Is the world’s policeman on furlough?

Lately, it seems that everyone has become a foreign policy expert. We all have strong opinions on Syria; we pretend to understand the geographic, religious, governmental, ethnic, and other complexities of Middle Eastern turmoil; we attempt to possess a strong handle on military strategy.

I’m just as guilty as the pretenders, as I have chosen to write a column on this very subject. However, rather than take a side, I’d like to look at the larger question that has plagued more than one President: What is America’s role in the world?

Does the United States – the world’s remaining “superpower” – have a responsibility to serve as the world’s policeman? Or, should we temper our military efforts, engaging only in those conflicts which have a direct relationship to our economic, military, or other national interests?

President Obama is on a mission to answer this question – well, sort of. He believes that chemical weapons (sarin, specifically) were used by the Assad-led regime against the Syrian rebels. He has previously said chemical warfare was his “red line” that, once crossed, would guarantee American involvement in the Middle Eastern conflict. Now our Commander-In-Chief says that Congress must give him approval to act before he will direct any military action in Syria.

Rebekah Staples
9/5/13