Young Voters Speak Out: Each day, RR.com will spotlight politically minded youth writers from throughout the U.S. speaking their minds on Election 2012. First-time voters, student journalists and new graduates will debate the Obama vs. Romney race to the White House. Young Democrats, Republicans and ‘Undecided’ Americans are eager to play politics and choose the next Commander & Chief.
Read Zachary Aronow's thoughts from a left-leaning perspective:
I understand the sentiment, I really do. Over the last decade, we have watched America get entangled in two wars and move dangerously close to a third. It is no surprise that a noticeable number of people have gravitated towards Ron Paul and his anti-interventionist arguments. As disastrous as our undeclared wars with Iraq and Afghanistan have been, however, to turn to isolationism is impulsive at best and a dangerous overreaction.
No serious person wants a return to the kind of isolationism that means no foreign involvement of any kind. Even the most prominent proponents of non-intervention support free trade agreements, but we cannot return to a go-it-alone mindset on foreign affairs.
Recent global trends in Europe and the Middle East are cause for concern. In Greece, the ultra right wing nationalist party, Golden Dawn earned nearly seven percent of the vote. Over in France, the National Front had their best performance in assembly elections since the 1980s, winning 2 seats while Marine Le Pen earned over 6 million votes in her Presidential bid. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders and the far right Party for Freedom (PVV) rode anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment to claim 15% of the vote in 2010. Looking past Europe, there's a new leader in Egypt, ongoing massacres in Syria, and of course the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan. To retreat to a position of non-involvement in the face of all these challenges is flirting with disaster.
The advocates of non-intervention are correct that for too long the US has gotten itself entangled in unnecessary and catastrophic wars. We do need to re-evaluate our foreign policy regarding how we choose to engage in armed conflict. However, to shrink from the world stage and abandon all involvement abroad is not realistic. Over 130,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, many more have been wounded and have had their lives turned upside down. We have a responsibility to fix the damage inflicted because we are still paying the price for abandoning Afghanistan following the end of the Cold War.
America needs to continue being active within the international community. Working together with the UN and NATO allies helped end the Gaddafi regime in Libya and we need them to help bring a peaceful resolution in Syria. To do otherwise is just not sensible. Would America really be safer by drastically limiting our involvement abroad? To stand aside and watch as right wing demagogues and religious fundamentalists use the instability to increase their popularity? Is reacting to bad foreign policy with the opposite extreme really a wise approach? Changes are needed but isolationism is not the answer.