Once upon a time, but not that long ago, America was the world’s peacekeeper. We stood at the apex of power, united as a country, and our commitment to our Allies absolute. Our word was our bond.
For those too young to remember, this is not a fairy tale. This was the American Way for 70 years.
Our current foreign policy is totally foreign to me.
As it apparently is to Defense Secretary James Mattis who resigned a day after Trump’s surprise plan to withdraw troops from Syria, livid at what he views as a betrayal of the Kurds who had allied with the U.S. and now must fend for themselves.
Once upon a time we treated our allies with respect.
“One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships,” Mattis wrote in his resignation letter.
While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.
The retired four star general didn’t hide his feelings concerning Trump’s dangerous departure from U.S. foreign policy that has been our bedrock since the end of WWII.
America World PeaceKeeper
Victorious after WWII, America saw itself as the model for the world and American Dreams were to become global ones. They said it couldn’t be done yet we had just been victorious on opposite ends of the globe.
America had come out of the war as the only major industrial power not severely damaged, the richest country on earth.
After the war much of the world was economically shattered, returning home to cities that were often just rubble of broken bricks and smoldering wood, the desolate shell of a former city not yet done burning.
In our country, our economy was booming and there wasn’t a single building demolished by bombs, a brick displaced, or window broken and the only geographical scar was the one we ourselves had made on the empty deserts of New Mexico.
Uncle Sam became a hands-on uncle globetrotting around the post war world with assurance as we assumed our rightful place as peacekeeper and policeman to the world.
If the world was broken we could fix it and like Humpty Dumpty put it back together again.
Peace is Americas Most Important Business
With our sparkling Pepsodent smiles Americans would meet our obligations to the free world – spreading democracy and offering a helping hand to people all around the globe – a Coke in every refrigerator and a Chevy in every garage.
As the world’s policeman we would protect the underdog from the big bullies and keep them safe. Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right, like Mighty Mouse, Uncle Sam will join the fight!
We Like Ike
But it was important to safeguard the hard-won victory of the war and that meant building up our peace keeping force of soldiers. A massive campaign was launched to recruit men to join the new army and U.S. Air Force whose motto was “peace is Americas most important business!”
By our victory, we have won the respect of the world,” wrote General Dwight Eisenhower former Supreme Commander of the Army and hero of WWII in one recruiting ad. “We can lose that respect and with it our influence toward a just and peaceful world order, if we reduce our military forces to the point where they become week or ineffective.
Ambassador of Peace
A popular ad that ran in 1948 appointed the American soldier as Ambassador of Peace, whose task simply put was to help the nations of the world in their efforts to balance the peace of the world at a time when too many people have despaired of peace. inviting the reader to be his companion in arms.
On his broad young shoulders rests a burden that few Americans in history have been called upon to bear.” the ad begins. “His task is to help the nations in their efforts to balance the peace of the world at a time when too many people have despaired of peace.
He accepts his mission soberly but with pride. To him, as to every young man who has courage love of country and a belief in Democratic ideals the present world situation is a challenge. And he has met it squarely by putting on a uniform.
American soldiers don’t have to swagger to command respect. Though their numbers may be few their friendly presence in key spots around the globe inspire confidence in millions of people who are troubled and uncertain.
Soldier or Airman he is a true Ambassador of Peace.
© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.