Saturday, November 12, 2016

National Defense should mean National Defense

George Washington had it right: No Foreign Entanglements

Since then, however, James Monroe and Teddy Roosevelt have added some very bad ingredients to US policy, let alone nearly all Presidents since Teddy.

National Defense as provided by the US Government should mean exactly that: National Defense.

It should mean defending US Citizens within the US Borders, and nothing more.

If a US citizen decides to go outside the US borders, that's fine.  The US should not be a giant prison. However, once they leave the US Border, they are not entitled to US National Defense.  They are entitled to Diplomatic Services when and where those are available, including refuge in a US Embassy, but not a traveling defense shield against any and all threats.

Similarly, the US should not be defending other countries, or even other peoples in other countries, either.

That is not the responsibility of the US, and if the US tries to do it, it will get it wrong.  Even if it were to do the impossible, and get everything right, it would still be blamed for doing it wrong, but the fact is, this job is impossible to do correctly for the US, which is the national government of the United States, not the policeman of the world.

This is pretty obvious to most people most of the time, but the US has been way off track for a long time.

In all the time of the existence of the United States of America there has only been one arguable exception: World War II.  However, the US did not officially enter WWII until it was attacked, showing that to some degree US planners and US citizens were not far from thinking along these lines.

One problem then was that we hadn't been sticking to anything like neutrality beforehand.  When we were attacked by the Japanese, we deserved it.  We had already been contributing to the war in a non-neutral way.

While I would agree that WWII can be argued, I would stand on the side of those saying strict neutrality from beginning to end would have been preferable.  And providing humanitarian services, such as permitting more Jews to immigrate to the US--that would have been good.

Here I am disagreeing with my favorite documentary movie producer, Oliver Stone, who argues in his historical TV series The Untold History of the USA that not only was US participation in WWII morally and strategically necessary, it was delayed too long.

In my view that US participation in WWII created and essentially guaranteed the uber imperial state we have become ever since, to the detriment of the world and ourselves.

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