Trump is isolated and up against powerful forces that favor interventions. He is assisting them in some arenas, which weakens his attempts in other arenas. He hasn’t rallied the public consistently and strongly in favor of a neutrality policy. This, after all, would be a huge shift, as the resistance to Trump from the Establishment shows. Such a shift calls for a radical rethinking of U.N. doctrines too, doctrines that undermine neutrality and call for collective uses of force that widen wars.
The basic issue is Interventionism vs. Neutrality. But even more basic is that our form of government does not effectively restrain capture of foreign policy by interventionist interests.
George Washington advocated Neutrality, and rightly so. But the federal government has again and again departed from neutrality, to the detriment of the public.
Why has this occurred? There is no check and balance in the political system to prevent this, as special interests and other factors occur that make interventions irresistible. Being unstoppable, they happen time and again. No amount of rational appraisal of the (bad) results or moral hectoring can bring this to a halt.
Is Washington’s Farewell Address (1796) taught in our schools? Sometimes. Clearly, it isn’t widely absorbed as sound. If it is taught, is it taught as something that’s right? Or taught as something dated and impossible in this day and age? Perhaps it’s parodied as isolationist. The forces of intervention are strong enough to influence history and education in their favor; or to prevent Washington’s advice from being implemented.
Washington wrote “The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.”
Washington saw neutral conduct to two opposing belligerents as a natural law, i.e., a condition conducing to peaceful relations with other nations. Why? With neutrality, one maintains peace with others, even if they conflict or fight one another. Consequently, one may learn their points of view, gather intelligence and influence them in peace. Once one takes sides, one enters a war. Given the many possible disputes, the country will be at war continually if it chooses sides between opposing sides. Choosing sides means an immediate escalation in threats to Americans and their interests, here and abroad. It means an immediate rise in costs that imperil our welfare. It means a loss in the possibilities of trade. It means destruction of American lives. It means developing long-term enmities. It means widening of conflicts, because other nations then may choose sides too. It means degrading the idea of self-defense by classifying aggression as a way to reduce phantom threats.
Washington’s Address provides many other perspectives on why neutrality is a policy calculated to assure peace for our nation, whereas intervention, which is non-neutrality, is not.8:07 pm on September 6, 2018 Email Michael S. Rozeff