International relations sees two typical approaches taken by countries, interventionist or isolationist. There are some countries that, during a certain time period, are involved in everything and quick to get involved and other countries that are the opposite and wish to only keep to themselves and not be involved. These different methods change between countries and between time frames. A country can transition from being an interventionist country to being an isolationist depending on their domestic and the global climate.
Interventionist countries are countries that are willing to be involved in everything. These countries typically intervene in problems and conflicts and try to take control. Countries are interventionist for different reasons and sometimes are only doing the bidding of the United Nations. Many times when the United Nations wants to get involved recently the United States is sent to do what the United Nations wants to have happen. On the tail end of the cold war the United States became an intensely interventionist country. With conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the United States started becoming involved in many things. The reason for taking this interventionist strategy was because of the prevalent domino theory of the time. The fear of communism ran deep, and the United States believed that countries would begin to fall to communism like dominos if they didn’t intervene and no one wanted communism at that time. Fear can be a big motivator for involvement. The fear of terrorism also leads to the United States intervention in Afghanistan and eventually Iraq as well. Interventionists countries see the best way to take care of things are getting involved themselves.
Countries that follow the isolationist policy take an opposite approach. For certain reasons, these actors have chosen to withdraw themselves from the global world. Isolationist countries believe in letting issues take their course with out intervening. These countries aren’t involved and don’t so much take directions from IGO’s like the United Nations. The United States was also an isolationist country for some time. When countries feel this way, they will choose to not involve themselves in an international situation because that is the way that they face foreign policy issues.
Interventionist and isolationist policies have a lot to do with national interest I think. Sometimes a country is not in a good position to involve themselves in others’ conflicts. There can be economic and other various domestic issues that will prevent an actor from wanting to become involved. This thought also works vice versa with interventionist countries. A country can have a strong interest in the government or resources that another country is in control of. Having that strong interest will lead to having a more interventionist strategy when the country has something to gain from intervening.
There are always going to be countries that are more interventionist or isolationist consistently. Other countries will swing back and forth with the political climate of the time to suite their national interest. No decisions are made including interventionist and isolationists with out the consideration of national interest. These different types of policies are incredibly important to their international dealings. Countries can become involved in things that they probably shouldn’t be in or on the flip side a country could choose to stay out of something that they may have benefited from if they would have leaned more toward intervention and gotten involved. It is important to be aware of a countries current position to gauge them in a game theory matrix as to what choices they may make and what outcomes they might probably want from certain situations.