Can U.S. Foreign Policy Be Fixed?

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The WikiLeaks
revelations have shined a light on the dark nature of U.S. foreign
policy. As Eric
recently described it: “Washington’s heavy-handed
treatment of friends and foes alike, its bullying, use of diplomats
as junior-grade spies, narrow-minded views, and snide remarks about
world leaders.”

As much as
I, an American, hate to say it, U.S. foreign policy is actually
much worse. It is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling.
It sanctions the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the
assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure,
the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers,
and imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism. It supports
corrupt and tyrannical governments and brutal sanctions and embargoes.
It results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the
United States.

The question,
then, is simply this: Can U.S. foreign policy be fixed? Although
I am not very optimistic that it will be, I am more than
confident that it can be.

I propose a
four-pronged solution from the following perspectives: Founding
Fathers, military, congressional, libertarian. In brief, to fix
its foreign policy the United States should implement a Jeffersonian
foreign policy, adopt Major General Smedley Butler’s Amendment
for Peace, follow the advice of Congressman Ron Paul, and do it
all within the libertarian framework of philosopher Murray Rothbard.

Thomas Jefferson,
our first secretary of state and third president, favored a foreign
policy of “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all
nations – entangling alliances with none.” This policy
was basically followed until the Spanish-American War of 1898. Here
is the simple but profound wisdom of Jefferson:

No one nation
has a right to sit in judgment over another.

We wish
not to meddle with the internal affairs of any country, nor with
the general affairs of Europe.

I am for
free commerce with all nations, political connection with none,
and little or no diplomatic establishment.

We have
produced proofs, from the most enlightened and approved writers
on the subject, that a neutral nation must, in all things relating
to the war, observe an exact impartiality towards the parties.

No judgment,
no meddling, no political connection, and no partiality: this is
a Jeffersonian foreign policy.

U.S. Marine
Corps Major General Butler was the most decorated Marine in U.S.
history. After leaving the military, he authored the classic work

War Is a Racket
. Butler proposed an Amendment for Peace
to provide an “absolute guarantee to the women of America that
their loved ones never would be sent overseas to be needlessly shot
down in European or Asiatic or African wars that are no concern
of our people.” Here are its three planks:

  1. The removal
    of members of the land armed forces from within the continental
    limits of the United States and the Panama Canal Zone for any
    cause whatsoever is hereby prohibited.
  2. The vessels
    of the United States Navy, or of the other branches of the armed
    service, are hereby prohibited from steaming, for any reason whatsoever
    except on an errand of mercy, more than five hundred miles from
    our coast.
  3. Aircraft
    of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps is hereby prohibited from flying,
    for any reason whatsoever, more than seven hundred and fifty miles
    beyond the coast of the United States.

Butler also
reasoned that because of “our geographical position, it is
all but impossible for any foreign power to muster, transport and
land sufficient troops on our shores for a successful invasion.”
In this he was echoing Jefferson, who recognized that geography
was one of the great advantages of the United States: “At such
a distance from Europe and with such an ocean between us, we hope
to meddle little in its quarrels or combinations. Its peace and
its commerce are what we shall court.”

And then there
is our modern Jeffersonian in Congress, Rep. Ron Paul, the only
consistent voice in Congress from either party for a foreign policy
of peace and nonintervention. In a speech on the House floor several
months before the invasion of Iraq, Ron Paul made the case for a
foreign policy of peace through commerce and nonintervention:

A proper
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.

We should
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.

The 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.

For the libertarian
framework necessary to ensure a foreign policy of peace and nonintervention,
we can turn to libertarian political philosopher and theoretician
Murray Rothbard:

The primary
plank of a libertarian foreign policy program for America must
be to call upon the United States to abandon its policy of global
interventionism: to withdraw immediately and completely, militarily
and politically, from Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle
East, from everywhere. The cry among American libertarians should
be for the United States to withdraw now, in every way that involves
the U.S. government. The United States should dismantle its bases,
withdraw its troops, stop its incessant political meddling, and
abolish the CIA. It should also end all foreign aid – which
is simply a device to coerce the American taxpayer into subsidizing
American exports and favored foreign States, all in the name of
“helping the starving peoples of the world.” In short,
the United States government should withdraw totally to within
its own boundaries and maintain a policy of strict political “isolation”
or neutrality everywhere.

The U.S. global
empire with its 1,000 foreign military bases and half a million
troops and mercenary contractors in three-fourths of the world’s
countries must be dismantled. This along with the empire’s
spies, covert operations, foreign aid, gargantuan military budgets,
abuse and misuse of the military, prison camps, torture, extraordinary
renditions, assassinations, nation building, spreading democracy
at the point of a gun, jingoism, regime changes, military alliances,
security guarantees, and meddling in the affairs of other countries.

U.S. foreign
policy can be fixed. The United States would never tolerate another
country building a string of bases around North America, stationing
thousands of its troops on our soil, enforcing a no-fly zone over
American territory, or sending their fleets to patrol off our coasts.
How much longer will other countries tolerate these actions by the
United States? We have already experienced blowback from the Muslim
world for our foreign policy. And how much longer can the United
States afford to maintain its empire?

It is time
for the world’s policeman, fireman, security guard, social
worker, and busybody to announce its retirement.

from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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