America should not be the police of the world

by Jim Longworth

Check out the Atlantic Monthly website ( and you’ll find a series of columns dating back 150 years, including one from Teddy Roosevelt’s secretary of state, Richard Olney, who warned that America cannot: “afford to regard itself as a missionary nation’… charged with redress of wrongs the world over… [If we do, we] would not merely be laughed at, but voted a nuisance by all other nations – and treated accordingly.”

Olney’s words are particularly relevant today. America is not the world’s police force. We must not insert ourselves into other nations’ conflicts. Nor do we have the right to force our system of government or collective moral fiber onto other cultures.

Yes, there will be times when relief efforts are expected and military intervention is required, especially when responding to state-sponsored genocide. But even then such measures should be coordinated through the UN and supported by a disparate group of allies.

America interfered in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan (where we trained Osama bin Laden) and now Iraq. All have been lost causes with high price tags (in terms of both human and financial cost), and if we ignore the lessons of history we are destined to repeat our failures.

Here at home illegal immigrants are overrunning our borders; we’re destroying our natural resources; and our judicial system is a joke. Clearly we need to police ourselves before we try and police others.

Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on UPN 48 (cable channel 14).