- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Since the world has often been a dangerous place, America’s military and foreign aid are widespread around the globe. Some politicians decry the role of America as the policeman of the world. However, there is much to consider in the current abandonment of American influence, especially in the Middle East and Far East.

Prior to Barack Obama’s presidency, the last time the United States shrank from being the world’s cop was during the isolationist period of the 1930s. It certainly did not work out so well. We, England and France should have stopped Hitler at any of the following points: when he increased his military, sent his soldiers into the Rhineland, took over Austria, took control of the Sudetenland at the Munich Conference, grabbed the rest of Czechoslovakia or repeatedly violated German military restrictions imposed by the Versailles Treaty.

With regard to the Japanese imperialism before World War II, we should have stopped Tojo when he took over Manchuria, invaded China, and permitted or started the “Rape of Nanking,” including the actual bombing of an American warship in the Yangtze River. With regard to the Italian imperialism before World War II, we should have stopped Mussolini when he invaded Albania, devastated Ethiopia and began a war with Greece.

The utilization of American influence can include military action, but the use of our armed forces should be used very wisely. For example, instances in the Vietnam War where our armed forces captured a jungle mountain or hilltop only to abandon it soon after demonstrated a lack of strategic vision. American influence should carefully and prudently focus on the issues and a larger strategic vision. The blood of American service personnel is extremely precious.

When an ostrich puts its head in the sand, the danger does not automatically go away; it generally remains. “Leading from behind” may provide some short-term benefits, but it will more likely be more costly, more dangerous and more bloody in the long run.

ARTHUR HORN

East Windsor, N.J.