I have been reading about the USA being an isolationist nation because it didn't want to get involved in international affairs and then declared its neutrality.  But I don't know really know the...

I have been reading about the USA being an isolationist nation because it didn't want to get involved in international affairs and then declared its neutrality.  But I don't know really know the pros and cons of being an isolationist nation and then a neutral nation. Can you please help me?

Asked on by robinpk

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The United States has been isolationist at times in the past, particularly in the 1930s.  There are some who would like us to be more isolationist today.  There are at least two main reasons for this.  First, isolationism can help to prevent us from getting involved in wars or other conflicts.  If we had not tried to trade so much with the United Kingdom before we got involved in WWI, we would have been less likely to enter that war.  If we adopted an isolationist strategy, we would not have invaded Iraq in 2003.  This would have avoided the death and wounding of huge numbers of American service members.  Second, isolationism can help us to save money.  We spend tremendous amounts of money keeping up a huge military force so that we can project our power all over the world.  If we adopted a policy of isolationism, we would not have to spend all this money because we could cut our military until it was big enough to protect our homeland but not to dominate the whole world.

However, many Americans are and have been opposed to isolationism.  One reason for this is that isolationism deprives us of the chance to influence the world.  Most Americans would not prefer to live in a world whose international institutions are dominated by Russia or by China.  If we pulled back and became more isolationist, other countries would fill the void and we would have little say as to what the world is like.  This is the main down side to isolationism.

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