Kingdom of Fear: Fight Them Over There, So We Don’t Have to Fight Them Here
After over a dozen years of war and with an incredible national debt, Americans are becoming increasingly reticent about U.S. intervention in global conflicts. A poll published in March from Pew Research showed that only 29 percent of Americans believed the U.S. should “take a firm stand” in the Ukraine situation and only 8 percent of those folks thought the U.S. should take military action. This matches the thinking for other conflicts, such as those currently erupting in the Middle East.
The clichéd mantra of “fight them over ‘there’ to keep us from fighting them here” has long been used to justify the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However it is still employed by some of the GOP’s biggest hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Yet, it seems from their statements that this is simply criticism of President Obama couched in the language of fear.
In reality, I’d bet that neither McCain or Graham truly want the U.S. embroiled in another war, but the opportunity to turn American fear into animus against their opposition party is too good to pass up.
Yet, it is much more comforting, in a way, to think that the U.S. military travels to strange lands to defeat monsters rather than face the complex realities of geopolitics. Because as much as the U.S. should keep its nose (and drones) out of the world’s business, as the largest remaining superpower it is irresponsible to not do anything at all.
Of course America has lost much of the moral high-ground over the years, thanks to terrible military mistakes and our complicated relationship with torture after 9/11. Thus our best shot is to explore non-military option at influencing other countries to do what we want them to do.
Rather than springing at the chance to make the President look weak in front of Americans, elected GOP officials should voice their concerns in private. Politicians are elected to office, but once they are sworn in they should exercise deference in their actions and comments – especially with respect to international matters – because that is what truly makes America seem weak.