The View From 1776
The Transatlantic Nursery School
Keeping a bunch of neurotic, self-centered socialists happy is not a foreign policy.
Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial titled In Reagan’s Footsteps, summarizes the view repeatedly expressed in this blog.
“In each case, fundamental U.S. strategic interests—the security of Taiwan and Israel; the sovereignty of Iraq; naval supremacy in the Persian Gulf—stand at odds either with European commercial interests or ideological hobbyhorses (the French infatuation with “multipolarity”). If smoother diplomacy, both public and private, can avert another Iraq-style eruption without compromising U.S. interests, so much the better.
“Then again, if Europe continues to demand a high price for its political favors, the Bush Administration would do well to shop for partners and ad hoc coalitions elsewhere. America’s cultural links to Europe may be precious, but there is no law of nature or history that requires both sides of the Atlantic to act in concert. To the extent that Europeans continue to value the relationship, it is up to them to demonstrate it, chiefly by not acting as freelancers or spoilers in areas of vital U.S. concern.”
The UN and dedication to keeping European nations happy, as the foundations of the foreign policy of the United States, are outgrowths of the decrepit socialist theory that global redistribution of economic wealth, at the expense of wealthy individuals and wealthy nations, would eliminate war. In the 1960s we heard it in Herbert Marcuse’s version of “Make Love, Not War.” We still hear its echoes in the excremental regurgitation of academics like Noam Chomsky or Ward Churchill and self-promoters like Michael Moore. The Harvard faculty clearly includes this doctrine in its daily catechism of worship at the altar of its secular religion.
But it’s time to look at this mindset in full daylight and to see it for what it is: a wormy, pestilential piece of abject ignorance that only a socialist academic could continue to believe. Real people in the real world can no longer afford to be poisoned by it.
First, assuming that keeping European nations (always excluding Great Britain, with whom we do have common strategic interests) happy is a necessary policy objective is analogous to saying that General Motors should have a policy of keeping Toyota, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Honda, and other auto manufacturers happy. Don’t offend them gratuitously, but don’t forget that all of them have competing interest to sell their products to consumers around the world. Making Honda happy is unlikely to add income to GM’s bottom line. Misunderstanding Alliances explored this aspect in detail.
Second, there is nothing moral or high-toned about valuing the good will of degenerate socialistic nations over the legitimate interests of American citizens or over true moral principles emanating from our Judeo-Christian heritage. In fact, it is profoundly immoral to surrender the freedom of the United States to pursue policies conforming to a higher moral law that recognizes God as the Creator and Ruler of the universe. Yet this is precisely the policy advocated by liberal-socialists like Senators Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry when they demand that we take no foreign policy moves without the UN’s approval, and when they posit the approval of France and Germany as essential to our foreign policy.
America’s great naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan explained the matter thus, as I wrote in Once More: Why Are We In Iraq?:
“Mahan?s great work had emphasized that, in the final analysis, international relations have always been struggles for power of one sort or another, over one dimension or another.? Many people challenged this, in light of the so-called scientific doctrines of the day.? Mahan responded in a series of essays, the main points of which were the following:
(1) Mahan first restated the postulate , upon which the Declaration and the Constitution were based, that there is a fundamental, natural law of morality to which all peoples and all nations are subject.
(2) When conflict arises between moral law and positive (i.e., statute) law, moral law must prevail.? Our Civil War was a good example.
(3) Arbitration under international law, in a forum such as the UN, may be acceptable when no moral issue is involved.? But any regimen under which a nation is obligated to resort to such arbitration on all international disputes is unacceptable, because it might force a nation to compromise on matters of morality.? The evils of war, he said, are less than the moral evil of compromise with wrong.? The great danger of undiscriminating advocacy of arbitration (e.g., resort to the UN for approval of all international actions) is that it may lead men to tamper with equity, to compromise with unrighteousness, and to soothe their consciences with the belief that war is always so entirely wrong that beside it toleration of any evil is preferable (does any of this sound familiar from the likes of Jacques Chirac, Al Gore, and Peanut Carter?).
(4) Pacifists who crusade against war, demanding that international law be substituted, forget that man-made law is no more than regulated force.? If international law is to be effective, there must be a powerful military police to enforce it.? So long as evil exists, force must be available to meet it.? (Not, of course, according to Jacques Chirac and American academics and liberal politicians).
(5) Instead of utopian ideas about the brotherhood of man and scientific planning, Mahan preferred what he called the equilibrium of natural forces in the society of nations.? The trouble with international law is that, being artificial, it is too often inapplicable to specific situations.? Far better is prudent judgment tailored to specific problems.? In contrast, the natural play of countervailing forces will always reach a better solution that conforms to actual conditions.
(6) Mahan harmonized the concept of the equilibrium of natural forces with moral law.? He saw our Monroe doctrine as an example.? There existed no legal basis, no precedent in international relations for the United States to declare that European nations would not be permitted to expand their hegemony among Western hemisphere nations by force.? It was a moral judgment, but one based upon the potential threat of real power.? (Similarly, there was no precedent for preemptive action against Iraq.? It was a moral judgment responding to the specific conditions confronting us).
(7) Of singular importance was Mahan?s relating the concept of the equilibrium of international powers to the concept of individual liberty and individual development.? Our American ethos demanded a government of limited powers that left the individual maximum personal liberty.? In the same way, each nation should be free to develop itself without the superposition of an international regulatory body like the UN.
(8) To the objection that his doctrine was no more than might-makes-right, he pointed out that might is a product of efficiency and hard work, both qualities in full agreement with moral rectitude.? Returning to his beginning principle, Mahan said that might is not the right to wield unlimited power over other nations.? It carries always with it the obligation to prefer natural law morality to evil.”