In his farewell address, George Washington stated that” history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.” But what is foreign influence? Does it mean that treaties should not be formed? That we should not trade with other countries? That alliances should not be made outside of our borders? Or does it mean that we should do all of these things, and form an isolationist country, like Japan had up until 1853? “Foreign influence” means alliances and treaties that entangle our country into the fates of others. We feel obligations to help the other countries, and can be forced into their affairs. The U.S. should try to avoid foreign entanglements, but it should not go as far as becoming an isolationist state and cutting itself off from the rest of the world.

            Isolationism would be and extreme step to take. If we had done so when George Washington was president, and stayed an isolationist country, we would be extremely behind the rest of the world in the technological sense. There would not be a lot of progress, because most of the progress comes about by collaborations between countries. For example, when Japan was an isolationist nation, they were so behind technologically that they couldn’t fight the U.S. and its superior weaponry, and were forced to succumb to their threats. If we had become isolationist, we could be like that today. As we are now, we would not be able to support an isolationist society. We are too strongly present in other countries, and too closely tied to even consider it. We get almost all of our products from other countries, and would not be able to stop that easily, and without great blows to our economy. It is not something that is possible in our current situation.

            Not becoming completely isolationist does not mean that we still shouldn’t rid ourselves of foreign entanglements. Washington stated that “in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” (George Washington, Farewell Address). World War I was started by alliances, when one country started to fight another and both sides called on their alliances to help them fight. What should have been a small war between two countries escalated into a world war that drew in countries from every continent. If the problem had stayed between the two countries that were originally having a problem, it likely wouldn’t have spread out into all of Europe, then the rest of the world, finally dragging us into it as well because of the ties with countries there. (The Americans, U.S. history textbook).  This is a case where foreign entanglements go wrong. Obligations to other countries cause more problems than they are worth. In this sense, we should stay out of foreign entanglements.

            The U.S. should not avoid all foreign influences. Some are necessary for progress, and for the economy and trade. Cutting ourselves off from the world and becoming isolationist is not the answer.  We simply should cut back on foreign entanglements, to as few as necessary. But we should not shut ourselves off from the rest of the world. We should not become an isolationist country.

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