The View From 1776

Liberal Isolationism

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/liberal_isolationism/

Paradoxically the liberal wing represented by Senator Kerry’s campaign speaks of repairing international relations, while advocating retreat into fortress America.

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Wall Street Journal editorial, Kerry vs. Kerry
September?10,?2004;?Page?A12:

“Mr. Kerry is even reviving the old liberal isolationist line that money spent fighting our enemies in Iraq should be better spent at home. “$200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can’t afford after-school programs for our children,” the Democrat said in Cincinnati on Wednesday. “$200 billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can’t afford to keep the 100,000 police officers we put on the streets in the 1990s.” And like George McGovern promised about Vietnam in 1972, he’s clearly signaling that he’ll bring Americans home from Iraq, as early as his first six months in office.”

Senator Kerry’s appeal to left-wing extremists from his Vietnam War cohort is no more than a revival of the many-times-failed theory that other nations will be nice to us if we are nice to them.  However well that may work in one-on-one personal relations, it is doomed to disaster in international relations.

The national interests of countries around the world inevitably involve real conflicts.  Just being nice and doing everything through the UN won’t deal effectively with these conflicts.  See Misunderstanding Alliances.

As an illustrative example, if China takes over Taiwan, it will be in a position to exert irresistible pressure on Japan.  Japan will be pressured by China to expel Americans from naval, army, and air force bases, hospitals, supply depots, etc. in the Japanese home islands and Okinawa.  Japanese trade relations will be turned away from the United States and bound closely into a Chinese-controlled trade bloc. 

Should this scenario unfold, the United States would find its ability critically impaired to defend against nuclear threats in North Korea, the Indian sub-continent, and Iran, or from China itself.  It’s far easier and faster to dispatch carrier task forces and to airlift men and weaponry to Far Eastern trouble spots from bases in the Far East than from Europe or the continental United States.

It is therefore crucial that we deal realistically with China’s real national interests and with our own.  Whatever bargaining concessions , on both sides, may be made in diplomatic and trade negotiations, the United States will be in a perilously weak position without a very real, at-hand military capacity that could potentially respond to Chinese aggression immediately.

Thus, Senator Kerry’s superficially internationalist posture of placing all our emphasis on being friendly with socialist France and socialist Germany, while handing conflict resolution over to the UN is, in effect, the old George McGovern policy of flower-child isolationism.

It’s just a cheap propaganda appeal to voters who are generally not in a position to understand the realities.  It amounts to sending a small child into a tiger’s cage, while telling him that the tiger won’t hurt him if he keeps saying, “Nice kitty.”