Yes, We Are the World’s Policeman

In his speech to the nation on Syria last week, the president twice emphasized that America is not the "world’s policeman." According to polls, most Americans agree.

Unfortunately, however, relinquishing this role assures catastrophe, both for the world and for America.

This is easy to demonstrate. Imagine that because of the great financial and human price the mayors and city councils of some major American cities decide that they no longer want to police their cities. Individuals simply have to protect themselves.

We all know what would happen: The worst human beings would terrorize these cities, and the loss of life would be far greater than before. But chaos would not long reign. The strongest thugs and their organizations would take over the cities.

That is what will happen to the world if the United States decides — because of the financial expense and the loss of American troops — not to be the "world’s policeman." (I put the term in quotes because America never policed the whole world, nor is it feasible to do so. But America’s strength and willingness to use it has been the greatest force in history for liberty and world stability.)

This will be followed by the violent death of more and more innocent people around the world, economic disruption and social chaos. Eventually the strongest — meaning the most vile individuals and groups — will dominate within countries and over entire regions.

There are two reasons why this would happen.

First, the world needs a policeman. The world in no way differs from cities needing police. Those who oppose America being the world’s policeman need at least to acknowledge that the world needs one.

Which leads to the second reason: If that policeman is not the United States, who or what will be?

At the present moment, these are the only possible alternatives to the United States:

a) No one

b) Russia

c) China

d) Iran

e) The United Nations

The first alternative would lead, as noted, to what having no police in an American city would lead to. Since at this time no country can do what America has done in policing the world, the world would likely divide into regions controlled in each case by tyrannical regimes or groups. China would dominate Asia; Russia would re-dominate the countries that were part of the former Soviet Union and the East European countries; Russia and a nuclear Iran would dominate the Middle East; and anti-American dictators would take over many Latin American countries.

In other words, a) would lead to b), c) and d).

Would that disturb those Americans — from the left to the libertarian right — who want America to stop being the "world’s policeman"?

Note well that Europe is not on the list. Europeans are preoccupied with one thing: being taken care of by the state.

As for e), the United Nations, it is difficult to imagine anyone arguing that the United Nations would or could substitute for the United States in maintaining peace or liberty anywhere. The U.N. is only what the General Assembly, which is dominated by the Islamic nations, and the Security Council, which is morally paralyzed by Chinese and Russian vetoes, want it to be.

Americans are retreating into isolationism largely because of what they perceive as wasted American lives and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this conclusion is unwarranted.

It is (SET ITAL) leaving (END ITAL) — not fighting in — Iraq and Afghanistan that will lead to failures in those countries.

Had we left Japan, what would have happened in that country and in Asia? Had we left South Korea, would it be the vibrant democracy and economic power that it is today — or would it have become like the northern half of the Korean peninsula, the world’s largest concentration camp? Had we left Germany by 1950, what would have happened to Europe during the Cold War? We did leave Vietnam, and communists imposed a reign of terror there and committed genocide in Cambodia.

American troops around the globe are the greatest preservers of liberty and peace in the world.

To return to our original analogy of cities without police: Thinking that we can retreat from the world and avoid its subsequent violence and tyranny is like thinking that if the police go on strike in Chicago, the suburbs will remain peaceful and unaffected.

We have no choice but to be the world’s policeman. And we will eventually realize this — but only after we, and the world, pay a terrible price.

In the meantime, the American defeat by Russia, Syria and Iran last week means that the country that has been, for one hundred years, the greatest force for good, is perilously close to abandoning that role.

Dennis Prager’s latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.

  • GlenFS

    Some wonderful ideals Mr. Prager, but that’s what they are right now. We are a house divided against itself and on our way to becoming another European style state. We won’t long have the resources to police the world, even if we had the will. I’m sure there will indeed be horrible consequences. The world is what it is.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    So why do you want to be a cop? Well sir, I really want to help people? Bullpoop son, what’s the real reason? No really, I just want to help people. Well son we have high standards here, do have any children? Yes sir but I’ve abandoned about half of them. (single parent families in the U.S. now total nearly 50%) Oh, so you’re married? Oh yes, several times. (divorce rates are astronomical) Have you done any law enforcement before? Oh yes, a few years ago I planted evidence on a really, really bad guy and got him off the streets. (Iraq) Any experience with gangs. Oh yes Sir, every body knows that any small town, has room for only one gang, so I always help one group of bad guys eliminate the other. Well son, can you name a specific accomplishment? Well, we got rid of that jerk Mubarak and got democracy. Son, I thought they got that nut bar Morsi out of that. Well, we also got rid of Gaddafi, though I admit it’s a work in progress. Well son, what about big city thugs like Mr. Chin and Mr. Rus, any experience with them? Yes sir, we stay the hell out of their way. What about graft son, do you take money under the table. Well sir, only enough to keep my economy going. (the U.S. is debauching it’s dollar at a frenetic pace) So son, what do you think about a hundred thousand dead in Syria? (this year, there maybe over 1 million abortions in the U.S.) They’re horrible sir, they must be stopped, especially the murder of the children. Well son, you seem like a nice fellow, but perhaps you should get your own affairs in order first.

    • Brian Fr Langley

      There once was a cop on the beat,
      his job, no crooks on the street,
      but booze, graft and drugs,
      he shared with the thugs,
      now the world, it sees him a cheat.

    • Hector Mariscal

      Hello Brian,

      I certainly enjoy reading your posts from time to time, you definitely bring good points to the table, however here I have disagree with you slightly.
      The U.S. (I know your Canadian) may not be perfect, but as Mr. Prager stated above, no one in Europe cares about the suffering in the world, they protest, yes, but that is not the same as action.

      Who would be able to enforce the rules that are so easily passed?
      In short, sir, the UN is weak in heart, as is most of the world.

      Putin and Russia are not under the veil of political correctness and as such isn’t wasting mental energy pandering to the “Civil Rights Flavor of the Week”. They are focused on making Russia a super power, and I believe that they will success, much to the detriment of America and the West.

      • Brian Fr Langley

        I also think Putin wants to regain superpower status, and what’s more American weakness is letting him. But American strength does not mean bombing one set of bad guys to help another set of bad guys? And even worse, is the current lack of moral authority. How do you think some three to four hundred million+ Muslims view the morality of the west? We use drugs and booze to excess, we fornicate like (stray) street dogs, our endless movies, are full of nakedness, debauchery, and porn, we abandon and abort our children, we routinely dump our husbands and our wives, while vast swathes of our population are on the dole? And then we want to use bombs, to educate Muslims on morality? Just asking? Don’t misunderstand me, I know what Sharia law has in store for the West, and it’s not pretty, but perhaps the beam in our own eye, should be removed, before we worry about the speck, in the others guy’s eye?

        • Hector Mariscal


          Thank you for your thoughtful response. I will try to return one in kind.

          I think there was a misunderstanding about my intentions, I never wanted to “bomb one set of bad guys to improve the odds of the others”, I am more concerned with Christian Syrians, and Syrian Jews (the few that are left), as well as other minorities in the country. It is clear that we would have been choosing between bad and evil, the only clear innocents are the children and the groups stated above.

          I agree with you, that America (I will include Canada, as we are both North Americans) has lost it’s moral compass. Being responsible, humble and hard working are seen as archaic things. It is all about “Getting laid and getting paid”

          If I were in a Muslim country I would also be repulsed by what I see in the west. I also agree with you that we are a vain society full of excess, we are becoming dangerously close to become the “Brave New World”.

          In a TV show on the WB (now the CW), called “Jack and Bobby” the told the story of a little boy named Bobby who would one day become president. Anyway the mother of Bobby was a Professor at a local university, she is a typical Liberal feminist liberal arts professor. There was one episode where during one of her lectures, she notices a young lady wearing a hijab the tells the young lady in front of the class to remove her hijab, as it is against her policy to have open religious expression in her class. The Muslim woman tell her that is against her beliefs. The professor then goes on a tirade about how religion is the hyperbole of superstition, that it is what the simple minded hang on to deny reality.
          As could be expected the Muslim woman is offended and walks out of class. A day later the Christian Student Union (CSU) decides to protest what has happened (they were, according to the story using this to their advantage.) The CSU delivers a letter to the professor demanding the apology. She tells them no, and call security. The next scene shows the young Muslim lady coming in to her office, she tells her what her interpretation of American culture is, and the is what I was getting at.

          “I am feminist too, but you have to understand what I see in the dorms. Young girls obsessed over an image of beauty that is unattainable. One girl became and anorexic by being called ‘fat’. You tell us this is what American feminism is? I see your women being irresponsible and promiscuous, and then heart broken and unsatisfied with life. Is that what I should emulate?”
          The professor then makes an apology to her, and she’s right about her observation.

          I will a final thought.

          • Hector Mariscal

            Who will protect the innocent? Who will defend the defenseless? I know that our countries are not perfect, but America was once a force of good in a world that continues to go mad. Democrats, in Europe or in America don’t care. Not in a meaningful way, at least. Some one, or some nation has to stand up to thugs and bullies of the world. Who else will do that?

            Thank you for reading.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Thanks Hector, but in a truly surprising turn of events it’s actually the Christian minority that backs Assad. Why? Because for all their despotism the Baath party (Assad’s political party) strives to be secular. As a result they actually protect most (including Christians) minority communities. Sadly, any attack on Assad is an attack on Syria’s Christians. The only way to help in this mess, would be to conquer, then rule Syria. So where would it ever end?