America should have stayed out of WWI and instead practiced a strategy of armed neutrality. Here Cato Institute’s Jim Powell (author of Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and World War II) thoughtfully lays out the historical disaster of Woodrow Wilson’s WWI intervention policy, which straight lined directly into WWII. Armed neutrality should have been America’s central foreign policy then as it should be today.
I would like a presidential candidate who runs against the Democrats in 2016 to run on a policy of armed neutrality, non-intervention, a 10/10/10 flat tax, repeal of Obamacare, the shuttering of the Fed, privatizing homeland security, removal of U.S.troops from foreign soil, an end to most foreign aid, an end to class action lawsuits and punitive damages, strict single term limits, a nationwide castle doctrine, a broad-based movement to small central government and an expanded localized states rights system as practiced in Switzerland. Our Constitution called for a weak presidency with few and directly enumerated powers. America must return to the constitutional way. And by no-means is that the end of the necessary reforms. America needs to move away from the two-party system, which unlike the European way, stifles debate and challenges to incumbents.
I wonder how many Americans know that the American Constitution never intended a standing Army!
World War I was probably history’s worst catastrophe, and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was substantially responsible for unintended consequences of the war that played out in Germany and Russia, contributing to the rise of totalitarian regimes and another world war. American “isolationism” — armed neutrality would be a more accurate term — developed as a sensible reaction to his policies. After Germany’s initial advances into the Low Countries and France, the adversaries in World War I dug trenches and seldom advanced or retreated much from those lines.
German soldiers were generally outnumbered on the Western Front, but the Germans had smarter generals and more guns. The British navy enforced an effective blockade that made it difficult for the Germans to obtain many vital supplies, including food. Germany responded by building a submarine fleet, but it didn’t give them a way to invade Britain or the United States. By 1918, the war had been stalemated for more than three years, neither side able to force vindictive terms on the other. One of the last German offensives ground to a halt in the French countryside when German commanders couldn’t prevent their starving soldiers, amazed by the abundance of food, from gorging themselves on cheeses, sausages, and wine.
If the U.S. had stayed out of the war, it seems likely there would have been some kind of negotiated settlement. Neither the Allied Powers (France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and several smaller states) nor the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria) would have gained everything they wanted from a negotiated settlement. Both sides would have complained. But a catastrophe would have been less likely after a negotiated settlement than after vindictive terms were forced on the losers.