by Ron Maxwell
April 8, 2017
Donald Trump ran and won on a platform summarized by the slogan America First.
Donald Trump campaigned on a promise of no more wars of choice: no military interventions to liberate other countries, to intervene in so-called “humanitarian” crusades, to force regime change, to coercively spread democracy, or to take sides in other people’s wars or civil wars.
In summation, our military would be used only in the defense of our own country or our closest allies. This was the promise. This was the commitment to the American people made over and over again. It was contrasted with the same old, same old, discredited, interventionist policies embodied first by Jeb Bush, and most of Trump’s primary adversaries, and later by Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump offered Americans a clear, unequivocal choice: America would no longer be policeman of the world. Her sons and daughters would no longer spill their blood in far away countries for causes not directly and plainly tied to our own national security.
As we have seen, in humankind’s history, there is no end to atrocities, massacres, and bloodletting. The Middle East, in particular, is an ever-boiling cauldron of fratricide. Certainly, all people and all nations have an interest in promoting peace and an end to the killing. But it does not follow that the people of the United States should put their safety, their security, and their own people at risk to militarily interfere in these intractable conflicts, however brutal and heinous they may be. Have we learned nothing at all from our disastrous and costly military involvement of the recent sixteen years?
There is no sure way to know which belligerent used poison gas on its enemies, with the resulting horrific effects on the civilian population. We have heard the vaunted ‘government assurances’ before. Excuse this citizen of skepticism. Here is what we do know for sure: civil wars end when one side wins. Period. The longer the wars drag on, the more people are harmed, brutalized, and killed. The longer the war, the higher the civilian casualties. If we seek to lessen the horror, it is counterproductive to escalate the violence. It is a simple concept: first, do no harm.