“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
With the recent focus on injustice in the United States, many have forgotten about injustice around the world. Supporters of an isolationist foreign policy argue that the affairs of other countries are none of America’s business. What these supporters fail to recognize is that this foreign policy strategy has directly contributed to several genocides, such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, as well as several contemporary human rights crises. As students, it is our role to learn from the mistakes of our country’s past and make sure such tragedies never happen again.
Isolationism is definitely a part of America’s current leadership, as President Barack Obama and other prominent national leaders were elected, at least partly, on a platform of non-intervention. As Obama promotes the Iran nuclear deal, which strips sanctions from a country whose leadership denies the existence of the Holocaust, Israel is bracing for a conflict created by a non-interventionist government.
“Because of President Obama’s weak foreign policy, our allies do not trust us and our enemies do not fear us,” Ben Mendelson, former president of UT student organization Texans for Israel, said.
The non-interventionist policy of the American government has directly contributed to these issues, according to William Inboden, executive director of the Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft and associate professor in LBJ school.
“Obama’s negligence and non-intervention in Syria and Iraq has led to massive humanitarian suffering, sectarian violence, increases in terrorism, regional instability and erosion of American credibility,” Inboden said.
Isolationism is dangerous for a plethora of problems that have been explained above. I believe these dangers come from two misconceptions: First, it is naive to believe that a non-interventionist foreign policy can lead a more peaceful world, and second, foreign policy decisions should not be based on political expediency or poll results of a population poorly versed in international affairs.
UT has a rich history of student activism. Several groups on campus advocate for greater American influence on behalf of human rights or democracy. Besides Texans for Israel, there are Liberty in North Korea, the White Rose Society, Students for Human Rights in Syria and many more.
Our students should keep the plights of others from abroad in mind and remember that at UT, what starts here changes the world.
Hung is a second-year law student from Brownsville.