By Christopher Trick
In the 2016 election, some students and faculty followed the story of how Donald Trump greatly angered the Washington D.C. foreign policy establishment by criticizing the Iraq War, saying it was a mistake and that the United States should not have invaded a nation to strip it of weapons that it did not have. In December 2018, President Trump announced plans to withdraw troops from the Syrian Civil War, and earlier this year, he was considering scaling back the number of troops in Afghanistan, the sight of America’s longest war.
“One of the main campaign promises Donald Trump made to the American people, and one that most certainly helped him get elected, was that he would end the Republican and Democrat complicit engagement in foreign wars,” said Shawn Welnak, a professor of philosophy. “One would think everyone could get behind this promise, given the manifest failures from the previous administration on this front.”
The goal of America’s foreign policy should be to further the prosperity and safety of the United States, and it seems that our policymakers have no real intentions of prioritizing America’s security or national interests.
When George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003 and “spread democracy,” thus reneging on his campaign promise to make America a more “humble nation,” he invaded and subsequently destabilized a nation that did not attack us, did not want war with us, and never knew what exactly democracy was. This nation building exercise did not help the United States.
In 2017 and 2018, under the influence of neoconservatives, Donald Trump ordered missile strikes in Syria after Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. How did this help the United States? It did not.
Article V of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) treaty says an attack on one nation is an attack on all. If another nation in the NATO alliance is attacked, should the United States really send its young men to fight in defense of another nation?
“America should, in fact, have an ‘America First’ foreign policy. Our nation has focused on so much outside of our country, and there has only been destruction to show for it,” Dianna Gonzalez, a senior English education major, said. “It’s time for us to focus on what’s happening inside the country.”
America cannot afford to be the policeman of the world. We are a constitutional republic; we are not, however, an empire. Our military is too involved in the affairs of other nations, and this leads to other countries resenting the United States, viewing us negatively and as imperialistic. Unless the United States has been directly attacked, or our national interests are at stake, we should remain out of conflict. Perhaps it is time for the United States to return to an “America First” foreign policy.
Editor’s Note: Trick’s Take is a political opinion column that reflects the opinions of the writer. The views shared in this column are not shared by The Pioneer, which remains a neutral and unbiased platform.