History News Network | Foreign Policy: Can’t Anybody Play this Game Better?

William R. Polk argues for a different kind of foreign policy: “The bottom line is avoiding aggression.  Of course, we must defend ourselves.  But, as recent history makes clear, defense and aggression often are hard to distinguish.  What is defense to one is often aggression to the other.  Mutual respect and mutual forbearance should be our objective.  This is not, as Mrs. Thatcher would have said, to “go wobbly,” to appease,  to pussyfoot or to be just weak-willed liberals.  It may be a matter of life or death and certainly can help us avoid catastrophes.   But, we should realize that adopting a strategy of avoiding conflict will often be difficult.  Public angers are far easier to whip up than to dispel.  Demagogues multiply like rabbits and sometimes we follow them like lemmings.  All the polls tell us how ignorant we are as a people.  And, looking around us,  we must ask ourselves where we can find today the wise leaders we need to guide our actions.  I confess that I cannot identify them.” I agree with Polk’s conclusion even though I come to it from a different historical perspective. Polk’s article is long but worth reading. We need to abandon our short-sighted, knee-jerk, punitive approach to foreign policy.

History News Network | Foreign Policy: Can’t Anybody Play this Game Better?.


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