It’s a question that Americans ask every time we watch the news: “Why does the government always feel the need to intervene?” Complaints of our nation’s debt and sacrificing of young soldiers sweep across the nation. How are we supposed to respond to foreign affairs without opposition?
The U.S. has not known how to respond to foreign affairs since World War II. Millions of Jews were being executed while we sat back and questioned if we should stop Hitler’s Third Reich. However, it wasn’t this atrocity that spurred our involvement. We did not enter the war until our home front was attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.
Is a domestic attack what it takes for us to get involved in foreign affairs now? Of course not.
Consider our approach toward handling the threats of ISIS. Nobody had really known what ISIS was — not to mention, what it stands for — until they released videos of journalists being beheaded. Seeing fellow Americans being murdered on the Internet made us immediately call for action to be taken because we were affected so personally. The result? A number of air strikes over Iraq and Syria.
The media plays an important part in this role. Propaganda tactics have been used to rally American support for hundreds of years. They implant fear in the lives of Americans and warn us that if we don’t do anything, then something will surely happen to us.
“America faces the single biggest threat in her more than 200-year history,” said Jeanine Pirro, speaking of ISIS during her opening segment of “Justice” on FOX News. “Worse than what we faced in World War I; World War II, the attack on Pearl Harbor; and al-Qaeda on 9/11.”
This is nothing short of an exaggeration. A fearful audience is watching this program and saying “oh, my god, we better do something about this.” Her solution to this issue doesn’t help much, either.
“Bomb them. Bomb them. Keep bombing them. Bomb them again and again.”
It is not until American lives are at stake that we call for justice. A popular argument against foreign affairs often goes something like “well, why should we take care of another country when we have our own problems here?” Sure, that is a valid point, but if we don’t act upon threats of terror, who will? With the world’s second largest active military, we’re a force to be reckoned with.
We’re fortunate enough to live in this country where we have not fought a war on mainland American turf since the Civil War. We should support foreign affairs that directly threaten our safety. However, the majority of citizens disagree.
According to debate.org, a platform for voices to be heard, 74 percent said the U.S. should not be involved in foreign affairs. This certainly advocates for neutrality and a level of isolation. This is the same approach we took when we, along with other allies, ignored the actions of Hitler. So, are we supposed to kick back and let the rest of the world fall to its demise as long as we’re not impacted by it? Absolutely not.
So, what is our policy on intervention? According to the Council on Foreign Relations, there should be several criteria met for the U.S. military to intervene. These include a sense of American commitment, interest and probability of success. Though there is no clear set of factors, the listed criteria is loosely used by presidents in deciding whether getting involved in a foreign matter is truly worth it.
We are a nation that represents freedom, democracy and opportunity. America must live up to these principles and promote them globally.
Let’s face it, we are the triumphant nerds of the schoolyard. If someone picks a fight with us, we will not hesitate to fight back.
During a speech Sept. 10, President Obama said, “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
Not only do we look out for our own self-interest, we also look out for those who seek the same fundamental ideals we hold close to our hearts because it is our moral obligation.
Our segmented nationalities should not hold us back from lending a helping hand to those who fight for freedom every day of their lives.
The bottom line is that we are all humans with the need for basic human rights. And those who stand in the way of a group or individual’s ability to pursue a life of happiness must be combated. It’s a matter of doing what is morally right for the betterment of not only us as Americans, but also all of humanity, despite our cultural differences.
Email Chris Burek at firstname.lastname@example.org.