“We should just do nothing?”

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I was having a conversation today with someone about US foreign policy where I was arguing in favor of non-intervention.  As expected, when I said that the government shouldn’t meddle in other people’s business, I was asked: “So we should have just continued to do nothing after getting attacked?”

This is a false dichotomy used to dismiss non-interventionist policies whether it be in foreign affairs, the economy, education, law enforcement, etc.  Just because I say that the government shouldn’t act doesn’t mean that no one should act.  When it comes to foreign affairs, there is plenty that can be done to make relations better.  The best idea might opening up trade between the people.  Loosen any restrictions and allow individuals from each country to develop economic relationships.  War doesn’t look so good when it will directly cause wallets to suffer.

But even more importantly, this “do nothing?!” response begs the question that the United States was just minding its own business prior to the attacks on September 11, 2001.  This assertion is simply not true.  The United States has been involved intimately with the Middle East for years and years; furthermore, this intimate involvement included the destruction of life and property of innocent civilians.  This of course does not justify flying a few planes into skyscrapers, but it adds an important explanation in opposition to “they just hate our way of life.”

At the very least, the United States could improve their foreign policy and stop making so many enemies if the rulers just stopped dropping bombs on people.  Bullies tend to have a lot of enemies.