The Problem With Noninterventionism

I see all sorts of people talking about the virtues of noninterventionism as a foreign policy for the United States, presumably as a consequence of the Internet interest in He Who Must Not Be Named. Assuming for the moment that when they say “noninterventionism” they really mean it and don’t just mean isolationism, how would that play out in practice?

While America’s enormously powerful military is a tremendous source of influence i.e. intervention in the affairs of people in other countries it isn’t our only source. First, there are the actions of U. S. corporations and multinationals viewed as U. S. corporations. The practical upshot of a withdrawal from active intervention on the part of our government is that we’d cede our foreign policy to U. S. corporations. We’ve been down that road before. In the words of Dr. Phil, how is that workin’ out for ya?

Secondly, there’s the enormous amount of influence wielded by Americans due to the extent of our travel and trade. American culture, such as it is, is pervasive and that won’t change if our government doesn’t intervene actively overseas.

We won’t make any friends with noninterventionism we’ll just relinquish one of the tools we have for influencing events. And the interference of American companies and American culture in the affairs of people in other countries will continue to earn us enemies.

3 comments… add one
  • We won’t make any friends with noninterventionism

    Really, that’s a pretty certain claim. We sure have lost a lot of friends and a lot of our ability to influence events in nations we haven’t invaded recently because of excessive military intervention. I’ve heard good arguments against non-interventionism like “What countries will China invade in response,” or “What about all the countries we’ve broken lately, don’t we owe them something?”

    Moderating our foreign policy is something that a majority of the public would go for, but all the mainstream candidates are saber-rattling against Iran (even the ones trying to seal the anti-war vote).

  • It’s certain because it’s obvious. The idea that we’ll make friends through nonintervention is founded on the notion other countries have no interests of their own and act primarily in response to us. That is simply untrue and, what’s worse, it’s patronizing.

    We’re not going to make friends whatever we do.

  • jake Link

    When you say, “we’ve been down that road before”, I don’t exactly know what your referring to. When did we cede our foreign policy to corporations?

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