Friday, July 23, 2010

Why is the United States Involved with Indonesian Special Forces?

This story from the Associated Press is worth a quick read, not so much for what it says, as for what it doesn't say. A decade ago, the United States military severed its training relationship with the special forces of Indonesia over possible human rights abuses. Now, according to the story, the ties are being resumed. Some people are apparently objecting to this, and some sort of controversy has resulted.

The real question we should be asking is the very one the journalist apparently doesn't even think to ask: why is the American military involved with the Indonesian military at all? Indonesia is on the other side of the planet from the United States, so why is the United States involved in its defense? The national defense of Indonesia should be the responsibility of the Indonesians, and should be paid for by Indonesian taxpayers.

The United States has its military fingers in the pies of many nations. The vast majority of overseas American military deployments and training relationships with the militaries of other nations are of little or no importance to the defense of the United States, but are merely intended to expand American influence overseas.

If we are ever to realize the dream of becoming a truly Jeffersonian republic, we must abandon notions of expanding American "influence" and protecting "American interests" in parts of the world. If other countries want to trade with us, we can trade with them. We should encourage democracy, but never attempt to impose in. America is not, and should not be, an empire.

The media has been absent from this debate, which is among the most serious that should be taking place in the country today. Why did the journalist who wrote the story not question the rationale of the American assistance to Indonesian special forces? For that matter, why does it not question the rationale of keeping 80,000 American troops in Europe, which faces no conventional military threat? Why does it not question the rationale of keeping nearly 30,000 American troops in South Korea, which is perfectly capable of defending itself?

Let's bring our troops home and terminate our military's unnecessary relationships with the militaries of other nations. This will not only make our country safer by keeping us out of disputes that are no concern of ours, and vastly ease the danger of the fiscal crisis that poses a far greater threat to our country than any conceivable foreign enemy.

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