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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

Is America becoming ‘isolationist?’ Is that such a bad thing?

Definition: “Isolationism” is a broad foreign affairs doctrine held by people who believe that their own nation is best served by holding the affairs of other nations at a distance.

The current debate over Syria has led to charges of “isolationism” on the part of those opposed to a military strike on a country that poses zero threat to the United States. Is it a fair charge and why are public opinion polls so overwhelmingly in favor of a “mind our own business” approach?

As usual, I have an opinion.

When was the last time the United States WON a war? I mean unequivocally kicked butt, took no prisoners and the fighting stopped only when the other side cried “uncle?” I’m talking full and unconditional surrender to the conquering armies.

Let’s start by going back through time and I want you to yell “stop” when I get to the win. Libya? Iraq (the second time)? Afghanistan? Egypt? Serbia? Iraq (the first time)? Bosnia? Vietnam? Korea? Japan/Germany/Axis? Stop taking calls, we have a winner! That was 1945!

That’s right, for the past 68 years we haven’t been fighting to win, rather fighting not to lose or tie at best. I think the general notion taught in text books about America “winning” wars around the globe is starting to fall on deaf ears and the majority of people no longer think:

A: These “wars” are worth fighting.
B: There is any definition of a “win.”
C: It matters a lick whether we get involved or not.

I have seen the newsreels of returning GIs from Europe and Asia. Grainy, black-and-white footage of conquering heroes that went halfway around the world and beat the heck out of the Nazis and Japan and were rewarded with ticker-tape parades and the undying admiration of a grateful world.

Seen that lately?

Of course not, because nobody has surrendered to us since the Japanese did to General MacArthur on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. We are left to slowly call an end to hostilities, negotiate with the enemy for a cease-fire and attempt to bring our troops home with honor, all the while leaving some behind to stare across the wire or monitor the “peace.”

Ask the Germans and Japanese who won World War II, there is NO dispute.

I could argue that the way we fought World War II would be unacceptable today. From the fire bombing of Dresden to using the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, we used to fight to win…at all costs. Today, one civilian casualty is cause for a tribunal, when 70 years ago 10,000 civilain dead a day was called “the price of war.”

I’ll leave it up to your concience has to how and when we chose to engage another country militarily, but I’d argue if we aren’t prepared to WIN (at any and all costs), why even start.

And for that they call me an isolationist.


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