A recent Rasmussen poll has 51 percent of Americans favoring the pullout of all US troops from Europe – and yet not a single major American politician would even consider endorsing such a move. Why is that? I thought politicians were supposed to be consummate opportunists, whose weather vane-like views shift with the winds of public opinion. If so, then they should be jumping on the anti-NATO, anti-interventionist, “mind-our-own-business” bandwagon – right?
The great gulf between the American public and the elites when it comes to foreign policy is a constant source of irritation for the latter. The mandarins of the foreign policy establishment have long bemoaned the “isolationism” of the American people. It’s the natural inclination of a free people to leave others alone, and the Founders exemplified this sentiment when they decried the impulse to “go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” America “is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all,” declared John Quincy Adams in his famous 1821 Fourth of July speech, but:
“She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.”