Nelson: The dangers of interventionism
Nelson writes, "America turned from its birth as a hoped-for “city on a hill” whose true power was to be an example for the world, to an imagined savior of other countries. Progressives wish to level the earth to establish liberal democracy everywhere; conservatives glory in military might and war to show the world who's boss."
"Empires either decline or they grow. If America is to survive and flourish, Americans must realize that empire isn't a choice: It's a duty.” Ben Shapiro
This is interventionism's toxic fruit. America turned from its birth as a hoped-for “city on a hill” whose true power was to be an example for the world, to an imagined savior of other countries. Progressives wish to level the earth to establish liberal democracy everywhere; conservatives glory in military might and war to show the world who's boss.
Interventionism has turned both sides into cowards. Our first reaction to perceived threats is typically to kill and annihilate. Is there a leftist insurgency in, say, Outer Hopelessania? A few missiles and bombardments should set things right, and if a few thousand civilians are butchered in the process, well, that's the price of saving the world. We can't forget that old devil Domino Theory—if we don't kill and be killed in Somalia, Vietnam, et al. the bad guys will overrun the world and North Dakotans will have to take a stand at the Red River. Never mind that the theory itself has been repeatedly toppled.
A few examples of our interventionism out of the hundreds in our past must suffice. We took military action against mighty Nicaragua six times, including mining three of its harbors. We helped Indonesia's Suharto murder a million of its citizens. We overthrew Iran's elected Prime Minister Mossaddegh and installed the murderous Shah. Iran might have been a friend but for our meddling. We helped topple Chile's president Salvador Allende in favor of a military dictatorship. We made war on Serbia which posed no threat to us. When we were neutral in the Mideast (see President Eisenhower's administration) we were unmolested by terrorists; now we suffer blowback for the deaths of a million or more civilians from Libya to Syria because of our wars and meddling there. We killed 200,000 Filipinos after defeating Spain. We helped overthrow Ukraine's elected president Yanukovych and ran NATO's nuclear-equipped forces to Russia's borders, leading to the current war there. When the U.S.S.R. fell we should have welcomed Russia with open arms rather than surround it with hostile nations.
But wait, there's more. Winston Churchill wrote that without U.S. intervention in World War I the likely end would've been a negotiated peace. Russia was defeated. According to scholar Michael McMenamin most experts believe that WWI's outcome led to the rise of Nazism and Communism. That is, it led to another world war and 65 million dead civilians at the hands of the Communists. American interventionism is partly responsible for this unforeseen outcome. Suddenly “Mad Vlad” Putin's war on Ukraine looks like small potatoes compared to our wars. But we meant well, right?
Behold what we've given up for empire: A more centralized and powerful government than ever, omnipresent surveillance and abuse of our constitutional rights, an infinite lust for military action everywhere, a supine poltroonery and hypocrisy by our politicians and much of the public, and the collapse of the republic.
All empires come to an exhausted end. America could've continued to be something special in human history, but we refused.
Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page. Email him at email@example.com .
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.