An Argument Against Asylum

In a series of interviews with military commanders about the situation in Mosul and Aleppo, one unnamed British general suggested that letting people in foreign countries solve their own problems is the best course of action:

“Ask yourself the question,” said one British commander at Erbil, why ISIS was able to march into Iraq in the first place? It was because of Iraqi political divisions, he argued. “Would the political scene in Iraq look better if it had been a U.S. ground force that came in and militarily defeated Daesh, or do you think it would look worse? I’d suggest it would look a lot worse. And actually, by the [Iraqi] military defeating Daesh and having done a number of years to get Kurds and Iraqis, and for that matter some other local actors, involved in cooperating to achieve that military objective, you are better placed to win.”

The general’s comments begs interesting questions: at what point is military intervention in another country’s affairs warranted? Should we allow warring factions in distant lands to settle their own differences in the hopes that the resolution of the conflict will be more permanent? What if that resolution is repugnant to our our political mores or our beliefs regarding human rights? Would it be better to return asylum seekers to their own lands to force them to solve their own problems–or die trying?


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19 Responses to An Argument Against Asylum

  1. Devon Matheny says:

    In my personal opinion, drastic times call for drastic measures. However, that does not mean we should burn bridges in the process. I think that we need to do what we need to do then leave and let it be. Honestly, I am a person who just wants everyone to be happy, and I know that is definitely not going to happen, but we just need to get out there, get it done, and get it over with.

  2. Jackson Sparkman says:

    If we don’t seek for broader understanding that any loss of innocent human life is universally wrong, and we focus just on protecting our selves, we are nationalists, and possibly ethnocentric. This is the argument I make for Boko Haram vs ISIS coverage on the news, shouldn’t the focus be on the loss of human life instead of the interests in the land that certain militant groups make.
    Certain genocides have been ignored by history in Africa just because of where the genocide took place. We can cause an uproar about lives in Aleppo, but ask anybody whats happening in South Sudan right now and people can’t give you an answer.
    But focus on “America First” right?

  3. Harlynn Robinson says:

    Self-preservation is a natural instinct for any species. Humans, with our independent consciousnesses, like to think ourselves above most animalistic instincts. But to this one, we hold strong to a fault. To turn away from the horrors done to other peoples isn’t only self-preservation it is cowardice. If as humans we choose to ignore other instincts, then choose to follow this one, we are no worse than the perpetrators. An innocent bystander is someone who watches a horrendous accident with no way to help. Someone who watches intentional acts of injustice and has the resources to help is not an innocent bystander. They are a coward.

  4. Kamal Bhalla says:

    I believe that if other nations problems conflict with our nation too, then only then should we help them. If their problem doesn’t need our assistance, then why should why give them OUR resources for them? Even if they might be in terrible danger, help should only be provided if it helps us and that nation as a whole. Not only one nation should gain.

  5. Vera L. Taire says:

    America First is a very dangerous motto. We are not a selfish people, no matter who our president is. We restore faith in humanity again and again. However, that popular phrase and meme has me questioning why humanity continues to need restoration (is it our uniquely sinful nature, or merely a meme?)

    Intervention in another countries affairs is warranted when the people of that country expressly cry out for help to specifically us with specific requests. Not the leadership of the country. The people. You shouldn’t sacrifice your own countries’ safety or wellbeing, but you should offer some modicum of aid to those asking for it.

    We shouldn’t aid in the fight, but we should help the bystanders. The refugees. The women and children.

  6. Landry Filce says:

    I believe that the argument that we should just let other countries sort their differences out among themselves is a flimsy excuse, and the real sentiment behind it is that Americans, or at least those who employ this argument, do not care about the suffering of foreign people. This is a dangerous track of mind that leads to apathy towards anyone else’s problems. Since America can help these nations at little personal cost, we should certainly do so. When people are apathetic towards others’ suffering, it makes me terrified for the future of the human race.

  7. Madalyn Coln says:

    I believe that America does not need to interfere with other nations’ affairs unless it poses a threat to us. For example, if ISIS is going to take over a country that could give them more power/resources to move forward with their goals… At some point there is a need for us to intervene. I say this because ISIS wants to kill us; that’s just how it is. They hate America and everyone in it- especially our minority groups, such as LGBT+. For that reason, I believe that we need to interfere in some cases. However, there are certain times when we do not need to interfere, as well. I believe that “America First” should be more like “If you want to hurt us, we’ll interfere” kind of thing. I don’t think we need to waste our money and time to fix other nations’ problems.

  8. Kendall Wells says:

    If another country is going to attempt and stop ISIS, a terrorist group we are also attempting to stop, then we should assist them. We should not put the safety of our people or country in danger, but we are NOT a selfish country. I think focusing on preserving life in every way that we can, but keeping our own people safe is America’s priority.

  9. Aurelia Caine says:

    I feel as if another country has a conflict that doesn’t really affect us, then we should let them be. But if it is something that involves the US getting hurt, then yes of course we should join in. A situation with the US just going to help them for no reason other than just being generous is a waste of resources and time especially if we won’t a thing from it. I don’t view it as selfish, but as being smart.

  10. Yousef Abu-Salah says:

    I believe that the United States should only aid another country if that country asks for it and/or it requires it. We should aid countries in danger also if are attacking a common threat such as ISIS; however, America has had a history of ruining certain countries after giving unwanted aid. The loss of human life is terrible, and I feel that we should always aid in this. As one of if not the most powerful country on the planet, we should aid any humanitarian conflict that does not have a solution in sight. Take Boko Haram for example, who have continually being growing and causing even more havoc all across Nigeria. We, as well as a multitude of other countries, have done nothing to fight this threat, which has been achieving ISIS levels of destruction lately. We cannot allow genocides to continue. It’s just terrible. I understand the argument of “America First, “ yet I cannot just ignore the millions of lives being lost that could be stopped by our intervention.

  11. Liam McDougal says:

    The US has nearly a century of experience as the ‘world police’- shortly after WW1, despite participating nowhere near as much as our French and English allies, we attempted to establish the League of Nations: a prototype United Nations, of sorts. Due to complications and American fears of imperialism, however, it failed. The real rise of American globalism came as a result of the Second World War. In a period of four years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, America changed from an isolationist nation to a booming industrialized country who fed off war. We pushed for innovation, industrialization, and discovered that we are really good at this whole war thing. Through a collaborative effort with our allies in the East, America popped the Nazi Pimple, and atomized the Japanese Empire (literally.) After all the world’s threats were gone, there was naught to do but establish ourselves as the World Police. And, to be fair, it’s worked: there’s not been another conflict nearly as deadly as WW2, and the world has never been more peaceful than it is now.

    However, I feel as if this means our job is sorta done. We don’t need to be interjecting into every world conflict, rather standing by. Batman doesn’t jump into every street fight, he waits for the Batsignal. We fought our own Revolutionary War, and our own Civil War. I don’t think we would have liked it much if any other country jumped in without our permission. Yes, we asked France for help, and I feel as if if a country asks America for help in a conflict, it should be given. We just shouldn’t go try to force our Great American Democracy™ down every sprouting country’s throat. That doesn’t work well. We tried it in Afghanistan and Iraq. They’re both still democracy lacking deserts.

  12. Samuel Patterson III says:

    Dr. Easterling, you stretch my neo-democratic views to a brink. Military involvement in other countries varies by situation. In the case of the United States, we should get involved when our interests are threatened or when there are horrendous violations to human rights. However, we need to completely evaluate the situation before committing ourselves to war. We should admit asylum seekers to the mainland United States when we are not militarily involved in the region. Otherwise, they should be placed on our struggling territory islands, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. If we are to hold the banner of freedom we must protect other people around the world from horrendous crimes.

  13. Anna Smith says:

    In certain cases there are times when intervention from outside forces are regarded as necessary. The regards to that, however, usually comes in the aftermath of the resolution. If a scenario is taken, let’s say slavery, and put into the equation regarding nationalistic approaches, in hindsight it is clearly not the best option. Despite the common misconception of many Americans at the time that people from other countries/areas of the world needed American guidance to be sufficient in success, it turns out that those people (slaves) were actually quite successful, if not more successful, without the absolute control. That is a primary example of a situation in which established control was completely unnecessary; however, there are other times when the interference of American forces assumingly lead to justice– WWII. With the ever-present corruption in government, it will always be most difficult to decide whether or not to step in on other countries’ dilemmas. With that being said, without the actual records of results of what the outcome was from interfering, it will never be known if it was a good idea or not. “Good ideas” are relative, anyway.

  14. L. Terces says:

    Military intervention should only occur if a country’s situation is going to go out of hand. I believe that we should help other countries in distant lands that are going through conflicts, but we should not make that country dependent on the support of our country. If the resolution is repugnant to our beliefs then our country does not have to support that resolution. Asylum seekers should not be forced to go back to their country if there is a willing nation that is willing to give them in a home in the country. Last but not least, this is a topic that needs to be discussed at the United Nations.

  15. Mary Owings says:

    It would be inhumane to recognize that inhabitants of other countries are being dehumanized and, in several cases, loosing their life. When a country like America contains the resources to assist people suffering, it would be cowardly to hold back these resources in embracing “America First”. If we can recognize people crying out for our assistance, we are obligated to come to their rescue. Ultimately, the safety of the people of one country should influence all of us.

  16. Mariat Thankachan says:

    The United States is a superpower and with resources that no other country has, sometimes it is necessary that we jump in to help. However, the issues demanding the power of United States must be closely analysed before we send lives and equipment to the center of another country’s problems. If there is a threat that may possible impact the world, then by all means we need to work together with other countries to bring peace. On the other hand, if it is an issue that a country is handling, it is not our place to just interfere when they did not ask for our help.

  17. Mariana Strawn says:

    The United States is a nation with one of the most powerful militaries in the entire world. However, as much as we try to rectify some situations over seas, perhaps in some cases it is best to try and have the inhabitants solve the problem. I am not trying to insinuate that this would work in every case, rather that it may work in some. This type of approach is best used on a case by case basis. The usage of an outside military can be seen as intrusive and could cause resentment towards that nation.

  18. Meagan Pittman says:

    I believe that a country should not involve itself with military force if other countries are fighting over economics, politics, or anything that is not their “business.” However, if large numbers of innocent lives are being lost, and civilians are slaughtered by the hundreds, we ought to step in. Otherwise, more lives would be lost in the process of stepping in without being asked to. If a country legitimately does not want our help, then why waste so much money, time, and supplies attempting to get in their way? They might would treat us with less animosity if we didn’t.

  19. Darby Meadows says:

    These are very hard questions to answer. In history I’m learning about WWI. In WWI, a huge reason the whole world became involved in the war is because almost every country thought that had to fight for their allies. From that lesson I learned that fighting for your friends can be good, but it also bright the world to war. I believe the United States should help our allies, but at what cost? I don’t think we need to be putting too many soldiers’ lives on the line and putting our citizens at risk. I think the United States’ first priority should be its own citizens and the safety of our nation. I honestly cant answer the question “Would it be better to return asylum seekers to their own lands to force them to solve their own problems–or die trying?” because I want the United States to help other countries but don’t want too many lives at risk. Maybe the answer is that countries should not jump straight to war maybe there should be more civil discussion between countries so that the US doesn’t have to “die trying”.

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