Observer editorial: The "true interests" of America have changed

 


“It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions, which she never can do, while, by her dependence on Britain, she is made the make weight in the scale of British politics.” – Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.

Two hundred thirty seven years removed from the year the Declaration of Independence was penned, American foreign policy has changed drastically – and not always for the better. From 1689 to 1945, there were nine major wars in Europe, and the United States played a role in every single one of them.

Since the end of World War II in 1945, the United States has been involved in nearly 30 conflicts across the international spectrum, ranging from the Korean and Vietnam Wars to the still-ongoing War on Terror, which has expanded outward from Afghanistan to include Pakistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, Somalia, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Libya. In addition to these nations, the United States has also leveled crippling sanctions to both North Korea and Iran.

It appears that the U.S. has become a country that has apparently forgotten its origins. The United States, as everyone knows, was once comprised of a series of colonies in North America under the rule of the imposing figure of the British Empire in the 18th century.

The British were both revered and hated across the globe, for the empirical manner of its near-constant expansion. The tension between the French and the British was palpable as the relations between the colonies and Britain began to falter in the latter half of the 1700s.

“England is the natural enemy of France; and she is a greedy enemy, ambitious, unjust and treacherous: the unalterable and cherished object of her policy is, if not the destruction of France, at least her degradation and ruin,” said Count de Vergennes, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs of Britain.

These same terms are used throughout the international community today. Not to describe Britain, but rather to describe the once-fledgling colonies-turned superpower: the United States..

English author Harry Walpole used the following phrases and words to describe English contemporaries during the Seven Years’ War: “rulers”, “monarchs” and “born with Roman insolence.” Sadly, it appears that these less-than-savory traits have been passed down the line to today’s American leaders.

Many see Americans as these very things: greedy, ambitious, unjust and treacherous. To be honest, it’s no wonder why.

America has become the world’s police force. Granted, there is the United Nations, but what most people don’t know is that the United States accounts for almost a quarter of the UN budget (22 percent) – with the remaining 193 states accounting for the other 78 percent. This, at a time when the United States is struggling to pay its bills, provide for the neediest of its citizens or bring a crumbling infrastructure up to 21st century standards.


Now is the time to rein back our international involvement, and in doing so, several measures will be accomplished. The inherent focus of U.S. leadership can once again be dedicated to the home front and the number of enemies in open assault against the United States will likely decline.

Think about it.

If the U.S. ceases its involvement in the countless nations soldiers are currently in and drone attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent civilians come to an end, the image of the United States would stand quite a lot to gain.

Perhaps, with these changes, the international perception of the United States could return to what Marie Antoinette, the French queen, once recognized about Americans: That we were “dear republicans” and “good Americans” through and through.

 

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