Face facts, U.S. democracy-crusading causes wars — it’s time for American neutrality

“Modern war with all its consequences is too tragic and too devastating to be approached from anything but a purely American standpoint. We should never enter a war unless it is absolutely essential to the future welfare of our nation.”

Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, 15 September 1939

This week, some of the world is engulfed in bloodshed that is playing out against the background music of Woodrow Wilson’s howling madness. Wilson’s “Making the World Safe for Democracy” symphony and “Self-Determination” nocturne have now been playing for almost 100 years, and few works by other men have caused more human costs or more unnecessary wars. Wilson’s demented mind produced a product which, rather than spreading democracy as promised, has simply spread war. The equation is simple: spreading democracy causes war. This morning, for example:

  1. Rival militias are fighting and killing each other near the international airport in Tripoli in another episode in the unrelenting economic and human disaster that has been caused by the Obama/McCain-led, NATO campaign to install democracy in Libya.
  2. A Malaysian airliner and its passengers lie scattered across fields in eastern Ukraine in another racheting-up of the war started in that country by the ignorant but arrogant interventionists and the democracy crusaders of the EU and the Obama administration. This situation, of course, has led the Neocons to call for “stronger action” against Russia to protect what does not exist, Ukrainian democracy, and to stand up to that non-threat to the United States, Vladimir Putin and Russia. (NB: The culprit here is Malaysian Air — and any other airline — that flies passengers over war zones to save money on fuel.)
  3. Iraq is disintegrating into sectarian civil war as the very predictable consequence of the Republican/Neocon removal of Saddam Hussein and a decade of democracy building in that country. We can look forward to the same situation after we and the West Europeans help the great democracy-loving Syrian resistance — better entitled the mujahideen — destroy Asaad. Then, using Western-provided weapons and supplies, it will turn on and destroy the Jordanian regime.
  4. The war in Gaza burns right along as always with Israelis and Palestinians merrily murdering each other. This war has gone on for 60-plus years because Washington and its European allies keep intervening, first in favor of Israel, then in favor of the Palestine, then back to Israel, and so on and so on. Now is the time to stand back and let the two sides fight it out to the finish. Democracy in Israel or Palestine is worthless to American interests. Let the better war-fighter win, and then let America have no ties to the winner.

All of these wars and near-wars have been brought to us by the contemporary American and European believers in Woodrow Wilson’s academic theorizing and ignorance of of the world outside the American South. Wilson also was a profound bigot who was as cock-sure as today’s most ardent racists in Western capitals that he could and should force Slavs, Africans, Latinos, and Arabs to behave as he wanted them to behave, either through eloquent persuasion or gunboats and the Marines’ bayoneted rifles.

The Founders did not create the United States to act as Wilson and his policies have acted; that is, as the catalyst that foments unnecessary wars. But a catalyst for war is exactly what our bipartisan political elite has been for the last thirty years and more. The sad truth is that many of our politicians, diplomats, generals, and religious leaders are war-causers. None will leave well enough alone; none trust foreigners to work out their own futures; and none seem to care how much the unnecessary wars they cause will cost Americans in lives, dollars, and affection/respect.

These men and women take it as their righteous mission to intervene in the affairs of others and work to make them into people just like themselves, whether in terms of worshiping secular democracy, self-determination, women’s rights, religious tolerance, human rights, or some other one-size-fits-all abstraction that no young American man or woman should ever be called on to fight and die for overseas. This Wilsonian practice amounts to insanity and was long ago recognized as such by one of the greatest Americans. “The improvement of our way of life is more important than the spreading of it,” Colonel Lindbergh told his countrymen. “If we make it satisfactory enough, it will spread automatically. If we do not, no strength of arms can permanently impose it.”

The vital point that these men and women deliberately ignore — along with most of the media and the academy — is that most of the violence and warfare that goes on in the world has absolutely no impact on genuine, life-and-death U.S. national interests. It is no skin off America’s nose if all the Israelis kill all the Palestinians, or vice versa. Likewise, there would be no material impact on North America if the Obama-EU intervention in the Ukraine ended in a civil war in that country, with the Europeans and Russians arming their respective allies. Only a tenured, Ivy League academic could argue with a straight face that what happens in Libya is important to the United States. And Iraq’s shattering is likely to lead to a Sunni-Shia regional war which — because the U.S. political elite keeps intervening in the Muslim world and cowers at the idea of killing Islamist fighters in requisite numbers —may be the best way of temporarily protecting America against what has become a truly international Sunni insurgency, against which we will one day be forced to rearm and fight to the death.

Tomorrow morning, in fact, President Obama’s national security adviser could honestly inform him that the rest of the world’s wars have put no life-and-death American interest at stake; that none of the combatants merit our aid in money, arms, or rhetorical support; and that no U.S. military personnel need to be put at risk. That adviser also might suggest to Obama that the negative impact the wars have on investors and the markets is due not to the wars themselves, but to the fear that he and his NATO chums will involve themselves in the current wars and — given their Wilsonian mindset — inevitably make things worse.

A clear and simple statement that America will not become engaged in the ongoing wars — followed by prolonged presidential and senatorial silence on the issue — would steady the markets and rightly define the wars as being none of America’s concern. If Obama is too busy fund-raising to write such a statement, he could borrow some words from Mr. Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Henry Seward. Being as brazen with the truth as he is, Obama could even tag the statement as the “Obama Doctrine” and be confident that the close-to-worthless U.S. educational system has not made one American in ten thousand knowledgeable about Secretary Seward.

The president could begin his statement by saying he and all Americans regret that so many of the world’s peoples are killing each other, but we all must accept the simple fact that man is a fallen creature who is hard-wired for war. He could then penitently acknowledge that the interventionist U.S. political elite — which includes himself — has been instrumental in causing each of the wars now dominating the headlines. He could finish by admitting that the majority of Americans despise their political leaders’ financially disastrous and always bloody interventionism and so henceforth — in Secretary Seward’s words — Washington will follow the lead of its citizens, and this means that “the American people must be content to recommend the cause of human progress by the wisdom with which they should exercise the powers of self-government, forbearing at all times, and in every way, from foreign alliances, intervention, and interference.”

Now, that would be Obama’s first good day’s work since becoming president.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.