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It's A Gray Area: Let the U.N. take over world's issues

November 05, 2011|By James P. Gray

The largest threat to our nation's safety and security is a weak economy. Looking back throughout history, most of the strongest powers, like the Roman, Ottoman and British empires, were not conquered from the outside. Instead they overextended economically, and that directly caused their decline.

So given our present economic realities, what adjustments should we make in our foreign policy for the future? In other words, what now?

First, under no circumstances should we again retreat to the policy of isolationism that we maintained before World War II. We should notice and take pride that during the decades thereafter, and in our dominance as a world power, the seas have been open to free trade for every nation, and no further world war has occurred. That probably would not have been the case without our involvement, and if we were now to withdraw militarily from the world, those peaceful conditions would probably be threatened.

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On the other hand, we should understand that we no longer have the economic strength to be the world's policeman. As such, we should only unilaterally involve our troops and military strength in circumstances that materially affect our national interests. Other matters that do not affect our national interests should and must be left to be addressed by the world community.

What does that mean? Largely it means that the United Nations, with all of its glaring defects and juvenile politics, is still the best alternative to address the humanitarian, terrorist and military threats of the world. The United States should openly and fully do its part in these efforts, but we should let it be known that if the world community does not act, those problems will go unmet.

Thus when there is rape and mayhem in places like Uganda, South Sudan or the Congo, we will not unilaterally send our troops, like we recently announced. Instead we will argue that the world community through the United Nations should respond to those emergencies, with our support.

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