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What are the pros and cons of isolationism?

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Quick Answer

Isolationism is the philosophy of remaining apart from the affairs of another group. This is especially true as it regards the affairs of a country. The main benefit of this approach is that a country tends to avoid costly and deadly wars.

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Isolationism grew in popularity in the U.S. in the 1930's, in the period of WWI and the aftermath of The Great Depression. Immediately after WWI, the U.S rejected the invitation to join The League of Nations, fearing that this would lead the U.S to become too entangled in the affairs of Europe. Many who favored Isolationism cited George Washington's farewell address where he urged the U.S to refrain from intervention in European affairs, to bolster their claims. Many support Isolationism because they believe it is best to focus on domestic issues facing a country and that too often intervention perpetuates more violence. Senator Gerland P. Nye of North Dakota argued that American bankers and arms manufacturers only pushed for U.S involvement in foreign affairs for their own profit. On the other hand, Woodrow Wilson argued against isolationism, claiming that it can be necessary to intervene either through combat or negotiations in order to maintain the peace of the world. Wilson argued that in certain situations it is necessary to intervene, and such actions will promote peace rather than perpetuate violence. Moreover, some may argue that in certain dire global situations such as the holocaust it is necessary to intervene.

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