1 vote

The Folly of Nation-Building

Whenever America has eschewed commitments abroad and turned inward, the results have been disastrous. The most isolationist decade in the country’s history — the 1930s — was followed by World War II. The “Come Home, America” isolationism of the 1970s was followed by the fall of South Vietnam, the genocide in Cambodia, the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the 1990s, the post-Cold War desire to spend the “peace dividend” led the U.S. to turn a blind eye to the rising threat from Al Qaeda. ~Max Boot

For all of these, Boot has relied heavily on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. The so-called “most isolationist decade” was followed by WWII, but American policies during that decade did not cause WWII, and it was obviously in spite of the general “isolationist” mood that FDR managed to get the U.S. pulled into the ongoing war. Withdrawing from Vietnam and refusing to be drawn back into the conflict did mean that South Vietnam could not successfully resist on its own, which was the disastrous conclusion to over a decade of fruitless, wasteful military intervention. Neither the Nixon administration nor later antiwar members of Congress were responsible for the Cambodian genocide, but it was Nixon’s decision to expand the war into Cambodia that created the conditions out of which the Khmer Rouge emerged. The Cambodian genocide ought to be a warning about the truly horrific consequences that can result from prolonged and unnecessary wars.


Trending on the Web