Interventionist or Isolationist?

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Interventionist or Isolationist?

I believe that there is no clear-cut position as to whether we should be Interventionist or Isolationist. It all comes down to circumstances. Almost every conflict the United States had been involved in has been about economics and what our country can gain. We have been one of the world’s greatest powers since the early 1900’s, mainly because of colonialization and domination of world economy.

In World War I, we should have maintained our isolationist policy if possible. The main reason we became involved was because the new expansionist mood of the Axis Powers threatened the global empire we were apparently building. And, the war interfered with our prosperous trade system with the other countries. As Henry Ford put it, “Do you want to know the cause of the war? It is capitalism, greed, the dirty hunger for dollars.” And, in the end, I don’s think we could have stayed out of the war if we wanted to. The world at the time was a tangled web of alliances that meant a local conflict could start a massive war. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife was the spark that ignited that web. Even after the start of World War I, the United States was content to sell food and munitions to the countries involved in the conflict. It wasn’t until Germany began to attack the ships taking those trade items to Europe that the U.S. started to get mad. They had been trying to pursue a policy of neutrality and semi-isolationism, but now they were being dragged into a conflict they had nothing to do with. The United States had nothing to gain but the money from trade. Therefore, we payed a price of many lives for little to no gain.

I have a different view, however, on World War II. Once the war had started, it should have been interventionist all the way, from an economic and a patriotic point of view.

The desire to avoid "foreign entanglements" of all kinds had been an American foreign policy for more than a century. A very real "geographical isolation" permitted the United States to "fill up the empty lands of North America free from the threat of foreign conflict.” President Roosevelt wanted to avoid war, especially since it was contrary to American policy which most if not all Americans were in agreement with. And as I said, another factor that led to the decision of Neutrality by President Rooseve...

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...endanger the United States more than it already was. On the following day Roosevelt argued that the attack "had given us an opportunity". Congress approved the declaration of war with only one dissenting voice.

If we hadn’t gone to war, many things would have happened. First, the Great Depression probably would have continued because it was the jobs and income from the war that brought us out of the Depression. Second, the Nazi’s would have been able to continue with their death camps and many millions more people would have died. Third, we never would have gotten our atomic revenge on the Japanese. However, it was those same atomic weapons that fueled the Cold War, and left people living in fear for the next several decades.

So, as you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to being Isolationist or Interventionist. We can do a lot of good for the world by stepping in, however it is often at a great cost to ourselves. And our country can be seen as a great protector or a greater destroyer. Being only Isolationist or Interventionist would mean we are weak or too controlling. All we can do is try to find a medium and decide when is the right time for action.
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