Rubin argues that not stepping in on Syria, even after evidence shows Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, cedes America’s moral high ground and would “give the green light” for other regimes to do the same thing. Our allies, including Europe and Israel, would become a “sitting duck” and make us less safe.
The isolationist vision put forth by Paul, Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would lead to perverse results in other arenas as well. Paul says we should dump the National Security Agency program, end permanent detention at Gitmo (even for those terrorists who cannot be tried), get warrants for drone attacks on terrorists at cafes and applaud characters like Edward Snowden who take it upon themselves to give national security secrets to China, Russia and anyone else with access to U.S. media. Do we think we’d be safer if we followed that advice? Or do you think after the next domestic terror attack we’d be enraged that the government didn’t “connect the dots”?
Isolationism sounds appealing until you see it in practice. Even Obama has given up the infantile view that the exercise or the credible threat of force is worse than inaction in the face of challenges like Assad’s bloodbath, at least I think he has. (Those arguing that after the British Parliament’s vote and seeing some polling that he lost nerve, undercut Kerry, shocked his aides and is now begging Congress to stop him may not be wrong.)