Policing the World

To what extend should the United States be policing the world? It strikes me that Christians rarely consider this issue, and rarely include it in their political choices. Some think the U.S. should intervene in humanitarian crisis’s, others think intervention is only acceptable when U.S. interests are at stake. Others stress the need for well defined goals and time tables: We’ll keep the peace, but only for so long. No one wants another Vietnam War to show us how fallible our military is. Should we be policing the world? If so, who are we to decide what situations require policing and which don’t? How do we be impartial police keeping force? We’ve basically assumed the right to drop bombs on Iraq, regardless of the civilian casualties and civil chaos it causes. Who’s going to police the police keeping force?


I’m just beginning to think about these issues, but it seems to me the United States is stretching itself thin. We’re becoming like the colonial British Empire, trying to solve conflict in every corner of the globe. It simply can’t be done. The British Empire didn’t succeed for long as ruler of the world. With such thoughts in mind it seems odd that Christians so easily back political candidates so openly in favor of war. Today I was researching candidates to determine who I would vote for, and I stumbled across one candidate who claimed that the Air Force’s dwindling cruise missile supply (around 100 left), and the fact that U.S. planes flying over Bosnia had to be pulled from the squadron enforcing the no-fly zone in Iraq proves that the Clinton administration has allowed the United States military to fall into disrepair.

One hundred cruise missiles seem like an awful lot; especially when you consider how many of those cruise missiles will crash into civilian targets, killing innocent people. It’s happened in Iraq. I wonder why we always think violence is the answer. It should be noted in the Middle East that violence doesn’t seem to be helping the problem. The Israeli gunships are not helping the peace process.

What happened to Christian pacifists? Since when did supporting dictators and bloodshed become a Christian ideal? The Reagan administration supported quite a lot of that in Central America, yet his election was fueled by conservative Christians. Apparently Christians are willing to use their votes to protect the unborn, but when it comes to the fully grown, you’re on your own.

And no, the issue isn’t as cut and dry as that. George W. Bush has not said he hopes to fund dictators that slaughter civilians in South American countries. Al Gore has not promised to reduce military presence around the world. But there are inklings of action in each candidate. The candidate I was researching seems to think the U.S. should be a peace keeping force; his solution to conflict is violence. George W. Bush is in full support of an expanded ballistic missile defense program, a plan that will undoubtedly enrage allies as well as enemies, and not offer any measure of guaranteed safety. If anyone wants to attack the United States with nuclear weapons, they won’t send them over in clearly marked missiles that everyone on the planet can identify where they came from and who sent them. If anyone wants to attack the United States with nuclear weapons, they’ll rent a Ryder truck and park it wherever they please. And a pie-in-the-sky, ballistic missile program can’t target Ryder trucks. Again it’s diplomacy by brute force, world-wide arm twisting, like a bully on the elementary school playground. Something tells me that shouldn’t be a Christian-endorsed approach. Jesus may have overturned tables, but he didn’t draw swords.

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