Chief Inspector Remorse 10

Should the US be the world’s policeman?

Can the US be the world’s policeman?

Does the US want to be the world’s policeman?

This is Dennis Prager’s opinion (in part – read it all here):

In his speech to the nation on Syria last week, the president twice emphasized that America is not the “world’s policeman.” According to polls, most Americans agree.

Unfortunately, however, relinquishing this role assures catastrophe, both for the world and for America.

This is easy to demonstrate. Imagine that because of the great financial and human price the mayors and city councils of some major American cities decide that they no longer want to police their cities. Individuals simply have to protect themselves.

We all know what would happen: The worst human beings would terrorize these cities, and the loss of life would be far greater than before. But chaos would not long reign. The strongest thugs and their organizations would take over the cities.

That is what will happen to the world if the United States decides — because of the financial expense and the loss of American troops — not to be the “world’s policeman.” (I put the term in quotes because America never policed the whole world, nor is it feasible to do so. But America’s strength and willingness to use it has been the greatest force in history for liberty and world stability.)

This will be followed by the violent death of more and more innocent people around the world, economic disruption and social chaos. Eventually the strongest — meaning the most vile individuals and groups — will dominate within countries and over entire regions.

There are two reasons why this would happen.

First, the world needs a policeman. The world in no way differs from cities needing police. Those who oppose America being the world’s policeman need at least to acknowledge that the world needs one.

Which leads to the second reason: If that policeman is not the United States, who or what will be?

At the present moment, these are the only possible alternatives to the United States:

a) No one

b) Russia

c) China

d) Iran

e) The United Nations

The first alternative would lead, as noted, to what having no police in an American city would lead to. Since at this time no country can do what America has done in policing the world, the world would likely divide into regions controlled in each case by tyrannical regimes or groups. China would dominate Asia; Russia would re-dominate the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union and the East European countries; Russia and a nuclear Iran would dominate the Middle East; and anti-American dictators would take over many Latin American countries.

In other words, a) would lead to b), c) and d).

Would that disturb those Americans — from the left to the libertarian right — who want America to stop being the “world’s policeman”? …

It is difficult to imagine anyone arguing that the United Nations would or could substitute for the United States in maintaining peace or liberty anywhere. The U.N. is only what the General Assembly, which is dominated by the Islamic nations, and the Security Council, which is morally paralyzed by Chinese and Russian vetoes, want it to be. …

Americans are retreating into isolationism largely because of what they perceive as wasted American lives and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this conclusion is unwarranted.

It is leaving – not fighting in – Iraq and Afghanistan that will lead to failures in those countries.

American troops around the globe are the greatest preservers of liberty and peace in the world. …

We have no choice but to be the world’s policeman. And we will eventually realize this – but only after we, and the world, pay a terrible price.

In the meantime, the American defeat by Russia, Syria and Iran last week means that the country that has been, for one hundred years, the greatest force for good, is perilously close to abandoning that role.

What is a police force? It is the strong arm of government.

Government by impersonal law is the best system. Only under the rule of law is individual freedom possible. The protection of freedom is not just the first but the only proper duty of an elected government.

A government requires an army to protect the nation as a whole from foreign attack, and police to protect individuals within its jurisdiction.   

For the US to police the world, it would need to be the world’s government.  

Who would argue for that?

How would an American global government be elected? It could hardly be by democratic means – every adult in the world having a vote and the right to stand as a candidate for representational office. It would no longer be American.

The only way America could be the world’s government is by imperial might. The US would have to acquire the rest of the world as its empire.

For all that America was mockingly euphemized as “imperialism”  by its Communist enemies, the historical fact is that the United States resisted acquiring an empire even when it would have been much in its own interests to do so – and an improvement in Dennis Prager’s terms of liberty and peace for the populations that would have come under its rule. (We’ll leave the little anomaly of Guam out of this discussion.) If it had used military might to regain American-owned oil fields in the Middle East in the 1970s when they were stolen (“nationalized”)  by the ruling despots, and had thereafter governed the territories from Washington, D.C, it would not only have been good for Americans but also for the tyrannized peoples of the several states.

America would not do that. What would it do? Expend blood and treasure to keep oppression or Communist imperialism at bay in Korea, in Vietnam, in Yugoslavia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan  – do Americans now think those wars were worth it? Isn’t there considerable remorse over ever having fought them at all?

And is it really the duty of Americans to wipe away the tears of nations?

Of the 196 self-governing countries in the world, how many do not have oppressed minorities, or subjugate women, or kill homosexuals, or keep slaves, or experience famine? How many whose populations are not chronically afflicted with malaria, AIDS, ebola, cholera …? The world is full of misery. Will America transform it all to happiness like Disney fairies with sparkling wands?

Will America free the Chinese and the Cubans from Communism? Turn that vast concentration camp North Korea into a second Texas?

No. The US government (under Obama) wouldn’t even support the Iranians when they rose against the tyrannical mullahs.

In the 19th century it was Britain who tried to fulfill the role of the world’s policeman. Remember how Kipling put it in (shudder now) The White Man’s Burden? Here’s part of it:

Take up the White Man’s burden–

The savage wars of peace–

Fill full the mouth of Famine

And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,

Watch sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hopes to nought.


Take up the White Man’s burden–

No tawdry rule of kings,

But toil of serf and sweeper–

The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter,

The roads ye shall not tread,

Go mark them with your living,

And mark them with your dead.


Take up the White Man’s burden–

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard–

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–

“Why brought he us from bondage,

Our loved Egyptian night?”

Does Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who wants America to be bound by the Responsibility to Protect Resolution of the UN (for which was not she the inspiring muse?), realize that that is what she is asking her country to do? A politically correct Leftess like her? If she doesn’t, it’s time she did.

Does Dennis Prager (who is usually more enlightened than Samantha) realize it?  Seems not. But we hope he will.

  • rogerinflorida

    When I first read this piece by Prager I was absolutely astounded that any supposedly sentient being, of an age when surely he has observed unfolding history, could come up with something so utterly stupid.

    In addition to the reasons you expound in your post, that in themselves render any notion of Marshal Uncle Sam blaringly ridiculous, there is the simple impossibility of the US having the manpower and the wealth to subjugate the World, because that in essence is what Prager and his supporters want. This is not to say that the US cannot influence events and history, but what is required first is respect, based on admiration, that would persuade foreign leaders and nationals to listen to the US. The US certainly commands respect, but that respect is largely based on fear, envy, resentment and jealousy. Despite the reverence that US jingoists apply to the US Constitution, there is not a single nation anywhere who have copied the example, the reason for this is simple; the US Constitution sets up a government structure that renders the people essentially voiceless. As we see currently, the US is governed by an imperial bureaucracy empowered by an imperial President, both of whom hold the House of Representatives in philosophical and legal contempt.
    I recommend reading this article by Spengler:
    For the US to have any influence at all it has to be able to form and lead a group of like minded nations. The US cannot even muster the support of the Anglosphere for what was touted as a major political initiative.
    Prager talks of “that the country that has been, for one hundred years, the greatest force for good”. Is he completely mad?
    Britain’s few attempts at “policing the World” largely ended in disaster. The one thing that Britain did do was to use the Royal Navy to ensure freedom of the seas for all, so greatly helping world trade. The Royal Navy fought piracy the world over, what is the US Navy doing? Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean have little to fear from the US.
    Incidentally the voices calling for Britain to “police the world” in Victorian times were the same bunch of bible thumpers of whom Prager is a fine example.
    I could go on and on, but have things to do.
    Regards to all.

  • liz

    Yes, the sad truth is, the world really WOULD have been better off if America had expanded its empire like Britain did. Then the countries ruled by it would quite possibly have become civilized before gaining independence, rather than remaining barbarians.

    • ALski

      This is a very arrogant thinking! Calling other peoples barbarians. But let me remind about two nuclear bombs that US dropped on Japan. So, who is barbarian?

      • Jillian Becker

        Some people and peoples are barbarians. When the Japanese attacked America they were acting barbarically. They also acted barbarically to their prisoners of war. They are not barbaric now. The US was right to end the war with atom bombs. It killed many Japanese, but if the war had not ended then, many more Americans and Japanese would have died.

        • ALski

          Being a predominantly Christian nation, US dropped two nuclear bombs on civilians. That cannot be justified. People in Japan continue to die from radiation-related deseases.

          • Jillian Becker

            What should the US have done? Gone on sacrificing its soldiers and killing more Japanese? Do you know how the Japanese tortured and starved civilians? Christianity, by the way, has a long history of barbaric behavior. The US as a nation embodies better ideals than those of Christianity. It embodies the ideals of the Enlightenment – liberty and reason. War always causes suffering, but the atom bombs that ended the war Japan started helped in the long run to promote both those values.

      • liz

        What would you call Muslims who arrogantly force barbaric primitive superstitions and laws on other peoples, killing them, cutting off heads, hands, and otherwise mutilating them, bombing, shooting, and forcing them into submission to Islamic supremacy? They are barbarians, and they deserve to be bombed, also.

  • Frank

    Sure we could be the world’s policeman if we were competent at it but we’re not. Here are a couple of concepts from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” that our politicians and military apparently have forgotten.

    When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

    Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

    Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

    Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

    There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.


      Great ideas given, Frank. To re-quote a portion of Sun-Tzu, “Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.” How great a statement is that???

      Translation: “If any nation cannot or will not wage TOTAL WAR in order to save itself or it’s allies interests, forget about it, they’ll never be the great nation that they think they are, and other nations will detect the sickness that lies within said country.”

      In the plea for the U.S. to play the part of peace officer “Policeman Of The World,” especially with our “weak sister” allies, we cannot afford it, just speaking of treasure only!

      For quite a while, this country has been monetarily BROKE! We have in Washington and elsewhere men who call themselves honorable statesmen who, by deed alone, claim that we have plenty of money!
      They might not SAY this, but watch how, and on whom they spend the un-spendable! Their actions tell me that they believe we are wealthy!
      In effect, their actions state “We have money for every poor, no-account usurper, be it a country or a person, under the sun…..We are only out of checks! This is why we need to raise our debt ceiling!”

      I also feel that we as a nation haven’t the stomach for total war as in WW2, even if we did have the one necessity called money in place. The other vital necessity being a majority of strong-willed people.

      The entirety of our people simply do not want, nor will not give any significant effort to a total war footing, as our great grandfathers and great grandmothers had to back in 1941. This identifies a great weakness that all of our enemies and friends take notice of!

      The remembrance of the protracted, lackluster, weak-kneed, half-measure efforts of 40-50 years ago, called Vietnam have continued to cause ‘analysis paralysis’ among the leaders we elect.

      A great teacher once told me that if you want to know the state of voters in any one country, look at what kind of people they elect.

      We, as in 1941, are standing on the brink of either being, or not being a free nation….both from within and without. From within, the culprit is the corruption of self-accountability…something that a lot of us are not teaching our children, because a simple majority of parents and teachers don’t know what this phrase really means. From without, we are hated, loathed, despised, and laughed at, even by the countries we continue to export pallets of our greenbacks to.

      The majority of folks in this nation relish in “taking the easy way out.” This learned lifestyle is strictly a “give-up and give-in” mentality. We, on the contrary, teach our athletes to never give up. But as a sea of humanity, living in the potentially best country on Earth, we just don’t care to work very hard for a victory when its the things that really matter, it seems.

      Our so-called elected “leaders” promote this stagnating premise to their of-the-same-mind constituents by their actions and in-actions, since it mostly appeases the folks back home.
      They claim to be a true and honorable “statesmen” while at the same time they will cave-in to the unreasonable demands from “pipsqueak,” rogue countries that a real statesman from the past would never even think of collapsing to! Or they will stage a long, drawn-out shaky “peace proposal” with some self-promoting despot the likes of whom any real man with a solid backbone would destroy in a New York second!

      This caving in to pressure from these politicians, in order to keep the peace at all costs, is causing this once great land to remain a laughingstock of the planet. Simply stated, our presidents, senators, and representatives do not want to loose their jobs in Washington, so they do not make waves, assuring that the “gravy-train” for them continues unabated. IOW, ideally for them, they are just worried about looking good……… everybody!

      I sometimes wonder if one full-on, all-out war, waged with an all-encompassing intensity and ferocity, would just bring every two-bit-antagonist and “Hitler want-to-be” watching the spectacle back to reality, erasing all doubt from their tiny, self-absorbed minds, when they saw just exactly what a real “policeman of the world” can do when he takes off his gloves, and truly put his most powerful resources to the task at hand.

      But if this scenario ever played out, the majority of folks living in this once great country would scream bloody murder…….

      But such a war just might keep the REAL peace for a good long time.

  • Dale Jensen

    What a terrible column by Prager. He is representative of the worst of mainstream Conservatism. He’s an economic pragmatist (not libertarian iow), a Judeo-Christian apologist, open immigration and a NeoCon in foreign policy. There’s nothing to like. By this NeoCon way of thinking, America is doomed to be involved in the affairs of the whole world with no rest in sight ever. Which is exactly what the Left wants with their “R2P” doctrine (“responsibility to protect”). Once again we see that the NeoCons and the Left are in practice so close that you have a distinction without a difference.

    In one sense, Prager is calling for an imperialistic America. An America that tries to shove “liberal democracy” down everyone’s throat. Even if it can be said that our mixed economy, semi-free welfare state is the better of the political options in the world right now, by our trying to force this on other countries we are creating legitimate resentment.

    If only we could go back to something resembling the Monroe Doctrine.