The question is: Should America just let other countries fend for themselves and part from our foreign policy of global engagement, or should we press on with being the umpire for conflicts around the globe?
Exploring the history of how America became the world’s policeman is a film by James Shelley and Elizabeth Cobbs — American Umpire — airing on Public Broadcasting Stations nationwide. Be sure to check your local listings.
American Umpire is a 56-minute documentary narrated by former anchor of PBS NewsHour Jim Lehrer that takes a critical look at America’s role as the world’s policeman. It explores our origins as a neutral republic and our transition to a highly engaged superpower after World War II.
Since the end of WWII and the adoption of the Truman Doctrine, presidents from both political parties have told Americans that we must umpire the world’s conflicts and if the U.S. does not do this job, the world will not be safe. Today we spend more on defense than Europe, Russia and China combined. While at the time Congress debated the Truman Doctrine, the U.S. enjoyed the highest per capita income in the world, today we rank 17th.
“‘American Umpire’ seeks to open up a national discussion about the foreign policy of the United States in an important election year,” says director and producer Jim Shelley. “More than anyone, presidents decide foreign policy and define our national vision,” adds Professor Elizabeth Cobbs, writer and producer, who is also interviewed for the film.
As we experience acts of terror on U.S. soil, must the U.S. continue to play the world’s policeman or is it time for a new paradigm to replace the Truman Doctrine?
Bottom line: As one who loves history, I found the documentary compelling. Even those who prefer to avoid anything related to history, this film will raise questions that will likely influence or cement who you choose to vote into the presidential office. Be sure to check when this airs on your local PBS station.
— By Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.