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Two Centuries of Police Work


weeklystandard articleThe following is an excerpt from Max Boot | February 18, 2016 | Weeklystandard.com |

Amid the incessant clashes of the campaign season, there is at least one thing that pretty much all of the presidential candidates can agree on.

Bernie Sanders: “Of course the United States must lead. But the United States is not the policeman of the world." Jeb Bush: "We're not going to be the world's policeman, but [we'd] sure as heck better be the world's leader." Chris Christie: "We are not the world's policeman, but we need to stand up and be ready." Carly Fiorina: "We cannot be the world's policeman, but we must be the world leader." Donald Trump: "At some point, we are going to have to stop being the policemen of the world .  .  . whether we like it or don't like it." Marco Rubio: "I don't think that's necessarily the role that I would advocate."

In this the candidates side with the incumbent, Barack Obama, who says, "We should not be the world's policeman," even as he employs military forces to kill terrorists in, inter alia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. They agree, too, with Bill Clinton, who said, "We should not be the world's policeman," as he launched cruise missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan, bombed Iraq, and dispatched troops to Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor. And with George H. W. Bush, who said, "We're not the world's policeman," even as he sent U.S. troops to overthrow Manuel Noriega in Panama, to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait, to save Kurds from Saddam Hussein's wrath, and to succor Somalis from the ravages of famine. And with Ronald Reagan, who agreed that "it is not the American role to play policeman around the world," even as he bombed Libya, sent peacekeeping forces to Lebanon, invaded Grenada, and sent U.S. naval forces to fight Iranian attempts to close the Persian Gulf. And with Jimmy Carter, who said, "We have no desire to be the world's policeman," even as he promulgated the Carter Doctrine that pledged the United States to defend the free flow of oil in the Middle East and created what became Central Command to do so.

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