Perspective: Involvement, Not Isolation

Jul 29, 2019

Politicians fixate on domestic issues, and thus do us a disservice. Urgent as these issues are, we also face urgent international problems. In order to preserve domestic tranquility, we must meet these challenges.

The challenges can be subsumed under one heading. What should be the international role of America going forward? We may forswear the role of world policeman, but we must not abandon the world. Isolationism is just defeatism by another name. China seeks hegemony. Russia pursues at least regional dominance. North Korea remains criminally irresponsible. Terrorism still lurks.

America constructed a system of interlocking alliances that established and maintained at least minimal order internationally. We may not want to lead that alliance system any longer, but we must not abandon it. The world needs us, but we need the world.

In addition to the alliance system America established and led the international trading system. Establishing rules of trade and promoting free trade have been mutually beneficial accomplishments. Now, as Trump supporters remind us forcefully, some Americans have been left behind. We must address the plight of these fellow citizens. But crude isolationism is not the remedy. Instead, we should distribute the benefits of international economic involvement.

Domestic issues beckon, and some fatigued Americans favor withdrawal. But, to repeat, the world needs us, and we need the world.

I am Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.