The most important issue facing America is not even being debated by the presidential candidates. With the exception of Ron Paul, all of the candidates are acting on the assumption that America's interventionist foreign policy should continue. They only differ on the details of the intervention.
Since Paul doesn't have a chance of winning, I can therefore guarantee that regardless of who wins the nominations and regardless of who ends up in the White House, we will be saddled with the same failed interventionist policy. As in the past, it will preclude peace and result in conflicts that ultimately will bring America down. We can squander blood and treasure only so long before we collapse. Then we will join the heap of has-been empires like the British, French, Dutch and Soviets.
That's why I have no interest in the presidential race.
The United States has no moral or legal right to interfere in the internal affairs of any other nation. It is not threatened by any nation-state and therefore has no need of allies. An ally is someone who fights on your side during a war. When the war ends, the need for alliances ends.
George Washington — still the wisest man ever to serve as president — warned us against interventionism. He warned us against the influence of foreign lobbies. As he said, there is no reason for America to involve itself in the intrigues, feuds, and wars that plague most parts of the world. Our only contact with the outside world should be in trade and commerce.
The problem of terrorism, which is a direct result of our interventionist policies, is not a war. It is a conflict with a few individuals. If we stopped our interventionist foreign policies, the problem of terrorists would gradually fade away. In the meantime, terrorism can be handled by intelligence and police work. It is not a fight the military can win.
The concept of a preemptive war should be an abomination to every American. Preemptive war is a war of aggression. It was the policy of Hitler's Germany and of the Japanese imperial government. To our national shame, apparently many Americans support the concept. They should never again criticize the Japanese for Pearl Harbor, the Third Reich for the invasion of Poland, or the Soviet Union for the invasion of Afghanistan. Click your heels and salute. You are no different from the people who cheered for Hitler.
The concept of a so-called humanitarian war, trotted out by Bill Clinton to justify intervention in the Balkans, is a contradiction in terms. War itself is a crime against humanity. No sane person can justify inflicting death and destruction in the name of humanitarianism.
The great tragedy caused by the interventionists is that they sabotage the peaceful and prosperous country that America could be. It's no mystery why the infrastructure is beginning to fail. It's no mystery why public education fails in so many places. It's no mystery why health care is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Look at the cost of the empire — the military and intelligence budgets, the cost of the wars. Between the military-industrial complex and the new war-service industry, the treasury is being sucked dry by the worst people for the worst reasons.
In the meantime, what are the presidential candidates talking about? A few social schemes. Different strategies for intervention. They are like the first-class passengers on the Titanic, sitting around discussing their business deals and various affairs. They show no sign of awareness of the real world outside the televised game show called Win the Nomination.
Who's ahead? Who zinged who? Who cares?
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 50 years.