Why America should remain neutral

Recently, the American public has been throwing around the idea of grounding the Libyan government in an attempt to assist the rebels, and the Obama administration has only sent mixed signals on the idea.

What we will end up doing is anyone’s best guess, but I can only hope we stay out of the situation. Why, you ask? Well, for a few reasons.

In the following points I will attempt to outline some of the possible negative repercussions of American military intervention.

Which leads me to my first point. Make no mistake about establishing a no-fly zone: U.S. military will be called upon to ground the Libyan Air Force if/when the no-fly measures are inevitably disregarded by the Libyan government.

So, in this event, where does this put us? Well, we can enforce it, this option entailing military attacks on Libya, which at best will intensify ground fighting, at worst will rally more pro-Gadhafi forces at the sight of Western involvement.

Or we could ignore it, and halfheartedly enforce our demands with talk and sanctions which would only serve to diminish our legitimacy among other nations. Either way, things aren’t pretty.

A military involvement could begin as merely to ground Libyan jets and helicopters, but what’s next? A full on invasion of Libya to defend rebel ground forces? Should we stick around and help them set up their own government? In the hopes of not getting ourselves stuck in another possible decade long civil war, I advocate that we stay out of the situation.

My second argument is more principled: America is not, and should not be, the world police.

Does America have a responsibility to partake in every revolution that occurs? And what’s there to say we’ll get exactly what we want through intervention?

But that will be discussed in detail later on. In the early years of this nation, Thomas Jefferson took great pains to remain neutral on a war between the French and the British, and this circumstance was far closer to us than the Libyan civil war.

Why do we now feel the need to take a stance on every political occurrence? Or better yet, why should we go over to someone else’s country to impose our will?

The view that America should involve itself in every conflict is not only arrogant, but seriously dangerous to our national security. This leads in to my final point.

Blow-back in our foreign policy is incredibly difficult to predict at times. When we armed and trained Afghan religious fighters to fend off the Soviets, we could never have predicted they would in the future use the training and tech we provided them against us.

This is one among hundreds of examples of our needless foreign policy initiatives coming back to bite us. As mentioned earlier, what if Western intervention inspires more Libyans to support their government and the pro-Gadhafi forces? Then we have one more enemy in the region that will no doubt close off markets and negotiation which could have helped liberalize the country.

What if the rebel groups we support don’t form the type of liberal democracy we want them to form? Or worse, what if another authoritarian state is established?

In all of these circumstances, enemies of America will have plenty of fuel to feed the fire of Middle Eastern, anti-American sentiment if we get involved.

Overall, I think the case for neutrality is clear. Our current foreign policy of getting involved in every situation not only over-extends our military, but it establishes us as the world police, which many groups come to resent.

This not only undermines our international standing, but it undermines our security. Make no mistake, I wholly support the Libyan cause for liberty. But rather than lead through force, America should lead by example, and it is with a strong example of a peaceful and free republic that the cause of liberty will continue to spread.

Nolan Gray is a philosophy and political science freshman. E-mail [email protected].