Jefferson spoke for the founders and all our early presidents when
he stated: "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations,
entangling alliances with none..." which is, "one of the essential
principles of our government". The question is: Whatever happened
to this principle and should it be restored?
the 20th Century was wracked with war, peace was turned
asunder, and our liberties were steadily eroded. Foreign alliances
and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations became commonplace.
On many occasions, involvement in military action occurred through
UN resolutions or a presidential executive order, despite the fact
that the war power was explicitly placed in the hands of Congress.
World War II, nearly 100,000 deaths and over a quarter million wounded
(not counting the many thousands that have b een affected by Agent
Orange and the Persian Gulf War Syndrome) have all occurred without
a declaration of war and without a clear-cut victory. The entire 20th
century was indeed costly, with over 600,000 killed in battle and
an additional million wounded.
had been truly enhanced during that time, less could be said about
the imperfections of the policy. The evidence, however, is clear that
we as a people are less free, and the prosperity we still enjoy may
be more illusionary than many realize. The innocent victims who have
suffered at the hands of our militarism abroad are rarely considered
by our government. Yet they may well be a major factor in the hatred
now being directed toward America. It is not currently popular to
question corporate and banking influence over a foreign policy that
replaced the wisdom of Washington and Jefferson. Questioning foreign
government influence on our policies, although known about for years,
is not acceptable in the politically correct environment in which
little doubt that our role in the world dramatically changed in the
20th century, inexorably evolving from that of strict non-interventionism
to that of sole superpower, with the assumption that we were destined
to be the world policeman. By the end of the 20th century,
in fact, this occurred. We have totally forgotten that for well over
a hundred years we followed the advice of the founders by meticulously
avoiding overseas conflicts. Instead we now find ourselves in charge
of an American hegemony spread to the four corners of the earth.
we have entered the 21st century, and there is not a country
in the world that does not either depend on the U.S. for protection,
or fear her wrath if they refuse to do her bidding. As the 20th
century progressed, American taxpayers were required to finance, with
great sacrifices to their pocketbooks and their liberty, the buying
of loyalty through foreign aid and intimidation of those countries
that did not cooperate.
question remains, however: Has this change been beneficial to freedom
and prosperity here at home, and has it promoted peace and trade throughout
the world? Those who justify our interventionist policies abroad argue
that the violation of the rule of law is not a problem, considering
the benefits we receive for maintaining the American empire.
But has this really taken into consideration the cost in lives lost,
the damage to long-term prosperity, as well as the dollar cost and
freedoms we have lost? And what about the future? Has this policy
of foreign intervention set the stage for radically changing America
and the world in ways not yet seen? Were the founders completely
off track because they lived in different times, or was the foreign
policy they advised based on an essential principle of lasting
value? Choosing the wrong answer to this question could very well
be deadly to the grand experiment in liberty begun in 1776.
Slippery Road to World Policeman
transition from non-interventionism to our current role as world arbiter
in all conflicts was insidious and fortuitous. In the early part of
the 20th century, the collapse of the British Empire left
a vacuum, which was steadily filled by a US presence. In the latter
part of the century, the results of World War II and the collapse
of the Soviet system propelled us into our current role. Throughout
most of the 20th century, it was our competition with the
Soviets that prompted our ever-expanded presence around the world.
We are where we are today almost by default. But does that justify
interventionism or prove it is in our best interest?
for the moment the moral and constitutional arguments against foreign
intervention, a strong case can be made against it for other reasons.
It is clear that one intervention begets another. The first problem
is rarely solved, and new ones are created. Indeed, in foreign affairs
a slippery slope exists. In recent years, we too often slipped into
war through the back door, with the purpose rarely defined or understood
and the need for victory ignored.
effort of intervention frequently explodes into something that we
did not foresee. Policies end up doing the opposite of their intended
purpose with unintended consequences. The result is that the action
taken turns out to actually be detrimental to our national security
interests. Yet no effort is made to challenge the fundamental principle
behind our foreign policy. It is this failure to adhere to a set of
principles that has allowed us to slip into this role, and if unchallenged,
could well undo the liberties we all cherish.
history, there has always been a great temptation for rulers to spread
their influence and pursue empire over liberty. Few resist this temptation
to power. There always seems to be a natural inclination to yield
to this historic human passion. Could it be that progress and civilization
and promoting freedom require ignoring this impulse to control others,
as the founders of this great nation advised?
the driving force behind world domination is usually an effort to
control wealth. The Europeans were searching for gold when they came
to the Americas. Now it's our turn to seek control over the black
gold which drives much of what we do today in foreign affairs. Competing
with the Soviet Union prompted our involvement in areas of the world
where the struggle for the balance of power was the sole motivating
foreign policy of the 20th century replaced the policy
endorsed by all the early presidents. This permitted our steadily
growing involvement overseas in an effort to control the world's commercial
interests, with a special emphasis on oil.
influence in the Middle East evolved out of concern for the newly
created state of Israel in 1947, and our desire to secure control
over the flow of oil in that region. Israel's needs and Arab oil have
influenced our foreign policy for more than a half a century.
1950s, the CIA installed the Shah in Iran. It was not until the hostage
crisis of the late 1970s that the unintended consequences of this
became apparent. This generated Iranian hatred of America and led
to the takeover by the reactionary Khoumini and the Islamic fundamentalists.
It caused greater regional instability than we anticipated. Our meddling
in the internal affairs of Iran was of no benefit to us and set the
stage for our failed policy in dealing with Iraq.
ourselves in the 1980s with Iraq in its war with Iran, and assisted
Saddam Hussein in his rise to power. As recent reports reconfirm,
we did nothing to stop Hussein's development of chemical and biological
weapons and at least indirectly assisted in their development. Now,
as a consequence of that needless intervention, we're planning a risky
war to remove him from power. And as usual, the probable result of
such an effort will be something our government does not anticipate
like a takeover by someone much worse. As bad as Hussein is, he's
an enemy of the Al Qaeda, and someone new may well be a close ally
of the Islamic radicals.
our puppet dictatorship in Saudi Arabia has lasted for many decades,
it's becoming shakier every day. The Saudi people are not exactly
friendly toward us, and our military presence on their holy soil is
greatly resented. This contributes to the radical fundamentalist hatred
directed toward us. Another unfavorable consequence to America, such
as a regime change not to our liking, could soon occur in Saudi Arabia.
It is not merely a coincidence that 15 of the 9/11 terrorists are
Persian Gulf War, fought without a declaration of war, is in reality
still going on. It looks now like 9/11 may well have been a battle
in that war, perpetrated by fanatical guerillas. It indicates how
seriously flawed our foreign policy is. In the 1980s, we got involved
in the Soviet/Afghan war and actually sided with the forces of Osama
bin Laden, helping him gain power. This obviously was an alliance
of no benefit to the United States, and it has now come back to haunt
us. Our policy for years was to encourage Saudi Arabia to oppose communism
by financing and promoting Islamic fundamentalism. Surely the shortcomings
of that policy are now evident to everyone.
bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan on the eve of his indictment over
Monica Lewinsky shattered a Taliban plan to expel Osama bin Laden
from Afghanistan. Clinton's bombing of Baghdad on the eve of his impeachment
hardly won any converts to our cause or reassured Muslim people in
the Middle East of a balanced American policy.
continued bombing of Iraq over these past 12 years, along with the
deadly sanctions resulting in hundreds of thousands of needless Iraqi
civilian deaths, has not been beneficial to our security. And it has
been used as one of the excuses for recruiting fanatics ready to sacrifice
their lives in demonstrating their hatred toward us.
all Muslims see our policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as
being openly favorable toward Israel and in opposition to the Palestinians.
It is for this reason they hold us responsible for Palestinian deaths,
since all the Israeli weapons are from the United States. Since the
Palestinians don't even have an army and must live in refugee camps,
one should understand why the animosity builds, even if our pro-Israeli
position can be explained.
is no end in sight. Since 9/11, our involvement in the Middle East
and Saudi Arabia has grown significantly. Though we can badger those
countries whose leaders depend upon us to keep them in power to
stay loyal to the United States, the common people of the region become
more alienated. Our cozy relationship with the Russians may not be
as long-lasting as our current administration hopes, considering the
$40 billion trade deal recently made between Russia and Saddam Hussein.
It's more than a bit ironic that we find the Russians now promoting
free trade as a solution to a difficult situation while we're promoting
continuous escalation of our involvement overseas has been widespread.
We've been in Korea for more than 50 years. We have promised to never
back away from the China-Taiwan conflict over territorial disputes.
Fifty-seven years after World War II, we still find our military spread
throughout Europe and Asia.
now, the debate rages over whether our national security requires
that we, for the first time, escalate this policy of intervention
to include "anticipatory self-defense and preemptive war." If our
interventions of the 20th century led to needless deaths,
unwinnable wars, and continuous unintended consequences, imagine what
this new doctrine is about to unleash on the world.
policy has prompted us to announce that our CIA will assassinate Saddam
Hussein whenever it gets the chance and that the government of Iraq
is to be replaced. Evidence now has surfaced that the United Nations
inspection teams in the 1990s definitely included American CIA agents
who were collecting information on how to undermine the Iraqi government
and continue with the routine bombing missions. Why should there be
a question of why Saddam Hussein might not readily accept UN inspectors
without some type of assurances? Does anybody doubt that control of
Iraqi oil supplies, second only to Saudi Arabia, is the reason U.S.
policy is belligerent toward Saddam Hussein? If our goal is honestly
to remove dictators around the world, then this is the beginning of
an endless task.
transition from the original American foreign policy of peace, trade,
and neutrality to that of world policeman, we have sacrificed our
sovereignty to world government organizations, such as the UN, the
IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO. To further confuse and undermine
our position, we currently have embarked on a policy of unilateralism
within these world organizations. This means we accept the principle
of globalized government when it pleases us, but when it doesn't,
we ignore it for the sake of our own interests.
in our own interest is to be applauded, but what we're getting is
not a good alternative to a one-world government. We don't get our
sovereignty back, yet we continue to subject ourselves to a great
potential financial burden and loss of liberty as we shift from a
national government, with constitutional protection of our rights,
to an international government, where our citizens' rights are threatened
by treaties we haven't ratified, like the Kyoto and International
Criminal Court treaties. We cannot depend on controlling the world
government at some later date, even if we seem to be able to do that
unilateralists' approach of dominating world leaders and arbitrarily
ignoring certain mandates something we can do with impunity because
of our intimidating power serves only to further undermine our prestige
and acceptability throughout the world. And this includes the Muslim
countries as well as our European friends. This merely sets the stage
for both our enemies and current friends to act in concert against
our interests when the time comes. This is especially true if we become
financially strapped and our dollar is sharply weakened and we are
in a much more vulnerable bargaining position.
within a globalist approach to government is the worst of all choices.
It ignores national sovereignty, dignifies one-world government, and
places us in the position of demanding dictatorial powers over the
world community. Demanding the right to set all policy and exclude
ourselves from jurisdictional restraints sows the seeds of future
discontent and hostility.
downside is we get all the bills, risk the lives of our people without
cause, and make ourselves the target for every event that goes badly.
We get blamed for the unintended, unforeseen consequences and become
the target of terrorists that evolve from the radicalized fringes.
foreign interventionism does not serve our interests. Tinkering on
the edges of our current policy will not help. An announced policy
of support for globalist government, assuming the financial and military
role of world policeman, maintaining an American world empire, while
flaunting unilateralism, is a recipe for disaster. US unilateralism
is a far cry from the non-intervention that the founders advised.
Principle Behind Foreign Policy
term "foreign policy" does not exist in the Constitution. All members
of the federal government have sworn to uphold the Constitution, and
should do only those things that are clearly authorized. Careful reading
of the Constitution reveals Congress has a lot more responsibility
than the President in dealing with foreign affairs. The President
is the Commander-in-Chief, but can't declare war or finance military
action without explicit congressional approval. A good starting point
would be for Congress to assume the responsibility given it and to
make sure the executive branch does not usurp any authority explicitly
granted to Congress.
foreign policy of non-intervention is built on friendship with other
nations, free trade, and open travel, maximizing the exchanges of
goods and services and ideas. Nations that trade with each other are
definitely less likely to fight against each other. Unnecessary bellicosity
and jingoism is detrimental to peace and prosperity, and incites unnecessary
confrontation. And yet, today, that's about all we hear coming from
the politicians and the media pundits who are so anxious for this
war against Iraq.
avoid entangling alliances and stop meddling in the internal affairs
of other nations no matter how many special interests demand otherwise.
The entangling alliances that we should avoid include the complex
alliances in the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO. One-world
government goals are anathema to non-intervention and free trade.
The temptation to settle disputes and install better governments abroad
is fraught with great danger and many uncertainties.
our national sovereignty and guaranteeing constitutional protection
of our citizens' rights are crucial. Respecting the sovereignty of
other nations, even when we're in disagreement with some of their
policies, is also necessary. Changing others then becomes a job of
persuasion and example not force and intimidation just as it is
in trying to improve personal moral behavior of our fellow citizens
here at home.
our country from outside attack is legitimate and is of the highest
priority. Protecting individual liberty should be our goal. This does
not mean, however, that our troops should follow our citizens or their
investments throughout the world. While foreign visitors should be
welcomed, no tax-supported services should be provided. Citizenship
should be given with caution, and not automatically by merely stepping
over a national boundary for the purpose of giving birth.
and prosperous society comes from such policies and is impossible
without a sound free-market economy, one not controlled by a central
bank. Avoiding trade wars, devaluations, inflations, deflations, and
disruption of free trade with protectionist legislation is impossible
under a system of international trade dependent on fluctuating fiat
currencies controlled by world central banks and influenced by powerful
financial interests. Instability in trade is one of the prime causes
of creating conditions that lead to war.
basic moral principle underpinning a non-interventionist foreign policy
is that of rejecting the initiation of force against others. It is
based on non-violence and friendship unless attacked, self-determination,
and self-defense while avoiding confrontation, even when we disagree
with the way other countries run their affairs. It simply means that
we should mind our own business and not be influenced by special interests
that have an ax to grind or benefits to gain by controlling our foreign
policy. Manipulating our country into conflicts that are none of our
business and unrelated to national security provides no benefits to
us, while exposing us to great risks financially and militarily.
Would a Foreign Policy For Peace Look Like?
troops would be brought home, systematically but soon. Being in Europe
and Japan for over 50 years is long enough. The failure in Vietnam
resulted in no occupation and a more westernized country now doing
business with the United States. There's no evidence that the military
approach in Vietnam was superior to that of trade and friendship.
The lack of trade and the imposition of sanctions have not served
us well in Cuba or in the Middle East. The mission for our Coast Guard
would change if our foreign policy became non-interventionist. They,
too, would come home, protect our coast, and stop being the enforcers
of bureaucratic laws that either should not exist or should be a state
foreign aid would be discontinued. Most evidence shows that this money
rarely helps the poor, but instead solidifies power in the hands of
dictators. There's no moral argument that can justify taxing poor
people in this country to help rich people in poor countries. Much
of the foreign aid, when spent, is channeled back to weapons manufacturers
and other special interests in the United States who are the strong
promoters of these foreign-aid expenditures. Yet it's all done in
the name of humanitarian causes.
policy of freedom and peace would prompt us to give ample notice before
permanently withdrawing from international organizations that have
entangled us for over a half a century. US membership in world government
was hardly what the founders envisioned when writing the Constitution.
The principle of Marque and Reprisal would be revived and specific
problems such as terrorist threats would be dealt with on a contract
basis incorporating private resources to more accurately target our
enemies and reduce the chances of needless and endless war. This would
help prevent a continual expansion of conflicts into areas not relating
to any immediate threat. By narrowing the target, there's less opportunity
for special interests to manipulate our foreign policy to serve the
financial needs of the oil and military-weapon industries.
Logan Act would be repealed, thus allowing maximum freedom of our
citizens to volunteer to support their war of choice. This would help
diminish the enthusiasm for wars the proponents have used to justify
our world policies and diminish the perceived need for a military
followed a constitutional policy of non-intervention, we would never
have to entertain the aggressive notion of preemptive war based on
speculation of what a country might do at some future date. Political
pressure by other countries to alter our foreign policy for their
benefit would never be a consideration. Commercial interests and our
citizens investing overseas could not expect our armies to follow
them and protect their profits. A non-interventionist foreign policy
would not condone subsidies to our corporations through programs like
the Export/Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
These programs guarantee against losses, while the risk takers want
our military to protect their investments from political threats.
This current flawed policy removes the tough decisions of when to
invest in foreign countries and diminishes the pressure on those particular
countries to clean up their political acts in order to entice foreign
capital to move into their country. Today's foreign policy encourages
bad investments. Ironically this is all done in the name of free trade
and capitalism, but it does more to export jobs and businesses than
promote free trade. And yet when it fails, capitalism and freedom
foreign policy would go a long way toward preventing 9/11 type attacks.
The Department of Homeland Security would be unnecessary, and the
military, along with less bureaucracy in our intelligence-gathering
agencies, could instead provide the security the new department is
supposed to provide. A renewed respect for gun ownership and responsibility
for defending one's property would provide additional protection against
are many reasons why a policy of peace is superior to a policy of
war. The principle that we do not have the moral authority to forcibly
change governments in foreign lands just because we don't approve
of their shortcomings should be our strongest argument but rarely
today is a moral argument in politics worth much.
practical argument against intervention, because of its record of
failure, should certainly prompt all thoughtful people to reconsider
what we have been doing for the past many decades.
all be aware that war is a failure of relationship between foreign
powers. Since this is such a serious matter, our American tradition
as established by the founders made certain that the executive is
subservient to the more democratically responsive legislative branch
on the issue of war. Therefore, no war is ever to be the prerogative
of a president through his unconstitutional use of executive orders,
nor should it ever be something where the legal authority comes from
an international body such as NATO or the United Nations. Up until
50 years ago, this had been the American tradition.
prevents the unexpected and unintended consequences that inevitably
result from well-intended meddling in the affairs of others.
like Switzerland and Sweden who promote neutrality and non-intervention
have benefited for the most part by remaining secure and free of war
over the centuries. Non-intervention consumes a lot less of the nation's
wealth and with less wars, a higher standard of living for all citizens
results. But this, of course, is not attractive to the military-industrial
complex, which enjoys a higher standard of living at the expense of
the taxpayer when a policy of intervention and constant war preparation
is carried out.
morality, and the Constitution are very unlikely to invade the minds
of the policy makers that control our foreign affairs. We have institutionalized
foreign intervention over the past 100 years through the teachings
of all our major universities and the propaganda that the media spews
out. The powerful influence over our policy, both domestic and foreign,
is not soon going to go away.
convinced however, that eventually restraint in our interventions
overseas will be guided by a more reasonable constitutional policy.
Economic reality will dictate it. Although political pressure in times
of severe economic downturn and domestic strife encourage planned
distractions overseas, these adventures always cause economic harm
due to the economic costs. When the particular country or empire involved
overreaches, as we are currently doing, national bankruptcy and a
severely weakened currency call the whole process to a halt.
Soviet system armed with an aggressive plan to spread its empire worldwide
collapsed, not because we attacked it militarily, but for financial
and economic reasons. They no longer could afford it, and the resources
and wealth that it drained finally turned the people against its authoritarian
an overseas empire is incompatible with the American tradition of
liberty and prosperity. The financial drain and the antagonism that
it causes with our enemies, and even our friends, will finally force
the American people to reject the policy outright. There will be no
choice. Gorbachev just walked away and Yeltsin walked in, with barely
a ripple. A non-violent revolution of unbelievable historic magnitude
occurred and the Cold War ended. We are not immune from such a similar
Soviet collapse ushered in the age of unparalleled American dominance
over the entire world, and along with it allowed the new expanded
hot war between the West and the Muslim East. All the hostility directed
toward the West built up over the centuries between the two factions
is now directed toward the United States. We are now the only power
capable of paying for and literally controlling the Middle East and
its cherished wealth, and we have not hesitated. Iraq, with its oil
and water and agricultural land, is a prime target of our desire to
further expand our dominion. The battle is growing more tense with
our acceptance and desire to control the Caspian Sea oil riches. But
Russia, now licking its wounds and once again accumulating wealth,
will not sit idly by and watch the American empire engulf this region.
When time runs out for us, we can be sure Russia will once again be
ready to fight for control of all those resources in countries adjacent
to her borders. And expect the same for China and India. And who knows,
maybe one day even Japan will return to the ancient art of using force
to occupy the cherished territories in her region of the world.
The most we can hope for will be, once the errors of our ways are
acknowledged and we can no longer afford our militarism, we will reestablish
the moral principle that underpins the policy of "peace, commerce
and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with
none." Our modern-day war hawks do not respect this American principle,
nor do they understand how the love of liberty drove the founders
in their great battle against tyranny.
prepare for the day when our financial bankruptcy and the failure
of our effort at world domination are apparent. The solution to such
a crisis can be easily found in our Constitution and in our traditions.
But ultimately, the love of liberty can only come from a change in
the hearts and minds of the people and with an answered prayer for
the blessings of divine intervention.