Congress and the President should prefer a foreign policy of cultural engagement over military isolationism.
We must come to realize that military violence…
- Has a bad track record
- Is anti-relationship
- Isolates us from the countries we attack
- Puts us at odds with whole populations when often it’s only the leaders we oppose
- Tends to create as many or more enemies than it eliminates.
- Should be the last resort, NOT the first, second, or even third option
Said differently, military aggression is inherently isolationist. It isolates us from other countries.
Congress and the President must understand that our culture, not our military, is our greatest weapon.
- The Iranian people love American culture. You could even say that they love us for our freedoms. Meanwhile…
- Some of Iran’s rulers hate us largely because of our culture and because their people find our culture appealing.
These factors give us two ways to win. We can…
- Undermine the regime by widening the cultural gulf between the Iranian people and their leaders, or…
- Persuade Iran’s leaders to reform, perhaps because they see the cultural gulf widening
Both goals can only be achieved through cultural engagement, not military violence. Military violence will turn the Iranian people against us. The same can be said of Russia, North Korea, and every country against which our politicians have taken a hostile military stance.
There are multiple ways we can replace military isolationism with cultural engagement…
- End all embargoes and sanctions. They’re ineffective. They impede cultural and diplomatic engagement. They hurt innocent citizens on both sides more than they impact political leaders.
- End trade barriers. Do this unilaterally. Every step that increases personal contact enhances our natural cultural advantage. We’ll also benefit from the increased trade even if other countries don’t lower their barriers too. Our culture and free-trade approach will prevail in the long run.
- Ease travel restrictions. The free flow of people means the free flow of culture. Our culture will win where it has the advantage, and grow where we have things to learn — think of all the delicious ethnic foods you now enjoy. We must not cower and hide in fear from foreign influence. That’s a sign of weakness, decadence, and decline. We have little to fear and much to gain by fostering human movement.
- Expand diplomatic persuasion. Place the focus on the word persuasion. Stop viewing diplomacy as a game of “carrots and sticks.” Don’t place preconditions on the dialog. Don’t look for ways to punish so as to gain concessions. Look to inspire instead. Don’t be discouraged by initial rejection. Stay the course. Constantly ask for reforms that will expand cultural engagement. Sell the benefits of engagement.
- End aggressive actions and rhetoric. It cannot be stressed often enough that military violence is isolationist. It must only be used in the most dire cases, and even then with great caution and skepticism.
Use the form at right to ask Congress and the President to prefer policies of cultural engagement over military violence. You can edit the sample letter to fit your needs.
— Perry Willis & Jim Babka
if screen appears blank - please scroll to top
Please try again later today.