Magazine article Tikkun

What Is a "Caring" Foreign Policy?

Magazine article Tikkun

What Is a "Caring" Foreign Policy?

Article excerpt

MANY PROGRESSIVES ARE CALLING FOR A radically new approach to American foreign policy. They seek a policy that would abandon military intervention and inject a massive infusion of resources into foreign aid: Restrain our military, adopt a new Marshall Plan, and make America the global symbol of generosity and caring, thereby creating a world that will abandon war and terrorism as weapons of choice- a world that would be made whole.

There is, of course, little debate that it is in our national interest to eliminate war, disease, and poverty. But turning America into a "pacifist" nation, and pumping money into developing nations, is not the answer. Indeed, it is a recipe for strengthening ungenerous and uncaring behavior and perpetuating poverty.

The reality is that there are lawless people in the world whose behavior cannot be stopped without the use of military force. Since the end of the Cold War, we've witnessed regimes in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sudan, who have engaged in ethnic cleansing, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. The most notorious assassins of the twentieth century were the Stalinist regimes of the former Soviet Union and China, and the fascist autocrats who ran Hitler's Germany, and its wartime ally, Japan. Communist and nationalist governments in Cambodia, North Korea, and Iraq have been guilty of similar crimes. And now we are confronted with terrorists targeting innocent civilians.

The violence and subjugation perpetrated by the Soviet Union, China, Germany, and Japan were halted only by military intervention. The tragedies that overtook the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda called out, and in present-day Sudan continue to call out, for military intervention.

What is "generous and caring" about abandoning millions to their death or torture without intervention? Who gives us the right to stand by as our fellow human beings are being slaughtered? What is it about "Never Again" that we do not understand? Pacifism in the face of evil does not produce a generous and caring world.

There is room for debate about whether certain interventions, such as those in Iraq, can or will serve a humanitarian purpose. But debate about Iraq should not obscure the need for intervention in other, clearer cases. …

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