Nick Gillespie: U.S. Foreign Policy Shouldn’t Be Driven By Feelz

Why emotionalism is the problem, not the solution, when it comes to foreign policy.

Nick Gillespienick writes: Call me a heartless bastard, but images of dead Syrian children washing up on beaches should have absolutely nothing to do with American foreign policy, refugee quotas, or immigration schemes. Photo-based emotionalism is no way to conduct the affairs of nations. That way madness—and all too often, even more carnage—lies.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

It’s one thing when highly charged images speak to pressing domestic concerns whose solutions are clear and within a single country’s ability to effect. In late 18th-century England, for instance, Thomas Clarkson’s illustration of slaveswedged into a ship’s hold like barrels of rum helped jump-start Britain’s abolitionist movement. Footage from Bull Connor’s Birmingham and Vietnam electrified the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. In such cases, the solutions were self-evident (if difficult to achieve): Stop your own countrymen from perpetuating evil. Nothing is so simple when it comes to wars and catastrophes in which you are not even a direct participant.

It’s less simple when it comes to wars and catastrophes that we’re not directly involved in. And yet there’s John McCain on the Senate floor, propping up a picture of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi face down on a Turkish beach, calling for airstrikes and a new “get tougher” policy on the Assad regime, ISIS, Iran, Iraq insurgents, and more. McCain and too many Americans don’t understand that poorly thought-through, largely emotional responses are a major contributing factor to our ruinous footprint in so much of the world….

Source: The Daily Beast


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