Is Non-Interventionism the Best Foreign Policy for a Free Republic?
Debate Rounds (3)
Is Non-Interventionism the Best Foreign Policy for a Free Republic?
I will be debating in support of non-interventionism being the best foreign policy for a free republic. A "free republic" will be defined as a republic with the primary goal of preserving the liberty of its people. An example would be the United States upon its founding. Non-interventionism will be defined as government policy to avoid war or alliances with other nations, although still conduct trade and diplomacy.
Round 1: Acceptance of Debate
Round 2: Presentation of Argument
Round 3: Rebuttals
I await my opponent so that we may engage in civil debate for mutual intellectual growth.
Thank you for accepting the debate.
I will now present the reasons that non-interventionism is the best foreign policy for protecting liberty.
1. Interventions are not worth the cost
As many Americans know, it is very easy for a country to get involved in many foreign wars and have your nation devoted to those wars for decades. This is a simple byproduct of intervening in another country's affairs. These wars can seem to be perpetual, and come at great cost to a nation. When a nation goes to war, it allows its men to die on foreign soil and its money to go to funding the destruction of the other state. When a nation wins a war after the enemy surrenders or is completely destroyed, the nation is supposed to gain something for winning the war. Many times, this is land or money. However, is this really worth the cost? Does this help the ultimate goal of protecting the liberty of the people? An intervening country either ends up taking reparations from the war, taking terms to help an ally who was intervened on behalf of, or setting up a new government. None of these help the protection of the republic's citizens' liberty enough to justify a war.
2. It does not give the government a chance to take liberty away
International wars are waged between governments. When the republic goes to war, its government is the entity which carries out the war. The government must have manpower from willing citizens and money from the citizens in order to wage war. The government during wars will almost always require more resources than it does during peacetime, so it must resort to ways to increase revenue and supply of resources, including raising taxes, borrowing money, and drafting soldiers. The government will also often use war as an excuse to impose laws exerting more control over citizens. This is not always a bad thing, but over time fighting many wars can lead to a growth in government tyranny and lessening of liberty, which is against the purpose of the republic. An example of this was the Sedition Act of 1918 in the United States, which allowed the government to restrict the freedom of speech for the purpose of the war.
3. It will make the republic more respected and less targeted by others
In international politics, some groups will clash against other groups. Nations will go to war, cultures will have conflicts, and entire civilizations will turn against each other. Some groups will have hatred for their rival groups, or even worse: more powerful groups. If a republic interferes in international affairs, it will earn enemies. These enemies could be relatively harmless or they could be extremely dangerous. When intense rivalries began in Europe during the late 1800s and early 1900s, it culminated in two devastating World Wars. This caused great destruction in all of these countries and created hatred that would last until the present day. This hatred has fueled terrorism and conflicts since then. If a republic earns enemies, those enemies will target the republic and attempt to defeat it. This will only lead to more war and greater threats to the liberty of the republic. Republics like Sweden and Switzerland are famous for staying neutral in international relations and avoiding devastating wars because of this.
4. It is more beneficial to other nations
The most common argument for participating in international politics and conflicts is to attempt to promote liberty in other parts of the world. However, not only is this not the purpose of the republic, it is not beneficial to these other nations. When a government intervenes in another nation's politics, it can increase the scope of a small conflict. The larger the conflict is, the greater the devastation will be. War will alo hold back the prosperity of the republic, and the prosperity of a free republic will be beneficial to other nations. If the people of other nations see how successful a free republic is, they will use it as an example to try to get their own liberty in their nation. A prosperous republic will be like a role model for others in the world. This has been shown in history by the American Revolution and the age of revolutions that would follow. For a century, revolutions like the French Revolution would begin, inspired by the success of the United States. While the revolutions and subsequent free states had varying degrees of success, they were given hope for liberty by the United States' succesful republic.
First, I believe you are addressing a problem that is created by the way a country fights it's wars. In all reality, when a nation goes to war based on the true Art of War concept, the invading country should use the natural resources of the country they are invading to found the war. Technically, if the United States invaded Iraq according to this concept, we should have taken over their oil supply/production to finance our war. I believe some of your position is created by the idea of a politically correct war. As you may have noticed, the United States becomes involved when it is in it's best interest. So based on that concept, we need to look deeper into why the United States becomes involved in foreign affairs.
"It does not give the government a chance to take liberty away"
I addressed the financial issue in my previous paragraph wherein an attacking nation should fund its wars through the resources of the nation they are attacking. I will go one step further though to brin up a certain point. Regional stability is extremely important to global markets. When Iraq decided to invade its neighboring countries for oil, the prices of oil skyrocketed across the world, and a nation was bullying another. What about World War II, how many lives would have been saved if we became involved earlier in the war? We waited until we were attacked by Japan. Was our involvement in the 2nd World War a mistake? How do you not know that something like that won't happen again? The earlier we neutralize a threat, the better.
"It will make the republic more respected and less targeted by others"
I have to disagree with that claim. Let's use a very simple example. A bully/criminal decides to attack someone, who is the most likely target? It is most logical to attack a weaker adversary right? Countries tend to wage war with people they know they can defeat. The reason countries like Sweden and Switzerland can remain neutral is because of countries like the United States. Fortunately for the world, we are one of the only countries that actually intervenes in foreign affairs.
"It's more beneficial to other nations"
Promoting liberty in other parts of the world is merely a shell to please the masses. If you believe that we act for the sake of liberty, how do you explain our lack of involvement in countries that we have no interest in (currently Ukraine is an example). Have you noticed that we re quick to respond to issues in the Middle East, do you wonder why?
You need to take a look at the advantages the United States obtains through our involvement in the Middle East, and some other countries. Take a look at The Korean War, our involvement gave the United States a tactical position to respond to threats in or around the Asian region. Can we save money through a lack of involvement, yes. But if wars were fought without political influence, it would not be a problem.
1. Even if a country uses the enemy's natural resources, they still have to spend something much more precious: the lives of its soldiers. When a government commits the lives of its citizens to a war, they must really consider the costs and possible rewards. If the results of the war are petty rewards like monetary compensation and enforcing treaties, which do not concern the well-being of the citizens, it is a waste of the republic's soldiers.
2. Conflicts will disrupt trade and commerce, but how can conflict be solved with more conflict? An unstable region will eventually stabilize. Foreign interventions will prolong the conflict by adding another enemy. Intervening in a regional conflict can cause resentment from one faction towards the intervening power, which leads to my point #3. And on the example of World War II, it's grey area because Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan posed a threat to our country. I don't think that it was completely necessary to intervene in the war, because the USSR and Britain were already slowing the German advances in Russia and Africa. However, they were a possible threat to our country if they were successful in the war. Non-interventionism only opposes offensive wars in which the republic has no involvement.
3. As stated earlier, interventions can cause lasting resentment in factions in the target country. Most terrorists are motivated by vengeance against their enemies, and if we make less enemies, we should see a great decrease in terrorism. Neutral nations like Sweden and Switzerland do not rely on other nations protecting them; instead, they rely on good relations will neighbors and not making any enemies. Before the United States started flexing its imperialist muscles, Switzerland still existed and stayed neutral in wars. Some European nations in 1914 avoided the calamities of war by simply not looking for war with other nations and staying out of entangling alliances.
4. The point is that the republic does not need to be an international power, and it can benefit its people by remaining neutral in foreign conflicts. While foreign conflicts gave America an international advantage, they cost the government money and lives and did not benefit the citizens. Wars will never be fought without political influence until they are not fought by government. And in the spirit of the benefiting other nations point, the Korean War was a result of American international influence. If America had not decided to be a world power, we would not have seen the need to keep a sphere of influence in Asia, and Korea would have been united. There may have been a communist, despotic regime, but it could have been overthrown in the time since the war. A country united can fight a tyrannical government, but when other nations intervene the revolution can fail or become distorted. Also, global powers like the U.S. can control the people in an area when they intervene, which can hurt that region. In fact, U.S. support of whatever Middle Eastern factions are supposedly allied to us has been detrimental to the liberty of the people in these areas. Revolutions against tyrannical government continue even with the U.S. supposedly trying to help democracy in the area. Intervention on behalf of another people's liberty does not work.
Non intervention is a rather good policy, but it is not always the best policy.
Lets take a look at a couple wars over the past 100 years.
"When World War I erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality for the United States, a position favored by the vast majority of Americans. Britain, however, was one of America's closest trading partners, and tension soon arose between the United States and Germany over the latter's attempted quarantine of the British Isles. Several U.S. ships traveling to Britain were damaged or sunk by German mines, and, in February 1915, Germany announced unrestricted warfare against all ships, neutral or otherwise, that entered the war zone around Britain." http://www.history.com...
As for WWI, non-interventionism was not the best foreign policy for a free republic. As you can see from the source I listed, we were pretty much dragged into the war.
The United States also tried Non-interventionism during WWII. During this time frame, millions of innocent Jews were slaughtered. The United States did not enter the war until Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 7th 1941 (Vote for war December 8th).
These are two perfect examples wherein a non-Intervention Policy was attempted, and we were simply dragged into the war. Millions of innocent people lost their lives through a non-intervention policy.
I believe there are moments when non-intervention is probably a better route. However it is not the "Best Foreign Policy", as you claimed at the beginning of the debate.
I believe better tactics could be used in regards to any intervention. I believe some mistakes were made throughout the wars we were involved in. Just remember, less than 200 years ago, people lined up in formation and simply shot at each other. War strategies are constantly changing, and the United States is constantly developing strategies to minimize U.S. Casualties.
"Conflicts will disrupt trade and commerce, but how an conflict be solved with more conflict?"
Both world wars were solved through conflict. We used a non-intervention policy, but we were dragged into both wars.
"Most terrorists are motivated by vengeance against their enemies, and if we make less enemies, we should see a great decrease in terrorism"
Quran (3:56) - "As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."
Quran (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority".
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