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August 23, 2006

Why Not?

It always makes me laugh to hear politicians talk about "isolationism":

In [a] 15-minute interview, Mr. Lieberman warned against the United States becoming isolationist...

“Nobody is talking about isolationism,” Mr. Lamont said, responding in a telephone interview to Mr. Lieberman’s remarks.

I'd like to ask Lamont: why isn't anyone talking about isolationism?

Then I'd like to ask both him and Lieberman: what exactly do you mean when you use this word?

Because whatever Americans think isolationism means, they like it. It's only a dirty word among the wealthiest and best educated. So if we were living in a democracy with the whole one-person one-vote thing, you'd expect SOMEBODY would be talking about isolationism.

How do Americans identify their foreign policy philosophy? (Gallup)

Posted at August 23, 2006 11:26 AM | TrackBack

You know what, this is one thing that can scare me more than your actual foreign policy itself.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at August 23, 2006 11:53 AM


Tens of thousands of shipping containers arriving in US ports daily. Tens of thousands of US franchise restaurants scattered over the globe. MTV in the jungles of Indonesia. Just to name a few.

What is isolationism in the 21st century?

Silly scare blather for washed up scare monger politicians.

Posted by: tn at August 23, 2006 12:00 PM

Less than $30K:
Isolationist = I don't want to be sent 5000 miles away to die in the jungle.

Over $75K:
Isolationist = I prefer Chrysler to Honda.

Posted by: abb1 at August 23, 2006 12:10 PM

well, since americans are raised believeing that USA is teh bomb diggity because Jesus loves them and not because of fortuitous circumstances and the growth of international trade, it's no surprise they want nothing to do with the icky-sticky arabs or chinese or what have you.

the oceans protect the rest of the world from america, it seems :)

Posted by: almostinfamous at August 23, 2006 01:29 PM

but who or what can protect me from those nasty isolationist minutemen?

Posted by: Jeus B. Ochoa at August 23, 2006 02:46 PM

Isolationist (n):

1. One who thinks it unfair that the gruff but well-meaning neighbor is now permanently shitfaced after his job was outsourced to a prison economy.
2. A political opponent who disagrees with your precise foreign policy suggestions.
3. Whatever you want it to mean, like every other word.

Posted by: James Cape at August 23, 2006 02:55 PM

Isolationist = anyone who wants to deprive the world of T-shirts that say "Vote for Ed Pugh."

p.s. thanks for the Best Of -- I think that Ed Pugh post may have been my intro to Tiny Revolution... And now you can take seventeen seconds off and relax!

Posted by: radish at August 23, 2006 04:15 PM

It's a swell idea, but only if all countries agree to be isolationist too.

Posted by: homoludens at August 23, 2006 08:26 PM

I am decimated because I feel so isolated. Not having read the whole exchange which leaves me in the dark as to the context of the remarks I would assume that Lieberman is in touch with his inner warrior and is referring to Iraq. And for Lamont I would assume he is referring to the same topic.

Lamont reminds me of the first time I began to hear about Obama. From what I read I gathered that he was the new great hope for democrats, a shining star, an unblemished hero of liberals and a new face for democrats to rally around. However as it turns it he is somewhat less than what I had been hearing so I feel it would be prudent to wait and see what Lamont is all about before I join in the adoring masses. Apparently Lamont is improving in the polls so it looks like he may have a shot at becoming a Senator and if he does the proof will be in the pudding.

So far when politicos bring up fear of isolationism as a topic it has meant they were planning to screw John Q. Public again and so it was probably not a good time to buy that Jaguar sports car.

Posted by: rob payne at August 23, 2006 08:36 PM

Isolationism was considered good foreign policy by George Washington wasn't it? Didn't the 'sakoku' isolationism of Japan also lead to more than 100 years of peace? Didn't Washington want to avoid the dangerous and deadly intrigues of European Machievellianism? Thanks to the policies of his successors, isolationist policy in America will never happen. Besides, Corporate America makes more money from a never-ending war than from an everlasting peace.

An aside to 'sk' regarding those $75K/year 'isolationists' with their penchant for Chryslers over Hondas: Isn't it somewhat ironic that Germany's Daimler now owns Chrysler and Honda's are built right here in the good old USA? I believe their factory is in Kentucky or Tennessee. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

My pappy was an isolationist after a hitch in the military from 1940 to 1960, being involved in the 'rebuilding' of Japan and Germany. Way back in the 50s, he used to tell us kids, "Germany and Japan are the real winners of WWII because we're dumping so much money into their countries now, we'll never get it back!"

Posted by: JLaR at August 24, 2006 12:51 AM

Thanks for the link SK.

Norman Solomon wrote an excellent book called Target Iraq which I still have a copy of. Too bad more Americans did not read it because it was right on the money as was his advice to readers to follow the money and the oil it they wanted to understand why Iraq.

Here is an interesting report from the pew research center concerning American views on isolationism and how those views change due to current events of the day.

As the Iraq war has shaken the global outlook of American influentials, it has led to a revival of isolationist sentiment among the general public. Fully 42% of Americans say the United States should "mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own." This is on par with the percentage expressing that view during the mid-1970s, following the Vietnam War, and in the 1990s after the Cold War ended.

The whole thing is worth a read and really it is not all that surprising when you think about the cost and repercussions of not only poorly thought out interventions and their oft times disastrous results at home or abroad such as Vietnam and Iraq.

And as Norman Solomon points out there is also the moral issue in all of this. Why should it be a given that America has the right to destroy the economy of places like Haiti or for that matter Iraq, Lebanon and all the other victims of Bush imperialism. And this is especially so when the people who profit from this kind of aggressive foreign policy are mostly the friends of Bush or actually his empowering buddies the super wealthy. What has the average schmuck gotten out of this besides less job security, stagnating wages for the past five years, dead sons and daughters and a grim future filled with uncertainty?

Posted by: rob payne at August 24, 2006 01:38 AM

Correction please! That previous aside was to abb1, not 'sk', but I'm busy packing for my Great Escape to Canada. I'm partially senile and this thing called 'multi-tasking' is a new concept for me! No more intifadas in America!

Posted by: JLaR at August 24, 2006 05:43 AM

"Isolationism" (whatever that means) is not totally ignored by politicians, after all, didn't Bush say in his 2000 campaign that he didn't believe in "nation building"?

Posted by: at August 25, 2006 02:24 PM