The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor
As the Statue of Liberty will close in October for a year of renovations, it will also be a time to review the foreign policies of the United States. Over the years, and most heavily within the last twenty-five years, policymakers in Washington have taken it upon themselves to say that the torch of Lady Liberty was meant to light fires of democracy in other areas of the world. In contrast, I’ve always thought the purpose of the Lady Liberty’s torch was to only stand as a beacon of democracy in the darkness.
While rereading Professor Codevilla’s excellent take on American foreign policy and war and statecraft, titled Advice to War Presidents, I was taken by how far, except for a blip during the Reagan Administration, we’ve fallen from the intent of the Constitution since the Roosevelt Administration. And I don’t mean FDR’s. We have yet to recover; and it has become very expensive.
But, how else can we guarantee the security of the United States?
There’s a vast difference between assuring the security of the US, and overtaking the policing of another in order to transform that other nation into a model that is so contrary to the many thousands of years of psychological and sociological formation of that nation. All we have to do is take a look at the wars fought by the United States since 1946. Nearly all of them have ended with now clear reward to the American citizen, and most of them have only added to international distrust of the United States, not just in a mass thinking that Americans automatically resort to war, but also that an administration willing to fight for a tie, instead of total victory, is not the best nation in which to invest money and nation’s blood.
There are many reasons for this confusion of how and why to fight wars: most all of them incubated in the think tanks of institutions of “higher-learning” during the early part of the last century. The improvement of national security as sought after by Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries, is much different from contemporary actions of getting involved in another nation’s civil war, or foreign political adventuring.
Statecraft that led to the building of Panama Canal, especially the rewards from such action, is much different from heading to Bosnia and offering our soldiers as bullet buffers between two historically and psychotically opposed peoples. If our nation’s Constitution predisposed us to getting mixed up in a war for anything other than the direct safety and benefit of the American people, then the United States’ first attempt at aiding in a foreign wars, would have started with French Revolution, instead of years later. After all, why would we get into another nation’s war, when we sought self-determination in the American Revolution?
It’s easy to go from one war to another, forgetting that war is only one of many tools of statecraft available to nation. And yes, we need to also remember that war shouldn’t be taken as an automatic progression of steps: war is often only taken up when all other strategies have been expended. Some nations, as evidenced by Germany’s National Socialist Worker’s Party in the 1930s, only respect war, and for whom military action should have been taken against immediately, instead of the useless political diddling Prime Minister Chamberlain entered into, that only served to provide Germany the time to fully arm. The problem is that this takes solid understanding of foreign nations, as they are and not as we’d like to think they are, or want them to be.
What has been forgotten when we get into war, is that when we get into war it should be for some sort of national, not specifically international, gain: financial benefits, territorial gain, influence, national security. If we have to go to war, it should directed toward the gain of the American people as a whole, not just certain groups, or other nations at the full expense of us—we fight their wars, spill our blood for their peace, pay them for the right to do so, and then they blame us for the war? Our entry into war should not be to push one form of government on another: military action was what Britain used to try and keep a form or government on us. France was smart when it got into it alongside us by providing arms and military advisors; but we did the fighting, and more importantly, they did so toward the direct benefit of France, not the United States. Our fight for independence benefited France by adding another front to occupy the British during the many years conflict between those two nations.
Ironically, the nation that most respects the intent of the US Constitution is the only true democracy in Europe, Switzerland, a nation’s whose government was designed to emulate ours: where else in the world can the people rise up through the voting process and negate the clutch for power by the elite, such as had occurred with the failed attempts by Switzerland’s elite to enter the country into the European Union?
They’ve stayed true to what Our Founding Fathers intended for us: they trade with everyone, stay out of other nation’s politics, and have a citizen’s militia that no other invader would be stupid enough to tangle with. As a result, Switzerland has the highest wealth per adult than any country in the world, and when was the last terrorist attack on Swiss soil?
Switzerland, of course, is a much smaller country, which enables the counting of every citizen’s vote. Like us, they constantly fight attempts by their elite to remove long-held citizen powers ensuring democracy, gun rights, and national security. But, as the much larger United States improves the computer voting system, that dream of the United States as a true democracy, instead of a republic, can be made reality.
Until then, our representatives in Washington need to remember whom they work for, and it’s not special interests or the Ruling Class, and stay true to the meaning of the Statue of Liberty. By stopping the waste of our citizen’s blood and money on sink-hole foreign wars, we’ll have improved national security through our servicemen and women defending our soil, plugging our porous borders, and we’ll immediately have the answer to the economic problems Washington finds so perplexing. Most importantly, it’ll keep us from continuing to stay on the same path of overextension that led to the fall of so many prior civilizations.