TED Conversations

Mike Colera

TEDCRED 30+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Should America withdraw as the world "police / peace keepers"?

In 1945, America came out of the war one of the strongest of all of the major participants.
It began to assume the role of a world police/peace keeper promoting it's ideals and political sentiments in an effort to end future conflicts. Of course, there were other competing forces in the world with differing ideas on the world thus creating new conflicts.
70 years later, America spends amounts on it's military that is more then most countries economies. Money that could probably be better spent.
America has based military units per a number of treaties in countries around the world providing host countries with a sense of security and a lower defense budget.

Is it necessary for America to continue this process?

What would be the effect on current world conflicts if America withdraws it's foreign based forces?

Should America honor it's existing treaties or create new accommodations to meet current world political views?

Would America be or feel more secure if it withdraws?

+1
Share:
progress indicator
  • Mar 18 2013: Not to be curmudgeon to you, but it depends. There have been places where we should have helped but didn't. An example was the Hutus and Tutsi problem in Rawanda. As usual the heroes were the French foreign legion who apparently had tears in their eyes because they were so late. Before we Americans beat our drums too load, we should remember that there is usually oil where we go. Sad sort of really as the rest of the World tends to notice that fact. Godspeed.
    • thumb
      Mar 19 2013: Curmudgeon is a title you earn, based on years of making life mistakes and failing to correct them.
      It tends to make one a touch bitter and critical. But, that's me.
      America seems to be criticized that it only goes where the oil is. I am not sure that is totally true.
      But, do we follow the oil for ourselves or for others. Consider this. The US has done much to "protect" the oil from the middle east. Yet, only a minor amount of that oil is marketed in the US. Most is sent to Europe. Could it be that the US was taking this extraordinary action of war to insure the continuation of our biggest trading partnership. It would still be self interest based, but not totally selfish.
      • Mar 20 2013: Mike I only noted that that is a criticism that is out there.
  • thumb
    Mar 20 2013: I would not call the USA peacekeepers. I find that the USA need to be involved in wars , because war is used as an economic engine. Maybe if the USA cleaned up its own messes , the public would be better served.
    • thumb
      Mar 20 2013: Is that true?
      American needs war as an economic engine? I can see that argument, but let's look at history.
      How many wars have been successful and how popular?
      Not looking at the civil war, that was a self inflicted wound.
      We barely got past the Revolution, we won that more by GB losing interest.
      GB can back later and spanked the US.
      We spent the next 80 years fighting Native American tribes and a weak Mexican dictator who was more scheming then tactical.
      Then we ran off a broken Spain from it's meager holdings in this hemisphere.
      We really didn't want to get involved in WW 1 but, Germany poked us and so we came in and tipped the balance. Of course, we let the "victorious" Europeans dictate terms and set up WW 2.
      We dragged our feet on WW 2 until the Japanese poked us and we came in again to tip the scales. This time, we got involved in our enemies futures and ignored our allies allowing the USSR to form. We really didn't do that well in Vietnam. Probably got suckered into getting involved in Gulf 1 and 2. I know everyone was blaming our oil interests but when you look at the numbers, that reason and those wars didn't make that much sense. Afghanistan? All we proved there is that the Russians were correct.
      And of these past 200 years of warlike activity did the American people really get behind? Maybe WW 2, and even then there were a large minority who were opposed.
      So, if wars are our thing.... we should be looking for a new thing.
      • thumb
        Mar 20 2013: Maybe the USA should look inwards and take up a war that is bringing the country down...greed. Now I could also point a finger at my own country (Canada) , poverty is growing in both countries , but that 1% seem to be reaping all the benefit.

        Here in Canada and the USA we have been drawn into this new thing call world trade, but what it really means is , this is a new buzz word for exporting jobs on both sides of our boarders . As trade increases , our labour force lose out to countries like Mexico and China. Now that is a war that should be fought. I do my part by not buying as much as I can products made in China , India or Mexico. So yes we should be looking for that new thing and one that builds both our economies.
        • thumb
          Mar 20 2013: Buying stuff made in your country is a good thing, but you have to remember that there are a lot of your countrymen who earn a living bringing foreign stuff from ships to your store shelf.
          I do see greed as a problem, the 1% er, packing broken mortgages to sell to unsuspecting financial companies; to the 99%er, sitting in a late model car, holding the latest cellphone at the food bank drive threw telling all that if there were no food bank, the kids would go hungry. There is plenty of greed on all sides. Worse, politicians buying votes by making it easy to be greedy or covering for the highrollers from prosecution.
        • thumb
          Mar 21 2013: i agree with you that war has been used as an economic engine, not only by USA, but by all major empires in history. but we're supposed to be civilized people, aren't we?

          as for the world trade, USA has not been drawn into it, it created it and most companies benefiting from cheap labour in China and elsewhere are European and American.

          to answer Mike's question, America needs so solve some internal and external problems before they can afford not to get involved in conflicts worldwide. but just like any police force, if your existence depends on conflict, you may not be very "motivated" to change anything, right?
  • thumb
    Mar 19 2013: YES
    • thumb
      Mar 19 2013: Nothing like an affirmative response. Would you care to elaborate? Or would that question evoke a single syllabic response?
      • thumb
        Mar 19 2013: The U.S. is trying to control something it cannot control. What are the odds of a Iraq becoming a democracy?

        Democracy did occur in China, this was not implemented by war.

        The truth is that the defense contractors are another form of crony capitalism.
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: Iraq, a democracy? Well, it is possible, as there are three divergent religious groups that would have to get together in a democratic way. But, probably not.

          I guess you could say Taiwan is democratic, The mainland, not so much. There was only one party running in the last election. I know the people voted them in, but it lacks that "people had a choice" thing.

          Defense Contractors greasing political palms? That's simply pointing out the obvious.

          Now, if the US did withdraw into Fortress America, the question begs, would we remain strong enough to resist any and all attempts to intrude or invade?
          Would the rest of the world be overcome by war, pestilence and plague?
          Would the American civilization continue to evolve ?
      • thumb
        Mar 19 2013: Mike, In most cases the US is in a country by treaty, agreemnet, or through a effort by the United Nations where the US carries the major load. I do not always agree. In many cases I think we are intruding on the countries internal affairs and even their soverienty ... that is my opinion. Much of this could have, and should have, been a diplomatic issue ... if we had a Secretary of State which we did not. The US is a failed diplomatic nation.

        The unfortunate truth, again my opinion, is that I do not think any country could take the US by force. The USA will die from within. The current approach to economy, taxation, individual rights, size of government, ignoring factors that have reduced the GDP, unemployment, and the complete disregard for the Constitution has brought the country to its knees and collaspe is not far off.

        As to the rest of your questions only history can answer. The world will not end at the fall of the US. There will be impacts of course .... recall that Britian once was the most powerful country in the world ... when the US took over that title the world did not end.
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: I see your point on the failure of the US to be a "noble" diplomatic nation, I have had concerns about the diplomatic corps since I had to meet with the counsellor in Korea. What a pompous ass. I even wrote to H. Kissinger about his failed post in Korea. Never did get an answer. To this day, I am surprised that South Korea has anything to do with the USA.

          I also agree that we have some internal issues that need to be addressed. I think that most problems will be resolved. The nation has had harder times and came out with it's skin, I have to think it will do so again.

          I am not so sure about your point that there would not much significant difference at the fall of the US and the fall of Great Britain. There weren't countries around to pounce on the British Isles. But consider the plum America would be. Our resources alone would double any major nation in the world. Further. I don't think that GB had the animosity that America enjoys today from many nations.
          I believe there would be an armed aggression to secure the US. I take that from the German Japanese meeting in 1942, where this very discussion was made.
      • thumb
        Mar 19 2013: The Japanese came to the conclusion that attacking the USA directly would be problematic as the general population was well armed. The administration is attempting to take that problem away. I believe that the military takeover will not be necessary as the US will fall econimically and our departure from a representative republic to our rapid assent to socialism will form partnerships with like defined countries. Our politicians have found they can position themselves above the law and have established a elete status. They have exempted themselves from the very laws they pass that regulated the people they represent. Examples would include Obamacare and Security and Exchange regulations concerning insider trading. They vote themselves raises and perks without consent of the people. Nakita Kruschev (sp) stated the fall of the US will not require one gun shot. I believe he was correct. We continue to follow Keynesian economic models that allow bigger government, deficiet spending, and no concern of trade or GDP balances or importance in relationship to national debit.

        I read articles from other nations that cannot understand the American people who cannot see the dangers that the administration has put us in. We have allowed generational welfare reciepents to be the main factor in the election process. They are being rewarded for not working and the workers / taxpayers are footing that bill. Soon the non-workers will out number the workers and it is over. The history of Argentina is the path of America.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: That scenario is all too possible. I maybe optimistic enough to think that the people will catch on before we are too far down that road. If the TSA is formed into the national civilian police force as there seems to be a concern, your premise will take a much darker tones.
      • thumb
        Mar 20 2013: I think that the AG made a political slip on the use of drones on the US citizens and was then directed by POTUS to take that statement back .... I think they are still in play. I am not as worried about TSA as I fear Homeland Security. They are currently not allowed to do their job and ICE is returning all illegal felons back onto the street ... the political plan is to make all illegals ... legal and thus capture the latino vote. Homeland security would be basically out of a job ... even knowing that Homeland Security has ordered two billion rounds of ammo and thousands of armored vehicles ... See Edward Longs conversation. If we are legislating them out of a job how can the orders of ammo and armored vehicles be justified and what other purpose would they be used for. Either someone is to stupid to continue to suck in air or there is a down the road plan that the "transparent" administration has not revealed to us. I like that "transparent" LOL.

        If you are not familiar with UN Article 21 ... the US is implementing it under Rural development. Like it or not Socialism is here and we are seeing even SCOUS finding way to aide in implementing it in the USA. Obamacare is a tax. Where the hell did that come from ... even the Obama team was shocked as they thought it was defeated.

        I am not for sure how much darker the future can get. If people are going to catch it .. you had better tell them we are running out of road.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
        • thumb
          Mar 20 2013: Let me defend SCOTUS.

          What the Chief Justice pointed out is the 16th amendment is an open check signed by Americans given to the congress. All the SCOTUS ruled as constitutional is that the "fee" imposed by not purchasing heath insurance is in constitutional fact a tax that can be imposed by congress. That was the question before the SCOTUS. The constitutionality of the congress doing about anything for the health, welfare, nanny care has long been deemed appropriate.

          The American people, through their states, have permitted congress to strip them of their basic rights and taken their wealth to support all matter of programs, policies having pointed outcomes that could insure ease of re-election. But,
          I could be wrong...
      • thumb
        Mar 20 2013: Iraq is not going to become a democracy.

        While China is not a democracy the standard of living has improved dramatically.

        That is obvious to some not so much to others...

        America has a albatross around it's neck that could not help but improve the economy which is part of the obvious, at least to me.

        America would evolve quicker without the albatross. Despite what the busy bodies will tell you the world would not be overcome with pestilence etc, but they might learn how to have a better life through the free market.
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Mar 19 2013: I am not asking you to choose. But as a "non US citizen" you have a point of view on how your country or region is effected good or bad by America's current policies and if America ended those policies, how could it effect your country, good or bad?
      Should NATO be the world peacekeeper/policeman? NATO is mostly a "Western" force. Would this play well in Asia?
      How about the UN taking over in this role? Now, some nations have a distrust of the UN because in is physically located in the US and the US is the major contributor to it's funding. Would the UN be better appreciated if it was in a more neutral place and funding was changed as to not give the appearance of US influence?
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Mar 19 2013: Points well taken. I am inclined to think that the UN would be better served in a more neutral location. I am convinced that most Americans are not firmly committed to hosting the UN in New York. With the UN Building entering it's 7th decade. The facilities could be aging to the point of needing replacement. I am sure that if the UN wanted to relocate to new facilities in another country, I wouldn't believe there would be opposition on the part of America.

          Yes there are stories of American Intelligent Services relocating wanted men in differing countries. I have to believe that these operations are in-conjunction with intelligent services with other nations. There is the quid pro quo between allied intelligence that I am sure still exists. So, I guess there is soil on both sides.
  • thumb
    Mar 18 2013: I wonder if it's more complicated, if by playing policeman to the world America also gets better security for itself?
  • thumb
    Mar 18 2013: It is not necessary for America to continue to be the bully of the world. War is not peace. War held in abeyance is not peace. Peace-keepers don't keep the peace. They keep up the charade that military might is required, and they inspire fear which has its own repurcussions. Peace-keepers send the message that you are powerless and vulnerable, when, in my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.

    I would like America to withdraw from all defense treaties and to withdraw all troops. But what would be the consequence of this?

    Our economy would collapse. War is profitable. That's why congress is in such turmoil right now. That's why we're setting up a new base of operations in Australia. Keep the money flowing to the wealthiest who profit most from (and lobby hardest for) war to keep the economy afloat. War is the easiest way to spur the economy, but those in power don't seem to understand that unless that money is spent at home, it doesn't help OUR economy, so wars help Americans less and less while they harm and threaten Americans more and more.

    Americans should fix the cancer as opposed to spreading it around the world.

    Would America feel more secure if it withdraws. I surely would, but there is a whole political party that would be terrified because they are being told by our government and a certain news channel that they should BE AFRAID - BE VERY AFRAID. Fear is a type of insanity.
    • thumb
      Mar 18 2013: It's true, some Americans firmly believe that projecting our forces will cause a military engagement on foreign soil instead of defending against an invasion on our soil.
      But, pragmatically, would it be tactically beneficial or financially retractable to build what some would call "Fortress America"?
      Would other nations who appear to rely on American might to secure their own national interest be appreciative to see American forces depart and be assured they could return in a timely fashion to meet treaty obligations?
      Should we have defense treaties?
      Is our foreign policy confusing. We went in force to Iraq, after the invasion of Kuiwait and the suppression of the Iraq peoples. Some say it was for the oil, but the US had relatively small oil investment in these middle east countries and those losses would be a small fraction of the cost of invasion and subsequent re-invasion of Iraq. If it was to protect oil investments in the entire area
      simple containment of Iraq would have made more financial sense and even that action would was thought to have been more costly then any value received.

      Should finances be the main criteria for global involvement in the police/peace keeping policies?

      Should "humanity" be the consideration for global involvement ?

      Would the world be a better place or much worse if America retreated into "Fortress America"
    • Mar 18 2013: I think world mostly benefits from America's ability to deal with terrorists, dictators, ideologies like communism and war conflicts.

      However we also need to acknowledge that US does not always act justly. For example the second war in Iraq under J. Bush was not justified except for US special interests.

      I believe that we do need US to take on role of protecting and spreading democracy. US successfully defeated communism and it is winning war on terror. Who else is able to do that?
      • thumb
        Mar 19 2013: I have heard that the 2nd Gulf war was based on "special interest". But, I have not heard clearly defined what those interest were. Many say it was oil interest. But when the numbers are read, oil precedes to the US were miniscule when compared to the cost of war. And I have to believe that this was known before the battles were engaged.

        Other comments were that the US was wrongly convinced that there were WMD that could be developed and used to attack the US mainland. Plausible considering the recent attack on 9/11.

        I guess we can only guess.

        The other point is why do you believe that the US should spread democracy. The US is a constitutional republic, that uses a democratic process in selecting some of it's federal representatives. The people of the US have chosen this method for it's governance. But what if a people want to live under a theocracy? Or a monarchy? Or, even communism. These forms of government are not inherently bad if they are the choice of the people.
        They only become distasteful when a nation practicing these forms of governance insist strongly that neighbors do and against the neighbor's wishes.
        • Mar 19 2013: Given that US invaded Iraq with false information about WMD and people in the government themselves new that fact I don't see how this war was justified in any way. It does not really matter what were the true reasons for invading Iraq but the war itself showed that US will go ahead with a war regardless of the facts if some powerful people like a president decide so.

          "But what if a people want to live under a theocracy? Or a monarchy? Or, even communism. "

          Did ever dictator or communist party asked people in general and free elections about whether they want to live in such a system? In addition, these systems engage in gross violations of human rights and freedoms. There is no justification for such systems to exist.