Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An End To Nation Building

We often talk about our overseas troop deployments as "Nation Building", an attempt to bring the freedom that we enjoy to countries around the world. In Korea, Viet Nam, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan we have diligently applied outside influence to create what we hope will be another democracy in the world like the United States with little apparent success. 

 What utter nonsense! 

The United States (Colonies) of America came about when those colonies themselves decided to seek independence and freedom. Defining the goals that they sought in the Declaration of Independence, they went on to seek that freedom through separation from Great Britain. Fighting a war of rebellion against the British crown, they finally achieved that freedom in 1783. 

 This is not to say that these United Colonies did not receive help in their efforts. There is little doubt that independence could have been achieved without the help of the French, who were traditional enemies of the British and therefore served their own interests simultaneously. The French however, did not embark upon a nation building effort in coming to our aid. In fact it was many years after declaring our freedom before and entering into war against what was at the time the greatest army and navy in the world that any significant aid was forthcoming from these allies, and that was achieved only as a result of the extensive efforts of such colonial luminaries as Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. 

We have to ask ourselves therefore, what right do we think we have to interfere in the governance of other nations? What hubris is it to believe that we can force what for us was an internal revolution on other parts of the world by the application of external force? 

Looking at the success rate that we have achieved in the past, what makes us continue a practice that has proved a dismal failure time and time again? In saying this, I cast no aspersions on the men and women of our armed forces. I have family currently overseas, many who served in past conflicts, and have nothing but the greatest respect for their service to this country. These people serve bravely and honorably around the world, performing whatever and wherever they are asked, and sacrificing on a level that few of us can understand. 

Their goal however is winning however, something that cannot be said of the political leaders who expect them to succeed while tying both their hands and feet with so-called political necessities and rules of engagement. This insanity goes far beyond political parties, as Democrat and Republican Administrations share in the blame for these overseas excursions, and usually for equally nonsensical causes. 

We go to war to prevent Communism in Korea and Viet Nam, only to have it appear in our backyard in Cuba. We battle to prevent evil regimes in Kuwait and Panama from reeking harm only to watch it flourish in Venezuela. We attempt to build democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, while watching it begin to crumble once again in Bosnia after over 13 years of effort. 

Perhaps it's time that we learn that we can neither create nor impose a democracy on any country from the outside. While we should deny no country the help that we once ourselves required to achieve our independence, we should make it clear that we will do so only once those people have worked towards it themselves. We should learn that as it happened here in America, the movement towards freedom and democracy is one that must be made from within, and put an end to nation building. 

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