31 January 2011


Thaddeus may be well-intentioned but ex-post-facto analysis usually is.  The United States has a history of supporting this thug that goes well beyond the last few weeks and days.

Indeed, the US has had quite a history when it comes to intervening in foreign affairs, particularly where the Middle East is concerned.  For some reason, Americans feel the need to control foreigners’ lives, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why.

I will say it now, and I repeat it as often as necessary:  the United States is not the world’s policeman.  Period.  This idea, this worldview is not to be found anywhere in the Constitution, nor was it espoused by the Founding Fathers.  Furthermore, we are not asked to be the world’s policeman.  When we have done so, it has resulted in problems.  The US has backed terrible men who have harmed their citizens.  And for what?  Oil?  To feel good about our military might?

If two sandbox dictators want to get into a pissing contest about a sandy plot of land (like, for example, the Gaza strip), what matter is that to us?  If two European countries can’t seem to get along, why should we care?  If there is genocide occurring in some backwoods African country, why should we even give them the time of day?  The countries are run by adults; let them sort their own problems out.  And if they can’t do that, let them kill each other.  It’s their prerogative.

In simple point of fact, most of the military problems we’ve faced since the beginning of the 20th century were a result of our own doing.  This is especially true for 9/11.  Do you really think trying to control other people’s lives goes over very well with them?  Then why do expect them to just sit there and take it?  And remember: bin Laden’s biggest complaint wasn’t about western decadence, it was about American foreign policy.  Why?  Because he got tired with the US trying to manipulate everyone in the middle east.  He, and many others like him, got tired of seeing the US irrationally defend Israel.  He simply got tired of American interference.

This doesn’t justify the events of 9/11, but it does explain them.  And when you think about on a micro level, it makes sense.  What neighbor do we generally prefer:  the neighbor that’s in our business, or the neighbor that minds his own?  Why, then, do we expect human behavior to be radically different on a macro level?  Quite simply, nations hate it when other nations get involved in their business.

How about we leave them alone and see where that gets us?  Is that really too much to ask?


  1. Is there no sense in protecting an ally?
    If there is a problem in the neighborhood, neighbors will band together to stop a threat. We are not the policeman of the world, but we should act in our best interest in world affairs.
    And if my neighbor is being beaten by a thug, I have a moral obligation to step in and end the matter.

  2. First, why should we have allies?

    Second, does acting in our best interest justify violence?

    Third, does not your neighbor have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of his household?

    Fourth, if he does have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of his household and fails in carrying out that duty, why then are you under a moral obligation to intervene?

  3. "And if my neighbor is being beaten by a thug, I have a moral obligation to step in and end the matter."

    I don't mean to read TOO much into your analogy, but your neighbor can reciprocate, saving you from a thug if necessary. Can Egypt, for instance, save us the way we can save Egypt? How about Haiti?

    The analogy doesn't quite work for me, from a protect-your-ally, act-in-our-best-interests point of view. It makes more sense from a strictly humanitarian POV.

  4. First, did I assert that?
    Second, by best interest, I mean protecting ourselves, and therefore, yes.
    Third, I wouldn't call that a moral obligation, but perhaps an obligation nonetheless. (Let's not get into a discussion on the differences, I'm basically conceding the point)
    Fourth, what does his failure to carry out his obligation have to do with my obligation to help? Does the sinner's failure to make amends excuse the sinnEE from going to him?
    And to Unamuse:My neighbor may not be able to reciprocate. He may be a pacifist and choose never to. In any case, I will feel obligated to protect the innocent, in the rawest sense of the ideology.

  5. Continuing the neighbor/nation state metaphor:

    If my neighbor is a pacifist, more fool him: pacifism is a suicidal ideology. And he is hardly innocent. It's hard to think of anything worse than refusing to defend yourself and your family.

    Furthermore, if your neighbor allows you to help him, he's not really a pacifist, is he? He's letting you do violence on his behalf. See: Europe's dependence on the United States' military.

  6. @ the bertholds- you can't protect an ally without first having ally. If you're going to ask about protecting allies, you are implicitly justifying having them.

    What type of violence is justified by acting in our best interest? Can one engage in pre-emptive attacks? Can one leave one's property to defend one's best interest?

    Does God bless the man who doesn't work with bread? Does he forgive the man who doesn't repent? Does he spare man from the consequences of his inaction? If not, why should we (cf. Eph. 5:1)?