The Concept of Internationalism and Isolationism is just as contrasted between Black and White.
The idea of isolationism is not a new one. Recently, amid sweeping globalization efforts and international sociopolitical interventions, it has gotten particular attention.
America’s recent “Trumpist” version of yearning to pull out of the foreign swamp comprises a sharp divergence from its current track record of determining foreign engagement. However, such an inward twist echoes strongly with America’s other past. Isolationism spans U.S. history, from the founding era through the Trump presidency.
President George Washington in 1796 cautioned Americans “to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” After that, “the isolationist impulse embraced by George Washington and the other Founders guided the nation for much of American history before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Isolationism is a level of foreign policies institutionalized by various leaders who assert that they can fulfill nations’ best interests by keeping away from the affairs of other countries. One must avoid drawing the country into dangerous and otherwise undesirable conflicts. That includes avoiding international trade agreements or other mutual assistance pacts. But then again, history has taught us that some offers are hard to pass for some countries.
Today, isolationism is a word that once cleared the way for America’s rise to wealth and prosperity, and security. However, the Founders’ admonition against entwined coalitions has fallen into shame, and the word isolationist itself has become a stigma.
The nation now confronts a seemingly unlimited array of foreign entrapments, decades of errant war in the middle east and across the world, and a recent pandemic causing an economic beating of a sort that the public has hardly experienced since the great depression.
Some strongly believe the United States needs to rediscover the history of isolationism and apply its lessons, shrinking its footprint abroad and bringing its foreign obligations back into line with its means and objectives.
Indeed, we are today stuck in the tug of war among isolationists vs. Internationalists.
Juxtaposed to isolationism is internationalism which asserts that states shall define their national disposition and interests to underline the commonalities they share with others. They feel one can achieve their foreign policy interests through close relations and cooperation with others in the process.
Countries that pursue internationalism as a foreign policy course also tend to believe that it is in their national interest to adapt to a unique regional or international climate in line with their national prerogatives.
The concept of internationalism and isolationism is just as contrasted between black and white. Nonetheless, that is far from such a simplistic approach in the current socio-political realm.
Isolationism in its purest form would only invite disadvantage and authoritarianism. It will place the country at a shortcoming against predatorial systems like internationalism.
On the other hand, the expansion of globalization that we see today tends to place large corporations in the feudal masters’ position and ordinary people as serfs. That is one form of solution ideal for everyone across the globe and undesirable to a few evils for everyone else, just like their ancient Roman and Chinese era universalist counterparts.
The modern globalist movement has created an “us vs. them” populace at the mercy of corporate cartels. Yet that should not be taken as solid sentiment for condoning domestic economic actors over foreign ones through manifests such as tariffs and buy national procurement, which is almost entirely nationalist sentiments, thus is against a healthy free market economy.