Interventionism? Isolationism? Actually, Both

A few months back, I wrote back-to-back weekly messages regarding globalism and isolationism. In writing those columns, I focused on the fact that our nation’s interventionist foreign policy was precisely what was isolating us from other countries.

Turkey’s recall of their U.S. ambassador in the wake of last week’s resolution, passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in condemnation of Turkey, is a perfect example of what I wrote in those columns, as well as what I have been saying for years.

The House has passed similar resolutions for years, praising some foreign countries or political groups while chastising others. It is my policy to vote against resolutions of this sort whenever they have the impact of placing our country in the middle of an internal political problem of some other nation, or involving us in some regional conflict. In fact, this is almost always the specific intent of resolutions of this sort. Often, I am the only Member of Congress to vote against these resolutions.

Some have questioned these votes, arguing that they are meaningless statements of opinion. However, I have always been more skeptical, and careful, about voting for these measures. Last week’s reaction by Turkey, a long term ally and NATO member, shows that Congress should be a lot more restrained in sticking our government’s nose into the affairs of other nations.

Even though I am no fan of the war in Iraq, keeping positive relations with Turkey is important to protecting our troops who have been sent to fight this war. We are likely to need cordial relations with Turkey so that we can get our troops out of Iraq as quickly and safely as possible, when the time comes.

As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, my office has been contacted both by the White House and the Turkish Embassy. They know I oppose these types of interventionist resolutions and they know I will not support the current resolution. They also know full well that this particular resolution will only serve to strain an important international relationship our country should be seeking to strengthen.

In this instance, the problem is that many of my colleagues in Congress are more interested in seeking to score political points and proclaim their moral superiority, instead of worrying about our nation’s best interests. Also, in most of these situations, those who oppose the resolution regarding Turkey all-too-often fail to realize that similar resolutions dealing with other nations have the exact same effect. Namely, they isolate our country from the rest of the world.

Even if other countries do not take the rather extreme step of recalling their ambassador, this kind of meddling by Congressional resolution almost always serves to offend governments and political leaders in other countries.

Last week’s events make clear that Congress, and our foreign policy establishment, must reconsider the entire policy of interventionism if we are to avoid further isolation of our nation.

Author: Ron Paul

Ron PaulRon Paul is a former Republican congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for president.