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Quote Author Cited
It is easier to stay out than get out. Mark Twain
The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. Smedley Butler
Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth. Albert Schweitzer
Military intervention for disarmament is the worst possible way to do it. There are times when perhaps that is the only alternative we have… in the case of the first Gulf war -- Desert Storm -- that it was the UN inspectors -- in the years after the war -- that destroyed far more weapons and far more effectively dismantled the programs for weapons of mass destruction, than that vast armada of military forces that was utilized in Desert Storm. And of course, when the UN inspectors did it -- when under UN supervision, the Iraqis destroyed these weapons themselves -- or the UN destroyed them with Iraqi cooperation -- you do not have the same kind of side effects and toxic release and other things that happened in some cases during the war. Trying to get rid of programs of concern and weapons of concern by violence is a very bad and dangerous way to do it. Greg Thielmann
The British can not alone act as the policemen of the world. Andrew Bonar Law
America’s power to intervene effectively overseas depends on its power to persuade and not merely coerce. The power to persuade depends on a willingness to be persuaded. And that willingness depends, ultimately, on America’s willingness to entertain the prospect that it is wrong. Peter Beinart
If we do not want third parties to take the action against wrongdoing regimes in our hemisphere, then sooner or later we must keep order ourselves. Theodore Roosevelt
Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations it need fear no interference from the United States. Theodore Roosevelt
From the very beginning, the American republic has never shrunk from foreign wars …. There has scarcely been a year since its founding that American soldiers haven’t been overseas … American foreign policy largely consists of doctrines about when and where to intervene in other people’s countries. Michael Ignatieff
My mission was to save Rwanda. Their mission was to put on a show with no risk. Romeo Dallaire
My own prediction is that the Iraqis will all fly at each other’s throats and that there will be a bad slump in the administration that will continue until someone strong enough to dominate the country emerges, or, alternatively, until we have to step in and intervene. Kinahan Cornwallis
America has saved the world most of the time, but messed it up a couple of times. Sarah Vowell
I congratulate you on the liberation of our fellow citizens who were stranded on the coast of Tripoli and made prisoners of war. In a government bottomed on the will of all the life and liberty of every individual citizen become interesting to all. In the treaty, therefore, which has concluded our warfare with that State an article for the ransom of our citizens has been agreed to. An operation by land by a small band of our country-men and others, engaged for the occasion in conjunction with the troops of the ex-Bashaw of that country, gallantly conducted by our late consul, Eaton, and their successful enterprise on the city of Derne, contributed doubtless to the impression which produced peace, and the conclusion of this prevented opportunities of which the officers and men of our squadron destined for Tripoli would have availed themselves to emulate the acts of valor exhibited by their brethren in the attack of the last year. Reflecting with high satisfaction on the distinguished bravery displayed whenever occasions permitted it in the late Mediterranean service, I think it would be an useful encouragement as well as a just reward to make an opening for some present promotion by enlarging our peace establishment of captains and lieutenants. Thomas Jefferson
The small vessels authorized by Congress with a view to the Mediterranean service have been sent into that sea, and will be able more effectually to confine the Tripoline cruisers within their harbors and supersede the necessity of convoy to our commerce in that quarter. Thomas Jefferson
In truth the monarchy here is an absurd anachronism. It has nothing on which it logically or legitimately stands. The feudal basis on which it once stood no longer existing, the monarchy now is only an impediment to good government -- an obstruction to the prosperity and progress of the islands. Destiny and the vast future interests of the United States in the Pacific clearly indicate who at no distant day must be responsible for the government of these islands. John L. Stevens
It appears that Hawaii was taken possession of by the United States forces without the consent or wish of the government of the islands, or of anybody else so far as shown, except the United States Minister�. The provisional government owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United States. Fair-minded people with the evidence before them will hardly claim that the Hawaiian Government was overthrown by the people of the islands or that the provisional government had ever existed with their consent�. By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress, the Government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has been overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair. Grover Cleveland
There are, however, cases in which, while our own interests are not greatly involved, strong appeal is made to our sympathies.... in extreme cases action may be justifiable and proper. What form the action shall take must depend upon the circumstances of the case; that is, upon the degree of the atrocity and upon our power to remedy it. Theodore Roosevelt
I helped make Mexico...safe for American oil interests. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank …. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. Smedley Butler
I feel it is an intensely disagreeable and unfortunate task which we cannot in honor shirk. Theodore Roosevelt
I don’t think that Americans should die to make Iraq free. What are we going to do? Have these endless wars of altruism? David Rieff
The country well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own … she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standards of freedom. John Quincy Adams
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. John Quincy Adams
If two fish fight, the British are behind it. Anonymous
In 1985 five Senators had received contributions from Lincoln Savings and Loan, and had interceded on the bank's behalf with federal regulators. The same request was made of the governor who refused. You don't intervene in the regulatory process. It's law enforcement. It's like a parent ... calling the police chief to say, "Don't touch my kid." It's wrong. [The Senators' efforts delayed the closure of the bank, costing the taxpayers billions of dollars. Bruce Babbitt
Governments interfere in the affairs of each other, when they conceive their own peace is endangered. George S. Brown
I don’t like genocide, but I would not commit our troops [to stop it.] George W. Bush
The Pentagon is always going to be the last to want to intervene. It is up to the civilians to tell us what they want to do and we’ll figure out how to do it. Wesley Clark
We came here today partly in recognition that we in the United States and the world community did not do as much as we could have and should have done to try to limit what occurred. Bill Clinton
[The Kosovo intervention] would set a dangerous precedent to commit our troops to fighting civil wars for independence in every corner of the world. Mac Collins
What the Serbs are doing is an international crime. What the world is not doing is also an international crime. Alphonse D'Amato
Be careful. Legal at State was worried about this yesterday—Genocide finding could commit the U. S. Government to actually do something. Defense Department
The Americans are out, and as far as I’m concerned, in Rwanda, that ought to be an end to it. Bob Dole
From little involvements—little CIA wars—big wars grow. Thomas F. Eagleton
If America wins they win together; if it fails the President fails alone. Thomas Friedman
All foreign policy is the intervention of one nation's domestic politics into another nation's domestic politics. Leslie H. Gelb
We don't propose to sit here in our rocking chair with our hands folded and let the Communists set up any government in the Western Hemisphere. Lyndon B. Johnson
We cannot hope to substitute armed power for the kind of political and economic social changes that offer the best resistance to Communism. If the necessary reforms have not been forthcoming over the past seven years to stop Communist subversion and rebellion, then I do not see how American combat troops can do it today. Mike Mansfield
The case for intervention is overwhelming … The spectacle of thousands of British subjects kept permanently in the position of helots … Alfred Milner
Some might have liked us more if we had intervened less ... some might have disliked us less if we had intervened more, but ... having concluded that we intended to intervene no more and no less than we actually did, nobody had any use for us at all. Literary Digest
A stable world may be one in which the United States can act to secure peace without fear of a nuclear attack. Herb London
[American military and diplomatic] aid and protection is apt to be given to any American interest that is financially powerful enough ... no matter whether it be a legitimate interest or, as has so often been the case, a claim for spoils resulting from a fraudulent concession or monopoly worked through by the aid of corrupt and heavily bribed [local] officials. William Kimball
Be very careful of military action. You will be judged by how it ends—not by how it begins. Henry A. Kissinger
We’ll all fight like cats – or die rather than submit to Hitler. U.S. look pretty useless. Well, we must die without them. Alexander George Montagu Cadogan; Sir Alexander Cadogan
If King Hussein appealed to us for aid and protection, we should be obliged to send American soldiers to Arabia … in order to protect his independence against the assaults of the Wahabis. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
No one has developed a magic formula for how to make countries grow, though economic researchers have identified a number of poisons. Corruption, overweening government intervention, and mountains of debt are contraindicated for countries attempting to develop. Kenneth Rogoff
Effective intervention ended Sierra Leone’s civil war, while nonintervention condemned Rwanda to genocide. Niall Ferguson
The warnings of the last 4 years have been ignored. As a result, every single alternative before us is accompanied by grave risks. Madeleine Albright
Between 1945 and 2005 the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements… William Blum
Is military occupation likely to be the midwife of democracy? Eva Bellin
President’s Rule India
Engagement is better than non-engagement except in the case of some really horrible countries. Richard L. Armitage
I wish I had intervened in Rwanda. I will spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn’t. Bill Clinton
It is necessary to take the further step of using the right to intervention as a preventive measure, to stop wars before they start and to stop murderers before they kill . . . We knew what was likely to happen in Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo long before they exploded into war. But we didn’t act. If these experiences have taught us anything, it is that the time for a decisive evolution in international consciousness has arrived. Bernard Kouchner
Markets don’t always self-correct fast enough. Until they do there is an immense amount of damage that has been done which is why we need government intervention. Joseph Stiglitz
The US has always taken velvet revolution into consideration by promoting Western culture in the society and by causing strife between people and the government through propaganda, organizing certain individuals, psychological warfare and making intentional use of media, intellectual circles, university student's establishments and feminism movements in order to implement its interfering policies. Ahmad Khatami
One should never involve oneself in the affairs of others, unless it should be to make peace and prevent the shedding of blood. Polly Leiton
There are bad people all over the place, and we really can't have a war each time just to get rid of one of these bad people. Edward Heath
If we do not help the Libyan rebels, their blood will flow and it will be a stain on the French Flag. Bernard-Henri Levy
We seem to have an obligation to protect if a dictator is going to rapidly kill many of his people on CNN. We do not seem to have the same obligation if he will kill his people slowly and not on CNN. Condoleeza Rice
… if medicine is really to accomplish its great task, it must intervene in political and social life. It must point out the hindrances that impede the normal social functioning of vital processes, and effect their removal Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow
We have said, and we will always say again, that we are opposed to the intervention of foreign military forces. But which was the lesser evil? Chaos, civil war, counter-revolution, and a new world war, or an intervention by Soviet troops? ... I say clearly that the first alternative was the worst thing that could have occurred, and the second, the intervention of Soviet troops, was a necessary evil. Josip Broz Tito
Please don't intervene. Please leave us alone. It is my job and we can cope with this matter. We are trying to explain this to foreigners. But if they do not understand or ignore our explanation, I don't care because we are not begging them for food. Thaksin Shinawatra
I wasn't there for one constituent; I was there for a major economic interest of my state. John McCain
The question of when you intervene is probably the toughest question of American foreign policy. Lee H. Hamilton
The draft lays down a general policy, which the Queen is afraid may ultimately turn out very dangerous. It is this: England undertakes to interfere in the internal affairs of Spain, and to promote the development of the present constitutional Government of Spain in a more democratic direction, and this for the avowed purpose of counteracting the influence of France. England becomes therefore responsible for a particular direction given to the internal Government of Spain, which to control she has no sufficient means. All England can do, and will have to do, is: to keep up a particular party in Spain to support her views. France, knowing that this is directed against her, must take up the opposite party and follow the opposite policy in Spanish affairs Queen Victoria
It is right to intervene when markets are not working and people are getting hurt. David Cameron
It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States. Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it. Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.” Vladimir Putin
Heroism means going out of bounds. In this world things must go out of bounds from time to time... No one can desire that the world continue to muddle along in every respect in the groove into which imperfect laws and even more imperfect behavior have pushed it. Without heroic intervention no Council of Nicaea, no dethronement of the Merovingians, no conquest of England, no Reformation, no revolt of the Netherlands, no free America. The thing that counts is who intervenes, how and in the name of what. Johan Huizinga
Do what is necessary to stop the bloodshed in Syria. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
We have won this war. We have chased out the terrorists. Francois Hollande
… the independent Afghan government that followed the ouster of the Taliban descended into catastrophic corruption, incompetence, and double-dealing, and many Afghans blamed America intervention for the mess in their country. Richard K. Betts
There will be times … when our safety will not be directly threatened, but our interests and values are …. In such cases, we should not be afraid to act. Barack Obama
It’s not only time to It is time not to take force off the table… It is time to put force on the table and use it Joe Biden
[William Howard] Taft was the last serious anti-interventionist presidential candidate in U. S. history. Michael Burleigh
Newly emerging states are challenging settled opinion on transnational justice and humanitarian intervention, which they often interpret as victor’s justice and regime change. Stephen Hopgood
We don’t have a dog in that fight. James Baker
There is a middle ground between sitting on our hands and sending in the marines. James Baker
It is absolutely critical to build domestic support for any foreign initiative. James Baker
History teaches us these lessons for the interveners: leave your prejudices at home, keep your ambitions low, have enough resources to do the job, do not lose the golden hour, make security your first priority, involve the neighbors. Paddy Ashdown
At times, the politicians or pundits might admit that Americans have no tangible interests in a given country, just a moral obligation to prevent killing, poverty or oppression. That’d be fine. At least they’d be making the case honestly. Peter Beinart
It is just as important to define the limit beyond which we will not intervene as it is to convince our people that we cannot find security in an isolationist party. Walter Lippmann
We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root. Barack Obama
History asks of us that we never act unilaterally, never alone, but only within the alliances of NATO, the United Nations and the European Union as it is clearly specified in international law Ursula Von Der Leyen
The effects of U.S. intervention in Latin America have been overwhelming negative. They have had the effect of reinforcing brutal and unjust social systems and crushing people who are fighting for what we would actually call “American values.” In many cases, … we actually overthrew governments that had principles similar to ours and replaced those … leaders with people who detest everything the United States stands for. Stephen Kinzer
Could this country stand by and watch the [most] direct crime that ever stained the face of history, and thus become participators in the sin. Edward Grey
I do not believe for a moment that, at the end of this war [WWI], even if we stand aside, we should be able to undo what had happened … to prevent the whole of the West of Europe opposite us from falling under the domination of a single power … and we should, I believe, sacrifice our respect and good name and reputation before the world and should not escape the most serious and grave consequences. Edward Grey
Syria: It’s a messy civil war and we should not be involved in it. Rand Paul
Every time we have toppled a secular dictator (in the Middle East), it has been replaced by a chaos and the rise of radical Islam…. Intervention has unintended consequences Rand Paul
America stands alone as the world’s indispensable nation. Bill Clinton