United States Foreign Policy
Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.
. . . Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue?”
President George Washington,
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796
In the “Virginia Bill of Rights,” drafted by George Mason and adopted by the Virginia Convention on June 12, 1776, there appears this statement in Article 15:
No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles. (Documents of American History, [Henry S. Commager, Editor], 1: 104)
“The paramount need today,” recently wrote David Lawrence, “is for the United States to clear the air by emphasizing fundamental principles. Until there are acts that implement those principles–not just words–diplomacy will accomplish nothing and the world will remain continually on the brink of war.” (U.S. News and World Report, January 27, 1964)
It has been truly said that:
We cannot clean up the mess in Washington, balance the budget, reduce taxes, check creeping Socialism, tell what is muscle or fat in our sprawling rearmament programs, purge subversives from our State Department, unless we come to grips with our foreign policy, upon which all other policies depend. (Senator Robert A. Taft, quoted by Phyllis Schlafly, A Choice Not An Echo, p. 26)
Ever since World War I, when we sent American boys to Europe supposedly to “make the world safe for democracy,” our leaders in Washington have been acting as though the American people elected them to office for the primary purpose of leading the entire planet toward international peace, prosperity and one-world government. At times, these men appear to be more concerned with something called world opinion or with their image as world leaders than they are with securing the best possible advantage for us, that they are not “nationalistic” in their views, that they are willing to sacrifice narrow American interests for the greater good of the world community. Patriotism and America-first have become vulgar concepts within the chambers of our State Department. It is no wonder that the strength and prestige of the United States has slipped so low everywhere in the world.
In this connection, it is well to remember that on June 25, 1787, during the formulation of the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention, Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, made the famous speech in which he asserted:
We mistake the object of our Government, if we hope or wish that it is to make us respectable abroad. Conquest or superiority among other powers is not or ought not ever to be the object of republican systems. If they are sufficiently active & energetic to rescue us from contempt & preserve our domestic happiness & security, it is all we can expect from them, – it is more than almost any other Government ensures to its citizens. (The Records of the Federal Convention [Max Farrand, Editor], 1: 402)
In his book, A Foreign Policy for Americans, the late Senator Robert A. Taft correctly reasoned that:
No one can think intelligently on the many complicated problems of American foreign policy unless he decides first what he considers the real purpose and object of that policy. . . There has been no consistent purpose in our foreign policy for a good many years past. . . Fundamentally, I believe the ultimate purpose of our foreign policy must be to protect the liberty of the people of the United States. (p. 11)
There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the President shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader. He’s our executive; he’s on our payroll, in necessary; he’s supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations. Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to “uplift” their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their peoples or even to defend them against their enemies. This point was made clear by the wise father of our country, George Washington:
I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation has a right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another; that every one had a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked best to live under them selves; and that if this country could, consistent with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby preserve peace, it was bound to do so by motives of policy, interest, and every other consideration. — George Washington (1732-1799) Letter to James Monroe (25 Aug. 1796)
The preservation of America’s political, economic and military independence–the three cornerstones of sovereignty–is the sum and total prerogative of our government in dealing with the affairs of the world. Beyond that point, any humanitarian or charitable activities are the responsibility of individual citizens voluntarily without coercion of others to participate.
The proper function of government must be limited to a defensive role–the defense of individual citizens against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude at the hands of either domestic or foreign criminals. But to protect our people from bodily harm at the hands of foreign aggressors, we must maintain a military force which is not only capable of crushing an invasion, but of striking a sufficiently powerful counterblow as to make in unattractive for would-be conquerors to try their luck with us.
As President Washington explained in his Fifth Annual Address to both Houses of Congress:
There is a rank due to the United States among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure the peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. (December 3, 1793; Writings 12:352)
He had earlier, in his First Annual Address, strongly warned that:
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined. (January 8, 1790; Writings 11:456)
To protect our people from international theft, we must enter into agreements with other nations to abide by certain rules regarding trade, exchange of currency, enforcement of contracts, patent rights, etc. To protect our people against involuntary servitude or the loss of personal freedom on the international level, we must be willing to use our military might to help even one of our citizens no matter where he might be kidnapped or enslaved.
For those of you who have never heard or do not remember it, the story of Ion Perdicaris instructs us what an American President can and should do to protect the lives of its citizens. It seems that in the early years of the century, a North African bandit named Raisuli kidnapped Perdicaris, a naturalized American of Greek extraction.
Teddy Roosevelt was our President at that time, and he knew just what to do. He did not “negotiate.” And he did not send any “urgent requests.” He simply ordered one of our gunboats to stand offshore, and sent the local sultan the following telegram: “Perdicaris alive, or Raisuli dead.” They say Raisuli didn’t waste any time getting a healthy Perdicaris down to the dock. (Review of the News, February 7, 1968, pp. 20-21)
Certainly we must avoid becoming entangled in a web of international treaties whose terms and clauses might reach inside our own borders and restrict our freedoms here at home.(2)
This is the defensive role of government expressed in international terms. Interestingly enough, these three aspects of national defense also translate directly into the three aspects of national sovereignty: military, economic and political.
Applying this philosophy to the sphere of foreign policy, one is able almost instantly to determine the correct answer to so many international questions that, otherwise, seem hopelessly complex. If the preservation and strengthening of our military, economic and political independence is the only legitimate objective of foreign policy decisions, then, at last, those decisions can be directed by a brilliant beacon of light that unerringly guides our ship of state past the treacherous reefs of international intrigue and into a calm open sea.
Should we disarm? And does it really make any difference whether we disarm unilaterally or collaterally? Either course of action would surrender our military independence. Should we pool our economic resources or our monetary system with those of other nations to create some kind of regional common market? It would constitute the surrender of our economic independence. Should we enter into treaties such as the U.N. Covenants which would obligate our citizens to conform their social behavior, their educational practices to rules and regulations set down by international agencies? Such treaty obligations amount to the voluntary and piece-meal surrender of our political independence. The answer to all such questions is a resounding “no,” for the simple reason that the only way America can survive in this basically hostile and topsy-turvy world is to remain militarily, economically and politically strong and independent.
We must put off our rose-colored glasses, quit repeating those soothing but entirely false statements about world unity and brotherhood, and look to the world as it is, not as we would like it to become. Such an objective, and perhaps painful, survey leads to but one conclusion. We would be committing national suicide to surrender any of our independence, and chain ourselves to other nations in such a sick and turbulent world. President George Washington, in his immortal Farewell Address, explained our true policy in this regard:
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible…’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world…Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies. (September 17, 1796; Writings 13: 316-318; P.P.N.S., p. 547)
President Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, while discussing what he deemed to be “the essential principles of our government,”(3) explained that as far as our relations with foreign nations are concerned this means:
Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none. . . (March 4, 1801; Works 8:4)
The world is smaller, you say? True, it is, but if one finds himself locked in a house with maniacs, thieves and murderers–even a small house–he does not increase his chances of survival by entering into alliances with his potential attackers and becoming dependent upon them for protection to the point where he is unable to defend himself. Perhaps the analogy between nations and maniacs is a little strong for some to accept. But if we put aside our squeamishness over strong language, and look hard at the real world in which we live, the analogy is quite sound in all but the rarest exceptions.
Already, I can hear the chorus chanting “Isolationism, isolationism, he’s turning back the clock to isolationism.” How many use that word without having the slightest idea of what it really means! The so-called isolationism of the United States in past decades is a pure myth. What isolationism? Long before the current trend of revoking our Declaration of Independence under the guise of international cooperation, American influence and trade was felt in every region of the globe. Individuals and private groups spread knowledge, business, prosperity, religion, good will and, above all, respect throughout every foreign continent. It was not necessary then for America to give up her independence to have contact and influence with other countries. It is not necessary now. Yet, many Americans have been led to believe that our country is so strong that it can defend, feed and subsidize half the world, while at the same time believing that we are so weak and “inter-dependent” that we cannot survive without pooling our resources and sovereignty with those we subsidize. If wanting no part of this kind of “logic” is isolationism, then it is time we brought it back into vogue.
Senator Robert A. Taft clearly explained our traditional foreign policy:
Our traditional policy of neutrality and non-interference with other nations was based on the principle that this policy was the best way to avoid disputes with other nations and to maintain the liberty of this country without war. From the days of George Washington that has been the policy of the United States. It has never been isolationism; but it has always avoided alliances and interference in foreign quarrels as a preventive against possible war, and it has always opposed any commitment by the United States, in advance, to take any military action outside of our territory. It would leave us free to interfere or not according to whether we consider the case of sufficiently vital interest to the liberty of this country. It was the policy of the free hand. (A Foreign Policy for Americans, p. 12)
“But that is nationalism,” chants the chorus. “And nationalism fosters jealousy, suspicion and hatred of other countries which in turn leads to war.”(4) How many times has this utter nonsense been repeated without challenge as though it were some kind of empirical and self-evident truth! What kind of logic assumes that loving one’s country means jealousy, suspicion and hatred of all others? Why can’t we be proud of America as an independent nation and also have a feeling of brotherhood and respect for other peoples around the world? As a matter of fact, haven’t Americans done just that for the past 200 years? What people have poured out more treasure to other lands, opened their doors to more immigrants, and sent more missionaries, teachers and doctors than we? Are we now to believe that love of our own country will suddenly cause us to hate the peoples of other lands?
It was the late Herbert Hoover who pointed out the social poison in the current derision of American nationalism:
We must realize the vitality of the great spiritual force which we call nationalism. The fuzzy-minded intellectuals have sought to brand nationalism as a sin against mankind. They seem to think that infamy is attached to the word “nationalist.” But that force cannot be obscured by denunciation of it as greed or selfishness–as it sometimes is. The spirit of nationalism springs from the deepest of human emotions. It rises from the yearning of men to be free of foreign domination, to govern themselves. It springs from a thousand rills of race, of history, of sacrifice and pride in national achievement. (Quoted by Eugene W. Castle, Billions, Blunders and Baloney, p. 259)
In order for a man to be a good neighbor within his own community, he had better first love his own family before he tries to save the neighborhood. If he doesn’t love his own, why should we believe he would love others? Theodore Roosevelt firmly believed that “it is only the man who ardently loves his country first who in actual practice can help any other country at all.” (P.P.N.S., p. 196)
Many well-intentioned people are now convinced that we are living in a period of history which makes it both possible and necessary to abandon our national sovereignty, to merge our nation militarily, economically, and politically with other nations, and to form, at last a world government which, supposedly, would put an end to war. We are told that this is merely doing between nations what we did so successfully with our thirteen colonies. This plea for world federalism is based on the idea that the mere act of joining separate political units together into a larger federal entity will somehow prevent those units from waging war with each other. The success of our own federal system is most often cited as proof that this theory is valid. But such an evaluation is a shallow one.
First of all, the American Civil War, one of the most bloody in all history, illustrates that the mere federation of governments, even those culturally similar, as in America, does not automatically prevent war between them. Secondly, we find that true peace quite easily exists between nations which are not federated. As a matter of fact, members of the British Commonwealth of Nations seemed to get along far more peacefully after the political bonds between them had been relaxed. In other words, true peace has absolutely nothing to do with whether separate political units are joined together–except, perhaps, that such a union may create a common military defense sufficiently impressive to deter an aggressive attack. But that is peace between the union and outside powers; it has little effect on peace between the units, themselves, which is the substance of the argument for world government.
Peace is the natural result of relationships between groups and cultures which are mutually satisfactory to both sides. These relationships are found with equal ease within or across federal lines. As a matter of fact, they are the relationships that promote peaceful conditions within the community and think for a moment; if you were marooned on an island with two other people, what relationships between you would be mutually satisfactory enough to prevent you from resorting to violence in your relationship? Or, to put it the other way around, what would cause you to break the peace and raise your hand against your partners?
Obviously, if one or both of the partners attempted to seize your food and shelter, you would fight. Their reaction to similar efforts on your part would be the same. If they attempted to take away your freedom, to dictate how you would conduct your affairs, or tell you what moral and ethical standards you must follow, likewise, you would fight. And if they constantly ridiculed your attire, your manners and your speech, in time you might be sparked into a brawl. The best way to keep the peace on that island is for each one to mind his own business, to respect each other’s right to be different (even to act in a way that seems foolish or improper, if he wishes), and to have compassion for each other’s troubles and hardships–but not to force each other to do something!And, to make sure that the others hold to their end of the bargain, each should keep physically strong enough to make any violation of this code unprofitable.(5)
Now, suppose these three got together and decided to form a political union, to “federate” as it were. Would this really change anything? Suppose they declared themselves to be the United Persons, and wrote a charter, and held daily meetings and passed resolutions. What then? These superficial ceremonies might be fun for awhile, but the minute two of them out-voted the other, and started “legally” to take his food and shelter, limit his freedom or force him to accept an unwanted standard of moral conduct, they would be right back where they all began. Federation or no federation, they would fight.
Is it really different between nations? Not at all. The same simple code of conduct applies in all human relationships, large or small. Regardless of the size, be it international or three men on an island, the basic unit is still the human personality. Ignore this fact, and any plan is doomed to failure.(6)
It might be worthwhile at this point to mention that Washington’s policy of neutrality and non-interference was adhered to by those who followed him. For instance, President John Adams, in his Inaugural Address, resolved “to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world.” He later said, in a special message to Congress:
It is my sincere desire, and in this I presume I concur with you and with our constituents, to preserve peace and friendship with all nations. . .
To which the Senate, presided over by Thomas Jefferson, replied:
Peace and harmony with all nations is our sincere wish; but such being the lot of humanity that nations will not always reciprocate peaceable dispositions, it is our firm belief that effectual measures of defense will tend to inspire that national self-respect and confidence at home which is the unfailing source of respectability abroad, to check aggression and prevent war. (Quoted by Clarence B. Carson, The American Tradition, p. 210)
When the thirteen colonies formed our Federal Union, they had two very important factors in their favor, neither of which are present in the world at large today. First, the colonists themselves were all of a similar cultural background. They enjoyed similar legal systems, they spoke the same language, and they shared similar religious beliefs. They had much in common. The second advantage, and the most important of the two, was that they formed their union under a constitution which was designed to prevent any of them, or a majority of them, from forcefully intervening in the affairs of the others. The original federal government was authorized to provide mutual defense, run a post office, and that was about all. As previously mentioned, however, even though we had these powerful forces working in our favor, full scale war did break out at one tragic point in our history.
The peace that followed, of course, was no peace at all, but was only the smoldering resentment and hatred that follows in the wake of any armed conflict. Fortunately, the common ties between North and South, the cultural similarities and the common heritage, have proved through the intervening years to over-balance the differences. And with the gradual passing away of the generation that carried the battle scars, the Union has healed.
Among the nations of the world today, there are precious few common bonds that could help overcome the clash of cross-purposes that inevitably must arise between groups with such divergent ethnic, linguistic, legal, religious, cultural, and political environments. To add fuel to the fire, the concept woven into all of the present-day proposals for world government (The U.N. foremost among these) is one of unlimited governmental power to impose by force a monolithic set of values and conduct on all groups and individuals whether they like it or not. Far from insuring peace, such conditions can only enhance the chances of war.(7)
In this connection it is interesting to point out that the late J. Reuben Clark, who was recently described as “probably the greatest authority on [the Constitution] during the past fifty years” (American Opinion, April 1966, p. 113), in 1945–the year the United Nations charter was adopted–made this prediction in his devastating and prophetic “cursory analysis” of the United Nations Charter:
There seems no reason to doubt that such real approval as the Charter has among the people is based upon the belief that if the Charter is put into effect, wars will end. . . The Charter will not certainly end war. Some will ask – why not? In the first place, there is no provision in the Charter itself that contemplates ending war. It is true the Charter provides for force to bring peace, but such use of force is itself war. . . It is true the Charter is built to prepare for war, not to promote peace. . . The Charter is a war document, not a peace document.
Not only does the Charter Organization not prevent future wars, but it makes it practically certain that we will have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, to choose the side on which we shall fight, to determine what forces and military equipment we shall use in the war, and to control and command our sons who do the fighting. (Unpublished Manuscript; quoted in P.P.N.S., p. 458)
Everyone is for peace and against war–particularly the horrors of nuclear war. And what are the horrors of war? Why, death, destruction and human suffering, of course! But, wait a minute. Since the big “peace” began at the end of World War II, isn’t it a fact that, behind the iron and bamboo curtains, there has been more death, destruction and human suffering than in most of the big wars of history combined? Yes, it is a fact–a horrible fact–which Martin Dies, the former long-time Chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, described in these words:
In Russia, a minimum of 25,000,000 people have been starved to death and murdered in 45 years. In Red China, the figure is probably at least 35,000,000 in a short 12 years. These ruthless, inhuman atrocities have been investigated, documented and reported in print, by numerous committees of the Congress. Yet only a relative handful of Americans know where to look for the facts, or even know the reports exist; and still fewer have read them. (The Martin Dies Story, p. 20)
A consideration of these facts means that we have to redefine our terms when we talk about “peace.” There are two kinds of peace. If we define peace as merely the absence of war, then we could be talking about the peace that reigns in a communist slave labor camp. The wretched souls in prison there are not at war, but do you think they would call it peace?
The only real peace–the one most of us think about when we use the term–is a peace with freedom. A Nation that is not willing, if necessary, to face the rigors of war to defend its real peace-in-freedom is doomed to lose both its freedom and its peace! These are the hard facts of life. We may not like them, but until we live in a far better world than exists today, we must face up to them squarely and courageously.(8)
In a discussion of war and its effects these wise words of James Madison should always be remembered:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .(April 20, 1795; Works 4:491-2; P.P.N.S., p. 468)
Shortly after this, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison issued another warning which should never be forgotten:
The management of foreign relations appears to be the most susceptible of abuse, of all the trusts committed to a Government, because they can be concealed or disclosed, or disclosed in such parts & at such times as will best suit particular views; and because the body of the people are less capable of judging & are more under the influence of prejudices, on that branch of their affairs, than of any other. Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger real or pretended from abroad.(May 13, 1798; Works 2:140-1; P.P.N.S., p. 431)
Until all nations follow the concept of limited government, it is unlikely that universal peace will ever be realized on this planet. Unlimited, power-grasping governments will always resort to force if they think they can get away with it.(9) But there can be peace for America. As long as our leaders faithfully discharge their duty to preserve and strengthen the military, economic and political independence of our Republic, the world’s petty despots will leave us alone. What more could we ask of U.S. foreign policy?
From these primary policy pronouncements some general principles emerge. They can be reduced to a few heads and stated as imperatives in the following manner:
The United States should:
- Establish and maintain a position of independence with regard to other countries
- Avoid political connection, involvement or intervention in the affairs of other countries
- Make no permanent or entangling alliances
- Treat all nations impartially, neither granting nor accepting special privileges from any
- Promote commerce with all free peoples and countries
- Cooperate with other countries to develop civilized rules of intercourse
- Act always in accordance with the “laws of Nations”
- Remedy all just claims of injury to other nations and require just treatment from other nations, standing ready, if necessary to punish offenders
- Maintain a defensive force of sufficient magnitude to deter aggressors.(10) (See The American Tradition, p. 212)
For the first hundred years and more of the existence of the Republic, Americans developed and maintained a tradition that was in keeping with the above principles. We can say with confidence that the United States established a tradition of foreign relations in keeping with the principles laid down by the founding fathers. In the words of Senator Taft:
I do not believe it a selfish goal for us to insist that the over-riding purpose of all American foreign policy should be the maintenance of the liberty and the peace of the people of the United States, so that they may achieve that intellectual and material improvement which is their genius and in which they can do an even greater service to mankind than we can by billions of material assistance–and more than we can ever do by war. (A Foreign Policy For Americans, p. 14)
It seems fitting in conclusion to refer you again to the inspired words of the wise father of our country. He said:
My ardent desire is, and my aim has been. . . to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country, to see them independent of all and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves, and not for others. This, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home. (October 9, 1795; Writings 13:119)
1. Address delivered on June 21, 1968, at the Farm Bureau Banquet in Preston, Idaho.
2. “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, my fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican Government.–But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it.” (President George Washington, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796; Writings 13:315)
3. “About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people–a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are not provided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety. (Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801; also known as the Creed of our Political Faith; Works 8:4-5)
4. Credit is given to G. Edward Griffin, The Fearful Master, for some of the thoughts expressed in this chapter.
5. “It takes a combination of three factors to protect our national interests under all conditions and to maintain peace on our terms. The three factors are: credible military superiority along the entire spectrum of modern warfare; courageous and decisive diplomacy; and the active support of the American people.” (General Thomas S. Power, Design for Survival, p. 6)
6. “Those who have written on civil government lay it down as a first principle, and all historians demonstrate the same, that whoever would found a state and make proper laws for the government of it must presume that all men are bad by nature: that they will not fail to show that natural depravity of heart whenever they have a fair opportunity. . . constant experience shows us that every man vested with power is apt to abuse it. He pushes on till he comes to something that limits him.” (Machiavelli, 1469-1527; quoted by John Adams, Works 4:408)
7. “Power and law are not synonymous. In truth they are frequently in opposition and irreconcilable. There is God’s Law from which all Equitable laws of man emerge and by which men must live if they are not to die in oppression, chaos and despair. Divorced from God’s eternal and immutable Law, established before the founding of the suns, man’s power is evil no matter the noble words with which it is employed or the motives urged when enforcing it. Men of good will, mindful therefore of the Law laid down by God, will oppose governments whose rule is by men, and if they wish to survive as a nation they will destroy the government which attempts to adjudicate by the whim of venal judges.” (Cicero, quoted in A Pillar of Iron, p. ix)
8. It is our duty. . . to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.” (Thomas Jefferson, to James Lewis, May 9, 1798; Works 4:241)
9. “There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust.” (Demosthenes, 384-322 B.C.; Familiar Quotations, p. 277)
10. “Deterrence is more than bombs and missiles and tanks and armies. Deterrence is a sound economy and prosperous industry. Deterrence is scientific progress and good schools. Deterrence is effective civil defense and the maintenance of law and order. Deterrence is the practice of religion and respect for the rights and convictions of others. Deterrence is a high standard of morals and wholesome family life. Deterrence is honesty in public office and freedom of the press. Deterrence is all these things and many more, for only a nation that is healthy and strong in every respect has the power and will to deter the forces from within and without that threaten its survival.” (General Thomas S. Power, Design for Survival, p. 242)
(Source: Address delivered on June 21, 1968, at the Farm Bureau Banquet in Preston, Idaho)