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> Isolationism, Survey Says?
lederuvdapac
post Jun 26 2004, 02:08 AM
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President George Washington's Farewell Address (1796):
QUOTE
"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities."


Yes, the policy of isolationism which lasted right up until after World War II. In our current state of world affairs, Americans are in some places loathed and shown major disfavor. France, Germany... two nations in which we rebuilt after WWII and protected from Soviet invasion turned there back on us in the war in Iraq. The people of South Korea protest American and S.Korean military action in Iraq even when the United States is all that protects them from a N.Korean invasion.

The policy of isolationism was successful for many years until we became a world superpower with the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, we were the world's "Knight in Shining Armor" protecting the free world from the evil Communists and we were respected. But with the fall of the Soviet Union and the US emerging as the only superpower we have been degraded by the world even been called "imperialists" by our "closest" allies.

BUT, what if the United States wasn't there for everyone. What if we decided that we will no longer care for the problems of the world and only care about ourselves. Stop sending foreign aid, withdraw all foreign troops, withdraw from the UN and NAFTA, and just worry about our own damn problems. What would the world think then? World Hunger, AIDS, Terrorism, Genocide, Dictators, for now on we will only deal with what affects us personally. The rest of the world can get by on its own. They do not like us? FINE!, they wont ever hear from us again. We can put all those troops on the border to help immigration and our War on Drugs, we can help our own economy by stop sending foreign aid, and we can fight the war on terror with a more secure America and less of a motive for radicals.

Questions for Debate:

1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism?
2) If so, to what extent?
3) What are the benefits/problems with adopting this policy?
4) In your opinion, would the world be a better place?


This post has been edited by lederuvdapac: Jun 26 2004, 02:08 AM
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Piper Plexed
post Jun 29 2004, 01:52 AM
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Julian
Posted on Jun 28 2004, 05:32 PM
QUOTE
The bottom line is that GNP is the bottom line

No the bottom line is we give and we give generously, $8,477,725,454.00 as per my previous post not to mention the -The U.S. donates logistical support, weapons, NATO flights, intelligence,  ships and manpower to U.S. peacekeeping operations while virtually all  other countries are reimbursed for such goods and services. Here we are back to the GNP again. The way it was presented this time it would appear that we have joined the Church of the UN and are now expected to tithe. This whole train of thought seems a bit gauche, especially in light of the fact that it in no way addresses what I advocate. Though I may feel that the amount of monies donated over seas to many whom despise us could justifiably be lessened. That in actuality is not my intended target on this thread. I personally would like to take on the issue one step at a time. Step one for me is to pull out of the UN. I would much prefer that all whom wish to recieve aide make such a request of us personally. I would rather all aid packages to be processed through our Government. I wish to know who we give to and how they treat us. If the relationship turns sour well so be it, we have controll of our money and we have our options. A more intimate relationshp would strengthen the ties of reciprocity. I never said stop giving, only to revise the way that we give. I wish us to isolate ourselves from the UN. The UN could always request aid as well wink.gif
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Julian
post Jun 29 2004, 09:33 AM
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QUOTE(DreamPipEr @ Jun 28 2004, 11:23 PM)
The international community is the reason I talk about isolationism.  Because that is what they want.  They want us out of their lives.  Well I have no issue with that but I am taking my money with me.  Charity should not have a political price tag, my money would be better spent aiding those that I choose with no strings attached.

I do not believe that more than a handful of "the international community" want America out of their lives. The vast majority of the world wants an internationally engaged America, but not solely on American terms.

More than anything, they want a engaged AND predictable America, not the twitchy, trigger-fingering one that they have now. An isolated America would be predictable, but not engaged. The current mood of America is engaged, but not predictable.

By predictable, I mean things like one that applies it's principles even all the time, rather than one that demands removal of tariffs outside the US, but applies them internally; or one that condemns dictatorship everywhere, rather than condemns it in one place and buddies up with it somewhere else.

Either that, or one that tones down the rheotric to reflect the way that pragmatism and self-interest directs everything that America does (or any other counry, to be truthful), rather than the constant hearkening to higher principles of "freedom" or "justice". Someone living in oppression under and unjust regime might wonder why America doesn't help them like it has helped some other people. They might also wonder why the people that oppress them unjustly are treated by America as friends.
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yisaiii
post Jun 29 2004, 02:02 PM
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America can go isolationist again, so be it, but don't go complaining when someone else leads world events and invades a continent, causing our internationally dependent economy to falter.

With all it has right now, America needs to practice its democratic policies on a national level and lead the world justly. People want America to be the catalyst in shaping the world's development, not a bully or a hermit. And as a leader, America should be consistent with its policies. As Julian put it, we are too unpredictable right now - we are seen as a hypocrite bully. Isolationism would be the other extreme, still the wrong way.
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DreamPipEr
post Jun 29 2004, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE
America can go isolationist again, so be it, but don't go complaining when someone else leads world events and invades a continent, causing our internationally dependent economy to falter.


I think the US can retreat itself to a semi isolationist role and still be available if the world needs it. Instead of being in everyone's face all the time how about only when needed and asked for?

Yesterday I was in one of my more bitter moods, to quote myself:
QUOTE(DreamPipEr)
When I am in one of my more bitter moods I want complete isolationism. I am tired of hearing the rest of the world moan and groan about the evil imperialist empire America so I say fine, don't ask for help, don't ask for money, and don't groan when you can't support your socialist life on the backs of the American people. I also say I want financial repayment for the years of support we provided since WWII. How do you like them apples?


What scares me is that those moods are coming more frequently. How many other American's are joining me in the frustration and how long will it take for the, perceived (?), lack of support the international community appears to be so vocal about finally does force us to retreat. There is only so much negativity one can stand. And yes with that retreat comes a financial retreat as well.
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Ultimatejoe
post Jun 29 2004, 06:06 PM
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Retreating financially would come at a great cost to Americans. I hope you are willing to make that sacrifice. While there is a trade deficit, the capital flows across U.S. borders are tremendous, and restricting them would have disastrous effects on the U.S. economy.

QUOTE
There is only so much negativity one can stand. And yes with that retreat comes a financial retreat as well.


Well then, perhaps you should explore this negativity, no? I read Foreign Policy, an American publication, and it garners no ill will from me. Do I disapprove of some American policy? You bet I do; when it impacts my own life, or the circumstances of my country's development. When the U.S. engages in illegal trade practices that cost tens of thousands of Canadian jobs, it makes me a bit angry. That is not to say however that "I hate Americans." This is the sort of response which you are categorizing as such.

If a hotdogging American pilot accidentally kills 26 people in Italy by clipping a mountain gondola, and he gets off relatively scott-free that is probably going to get people angry. But it's not like these same people are sending bombs in the mail or burning effigies of the founding fathers. Let me ask you this DreamPiper: If one particular state were to be more than vocal in their opposition to the President, would you advocate your state cutting all trade-ties with them? That is the same sort of thinking that you are excercising here. I've seen just as many images of American protestors rallying against American political figures as I have foreigners. The fact is that the right to protest, whether recognized or not, is a universal one, and the people abroad simply do the same thing that people in America do.

On the issue of "they don't want us, so we should leave" type thinking. Who's to say they don't wan't you? Have you read any public opinion polls saying that the majority of the world wants America to leave, or are you basing your opinions on the images you see on the news; the very same media you constantly decry for their sensationalist coverage? If you took these images with a grain of salt, the same level of skepticism that you do coverage of, lets say, Iraq, then you wouldn't feel that the rest of the world is ungrateful. Perhaps it is easier to believe that you are hated or mistrusted, I don't know; but there is a gap between American perceptions of the world at large, and the reality of those attitudes, which you have acknowledged.

That is not to say that there is resentment abroad however. In many cases that resentment is earned. If you left the house for work one day and careless ran over your next-door neighbours cat; you would expect that neighbour to be upset, no? Then how is it that scorn for Americans that may be earned, say for example in Honduras, is treated with such a scornful response?

In closing, let me just throw a few quotes out there.

QUOTE(kalabus)
...and the French's second greatest general was a 14 year old illiterate peasant girl?
...
I have a great deal of respet for most nations in Europe but France isnt one of them.

QUOTE(Johnlocke)
So yes France and Libya could be considered terrorist states.
...
Infact I do hate all (actually most but not all) french people

QUOTE(carlitoswhey)
I hope that the conservatives win.  Canadians deserve a missle shield, now that the liberals have completely bankrupted their military.  Stop the wussification of a great nation!

QUOTE
And by the way, I don't remember Canada or Uruguay murdering and raping their own citizens, or playing an important part in anything in this world, or, for that matter, not relying on us for anything (Canada).
...
europeans have a very BIG problem of their own. Their governments and their people are as hypocritical as the day is long. Most of them are racist pigs and anti-semites.
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DreamPipEr
post Jun 29 2004, 07:40 PM
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QUOTE(Ultimatejoe)
While there is a trade deficit, the capital flows across U.S. borders are tremendous, and restricting them would have disastrous effects on the U.S. economy.


I don’t think trade has to be restricted, in fact I would advocate freeER trade. Let the poor countries be allowed to trade unrestricted here. Let them be able to actually compete for business in the US. Of course the farmer’s would cringe at the idea of no more subsidies but they don’t have my support either.

We enable these countries to be poor because of our aid. We give them money, that could be better spent elsewhere, and double whammy them but making it so difficult for them to trade here.

QUOTE(Ultimatejoe)
If one particular state were to be more than vocal in their opposition to the President, would you advocate your state cutting all trade-ties with them?

No I wouldn’t. I have no issues with dissent and vocalization of dissent. For example, I’ve said this in another thread my view of the opposition of the Iraq war as good thing. Whether I agreed or not with their view didn’t matter but I would rather a country stand up and say what they believe and be honest. My bitter isolationism feelings come not from voicing your dissent it comes from the hatred. I don’t have a clear position on the war. I’ve said that before but I was happy to hear the opposing views and the dialogue it created. Of course, in the course of that dialogue, other countries motives for that dissent was brought to light, but regardless of their government’s stand (founded or unfounded) and reason for that stand I always believed that the opposing views of the “people” was that they were standing by their belief.

QUOTE(Ultimatejoe)
On the issue of "they don't want us, so we should leave" type thinking. Who's to say they don't wan't you? Have you read any public opinion polls saying that the majority of the world wants America to leave, or are you basing your opinions on the images you see on the news; the very same media you constantly decry for their sensationalist coverage? If you took these images with a grain of salt, the same level of skepticism that you do coverage of, lets say, Iraq, then you wouldn't feel that the rest of the world is ungrateful. Perhaps it is easier to believe that you are hated or mistrusted, I don't know; but there is a gap between American perceptions of the world at large, and the reality of those attitudes, which you have acknowledged.


Our biggest enemy is the Arabs, right? They view us as being unfairly pro Israel. US Aid does provide aid to the Palestinians. Ok it is significantly less then Israel but that does not negate the fact that the Palestinians receive our money as well. What has this aid gotten us? I would advocate no aid to Palestine and no aid to Israel. There is an even handed answer.

American perception of world view is key and shouldn’t go unchecked. It is perception that drives public opinion. Just as international perceptions of the US should also stay in check. It makes me think about my own experiences in France. I am not really bothered by the French disdain for American’s. It’s always been that way. So I suppose I am more immune to their reactions of Americans. But I remember being struck by the notion that when I was in France (during the 80’s) I spoke German the whole time. Why, because I didn’t want them to know I was American. Now isn’t that a shame, I, an American, felt like she would be less discriminated against by speaking the language of a country that invaded them?
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Christopher
post Jun 29 2004, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE
1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism?
2) If so, to what extent?
3) What are the benefits/problems with adopting this policy?
4) In your opinion, would the world be a better place?


Do business with them.
Vacations,Sure!

Other than that,NADA!
Pull out every single peice of military whatever. Not one single bit of financial aid or loans or "gifts". Let them live their own lives and deal with their own failures.
I vote for moving the U.N across the pond. How about Canada, maybe they'll take 'em. Not another dime to them either.

We can buy our oil elsewhere so how about we completely cut off the Middle East.
See how long these terror organizations last when more people in places like Saudi see their economy take such a hit. Cut them off until Quaeda heads start rolling. The Russians definetly need the cash.
In fact this would be the perfect time to push hard for alternative fuel sources. A real Goin to the moon 1960 Kennedy kinda push. Just imagine the slogans.

"Only .06L of American blood to every barrel of Crude, Your Big3 working hard to keep our gas prices steady and cheap."
Offer massive tax breaks to companies that produce real solid "Oh My Gawd" kinda results.

Maybe I'm in a DPipEr bad day kinda mood, but I'm gettin real tired of the rest of the world's sniping.
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Robin_Scotland
post Jun 29 2004, 08:45 PM
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I'm not in a bad mood; but to be frank, I too am tired of sniping. I think it is unfair to continually make remarks or comments about America, generalizing the population and just being downright rude. However, I am still dumbfounded that people seem to think it is one way. I do know a couple of French people who aren't happy about America and encountered plenty of Europeans who just loathe it, but I have witnessed as much hostility and irrational name calling from Americans aimed at the French! Ultimatejoe has brought up some quotes from this forum, which is very sad. For the most part, I've encountered anti French/anti European sentiment on forums and gaming platforms where politics are not an issue. A while back, an American gamer had to be banned because he continually harassed another player who was originally from France. Now it seems to be coming to the point that some Americans are expressing their disdain for the entire world? I find that unbelievable.

Do these people not think that I don't receive hostility for being British? I have seen the Union Jack burned by mobs across the world on a number of occasions, British interests have been attacked such as the HSBC bank in Istanbul, I personally have been called names online for my nationality. I have heard of people being abused for being Scottish! What have we ever done? Well, a number of English hooligans attacked a guy from my home town when he was down south last year, and the only reason for it seemed to be his nationality. Yet I remain internationalist, and despite the rise of UKIP in the recent EU election, so does Britain.

It's high time that making unfair comments about people based on nationality is ranked alongside racism, because it really isn't different. America is always going to suffer more on that front; its bigger, it has interests all over the world and, perhaps above all, it is stubborn. Just as stubborn as France, and anyone who thinks different really has to take a step back from the situation and look at it properly. Foreigners who show disdain for Americans/America exist, Americans who show disdain for the rest of the world exist. Hell, people show disdain for each other when America isn't even involved! Isolationism isn't the answer, in this context all it looks like is defeatism, as I have said before.

The bottom line here is that someone has to step forward and be mature about it. If you genuinely think that 'the French' all hate the USA, then deciding to hate them right back is exceptionally childish, unconstructive and just plain sad. Another generalization is that 'the World' don't want America. Of course it does, who said it didn't? The amount of people who hate the US for genuine reasons is very small, the number who hate America as a result of propaganda isn't a whole lot more. Add these to the amount of people who claim to hate America but haven't the braincells to rub together to figure out why, and you have a number far short of one that can ever be called 'the World'. All that is left is protestors and nations that have a difference of opinion. That is called life.

Ok now I am in a bad mood. Everyone should stop calling each other names and let that be an end to it! flowers.gif

This post has been edited by Robin_Scotland: Jun 29 2004, 09:06 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Jun 29 2004, 09:34 PM
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I am having an isolationist-syndrome sort of day/week/series of months myself...it can't just be PMS, it has gone on too long. tongue.gif But, wait…there goes Robin Scotland being all sensible and spoiling my bad mood! Now, I feel better, damnit. Why do you have to be so agreeable? blush.gif flowers.gif

There is a WHOLE lot of middle ground between the way things are today and the US completely isolating itself and ignoring the world. Let’s consider some options in the realm of practical reality.

Our military forces are spread out around the globe. For reasons of absolute self-preservation, I believe we have to begin unloading our military commitments as soon as realistically possible. We have the obligation to defend most of Eastern Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, much of the Persian Gulf area, SEATO pact nations of South Asia, and every Latin American member of the Rio pact. We spent over 29 billion for overseas military contingency operations during the ten year period following the first Gulf war and 2001. All relatively peaceful years, and small potatoes compared to what Iraq will cost us. This concerns me, because all of the large empires (with the exception of us, due largely to our geographical isolation) lost their dominance by either overextending themselves militarily or direct warfare.

The cold war is over. The new war is different, and has to be fought (largely) unconventionally. We absolutely need our friends and allies as much, or perhaps more, than ever, but we invested a lot of ourselves militarily in the old-style war and we need to pull back and withdraw from these cold-war commitments and save our pennies.

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G Iron
post Jun 30 2004, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE(Ultimatejoe)
Economics aren't nearly as simple as:
tarriff=more local jobs=better economic conditions


True.

It is sometimes said that an economy with substantial unemployment, such as Canada during the 1990s, provides an exception to the case of freer trade. Suppose that tariffs or import quotas cut the imports of Japanese cars, Korean textiles, German kitchen equiptment, and Polish vodka. Surely, the argument maintains, this will create more employment in Canadian industries producing similar products. This may be true--but it will reduce employment in other industries.

The Japanese, Koreans, Germans and Poles can buy from Canada only if they earn Canadian dollars by selling things to Canada (or by borrowing dollars from Canada). The decline in their sales of cars, textiles, kitchen equiptment and vodka will decrease their their purchases of Canadian lumber, cars, software, banking services and holidays in Canada. Jobs will be lost in Canadian export industries and gained in industries that formerly faced competition from imports. The major long-term effect is that the same total of employment will merely be redistributed among industries. In the process, living standards will be reduced because employment expands in inefficient import-competing industries and contracts in effecient exporting industries.

By the way Ultimatejoe, do you know Aydain Shagmessy (Trent University)?

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Julian
post Jun 30 2004, 08:37 PM
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Some American's constantly complain that the rest of the world doesn't support or appreciate them and if they don't start getting some respect, well, they are going to withdraw from the world. These numbers seem to have grown somewhat since the Iraq war, because of widespread opposition to the fact and conduct of that war.

This much is true.

However, which of these will happen first:
  • America gets so fed up with negativity and hostility that it voluntarily withdraws from world affairs
  • The rest of the world gets so fed up of America's constant whining that they decide not to play with America any more
I also wonder who stands to lose the most from either scenario. Whatever happens, I suspect it will not be the French.

My tongue is not entirely unadjacent to my cheek here, but it isn't fully inside it either.
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DreamPipEr
post Jun 30 2004, 11:33 PM
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American's have a streak of isolationism in us. That is part of who we are, this much is true. No matter how much I would like to see us move more inwards I seriously doubt that happen.

You know, I personally don't like being a super power. There is a tremendous amount of responsibility heaved on our shoulders. Every action is subject to scrutiny while other nations are given a free(er) hand. And when American's do scrutinize the intentions of other nations we are wrong to do so. Why is it so hard to grasp that there are some Americans that don't want to be the world's police? That don't want our men and women to be stationed around the globe. That we can not abide by the idea that we must fund all the worlds humanitarian efforts without any benefits. Geeze, we are capitalist, no one is going to change that. We expect a return on our investment. We don't have to close our doors completely and we don't have to cut off all aid but what is so wrong with not being in everyone's faces? Perhaps the rest of the world will stop complaining about the evil bully imperialist America.

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Julian
post Jul 1 2004, 12:33 PM
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QUOTE(DreamPipEr @ Jul 1 2004, 12:33 AM)
American's have a streak of isolationism in us.  That is part of who we are, this much is true.  No matter how much I would like to see us move more inwards I seriously doubt that happen. 

You know, I personally don't like being a super power.  There is a tremendous amount of responsibility heaved on our shoulders.  Every action is subject to scrutiny while other nations are given a free(er) hand.  And when American's do scrutinize the intentions of other nations we are wrong to do so.  Why is it so hard to grasp that there are some Americans that don't want to be the world's police?  That don't want our men and women to be stationed around the globe.  That we can not abide by the idea that we must fund all the worlds humanitarian efforts without any benefits.  Geeze, we are capitalist, no one is going to change that.  We expect a return on our investment.  We don't have to close our doors completely and we don't have to cut off all aid but what is so wrong with not being in everyone's faces?  Perhaps the rest of the world will stop complaining about the evil bully imperialist America.

Like Spiderman's uncle says - with great power comes great responsibility.

You may not like all the negatives, but I bet that you consciously or unconsciously like the benefits of America's huge power that places all these uncomfortable responsibilities on her.

Benefits that come from things like the dollar being the exchange currency of choice, particularly in commodities; like the massive consumer choice at low prices obtained by successive US governments trade and aid policies (you can get aid and/or access to our markets on our terms, on condtion that we get access to your markets on ours).

Many of the things that Americans (and Europeans, and citizens of every other developed nation to some degree or other) take for granted in the way you (and we) live our lives depend on the way that you/we interact internationally. You cannot expect to be able to withdraw from the bits you don't like about international relations without also losing the things you do like.

This is why it would be a bad idea for Americans if America isolates itself from the world - you have as much, if not more, to lose as anybody else does. You just don't realise it.

Britain broke itself in half in WW2, and only survived as a leading economic and political power in the world because of American generosity in the later war years, and the immediate post-war period (This was on American terms, of course, but that's the way of the world and I don't begrudge you that). For a century or more before that, nothing Britain did was right - nobody said thanks for the good stuff and everyone was quick to find fault. That's what happens to the biggest fish in the pond, like it or not. The only way to fix it is to stop being the big fish, not to stop doing some of the things the other fish expect from you.

If America isolates itself, who will help you out when you need it at some indeterminate future point. Time goes on forever for all practical purposes, and the one thing we know about infinity is that improbable happenings become certainties if you wait long enough. America WILL someday face national ruin with no internal solution (which it has never really faced since independence, even during the Civil War).

Isn't it just enlightened self-interest to help others as much as you can stomach while you can, if only to store up goodwill that might come back your way someday? If some people take your help for granted form time to time, that's their problem, not yours, surely?

The prudent course, of course, is to help people to do things they themselves think are good ideas, not impose things they don't like on them, even if it is for their own good in the long run. THIS is where most current animosity to the US comes from - the Iraq war wasn't something many people thought they wanted, or it delviered something they wanted in a way they didn't want it.
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Looms
post Jul 1 2004, 02:44 PM
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QUOTE
1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism? 
2) If so, to what extent? 
3) What are the benefits/problems with adopting this policy? 
4) In your opinion, would the world be a better place?


I agree with Christopher, NOTHING, NADA, NOT A SINGLE BIT MORE than a purely economic relationship.

For me, it has nothing to do with the Iraq war, or the fact that we are underappreciated, or anything else. If the rest of the world worshipped Americans for every bit of help we gave them , I would still be for a policy of isolationism. I am anti welfare, but to me welfare for every single American would be better, than exporting our tax dollars out of our country to the benefit of people who aren't ever Americans. Not to mention all the lives that get wasted, lives of people who volunteered to defend their country. To sacrifice their lives for the benefit of another country is nothing less than an act of treason.

People are dying in other countries? Sorry, not our problem. Doesn't affect me one way or another. Would the world be a better place? I don't know and honestly could care less. American lives and American money would be saved, and that is what American government should be concerned with.
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post Jul 1 2004, 02:58 PM
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1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism?

No. I believe we made serious mistakes in Iraq and we have not always acted in the best of ways in regards to that country, but isolationism? The last time we tried that as a world power capitalism nearly collapsed and the world was torn about by the emergence from democratic nations of Tojo, Hitler, and Mussolini. We may not be modelling peaceful behavior very well, but what kind of world would we be in today if Milosevic sp?) and Hussein were able to successfully carry out their policies of aggression? Let one or two buliebulliestheir way and others will follow.

2) If so, to what extent?
I am for moderation in our present foreign policy to more internationalism. We need to work more to unite our allies instead of placing pressure on them to fall in line with our un-compromised policies.

3) What are the benefits/problems with adopting this policy?

Problems. See above, focus on Hitler, MuusoMussolinio, Milosevic sp?) and Hussein. Additionally with lack of cooperation generally might come a retreat to economic isolation. Tariffs may save some jobs, but they are damaging on a macro economic scale to job growth and prosperity.

4) In your opinion, would the world be a better place?

As you may have inferred from the above sections. I do not believe the world would be a better place, but perhaps if we repeated the disasters of the 1920s (and we are doing a lot of that) then a new greatest generation would emerge. us.gif huh.gif mellow.gif
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post Jul 1 2004, 05:31 PM
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1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism?
The time of isolationism is gone. It cannot be a viable policy.

We must distinguish here between isolationism, which I would define as a political stance, and protectionism which would be an economic stance.

The only way that an economically isolated nation could survive (let alone prosper) is if it were self sufficient. The US could be made to be self-sufficient, but the costs would be too high to be palatable. The US produces much more food than it needs, it still has a small steel industry. Oil, while not plentiful, is available. The US has the resources to pull this off, but why would they? The government has no power to restrict private companies from importing oil, video games or whatever else. Economic isolation is not possible.

What about political isolation? Also impossible. It was possible in the past, where the vast distances of the oceans isolated North America from the rest of the world. In today's world, nearly anywhere in the world can be reached in under a day. Mass invasion forces can form in mere weeks, with a transit time of days. Missiles can reach the US mainland in minutes. The US turning into an ostrich will not change these facts.

Because we are so close to every other country, what happens there affects us. We have an interest that megalomaniacs do not start genocide campaigns. We have an interest in which states are becoming nuclear powers. We have an interest that trade is not disrupted.

On the flip side, we also have a responsibility. It is not only a responsibility that most US leaders have recognized, it is a responsibility that most foreign leaders expect us to live up to.

The world is dependant upon us, both economically and politically. It would be more of a shock to the economies of the Third World and even Europe for us to leave than vice versa. The US economy accounts for fully 1/3 of the world's economy. Our economy drives the world economy to an even greater degree:

Global: Do Imbalances Matter?
QUOTE
A lopsided world economy has never been so dependent on one growth engine — the United States. Over the seven-year 1995 to 2002 interval, revised figures now indicate that the US accounted for fully 96% of the cumulative increase in world GDP (at market exchange rates); that’s nearly three times America’s 33% share in the global economy.


Politically, the US is a stabilizing force in the world. Our presence calms things, rather than the reverse. Even in Iraq, where Saddam's regime has been causing tensions for decades, we are a calming presence as compared to what was there before.

We cannot become isolationist. The US is too enmeshed with the world, both politically and economically, for that to be even a remote possibility.
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Lixlaxlox
post Jul 2 2004, 08:27 AM
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As a free market economy, the use would find it extremely difficult to be isolationist. Isolationism works best for dictatorships - where enough food can be grown within the country. Myanmar is currently an isolationist military dictatorship and it is a terrible place to live.
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post Jul 2 2004, 04:28 PM
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QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jun 25 2004, 09:08 PM)
Questions for Debate:

1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism?
2) If so, to what extent?
3) What are the benefits/problems with adopting this policy?
4) In your opinion, would the world be a better place?

3.) A problem would be that we would have to cede trading rights and have more trading problems as we decreased our presence overseas. Other nations who are isolationist don't have problems since they don't have economic holdings in far-flung places. It's a question of having less foreign problems being worth more than any financial gain that we garner from our holdings.

I'm tempted to answer "yes" to question #1, but I just can't convince myself that a version of the world that exists today is even rometly similar to the one that George Washington envisioned. Who here lives like it's 1789 in any aspect of their lives??? hmmm.gif beer.gif
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post Jul 2 2004, 06:48 PM
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QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jun 26 2004, 03:08 AM)
1) After our operations in Iraq, would you support a policy of Isolationism?
2) If so, to what extent?
3) What are the benefits/problems with adopting this policy?
4) In your opinion, would the world be a better place?

Well, I'm talking from a Brit's perspective here, but...

1. Isolationism is and should never be a viable alternative. In the past Britain, Japan, the USA and half a dozen other countries have toyed with the idea, but each has been forced out of it for one reason or another. It's a cliché, but the world is getting smaller. As the West, and especially the US developed they have become more dependent (despite what some would like to believe tongue.gif )on the rest of the world for their economic prosperity and political stability. Military dominance isn't the way to go, but neither it isolation. No need for extremes here...

2. In my humble opinion, the US should work more at their relationship with Western Europe. The current bureaucratic nightmare that is the EU will only become stronger, and cooperation, rather than belligerence and hostility, is what's best for everyone concerned. I'd like to support a pretty sizeable restriction of American policy to areas of direct importance, but that seems to be an increasingly unlikely (and impossible) path for the US to take, especially now that Bush was vested so much in being a “War President”.

3. Pros: A justifiably disaffected American public gets some breathing space. Cons: The American economy takes a hit. The world moans that America isn't doing enough. tongue.gif

4. No.
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GoAmerica
post Jul 2 2004, 07:21 PM
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QUOTE(Amlord @ Jul 1 2004, 12:31 PM)
We cannot become isolationist.  The US is too enmeshed with the world, both politically and economically,  for that to be even a remote possibility.

The people of the world depend on the US for help and we are too ever so happy to give them help. If we stop helping once, we would get scolded for ignoring others. And with today's hostile atmosphere, something could come up and become complex in a hurry, and we would be too slow to respond if we pulled every military asset back home from all over the world.
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