Joe Scarborough on Foreign Policy
Former Republican Representative (FL-1)
For most conservatives, the Cold War was a necessary evil. U.S. global involvement was the only option available for the containment of the Communist threat. But after the Soviet Union fell, Republicans I served with in Congress believed that the United States should engage in less military adventurism while narrowing its focus abroad.
So cautious were many conservatives involving the use of military power that Democratic policymakers like President Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, accused GOP leaders of standing in the way of humanitarian missions run by military units.
She was right. We did. And we were proud of it.
That doctrine directs U.S. leaders, in part, to use military intervention as a solution to international crises only after all other means of resolving the conflict are exhausted. History has proven that nothing more violently disrupts a nation's social order than warfare. The fact that conservatism is viewed currently as a movement predisposed to militarism is ironic, to say the least. That impression must be changed over time.
Conservative leaders should once again become wary of ideologues who seek to use American troops to promote social policy on a global scale. We should also reject the view of those who forcefully argued that America should intervene in failing states like Bosnia and Kosovo-even when there was no vital U.S. interest in the region.
The second guiding principle conservatives must relearn in the force provision of the Powell Doctrine. General Powell believed that America should not only go to war as a last resort, but when we engage, the force applied should be decisive: We should cut our enemies off. We should kill them. And then we should come home.
The third principle the Bush experience taught is that conservative should treat with great skepticism all those claiming that democracy will transform nations and heal all divisions. I say this as a conservative who was moved to tears with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the liberation of Iraq in 2003.
I believe in American exceptionalism. I also believe a conservative foreign policy approach should proudly acknowledge that America is the greatest force for good in the world.
But conservatives must also acknowledge that the U.S, military is overstretched. The United States is facing a crippling debt, its economy is in crisis, its people are war-weary, and America's days of being the world's watchman are over.
The international community has rapidly moved from being bipolar, to unipolar, to multipolar. It would serve our leaders well to acknowledge this change and exploit new realities to the best advantage to the United States.
The Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC) is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress in the United States House of Representatives that works to raise awareness about and combat human rights abuses throughout the world.
The caucus keeps members and their staff informed of opportunities to help through briefings on human rights topics and letter initiatives.
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