Legality and Morality in Foreign Policy

It seems to have become a mainstream acceptance that the U.S. has the responsibility to keep its military overseas. It’s the role of the world superpower, they say, to maintain a military presence and spread order through the world. It’d be nice if this were true, but no superpower has lived long enough to show the success of this theory.

The very principle of maintaining an empire, presence, or force outside of your own borders is not one that you’d expect to be followed by a country founded on individual and state sovereignty. Our current principle is worse than this, however. We say that because we’re large we have the responsibility or right to spread our force around the world. This has been the policy followed through history by tyrants, emperors, and kings, not free individuals.

Whether force is spread through trade or military decisions is irrelevant in the long run. When a government uses force to shut down free trade, as many countries (starting with the U.S.) did in the Great Depression, the effects will often be as painful as military force. Individuals suffer, the economy weakens, and freedom is reduced. Sanctions and other trade control methods do not harm the governments they are intended for, but the people within those externally manipulated countries.

The Constitution gives the U.S. no authority to mingle in the affairs of other nations, and certainly not ongoing military occupations and nation building. Today, approximately one quarter of the U.S. military is overseas in more than 150 countries, racking up a bill to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars every year. It is a weak argument that having all of those American troops constantly in foreign countries adds to the safety and security of our nation.

Ever since World War 1, when the U.S. took a much more forceful role in world affairs, we have had nothing but trouble. The U.S. took it upon itself to lead the charge of an interventionist foreign policy after World War II, which brought about the terrible atrocities of the Vietnam War and an ongoing war in many Middle Eastern countries. It was after WWII that Congress ceased to follow its constitutional duty to control and maintain the decisions of war, and the U.S. has not won a foreign conflict ever since.

Recently, the U.S. has had the problem of getting deeply involved in conflicts that it simply can’t contain or control. Through the CIA we helped arm the mujahideen “freedom fighters” to battle against the Soviets in the 1980s, which backfired largely in the form of two men who we supported and trained, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Those who are our friends one day turn against us years later, in cowardly but deadly fashion.

As Congress has either neglected or forgotten its duty when it comes to military spending, the executive branch has grabbed much of the power of war and military might. Mixing executive power and war is extremely dangerous, and will more often than not lead to the work of tyranny, unpopular and unnecessary wars and entanglements, and a larger disconnect and misrepresentation of the people.

U.S. foreign policy today has become a philosophy aimed not at protecting our own country, but using military force for the benefit of a select few who certainly do not have the interests of the American people in mind. We keep thousands of troops in countries that have not committed any harm to the U.S., have not threatened national security, and represent the furthest thing from a danger to the U.S. War is a terrible thing, but the more it gets into the hands of the executive branch and the more that Congress ignores its responsibility, the higher the likelihood of corruption, influence of special interests, and needless death of American troops and innocent civilians is.

A foreign policy of a nation keen on spreading freedom must support the ideals of non-interventionism and free trade; protect and strengthen our troops by having them defend their own country, and maintain a policy of true free trade with all nations decided by the people, not their governments. People talk about global society and how we’re all one family, then it’s time to act like it. Enough of this nonsense that we need governments or the U.N. to spread these ideals. We are all humans and a few empowered officials cannot spread principles or beliefs through forceful actions, a lasting change will only come from change in the minds of man.

It is time to recognize the fallacies of an interventionist foreign policy. A playground bully seems to best represent our current foreign policy principles: because I am the biggest one, you and your friends must obey my commands or face the consequences of my force. It is ludicrous that because we are the biggest and most successful nation we have the right, duty, or responsibility to use our military for a use other than national defense and the protection of individual liberty and freedom.

This does not make us any friends. It’s come to the point where we bribe, sanction, and occupy nearly every country in the world for one reason or another to our liking.

What message does this current belief send the world?

Let’s say that China passes the U.S. in economic size in thirty or forty years, as has been projected by many economists and investment firms. Does this automatically give them the right to come into our borders, overthrow our government, train our police, control our trade, install new leaders, and give us a new system of government? There is no justification for this belief. Just as a man who is seven feet tall does not have extra duties or rights than a man who is six feet tall, neither does a superpower have the right or duty to intervene in the affairs of all nations smaller than itself.

It is time that we abandon the foreign policy followed in the medieval ages and return to the principles of the Founding Fathers, freedom, and peace. It is neither sustainable or practical to assume that military force can accomplish more long-term change than strong minds and the peaceful exchange of ideas, goods, and discussion between people and their respective nations.

VN:F [1.9.18_1163]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

One Response to “Legality and Morality in Foreign Policy”

  1. [...] governments they are intended for, but the people within those externally manipulated countries. ~ Legality and Morality in Foreign Policy Related Posts:Legality and Morality in Foreign PolicyWant to Support the Troops? Support Their [...]

Leave a Response