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Old December 10th, 2007, 12:15 AM
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Isolationism is a worldview with the centerpiece that national policy should be to avoid any sort of international alliances and treaties. An isolationist’s focus on government involvement is primarily internal domestic affairs. Foreign policy decisions are influenced, perhaps even determined, by the desire and goal to avoid any sort of foreign entanglements. The text states that isolationism was a worldview that came about as a result of our experiences in World War I, but I disagree. While isolationism certainly typified American foreign policy between the World Wars, this was not a new thing or unique to the United States. The admonition to “avoid foreign alliances and entanglements” is a theme that can be found in numerous writings of the founding fathers. It’s mentioned prominently in the “Federalist Papers” and is indicated by the rapid drawdown and contraction of the military after every conflict prior to the
Korean War. There is a famous quote by Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts that describes standing armies as the “bane of liberty”. This was in part out of concerns that soldiers could be used as an internal political tool, but also because of the belief that a standing army is a force which is too easy to deploy to other countries as a foreign policy instrument.

Containment, or antiappeasment, is described as an outgrowth and reaction to the WWII experience which was preceded by the failure of a policy of pacifistic appeasement of fascist dictators. The containment policy is marked by a firm stand against encroachment into strategic areas of interest by rivals and likely potential enemies. An example of how this has been manifested began with the Korean War, and progressed through multiple small “bush wars” that were fought in Africa, Central, and Latin America. This policy was also seen in Western bloc aid to anti communist movements in the form of intelligence, propaganda, weapons, and money. Containment addressed the weakness of isolationism which is, “what do you do when your adversaries are willing to use force and violence as a first resort to resolve an international disagreement?”

Disengagement or “Vietnam” is described as a policy of withdrawing from containment back to a policy closely resembling isolationism. The text makes no cogent arguments as to any difference between the two policies except that disengagement was a direct result of the situation that resulted in the Communists’ political victory in the U.S. senate and their resulting 1975 military victory in Saigon. The legacy from these events can be seen by the tactic employed by every adversary to American policy since then that has been even moderately successful. Instead of attempting to defeat the American military in combat, they have attempted to merely survive as a viable force while their agents in America and abroad, typically with the aid and support of American intelligentsia, work to undermine and influence the policy makers who formulate the political and military agenda. To do this the enemy’s agents agitate for changes which would make American military and intelligence assets less effective, demand immediate withdrawal, and manipulate the political process to benefit America’s military opponents.

The policy of disengagement was seen in the closing days of the Vietnam War when Congress seized control of foreign policy by superseding the President’s role of Commander in Chief of military forces by defunding operations in Vietnam. Another example of this was the initiatives advocated and approved by former president Carter to decrease projection of military power by limiting funding for training of the military and procurement of assets and equipment that were part of the mlitary’s infrastructure. The number of ships, aircraft, and missiles were cut drastically. New weapons systems that were on the drawing board were halted and/or scrapped. Fewer efforts were made to influence the ascension and retention of friendly foreign governments.

“Human Rights” is a foreign policy that the book describes as having only originated in the situation that occurred around the events in Kosovo. Again, I have a problem with the book. Like everything else in the book, this opinion is one colored by solely by recent events and ignoring the long history of America before the lifetime of the textbook’s writers and a generation or two immediately preceding that.

The conflict which forced a young America to defend itself for the first time after the Revolution occurred in a large part because of human rights. This was against the state sponsored Muslim pirates who captured and sold into slavery the crews and passengers of non Muslims. First we went to war against them in 1801, and then again in 1815.

Much of the justification for the War Between the States can be attributed to a “human rights” foreign policy when dealing with the Confederacy, specifically over slavery. Additionally, jingoistic yellow journalism hyped the atrocities committed by America’s adversaries in order to influence the opinion of both the public and politicians to go to war against the Spanish in 1898 and the Triple Alliance in WWI.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:21 PM
Coppershirt
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"Appeasment"

I tried this at a previous job, with my evil boss. Just trying to get a little "peace in our time."

Din't work. Just made my own personal Hitler even madder! I countered by leaving, and getting a job with more "lebensraum." [img]redface.gif[/img]

The Final Score:
Chamberlain 0
Hitler 0
Me 1
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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My question was why isn't appeasement listed as a foriegn policy in the book since it's obviously part of the political discourse here and elsewhere. It was THE policy of the 30's in Europe and has been the policy advocated by various factions of various groups for a long time. It was the policy of the Green's, socialists, and many Democrats for decades. It is the current policy advocated by many groups opposed to the war against islamofascism. Many olks believe that if we just got out of thr region, gave them what they wanted, and treated them as equals they would suddenly become peaceful and reciprocate.
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