The “crusade” I am referring to is “bringing democracy or freedom to other countries”, or “relieving the suffering of a vulnerable populace “. Both are worthy goals…..if the pursuit of the goal doesn’t create a worse situation, or even more suffering, or the further squandering of our resources and reputation. But how do you know going in what conditions you will create going out? A commemorative stamp sums up the goal. My post-Covid-19 question is: “Can we afford this crusade anymore, and can we even accomplish it in our economically weakened state?”
In the 19th century, Henry Clay stated a more worthy goal: “Far better is it for ourselves … and for the cause of liberty … that we should keep our lamp burning brightly on this western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of falling or fallen republics in Europe.” Clay was referring to a dispute between the In the 19th century, when the Hungarians had risen up against the Hapsburg Empire and sought U.S. intervention
In my lifetime, we have seen bloody, spectacular failures of this crusade: Middle East (Iraq, Afghanistan), Africa (Somalia), the Far east (Vietnam), our own hemisphere (Cuba, Nicaragua), and many that are less publicized. And questionable interventions into centuries old blood feuds (Serbia, Bosnia). Were these about “empire-building”, “raping other cultures”, “forcing the world to become an American strip-mall”, “oil”, “flexing our might” or other popular brain-dead leftist slogans? Or were they sympathy-driven, protective “Big Brother” actions, or “Domino-theory” driven mini-wars? I believe they were more the latter, and they remind me of the furniture disease”. What? Our heart was in the right place (mostly). It was in our chest, but as in the furniture disease, our chest had fallen into our drawers.
Campaigns like those require money, but after the pandemic fades, our national debt will have ballooned to the point where, in combination with the weakened economy, perhaps will be unpayable. Goodbye foreign interventions? One can hope.