Nonintervention or non-interventionism is a foreign policy which holds that political rulers should avoid alliances with other nations and avoid all wars not related to direct territorial self-defense. A similar phrase is "strategic independence".

Isolationism is nonintervention combined with economic nationalism (protectionism). Proponents of non-interventionism distinguish their polices from isolationism. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson favored nonintervention in European Wars while maintaining free trade and cultural exchange.

Nonintervention by country

New Zealand

In recent years New Zealand has become largely noninterventionist. No military support, apart from medical, was given for the first Gulf war although SAS troops were provided for the war in Afghanistan. Engineers were provided in Iraq after conventional hostilities in the war had ceased. In the Pacific Islands, New Zealand has been involved in humanitarian interventions in the Solomon Islands, East Timor, and West Papua. However, those interventions were non-coercive interventions at the request of the nation being intervened upon.



Switzerland has long been known for its policy of defensively armed neutrality.

United States

In the United States, this foreign policy has been advocated at various times in the country's history, notably during the first century of U.S. history. George Washington, the first U.S. President, advised the country to avoid "foreign entanglements." Thomas Jefferson favored "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." John Quincy Adams wrote that the U.S. "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy."

The policy of non-intervention has been a serious issue for every major U.S. war. During World War I, during the inter-war years, World War II, and the Korean War, the main proponents of non-interventionism were the Old Right. During the Vietnam War, the New Left became the chief proponents of non-interventionism. Today in the U.S., members of both the "left" and "right" favor military interventionism in certain circumstances. Paleoconservatives, paleolibertarians, and progressives are non-interventionists. The split has become a primary issue in the 2008 election with some prominent Democrats denouncing the unpopular interventionist War in Iraq while most Republican candidates defend it, though the division is not strictly along party lines.

See also


Further reading

  • America's Tradition Of Non-Interventionism, Chris Leithner
  • Non-Interventionism,
  • Congressman Ron Paul is a Non-interventionist:
  • "A Noninterventionist Revival", by Michael R. Allen, Editor, Spin Magazine December 24, 1998:

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