Peter Schwartz on ISIS and “Non-Interventionism”

Think about the barbarians of the Islamic State, and ask yourself if your views line up with an “interventionist” or “non-interventionist” policy. Weigh the two alternatives; which tack is right?

Neither. This is a false alternative, and the terms that I’ve fenced off in scare quotes are themselves problematic. Although widely accepted, they muddle instead of clarify. Over on his blog, Peter Schwartz, distinguished fellow at ARI, has an insightful post that unpacks both terms — “interventionism” and “non-interventionism” — and spells out how they warp people’s thinking on the Islamic State and on foreign policy more broadly. By design, this way of thinking blurs the difference between the use of retaliatory force against those who initiated it and its use against non-threatening parties. One crucial takeaway: the piece sharply distinguishes between “non-interventionism” and a proper foreign policy, i.e., one that secures America’s self-interest. Particularly if you’ve felt even a slight tug toward the “non-interventionist” line — and given the debacle of America’s Middle East policy since 9/11, you’re hardly alone — you should read Peter’s incisive analysis.

Read the whole thing here.