Never Take An Active Part…

September 18, 2014

2014-09-13_09-50-19I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war.

–A Thomas Jefferson Letter, 11 June 1823, to President James Monroe

Thomas Jefferson just didn’t trust government very much. He was always skeptical that they would get us involved in things we had no business being involved in. The constant wars in Europe were one of those things to be avoided at almost all costs. In the intervening two-hundred years much has changed with the world. It has definitely gotten smaller such that anything happening anywhere can affect others in at least some way. But, I kind of think that Jefferson’s words above still apply today especially in the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern countries including all those we have spent trillions of dollars trying to reform are fundamentally different from the U.S. As Jefferson said their mutual jealousies, their balance of power and their forms of government and particularly religious beliefs are very foreign to what we practice in this country.  We can spend trillions of trillions of dollars and thousands of our kids lives trying to make it otherwise but that just won’t happen. If only we would recognize that fact we would save ourselves much agony.

There have been many “doctrines” in this country. The Monroe Doctrine, The Marshal Plan, The Bush Doctrine (I don’t think Obama has a doctrine except maybe “send in the drones”) but I believe the only successful plan for our times is :

We will leave you alone if you leave us alone

But of course our dependence on their oil reserves negates that possibility. Maybe we need another wall? The Wall of China was meant to keep out foreign invaders. The Iron Curtain was meant to separate two very different doctrines. Maybe it is time for a Islamic Wall to separate us from all those constantly feuding religious doctrines of the Middle East? Maybe if we get out of their business they will get out of ours.  It worth a try….



6 responses to Never Take An Active Part…

    Miss Mary of Maryland Heights September 18, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Rod, let it be said here and now. We are part of the whole world as soon as we accepted immigrants into our country. If we got rid of all immigrants- then all we would have remaining are Native Americans. Once you “open the door” to people from other lands,then we are going to have this type of reoccurring problem. We should be more like Norway and Switzerland.



      Yes Mary I am very aware that we are a nation of immigrants. I often celebrate that fact on this blog. But that does not mean that we have to get involved in other countries internal conflicts. If the Ukraine wants to split up we should not be in the middle of it one way or another. If the Sunnis don’t get along with the Shiites we should let them settle it themselves. Why are we in the middle of all these messes. Of course the answer to that is because our industrial/military complex. The more wars the more profit…

      I certainly don’t want to get rid of all the immigrants but I also don’t want to have to solve all the problems they were trying to escape from. Our obsession with intervention on countries on the other side of the world has simply not worked. Maybe it is time to try a different approach?


    Miss Mary of Maryland Heights September 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    We’ll the problem is that we are now dealing with an international enemy. If we sit back, as such, then there is the problem that the enemy grows out of bounds. Insofar as Ukraine goes, I really wonder about the new role of Russia. Here we have this famous Eastern European Russian Institute at our beloved Indiana University and THERE has literally been no words from them whatsoever! What is wrong with this picture?
    I like How President O’bama and Secretary of State Kerry are going slowly and carefully into this problem. What we see today, may be very different tomorrow.
    Personally, in observing immigration practices in our country, we may have been too easy on letting refugees and the like enter into our country without proper preparation for their assimilation into our society.
    We do not give up, but each of us continues to assist our country with helping people have a better life.
    Like you, I have wanted to throw in the rope, but we must deal with these problems head on.



    We in the outskirts of Indiana ” down home in Indiana” have no idea what is really happening in Eastern Europe. I have the privilege firsthand of having a colleague from Estonian who was forced to escape during the invasion of Russia in 1941 ans a former visiting professor from Kiev a University. Those individuals realy experienced Russian actions. We are on the outside.



    When you are part of the world community as we are…then we need to help our brother and sister as they would help us in a case on natural calamity or in the case of 9/11. We work together for the betterment of all people. Just like the Ebola crisis is occurring in Africa, all nations want to help stop this terrible affliction. We need to be broad minded and not narrow in our vision.



      Hi Mary. I will say up front that I agree with you in principle but it is the practice of helping our brother and sister that troubles me sometimes. We have overwhelming military superiority over all of the rest of the world combined as we spend more on our war machine that all the rest of the world.

      I praise the fact that we are leaders in things like the Ebola crisis and it does my heart good to see us forming a coalition of partner country to attack that problem. But we don’t think we have to do it all ourselves. Forming partners is where we should be going in both our military and our humanitarian endeavors. Lets be the leaders by leading and not just charging in with our military might.