Isolationism is defined in Wikipedia as “a category of foreign policies institutionalized by leaders who asserted that their nation’s best interests were best served by keeping the affairs of other countries at a distance.” The idea is not novel, President George Washington, in his farewell address advocated non-involvement in European and Asian conflicts and entanglements in the politics and affairs of other countries. It is true that much has happened since Washington made these remarks, most notably, the United States has assumed an increasingly prevalent “policing” role in the world. Civil libertarians argue that the atrocities committed by despotic governments need to be stopped and the U.S. Has the wealth and the duty to intervene. Industrialists believe that the nation’s economy requires a direct military involvement– particularly where oil, defense contractors and more recently, the digital revolution is at issue. It appears clear that these entities (billionaire donor class) are focused on profit.
Donald Trump told the New York Times that he was not an internationalist, rather, he simply places the interests of Americas first. A summary of his remarks on this issue were provided in the Times Sunday as follows:
“I’m not isolationist, but I am ‘America First.’ So I like the expression… We have been disrespected, mocked, and ripped off for many, many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher. We were the big bully, but we were not smartly led… The big stupid bully and we were systematically ripped off by everybody. From China to Japan to South Korea to the Middle East… protecting Saudi Arabia and not being properly reimbursed… I mean they were making a billion dollars a day before the oil went down… The whole thing is preposterous… We will not be ripped off anymore, we’re going to be friendly with everybody, but we’re not going to be taken advantage of by anybody.”
We think that Trump’s position is extremely well taken. For too long, the United States has been taken advantage of in the name of world security and for economic purposes. We spend billions of dollars yearly by funding military facilities in alleged strategic spots around the world. We do not get paid for our efforts and protection by the countries we are helping– it is simply expected because these countries think we have unlimited wealth. Whether our presence in these countries is even helpful to our national security interests is questionable– many of the decisions to leave or erect military bases in European countries were made when tensions from World War II were fresh on the minds of Americans– these pressures no longer exist. As Trump urges, it is time to reevaluate these decisions, at least with respect to having these nations pay their way. As Trump says, why should oil rich nations not pay us for protecting their financial interests? It no longer makes sense to base such decisions on the theory that we cannot afford to lose their oil supply. For starters, the need for oil angle has been the position of American companies who stand to profit greatly on our alliances to the Saudis, for example. We no longer are dependent on Saudi and the Middle East oil nearly to the degree that we once were. Moreover, from a world security position, our military operations around the world have not really advanced or impacted peace initiatives as they once may have. In other words, we no longer can justify the need to fund military operations in many regions , and if we continue to do so anyway, we need to get paid for our efforts. America needs to focus on the needs of Americans in America. Trump is the only candidate that understands this, and he will not be bought off by the oil and chemical industrialists who support Cruz and his crews.