I was asked that question recently. Here was my response:
For the first 123 years of the USA’s existence, the U.S. Founding Fathers and all U.S. presidents were committed to: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” (Thomas Jefferson 1801).
President James Monroe in 1823:
In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced that we resent injuries, or make preparations for our defense.
Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State speaking on behalf of Lincoln in 1863:
Defending our policy of non-intervention—straight, absolute, and peculiar as it may seem to other nations . . . [t]he 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. (Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward 1863).
Unfortunately, since the Spanish-American War was instigated by U.S. President McKinley in 1899, successive U.S. presidents have become intoxicated with their power, which they have used to impose the USG’s will on every corner of our planet. They cannot resist that temptation because “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton 1887). Yet, where has all that corrupt power gotten us today? We have a world full of justifiably hateful victims of colonialism, economic oppression, and ideologically-driven humanitarian atrocities in places like Yemen, Syria, and throughout the Middle East and Africa today.
As a result of the consequences of European colonialism and U.S. economic imperialism that continues to degrade and destroy the economic and political sovereignty of virtually all the post-colonial states, there are nearly 3 billion humans on Earth today who have no access to basic banking services and property ownership rights. These failed institutional structures are the result of collapsed cultures that suffered arrested development during their colonial periods and the ongoing exploitation of their natural resources by more powerful Western countries. When Western powers along with Saudi Arabia continue to suppress and oppress democratic and economic aspirations in countries like Yemen, those countries are prevented from achieving anything resembling peace, prosperity, and a meaningful quality of life.
What do Americans and all humans in Western Civilization expect will happen with these kinds of economic and foreign policies? They should expect the proliferation of politically radical Islam and terrorism exactly like we’re seeing in Yemen and Syria today. In fact, the problems in Yemen are not based on religious doctrine; they’re based on geopolitical power politics, which are amplified by Saudi Arabia with direct support from the U.S. and other Western countries. The previous Yemeni President Saleh was a murderous, kleptocratic dictator who was financially and militarily backed by the Saudis and the U.S., which is obviously the only way he was able to suppress true democracy in Yemen and stay in power for 34 years. It should be no surprise to anybody that the Houthis are tired of being dominated and oppressed by a dictator backed by foreign powers.
The only solution to the Yemeni problem is to resurrect the forgotten wisdom of the U.S. Founding Fathers and adopt a foreign policy of armed neutrality. That won’t solve the problem for Yemen instantly, but it will solve the problems that the USG has been creating and amplifying for generations. Then, without the USG’s meddling and picking puppet dictators to oppress their people, eventually the Yemenis will win the government they deserve through their own persistent fighting for freedom just like the people of Vietnam did. And in the meantime, USD trillions of American taxpayer resources can be re-allocated from warmongering to fixing our own problems at home caused by the egregious distortions and corruption in the U.S. economic and political systems.
No external power can suppress and oppress a local population forever. As soon as the U.S. and Saudi Arabia stop meddling in Yemen’s internal affairs, the Yemenis will have a chance to figure out how to build their own homegrown forms of democracy and capitalism because that’s what the majority of their population wants.
I’m aware of what advocates of the Realism School of International Relations claim: They claim that the international system is anarchical; thus, they claim that the only way to achieve economic prosperity and peace is to play power geopolitics, often in the form of realpolitik. They claim that the world is a dangerous place; therefore, every country must preemptively attack and/or sabotage other economies and political systems to ensure access to natural resources, which is essential to achieving economic prosperity and a high quality of life for our own citizens.
Those claims by advocates of realpolitik seem perfectly logical if you have been brainwashed into believing that peace and economic prosperity are only achieved through deceit, war, exploitation, and manipulation. People who have evil in their hearts see evil everywhere. That’s the kind of people we have in control of American foreign policy today.
As the U.S. Founders understood, armed neutrality is not weakness. To the contrary, it is the ultimate form of realism and strength because it is a manifestation of a realistic understanding of the unsustainable nature of the economic and foreign policies that have dominated Washington for generations, which have dominated our planet since the end of WWII.
Indeed, the Trump Administration just proved again that virtually everything that is wrong with our planet today can be directly traced to short-sighted and insane USG foreign and economic policies. European colonialism started it, but the USG’s foreign and economic policies have perpetuated it. This is not a radical or exaggerated opinion; it’s the inevitable result of anybody who truly understands history, economics, and the corrupt and broken institutional incentive structures that have compromised and distorted our government’s economic and foreign policies for generations.
I would love to see a peaceful solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict so that both Israelis and the Palestinians can coexist in peace, but insulting the Palestinians by completely dismissing well-documented historical facts (all of which can be corroborated here) as “fictional conspiracy theories” is a recipe for nuclear war in the Middle East, which will inevitably increase terrorist attacks worldwide.
In fact, the Trump Administration has made peace in the Middle East impossible from this point forward. There is a legitimate reason why 93% of nations on Earth (that voted in the latest UN resolution vote) condemned the Trump Administration’s position on this issue. The Doomsday Clock is now just two minutes from midnight and it will keep creeping toward Doomsday as long as we have politicians in the U.S. Government who continue to be willfully blind to historical facts and the consequences of their own actions.