Isolationism is a position taken in which a group, often a country, decides to remain apart from interactions with other entities. When nations or states declare themselves to be isolationist, it generally refers to its government’s wish not to trade or interact with other nations. In this case, they will not join alliances or agreements with other governments around the world.
This kind of foreign policy is clearly controversial – especially in these days of seemingly unstoppable globalization. However, as with any complex issue, there are pros and cons to this kind of policy and many perspectives to be had.
The Pros of Isolationism
1. Increased focus on domestic policy.
Some people feel that governments can become too distracted by foreign affairs and neglect domestic issues and policy. It is argued that when a country is isolationist, it can focus more intently and due to decreased investment in foreign aid and welfare, may have more budget availability for improving circumstances for citizens within the country.
2. Decreased need for spending on military budgets.
Many countries spend phenomenal amounts on their military budgets, but if the country has an isolationist stance, then there are great savings to be made in this area. A country that does not get involved in regional or international conflicts does not have the same need to maintain an expensive military. These savings could be spent on other programs that could benefit the country’s citizens and develop the country in many ways.
The Cons of Isolationism
1. Economy may suffer.
When you do not have trade agreements with other nations due to isolationist policies, it can affect how robust the nation’s economy is. For a strong and dynamic economy, there is usually a strong need for trade to be occurring between nations.
2. May become vulnerable to attack.
Countries that have got a policy of staying out of conflicts and which have got an undeveloped military may find themselves vulnerable to attack. In addition, since the country has not been actively involved in wars or conflicts, the soldiers, marines and so on may not have the necessary experience and expertise to counteract attacks.
There are a great many pros and cons to developing a foreign policy that engages with isolationism. Decisions about how and why a country will interact and communicate with other countries need to be made after seriously weighing up each of these pros and cons taking into consideration all the perspectives at hand.