There are many times when I’m bewildered by political affairs. Sometimes when events happen, it’s difficult to know, especially with emotions running wild, just what the correct couse to take is. America has traditionally had a stance of isolationism. That, whatever’s going in Europe is their problem. Whatever’s going on in Asia is their problem. That, above all, it isn’t our problem. Of course, such thinking can appear incredibly cruel and sadistic when dealing with, say, government oppression, genocide, or war.
But, really, what business is it of ours? We may wish for all people to act civilized, for foreign governments to be more respectful of people’s rights, but it is our job to enforce such behavior? One such relatively recent event was, of course, the the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. First, we were led to believe he had weapons of mass destruction, even though he didn’t. We ended up invading his country and overthrew his government. Even though he wasn’t creating WMDs, many people still think that he still needed to be out of power.
I would agree. He was a tyrant. But I don’t think it was our place to go and do it. It’s curious that there’s a philosophy that describes this political and philosophical position. It is called the Prime Directive.
I have learned much from Star Trek. Sure it is a television program (actually five live-aciton programs, one animated program, eleven movies, and countless spin-off novels, comics, video games, etc.), but just because it is doesn’t necessarily make the Prime Directive irrelevant.
I quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard, from episode “Symbiosis”: “The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History have proved again and again that whenever mankind interferes in a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably distastrous.” and from “Pen Pals”: “The Prime Directive has many functions, not the least is to protect us. To prevent us from allowing our emotions to overwhelm our judgement.”
I think the United States would do well to understand and assume this philosophy. To ask itself when viewing other countries with other problems: