There has been much talk recently about the impact of Hispanic and Asian immigration on the outcome of the Nov. 6 election. No matter your politics, there is another interesting aspect to these demographic changes.
Scott McConnell, writing for The American Conservative, notes that the new ethnic makeup of the U.S. will act, as it did in the pre- and post- World War I eras, ”more as a brake on an interventionist or militarized foreign policy than a leaven for one.” In other words, the U.S. may be less likely to engage in wars and such overseas.
Christianity has historically taken a dim view of war, so much so that a theory developed for determining the difference between just and unjust wars. But followers of Christ have seen even just wars as the lesser of evils, something that, while justified, is terribly tragic.
“War is always cause for remorse, never for exhilaration,” wrote William Sloane Coffin.
As a result of our faith heritage in regard to war, any news that the U.S. might be less likely to engage in armed conflict is indeed encouraging.
So how does McConnell get to this conclusion? First, he looks back to the first half of the 20th century.
McConnell says there was “ferocious political conflicts over American intervention in World Wars I and II, in which an Anglo-American establishment eventually prevailed over fierce opposition to intervene on Britain’s side.” The writer references “the German, Irish, and Scandinavian immigrant communities’ intense efforts to keep America out of the Great War.”
Then, in the 1930s, “Walter Lippmann interpreted American isolationism as an ethnic phenomenon: intervention in Europe risked exacerbating America’s own tensions,” McConnell says.
Then, in a post-World War II analysis, “political scientist Samuel Lubell opined that American isolationism was more an ethnic than a geographic phenomenon, rooted in anti-British prejudices stoked by the Republican Party.”
McConnell is a journalist, not a historian, and he is a journalist pushing a particular agenda, so I cannot vouch for the full integrity of his analysis. I simply offer it as food for thought in helping us try to understand our times.
His perspective, however, on the current situation is as good as any other you will hear in the popular media. He maintains today’s “new immigrants” appear to have “little obvious interest in foreign policy, or at least nothing to compare with the fierce anti-Castroism of the early Cuban refugees. An exception might be made for Muslims who at this point make up less than 1 percent of the American population.”
Also, McConnell cites the Reuters/Ipsos exit poll, which did not find sharp differences between whites and non-whites. He writes:
“Asked, for instance, whether the United States should use military force to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, 41 percent of minorities either strongly or somewhat agreed, versus 51 percent percent of the whites.
“Asked whether they agreed that the United States should spend less money on the military, 28 percent of minorities somewhat or strongly disagreed, as opposed to 39 percent of whites.
“Such gaps persist on most of the foreign-policy issues. Relatively few of the polled questions translate into a straightforward hawk-versus-dove dichotomy, but those that do tend to show the minority coalition about 10 percent more dovish than the whites.”
War ever lingers as a possibility in this world. People are dying every day in various conflicts, including Americans in Afghanistan. War is a terribly ugly business that is contrary to the Spirit of Christ, even though it does seem to be necessary at times in order to restrain greater evil.
A prayer: Dear God, help us to hate war. Help us to desire peace when others may desire conflict. Help our nation, the most powerful one in the world, to be very careful in how we use that power. And thank You for bringing the world to our shores so that we may have a broader view of the world. God, please bless America, please bless this world.