Hooray for Isolationism


I am an isolationist and proud of it. Of course, I’ve used the word that internationalists invented in order to distort the position of those of us who believe that George Washington was right when he advised us to stay out of foreign quarrels, feuds and alliances.

To refrain from sticking your nose into affairs that don’t concern you is not being an isolationist. It is being sensible and a good neighbor. What would happen if we went up and down the streets of our neighborhood, intruding ourselves into every family’s affairs and telling them what to do? We soon would be isolated and the object of extreme dislike. Well, what applies to individuals applies to nations.

The jurisdiction of the United States ends at our borders. I’m sorry there is a tribal conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, tribal conflict in Kenya, ethnic conflict in Iraq and Serbia, and political conflict in dozens of countries, but we have no jurisdiction, no authority and no right to intervene in any of them. The fact that we do is the reason we’ve become one of the most hated nations on Earth.

Modern imperialism, which is the present policy of the United States, differs from old-fashioned colonialism. We no longer send colonists to occupy other people’s lands. We simply attempt to bribe or intimidate other countries’ governments into doing what we want them to do. When some foreign leader resists, our government begins a campaign to discredit the foreign leader. Sometimes we try to overthrow him or punish him with economic sanctions. More recently, we’ve adopted a policy of pre-emptive war and actually invaded two countries, neither of which had attacked us.

Hugo Chavez, to cite another example, is the elected leader of Venezuela. He is a socialist. I personally don’t think socialism works very well, but being an American, I’m not concerned with what kind of government the people of Venezuela prefer. I’ve invested several hours of my life listening to translations of Chavez’s speeches and heard nothing that would indicate he feels any enmity toward the American people. He has a quarrel with the Bush administration, which has tried to unseat him and insults him at every opportunity. Justice is on his side.

Our only interest in Venezuela is to buy oil. Venezuela continues to be one of our most valuable suppliers of oil. That should be the end of the story.

Unfortunately, the American oligarchs seem to have a tight grip on both major parties. They also own the major media. That’s why Americans are always denied a true choice and even an opportunity to have an honest debate on the issue of foreign policy. Instead, the oligarchs make sure there is always an enemy at the gates to scare the American people into blindly following the path of imperialism.

The kinds of public officials the oligarchs prefer are, first of all, crooks who will take their bribes. If not that, then someone who is easily manipulated. If not that, then someone who is stupid. As for the voters, the oligarchs prefer ignorance and selfishness, which is why they have removed every single requirement to be a voter. What this country needs are more isolationists.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.