One of the major news stories of the last couple of weeks has been the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Lybia and the deaths of the ambassador and three other people there. In response, some have suggested that America is portraying weakness in the Middle East (and elsewhere) and that we need to maintain a strong military, or increase what we now have, and take a stronger stand against regimes and terrorist groups that oppose our policies and/or our interests.
As a Christian and an American, what do you think our approach should be? How does your faith inform your answer to this question?
I subscribe to the Just War theory as well as a more libertarian foreign policy bent. We are not called to be a police force, although I think that as world leader, who have, through its citizens, are invested into every part of the world, we may need to, from time to time, engage in defensive positions for humanitarian reasons. We have some form of military instillations in over 150 countries, many of those due to the Cold War and the current string of wars. It is circular logic to insist we keep our forces where they are because of those two events.
More often than not, our policy of involvement have led to terrorist reactions. We must remember the word play here. They are not terrorists from where they sit; we are. We have invaded their homelands, either with the military or our culture (via colonization). Would you not fight back as well?
I believe that we must decrease our foreign involvement, paying head to both George Washington (foreign entanglements) and Eisenhower (military-industrial complex). Even before we were a military powerhouse, other nations realized the strength of the American people. We no longer have this. We have fear and fear as lead to hate… hate has led to war. Where we have wrongly inserted ourselves, let us withdraw. Let us also remember that the lines drawn across African and the Middle East are imaginary boundaries imposed from the colonial powers. We are still intruding through our nation building!
I believe that Just War is a mental exercise. Can a war, except for maybe a pure defensive war, ever really be justified? No.