Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 5, 2007 / 15 Teves, 5767

Isolation, the right and wrong

By Jonah Goldberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "We would like to see all the peoples of the world enjoying the liberty and freedom that we have," proclaimed Senator A. "But it is written in history that when an autocracy is removed by powers other than the people themselves, that autocracy will be replaced by an autocracy even more vicious. Democracy has never been bestowed upon a people by a paternal outside hand."


Declared famous Senator B: "You cannot, in my opinion, just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy."


"We should be more modest in our belief that we can impose democracy on a country through military force," said well-known Senator C. "In the past, it has been movements for freedom from within tyrannical regimes ... that have led to flourishing democracies."


Let's call the roll backward. Senator C is Barack Obama, November 2006. Senator B is Chuck Hagel, March 2006. And Senator A? Well, that was former Sen. Joseph McCarthy on July 4, 1939.


Before folks get their knickers in a twist about the McCarthy thing, let me say that I'm not calling anybody a McCarthyite. I just as easily could have cited similar quotes going back to George Washington. My point is this: Although isolationism may be misguided, it's also intellectually serious and far more complex than its scare-word usage might suggest.


Before and during World War II, the word "isolationism" was employed as a cudgel by the left — code for pro-Nazi — to beat up on the right. It was a grotesquely unfair tactic, employed to question the patriotism and decency of political opponents — and hence shut them up — in much the same way that McCarthy later did to the left.


Despite a rich history of left-wing isolationism from Vietnam to Iraq, there's an enduring myth that the I-word can only describe the right. For example, in 2004, the New Republic's Frank Foer suggested that George Will's reservations about the war in Iraq were "hardly surprising" given the conservative movement's isolationist history. Of course, the New Republic itself had initially supported the Iraq invasion — arguably more than Will ever had. It was only when the war started to go badly that the magazine's editors turned against it. But no one would suggest — least of all TNR's editors — that they were retreating into isolationism. What liberals call isolationism when criticizing the right, they dub wisdom when describing their own policies. Conversely, when liberals go marching around the globe, it's internationalism and idealism. When conservatives do, it's imperialism and war for oil.


The truth is that "isolationism" was always a misnomer. Most "isolationists" believed in a strong military as well as trade and diplomatic engagement around the globe. "Non-interventionism" is a much better term, and its pedigree begins with Washington's farewell address, which warned against "entangling alliances." In 1821, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams warned, "Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will (America's) heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy."


But that's exactly where the non-interventionists of the 1930s were coming from, too. Theirs was not a pro-Nazi argument, as so many jingoist New Dealers insisted. It was a moralistic argument that empire-building was injurious to liberty at home and inept at fostering it abroad. Nor was it exclusively right-wing. Members and allies of the infamously "isolationist" America First Committee included Joseph Kennedy (who was pro-Nazi) as well as his sons Joe and John. (At Harvard, JFK sent the committee $100 with a note saying, "What you are doing is vital.")


John Dewey, the 20th century's most important liberal philosopher, was a non-interventionist, and Charles Beard, its most influential progressive historian, was an extreme one. Sens. Robert La Follette Sr. and Jr., both Progressive heroes, were passionately opposed to foreign intervention, as were Socialist Norman Thomas, financier Bernard Baruch and countless others. Many came to their stance having been disillusioned by the hypocrisy, bloodshed and absurdity of World War I, which most of them supported.


Now, I think the non-interventionists in both parties have been mostly wrong since the '30s, though few can deny the wisdom (and vagueness) in Obama's call for more "modesty" about regime change in the future. Foreign policy arguments always depend on context. If Iraq was a "cakewalk," non-interventionism would have been discredited for a generation. Now interventionism has been mortally wounded. But one thing stays the same: Whatever position conservatives hold is evil, while the liberal view is wise and just. But don't you dare call it isolationist.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles