to do us harm. If attacked, we have every right to defend ourselves without question. But there is a major difference from defending one’s home and launching preemptive wars based on faulty suspicions that a country might have the capability to attack us at some point in the distant future.
But perhaps those so adamant in supporting constant warring should more deeply consider the effects of our foreign military adventurism. Consider all the innocents slain in our quest to demonstrate our superiority around the world. And for what? To prove we reign supreme over all others? If that is the case, then I would like to offer a simple word of discouragement to those in support of America’s aggressive and militaristic foreign policy: the United States cannot be the empire you so gleefully crave. To become so would forsake the very principles of our country’s founding and send our liberties forever spiraling down the black hole of tyranny.
Sure, America would be strong militarily, but weak in moral character and principle. It is truly disastrous to believe that America’s greatness can be measured by the size of its military force, how many wars the government generates, or how many countries are invaded. In a land where limited government was once valued and cherished and foreign military pursuits were restrained by a humble republic, support for militarism would NOT equal patriotism. Only in a dominion of empire would such ideas suffice.
America is not yet to the point of turning our foreign policy into one of peace, but we are rapidly moving in that direction. Everyday, more Americans are becoming fed up with our seemingly permanent state of warfare. Failing to embrace the golden rule won’t just ruin us economically, but it will continue to corrupt us morally. It is high time we come to accept that.Published in