Scott Tibbs
October 20th, 1999

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A "new isolationism"?

By Scott Tibbs, 10-20-99

With the defeat of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, President Clinton is using the term "a new isolationism" to describe Republicans, in the Senate in particular and in general.

Apparently, Clinton's focus groups have revealed that the term isolationism does not play well, especially when connected to the likes of Pat Buchanan. Clinton is supposedly warning against the dangers of America withdrawing from the world.

Of course, there is one slight problem with Clinton's latest round of name-calling. Opposition to the test ban treaty is not an isolationist position! In fact, it is the exact opposite of isolationism.

Senate Republicans realize that making it illegal for the US to test its nuclear weapons makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to make sure our nukes are safe and work properly. With our large nuclear stockpile, we need to be able to make sure they work in the event we would ever have to use them. And we also need to have deterrence against adversaries and potential adversaries, which nuclear testing allows. Keeping America's military forces, both nuclear and conventional, strong and reliable allows us to be more engaged in the world, because we know we will be able to back up our words with actions if our security were threatened. This is why the GOP has dragged Clinton kicking and screaming into making the military a greater priority in the budget process.

A true isolationist would want to weaken the US military, because we simply don't need the military force we have if we are just going to protect our borders.

Republicans also realize that the treaty is unenforceable. If Iran, Iraq, or North Korea was to ever to develop nuclear capability; do you honestly think they care that the United States does not test theirs? In fact, it may actually make these rouge states more eager to test their weapons because they know we have to way to ensure the safety and reliability of ours.

If anyone is an "isolationist" in the debate over the test ban treaty, it is Clinton and the Democrats. Clinton is effectively burying his head in the sand and hoping that other nuclear-capable states will follow us on this. And if a nuclear-capable rouge state were to test their weapons, what are we going to do? Impose economic sanctions on states we already have economic sanctions against? Shake our finger and say "bad boy"?

Of course, here in Indiana, we have our own example of hypocrisy. U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, after campaigning in 1998 as a "moderate", is simply going along with the liberals in the Clinton Administration who wish to damage America's security in order to make a moral statement. It would seem that the "moderate" position would be to protect America's security, especially in a world that grows more dangerous by the day. Instead, Bayh toed the party line, just as the Republicans predicted he would last year.

This nuclear test ban treaty is typical of a President whose foreign policy is hallmarked by making our military smaller and weaker while expanding the number of places they are sent to and the missions they have to complete when they are there.

Clinton and Bayh know that the word isolationism is not accurate, yet they continue to use it. Just more evidence that both men have absolutely no regard for the truth.