A Debate on America’s Role in the World

April 9, 2010

The opposition to President Obama’s leftist policies consist of people that agree on a lot, but who also differ in some respects. The rational opposition consists of conservatives, libertarians and American centrists. Many in the Tea Party movement never were involved in politics before Obamacare and other plans to increase the power of the federal government motivated them to speak up.

If we are going to defeat Obama and the Left, we will need to be able to unite around the common goal to return government to its legitimate limited role. But we will also need to accept that we disagree in some areas and not everyone will be happy with every decision in a post-Obama American government.

We agree in many areas: lower taxes, less spending, taking the limitations the Constitution puts on government power serious again. The libertarian influence on conservatives is positive in areas like free trade.

One area where conservatives have a serious legitimate disagreement with many libertarians is foreign policy.

We all agree that national defense against external threats is a fundamental legitimate role of the federal government. We disagree whether this should include a forward posture that includes stationing American troops in areas of US interest throughout the world or whether defense should strictly start at our border.

I disagree with a lot of the discussion in the video below except for Deroy Murdock’s comments. We cannot expect to live safely in this world by withdrawing behind our borders. Our economy is linked to the rest of the world and we will not be able to maintain peace and prosperity in the United States if we abandon our legitimate interests in the rest of the world.

We have to learn from history. America’s isolationist posture in the 1930s delayed our entry into World War 2 until we were unprepared for an attack on Pearl Harbor. Our weakness emboldened the Nazi and Japanese militaristic enemies and prolonged the war and the resulting destruction. We recovered from the biggest catastrophe of the 20th century, but we could have done better.

After 9/11, we have had to learn to deal with new asymmetrical threats from Islamic terrorists that were supported by government like the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The people in this video with a different view are rational people, but I disagree with their understanding of the world and some of their policy ideas. Barack Obama’s new policy of abandoning nuclear weapons development and promising rogue nations (other than Iran and North Korea) that we won’t use nuclear weapons to retaliate against a non-nuclear attack makes it important that we listen to our libertarian friends and stay united as much as possible on supporting a strong defense of America.

I present this video with the goal of helping to achieve clarity on our disagreements. We should listen to valid criticism, but also should try to persuade libertarians that the American consensus on much of foreign policy since World War 2 should continue to be our position.

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