"There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate
upon real favors from nation to nation."
by:
George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'
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;-) Here Iran, let us give you Democracy. (-;
 -- Mike, Norwalk
 
Today they are your friend, tomorrow your enemy. Who was it that said to avoid entangling alliances with other nations, or words to that effect. We should have heeded that advice long ago.
 -- jim kilpatrick, austin, tx
 
In political science we can measure the evolution of societies and their growth/decay levels. We can measure what is called the "democratization" of countries as they topple authoritarian regimes, and the whys and hows of who is involved. Historical philosophers (such as Machiavelli) have devised many mechanisms and have shown many models of differing society's growth and decay. What we learn from such models is that, if left alone, societies have taken themselves out of their own problems. It is hard to face the reality of human degradation in the world around us, but to remain the non-interfering "moral example" (for lack of a better term) for freedom has historically been the greatest tool at a country's disposal to exemplify liberty, freedom, and self-government. Should there have been a hypothetical entity that would have stepped in to save the early Colonies from the oppressive British regime in the late 1600's, America would not have had sufficient time to evolve to accept such self-accountable documents as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights that it did in the late 1700's. It took time for the American people to become so oppressed as to evolve their perception to accept personal responsibility in independence. In our fast-tracked world we want immediate results and forget that societal evolution sometimes takes hundreds of years. This is why Iraq has been slow going: the people that grew up under tyrannical regimes, and have associated to themselves to what political scientists call "learned helplessness," do not have the perception necessary to be self-governing. While Iraqis have, at times, shown extraordinary leaps into "democratization," they have eventually regressed back into their own sectarian societies. The United States stepped in to "save" these people before their society was mentally capable of self-government; their society had not evolved to that place to support that paradigm. This does not mean that the Iraqis cannot one day shift perceptions to become fully self-independent, but, just like the process our own country had to go through, every country that seeks to throw off tyrannical authority must go through an evolution in perception in being capable of sustaining a self-government system. Current models show that once a society has been left alone to evolve, the democratization that takes place actually sticks; whereas countries that are not allowed to evolve regress back to their totalitarian/military regimes. It would be more unjust to interfere with a people who are not ready for self-government, because they do not have the perception to sustain a new self-accountable system of government. Human fatalities would be the greatest accomplishment of such a "favor." Saddam was accused of torturing many people, and killing approximately 100,000; however, because of this 5 year war, Iraqi casualties now top nearly 700,000 dead and over 600,000 severely wounded (approximately 300,000 of those fatalities are directly linked to U.S. bullets, missiles, and bombs). Our "favor" to Iraq has cost them over 200,000 more lives in 5 years than what Saddam committed over 20 years (and we're still not done). The escalation of soldiers have not served to help the education of the Iraqis toward self-government, but to push out the terrorist (Al Qaeda) forces that have only since found a home in Iraq since 2003. The devolution of Iraq is all but certain, as we see that there are no real answers to the sectarian differences. Iraq, even if they maintain their "democratic" processes, will most likely revert back to militaristic/over-zealous religious leaders. The Iraqi society was not allowed to evolve; hence they will revert back to old patterns of learned behavior. To maintain the wanted results, the United States must remain in Iraq indefinitely-- or until the unspecified amount of time that the society will evolve and become capable of self-government in the face of sectarian violence. In the meantime, the United States presence in the Middle East will spurn hatred and make terrorist recruiting much easier. George Washington, as a self-educated philosopher of war and history, knew concerning the woes of entangling alliances and nation building. Had we been true to our foundations, we wouldn't even be in this bothersome skirmish in Iraq.
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN
 
It was Washington who warned us of "entalngling alliances" -- a brilliant man, truly. Washington is all we ever hoped a president should be and would be.
 -- E Archer, NYC
 
After reading Logan's very well rounded thought, I was inspired to pull this piece from Ron Paul's "Freedom Under Seige" (1987) Foreign Policy options of the conservatives and the liberals are, in reality, only a variation of a single interventionist policy. It is only the direction of the intervention that is different and open to debate. Another option must be made available from which the American people may choose. The policy of neutrality is morally correct for major world powers as well as small nations. By what authority does any country interfere in the internal affairs of another? When a major power interferes, it literally becomes a bully. The excuse for intervention is usually in moralistic terms, arguing that it is for the benefit of the world or a policy of making the world "safe for democracy" and for the purpose of making poor nations prosperous. These are excuses, not reasons based on morality. Officially, getting openly involved in the internal affairs of other nations is always at the host country's request. Those interfering claim they do so by popular support, but the people are never consulted. Our foreign aid goes either to fascist or socialist nations, benefiting the rulers by solidifying their power and impeding the development of a free society and a free-market economy. The outcome of even the best motivated assistance is usually the opposite of that which was intended. When economic assistance is sent to other nations with the intention of helping the poor, the poor recieve a small fraction of what is sent. But the worst part of all this is that the assistance perpetuates the entire system that causes the impoverishment in the first place and makes it more difficult than ever for the people of that country to achieve more liberty. Even if aid and interference were handled wisely by patriotic Americans, they could not be justified on moral grounds. If we assume that it is proper for the United States government to meddle in any way in the internal affairs of other nations - even if for noble reasons - the door is then opened for the ruthless who could then intervene for the worst reasons - aiding fascism, socialism, or communism or for personal gain. Providing aid to those struggling to be free by first expropriating funds from innocent Americans cannot be justified. Freedom cannot be spread through a policy of force which violates another man's freedom. When providing assistance, it is logical to expect some national benefit in return. The policies of nations that have received aid obviously have greater significance to us than those who have not received help. If their policies do not conform to the policies of the United States administration in power, threats, and even assisting in coups, are then said to be justified. After a few decades of international intervention, with economic assistance and covert operations for "national security" the noble original purpose is entirely forgotten. The doors are then opened to almost any type of foreign involvement....... If you haven't read the book...you should.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary
 
Washington was no. 1 in more ways than one. The fact that he refused to be made King not only made our country possible, it showed the incredible intellect and wisdom of our first president.
 -- warren, olathe
 
I think for a while, knowing this quote, I believe to be true, we ought to take care of our own. We can't go on helping the entire world when we can't. We need jobs here! In America. We can't depend on anybody, not really. Ever country has it's own need or self-interest. Including us. Washington wanted to help the french at the time, but knew we simply couldn't if we were to continue our own quest... So we helped them later. We can and should be charitable when we are able, but not as global law or policy, administered by force. And by the way, a big government is more instinctive than reasonable. It doesn't really even want to help it's own, that is, not if at the sake of losing it's own power of a few. Small government, jobs here, an opportunity to go on your own and hack a living, get on our feet, then let's do what we can for others, never having ourselves to depend on any foreign help.
 -- Rick, Erie
 
My job's too hard!
 -- Celeste, Coco buk
 
 
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