What are libertarians tired to explain

America's tired warriors : Why the USA no longer wants to play the world policeman

Sigmar Gabriel was SPD chairman and several times federal minister. He is the author of the Holtzbrinck Group, to which the Tagesspiegel also belongs. Gabriel is also chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke.

Since Donald Trump decided to withdraw American troops from northern Syria, he has been referred to as an isolationist again, not least in Europe. It is often forgotten that Trump is not treading a new path with his policy of withdrawal and his turning away from the world police life in the USA, but rather ties in with older American traditions. It is also forgotten that he is not alone with his ideas in the USA: the left democratic camp also advocates a policy of withdrawal. There is a new longing in the US to turn your back on the world. This has consequences for European foreign policy.

In 1821, then American Secretary of State and later President John Quincy Adams said in an Independence Day speech: “The United States of America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. You are the congratulator of freedom and independence for all. They are advocates and defenders only of themselves. ”To this day, the otherwise forgotten John Quincy Adams remains a reference point for those in favor of US withdrawal - on both sides of the political spectrum. Just this summer, a new think tank for foreign and security policy was founded in Washington - the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Soros and Koch are there

The money comes from two major donors whose world views could not be more different: George Soros, a social liberal globalist, and the conservative-libertarian Charles Koch, whom US President Donald Trump would probably call a patriot. The establishment of the Quincy Institute was hotly debated in the United States, and not just because of its prominent sponsors.

The new institute has set itself the task of "ending America's endless wars". The term “endless wars” (and the longing to withdraw from it) does not only appear in the founding manifesto of the Quincy Institute. It was Bernie Sanders who brought the term "America's Endless Wars" back into the conversation. Several applicants for the Democratic presidential candidacy are working with it: "We have to end the endless war," said Pete Buttigieg during a television debate by the Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is also an advocate of the idea of ​​withdrawal.

From the community

It is just not enough to march in somewhere, throw everything overboard and then leave the country to its own devices. It can definitely be beneficial for the world if a great power no longer feels called upon to enforce its understanding of civil society everywhere.

... writes user Gophi

Isolationism is as old as the US, and it stems from its troubled transatlantic history. It was above all the desire of the European immigrants in this country, which had declared its independence from the former colonial power only a short time before Quincy's presidency, to stay out of the turmoil of the European continent. Isolationism became the leitmotif of foreign policy. This only changed with the entry of the USA into the First World War.

Bill Clinton still spoke of the "indispensable nation"

It is Woodrow Wilson who represents the other US foreign policy leitmotif, interventionism. Accordingly, it is the task and the interest of the USA to work for a world of freedom, independence and peace. This doctrine reached a climax with Bill Clinton - he described the USA as the "indispensable nation". His successor George W. Bush also stood in this tradition and led the country into two wars that are now synonymous with America's endless wars: Afghanistan and Iraq. One of Barack Obama's key campaign promises was to reduce the US military footprint in the world, but above all to bring the missions in the Middle East to an end - and the troops back to the US. He tried to fill the vacuum that had developed through multilateral treaties and demanded that the US partners take on more responsibility for their own security.

With his “nation first” doctrine, Donald Trump is also striving to withdraw from military operations in the Middle East. But he is not an isolationist, as the conservative American publicist Robert Kagan rightly pointed out. The current US president very much wants to interfere in the world, but not to maintain a “liberal order” as an “indispensible nation”, but to enforce American particular interests through the economic dominance of the dollar - if necessary also against the partners and allies of the USA . “Mission defines coalition” is the motto: Whoever serves the interests of the USA is a partner. Depending on the “mission”, the partners of this morning can be opponents and vice versa. This is the opposite of the old west.

The subject of withdrawal will remain

Even if Trump arouses a lot of criticism in his own party and in the interventionist Washington bubble, this policy is basically compatible in many directions in the USA. In any case, the establishment of the Quincy Institute sparked the debate this summer about how "America's endless wars" can be ended. It must be assumed that even after Donald Trump the idea of ​​the US “withdrawal” will remain politically attractive. The people are tired of the many wars.

It would be as easy as it would be foolish, from a German and European point of view, to derive a feeling of superiority from the signals that the growing trend of isolationism is sending across the Atlantic, according to the motto: “We have always said: less military - more Peace". It is also wrong that Germany, now that the US is no longer involved in the military, should take on international responsibility primarily through the use of military means. It's about developing your own conception of foreign and security policy. That includes the military, but goes far beyond that.

To take responsibility! Nice phrase

This shows a parallel to the US discourse in the German debate. Here, too, there is a consensus bubble, the motto: "Take on more responsibility". The concept of “responsibility” has the advantage that it can be interpreted by all sides in the appropriate interest. International responsibility can be military restraint as well as increased military engagement. But the nicest thing is that the statement that you will take on “more responsibility” from now on evokes the good feeling that you are already doing something. We have been treading on the spot for years.

One thing is clear: Germany will have to invest more in security - its own, but above all that in the alliance, European and transatlantic, because Germany's security was and remains dependent on it. It is in our interest. This also includes handling the military instrument. We are reluctant to answer this question for good reasons. However, reluctance should not be confused with repression. Just because it is difficult and uncomfortable, we must not avoid this question. And just because they are raised does not mean that one is speaking of an irresponsible militarization of German politics.

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