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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Misunderstanding Alliances

In foreign relations, assuming that allies are friends forever is dangerous folly.

Are Allies Just a Bigger Version of Your Neighborhood Buddies?

Most Americans, and particularly liberals, mistakenly think of our international allies in the same way they view their personal friends.  Taking liberals literally, one must believe that the most important, if not the only, objective of foreign policy is to maintain chummy friendships with other nations. 

Liberals identify this international chumminess with world peace.  This translates, in practice, to a policy of peace at any price, aka appeasement. 

But is keeping the friendship and diplomatic support of all other nations really the legitimate objective of foreign policy?  Is world peace a function of being nice?  Or does it result from being strong and resolute enough to make the price of aggression unacceptable to our enemies?

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged that the Cold War ended and the USSR crumbled, because President Reagan’s military buildup could not be matched by his socialistic economy.

Reality was bluntly and accurately stated by Lord Palmerston, who was British Prime Minister in the mid-1860s during our Civil War.  England, he said, has no permanent alliances; she has only permanent interests.  Any other basis for foreign policy is dangerous, potentially suicidal, folly.

Maintenance of friendly relations with other nations, of course, makes protection of our national interests easier, and sometimes their diplomatic or military support may be helpful.  But if France, Germany, or any other nation decides that its national interests are opposed to ours, then we must act without their support to protect our own national interests.

19th century foreign relations demonstrate the point.  Continental Europe was dominated by the great powers: France, Germany, Russia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

England, in the 19th century, had no interest in gaining control of territory in Europe.  As a laissez-faire, individualistic nation, its prosperity was built upon free movement of international trade.  England thus always sought to keep sea lanes and other trade routes open.  France, on the other hand, historically has sought to assert the role of dominant military and political power in Europe. 

British foreign policy was to maintain a balance of power among the great powers, so that no one nation could gain dominance of the Continent as Napoleon had done in the opening decades of the century.  To that end, England repeatedly switched alliances, siding militarily and diplomatically with the weaker parties as territorial aggressions or war threats arose. 

This was the foundation of the famous Pax Britannica, a period with no major wars from Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 at Waterloo until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. 

England’s great achievement required no League of Nations or United Nations.  And it was assuredly not based on today’s fantasy, “world opinion” and “the community of nations.”  Nations then understood that international relations were a matter of asserting power to gain advantages or to thwart attempts to take advantage. Ever-shifting alliances were merely one means of doing so.

How then are we to explain the infatuation of liberals with the idea that American foreign policy is legitimate only if it receives the imprimatur of the United Nations Security Council, which means effectively the approval of France?

The answer is to be found in the emergence of the religion of socialism with the 1789 French Revolution. 
Liberals despise President Bush’s open avowal of Christian morality and his references to evil foreign powers.  Liberal-socialism is an amoral, atheistic, and materialistic religion.  Liberals therefore spurn Western civilization’s centuries of Christian morality as the guide for individual and international conduct (see Alfred Thayer Mahan’s analysis in the posting below, Once More, Why Are We in Iraq?).

In the liberal-socialist world-view, the only acceptable basis for foreign policy is liberal intellectuals’ perceptions of the moment about furthering social justice, defined as equality of property and income.

A very substantial percentage of Americans, led by the liberals, have sincere faith in the precept of the socialist religion that ascribes all human aggression to unequal distribution of income and property.  The presumption is that there will be no wars when all nations are ruled by socialism and everyone has full access to all of the world’s bounty.  Al Queda, according to academic spokesmen for the American liberal-socialist position, merely is expressing deep feelings of sympathy for the peoples of the world who have been deprived of their fair share by the greedy American capitalists.

Socialism introduced an ivory-tower, theoretical intellectualism to politics and international relations.  All human actions and all human institutions, according to liberals, were created by the minds of intellectuals (which is to say that there is no God).  The world is merely a projection of the intellectual mind.  Therefore liberal intellectuals, if they can rid the nation of President Bush, have only to gather around the UN conference table and lay out an intellectual plan.  Voila! world peace, tranquility, and prosperity.

Even a brief skimming of history shows that this is idiotic nonsense.  The only occasions in which the UN has been effective were ones in which the United States took the initiative in prosecuting military action, with limited support from other members of the UN, as in Korea and Bosnia.  The League of Nations stood fecklessly aside in 1931 when Japan invaded Manchuria and again in 1935 when Fascist Italy attacked Ethiopia.  The UN has done nothing in recent years to prevent slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Africans in tribal warfare in Ruwanda and in the Sudan.  In fact, the only cause to which the UN consistently had given active support is anti-Semitic attacks against Israel by Arab terrorist nations.

Is France Really Our Oldest and Closest Ally?

The only way to describe American perceptions that France is our great friend and ally is sentimental ignorance.  Let’s stipulate that there is nothing wrong with France’s looking out for its own interests and opposing the United States if that furthers its interests.  But that doesn’t mean that we must be guided by “world opinion” represented by France.

Most people know only about France’s helping us to win the War of Independence against England.  France is said to be our friend whom we have arrogantly offended by ignoring their well-meant advice.

This is a myth.  In 1776, France and England had been at war off and on in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe for decades.  France agreed to lend military assistance to the colonists after the 1777 Battle of Saratoga only as a way to attack England.  Their alliance had nothing whatever to do with the aims of Americans for independence.  Indeed, in the treaty negotiations that ended the War of Independence, France actively sought to make the new United States a colonial outpost within the French Empire.  Only the shrewd negotiating skills of our ambassador John Jay avoided the trap and extracted major compensations from the British in exchange.

Earlier, during Queen Anne’s War, the New England colonies suffered numerous raids by French troops and their Abnaki Indian allies.  Maine coastal settlements were destroyed by French raiders three different times.  The most notorious incident was the 1704 Deerfield, Massachusetts, massacre by Indian tribes under French leadership.  In the French and Indian War that ended in 1763, French and Indian warriors repeatedly raided American colonial settlements, seeking to gain control of North America from Canada through the Mississippi Valley.

In 1793, four years after ratification of our Constitution, Revolutionary France sent Citizen Genet here as its ambassador.  Rather than proceeding to New York to present his credentials to President Washington in accordance with protocol, he landed in Charleston, South Carolina, and began to organize groups opposed to Washington’s policies.  Genet supported formation of socialist Jacobin Clubs of the sort that had produced the street mobs of the French Revolution. 

The official policy of the United States was neutrality between England and France in their continuing war, but high-handed Genet supplied money to outfit American privateers to prey upon British shipping.  Genet also issued French Army commissions to Americans on the western frontier who agreed to serve in the French Army of the Mississippi.  Needless to say this could have precipitated war between the United States and England.

In recent years, DeGaulle pulled France out of NATO and expelled NATO from its Paris headquarters.  He then made France a nuclear power to give it an independent striking force that could oppose the United States.  To most observers it appeared that DeGaulle cynically calculated that the United States and its NATO allies would both protect France from the Soviet Union and be distracted by the task, leaving France free to engage in diplomatic mischief. 

Among other things, DeGaulle started a run on the United States Treasury by converting dollars invested in France into gold, eventually forcing us entirely off the gold standard.  It’s fair to say that we brought that upon ourselves by liberal-socialist profligacy in welfare-state spending that accelerated inflation.  But it’s also fair to say that France was no ally to the United States in its time of need.  Rather than remaining neutral, or even supportive, France actively pressured us.

French opposition to our invasion of Iraq is merely the latest thrust at America’s back in a two hundred and fifty year history.  French President Jacques Chirac’s recent effort to block any participation by NATO in maintaining order for elections in Afghanistan or in training Iraqui security forces makes clear that France opposes anything that helps the United States, even at the cost of harming countries struggling to emerge from brutal dictatorships.

If such actions constitute friendship, we need to consider a new definition for the word. 

Were Relations With France in Great Shape Before George W. Bush’s Administration?

If we are to believe John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, and Al Gore, George W. Bush has trashed a formerly harmonious relationship with France.  Not, however, according to an article published during the Clinton administration by the ultra-liberal Washington Post.

In the French Manner
Monday, December 16 1996; Page A24 The Washington Post

CURIOUS HOW strained relations can get between the United States and France, otherwise firm and fast allies. The present state of affairs is unusually raw. The American government seems to be acting about the way American governments normally act—somewhat clumsy and overbearing, perhaps, but not prowling for trouble. The French government, however, almost seems to be going out of its way to pick little fights around the globe.

The evident explanations are two. France now has a Gaullist president, Jacques Chirac, determined to assert the nationalistic values associated with his political forbear. Gaullism is the pride-building ideology France adopted to compensate for decades of humiliation and devastation suffered both in wars lost and won. Further, France has an economy and social system under duress—far more so than this country. It can neither afford the social benefits it offers its citizens, nor muster the political will to restore solvency nor keep up with its more disciplined German neighbors. The prospect of missing the train taking its friends and competitors into the 21st century (over a bridge, of course) weighs heavily upon the French.