Neutrality is the greatest foreign policy virtue

by Frank Muller


Washington dedicates a large part of his farewell address to discussing foreign relations, and the dangers of permanent alliances between the United States and foreign nations. This issue had taken special prominence in American politics during conflict between France and Britain, known as the French Revolutionary Wars, and the efforts of the Federalists to join sides with Britain and the efforts of the Democratic-Republicans to convince Washington to honor the 1778 Treaty of Alliance, which established the Franco-American alliance, and aid France. Washington had avoided American involvement in the conflict by issuing the Proclamation of Neutrality, which in turn led to the Neutrality Act of 1794. He clearly tries to further explain his approach to foreign policy and alliances in this portion of the address.

Washington makes an extended reference to the dangers of foreign nations who will seek to influence the American people and government. He makes a point to say that he believes both nations who may be considered friendly as well as nations considered enemies will try to influence the government to do their will and it will only be “real patriots” who ignore popular opinion and resist the influence of friendly nations to seek what is best for their own country.

Washington wraps up his foreign policy stance by advocating free trade with all nations arguing that trade links should be established naturally and the role of the government should be limited to insuring stable trade, defending the rights of American merchants, and any provisions necessary to insure that the government is able to insure the conventional rules of trade.

One of the paradoxes of treaties or any entanglements is that they are entered into with the best of intentions and wishful thinking.  In a world where everything is simple, this might be an effective strategy.  In a world composed of billions of individuals each relentlessly pursuing their own self-interest this half-witted philosophy simply empowers the tyrant and weakens the free.

Pursuing a policy of free trade with everyone but alignments with no one is the greatest path towards promoting our God-given rights to freedom and liberty.  One can only promote freedom if one in fact acts free.  To be free of debt is to be free from the lender.  To be beholden to no one yet free to trade with everyone pursuing voluntary exchange for mutual benefit actually free’s even the trapped over time.

We have embargoed Cuba for nearly 50 years and yet still we have not brought down the heartless communists who dominate those poor souls.  Our holier than thou attitude and sanctimonious piety of denying our “enemies” of our commerce just isolates them more from us, drives them to the arms of those who support them, and weakness our moral argument of freedom.

Cuba would have been free by the 1970’s without this reckless policy.  We should drop the embargo today.  Let American business trade for mutual benefit with this island nation, let our people vacation there and let us not preach at them but work with them.

The countless millions that have died across the planet in the name of treaties and entanglements is a sad proof point of the failure of this policy.  Look at how a Switzerland can work and trade across the planet with ease.  Friends with all.

The common response to Washington’s policy and this philosophy is to suggest that neutrality is weakness and invites attack.  That is why even though I believe in the strictest of neutrality I believe just as strongly in the weakness of human beings and concede that neutrality with weakness is just another form of slavery.

I advocate a firm committment to neutrality but armed to the teeth.  Every nation should know that our freedom and prosperity is backed by the most lethal fighting force on the planet.  In defense of our homeland, any attack will be met with the most ruthless of responses.  Our strength will be that we will trade with all, lecture no one and thus create no enemies.  Further, our strength never used will be viewed as the moral foundation upon which our example is set.

To create freedom across the planet, people must see the strong never raise their voice or threaten.  A child looking up to a powerful Father who never once raises his hand or voice but simply looks to enlighten those who willingly ask for help.  Imagine the power America – this ideal of America – would be if we pursued such a stance.

Our path is clear – debt free, strongest military force on the planet, letting our treaties and foreign entanglements expire faithfully executing our obligations while we wait for the blessed day to arrive, free trade for mutual benefit with any nation and its’ people on the planet, a system of government that insures that power is divided and separated, and a citizenry highly educated in our political system and ethical/moral obligations of human beings.

This is the path to our collective advancement in my view.

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2 thoughts on “Neutrality is the greatest foreign policy virtue

  1. …the best way to wage war is free trade, without firing a shot, except for an exchange
    of sun-tory. we have screwed up with the most lethal force on the planet. is it, as a
    notable mountaineer said, because it’s there? it makes us flat-out bullys and paints
    our diplomacy with blood.

    Liked by 1 person

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