Not long ago, I offhandedly referred to myself as an “isolationist.” That was incorrect. I am a “non-interventionist.” That means I think we should stay out of the internal affairs of other countries.
The subject keeps coming to mind as I see politicians discussing Pres. Obama’s response — or lack thereof — to recent events in the Middle East and North Africa. It seems he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. What do these people expect him to do? Anything he says or does can affect what’s going on, as well as influence world opinion of the US. We don’t need new enemies or increased hatred. We don’t need to polish the perception of the US as self-appointed world policeman. We want, as some have said, to be on the right side of history, but the history of today’s events has yet to be written.
America’s knee-jerk reaction usually is to support a people trying to overthrow a dictator (dictator being defined by us, of course). But I don’t think it’s our place to take sides in another country’s internal affairs, no matter how much we might want to. Nor is it our right to decide what is a proper form of governance in another country. American democracy is not necessarily what’s best for other countries, and it’s certainly not our place to try to impose it on other countries (eg, Iraq and Afghanistan).