Monday, October 8, 2007

Non-Interventionist vs Isolationist

Most people commonly confuse a non-interventionist with an isolationist foreign policy. Here, Ron Paul distinguishes the two.

In economics they are very different but are similar regarding diplomacy. A non-interventionist favors free trade and open travel (as Paul mentions) while an isolationist is not thrilled with either idea. A good example of a classic isolationist is Senator Webb. He is against the war and an intrusive foreign policy in general, but also opposes free trade deals because he claims they hurt American workers. The non-interventionist Ron Paul is also against an intrusive foreign policy, but supports free trade, travel, and currency.

In foreign policy there is very little difference. They are very similar in how they oppose the current administrations quest to spread democracy. To be fair to Bush, he isn't the first and will not be the last to take the democracy mantle, but he has taken it to new heights. Democracy cannot be exported to whoever we want whenever we want. In fact, there is no example of a country successfully importing democracy without several preconditions being met in the modern world.

A country must first have a somewhat distinct middle class, a history with free or semi-free markets, a common cultural bond, and a functioning judicial system able to protect private property rights. Iraq met only one of the above criteria (a middle class, however weak). No surprise that they have failed miserably in the short run. Maybe in 10-20 years it will catch-on, but don't hold your breath waiting.

Paul is correct to distinguish non-interventionism from isolationism in the economic world but they are exceedingly similar in the foreign policy world.

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