What American Foreign Policy Should Be
Note: This is from an article that I wrote many years ago (1999). So, you will see names and events that are presented in the present tense. Also, notice that Donald Trump advocated tariffs. Well, he did not discover this, this was used by the United States when it was founded as a nation and it has been advocated by many – including yours truly – way before Trump made his campaign promises (that are yet to be fulfilled).
As you know, the United States has been involved in many foreign wars in the last century. Reading Pat Buchanan’s book, A Republic Not An Empire, he clearly outlines that this was not the purpose of the Founding Fathers nor of our leaders after them. It was only with the start of the Spanish American War that our policy had started to change.
I would like to add to this, doing so in as few words as possible. In the computer age, where people want things in ‘sound bites,’ they don’t have the time or the interest in listening to a long detailed account. With this article, I hope to present enough of a case to make people think about how wrong our foreign policy is.
Presidents, like George Bush and Clinton says that our ‘national interest’ is at stake. Let’s see if this is true. With the Gulf War, we were told that American interests were at stake. By getting involved in foreign wars, we had actually made it worse for Americans at home and abroad. How? The fact that we did get involve, it makes the country that we fought against anti-American.
We often hear about terrorists in our country; bombing of some building, someone getting caught with explosives who is tied to some terrorist group. Why do we have this happening now more so than in the past. BECAUSE we have got ourselves involved in the affairs of other nations.
Our purpose as a nation was not to get into foreign conflicts. Even if this was our purpose and if it was spelled out in our Constitution—which it wasn’t—it would be wrong. So, I’m not saying this because we were founded on principles of not getting in involved in European affairs, or other affairs for that matter, but from a point of view of what is better for our nation.
To drive home the point more, let’s look at nations who haven’t been ‘the policemen of the world,’ as the US has.
There are many nations who have not been involved in foreign wars. Has their freedom been effected? NO! Look at the many small nations in Europe and other parts of the world—their freedom has not been effect regardless of which side won. If we look at the US, there are many wars going on all over the world that we have not been involved in, and this has not effect our freedom. The only reason we have not been involved in these other wars is because their was no economic interest for big business to benefit. Or, if there was, our military was tied up in some other on-going conflict. We may have a large military complex, but not enough to get involved in all conflicts.
Looking back in history before a time when there was a ‘policemen of the world,’ our nation and others were not involved in some far off conflict. Did it affect their freedom or economic interest? Again, the answer is a resounding NO!
Many times we are told that it’s to safeguard our access to raw materials that we must get involved. On this principle, it is wrong for us to get involved for this reason, as peoples’ lives are more important than some material interest—meaning the lives of our soldiers.
Again, let’s take a look at the Gulf War conflict, for those who say that this would safeguard our oil interest. Such was plainly not the case. To look at the surface of this argument, regardless if Iraq won the war against Kuwait or not—and they easily would had not other nations been involved—the oil would have continued to be shipped to our shores. We were on friendly terms with this nation before the war, and after they war, they would have continued to sell to us. But by getting involved—and on the wrong side at that—it actually disrupted the flow of oil. Even after the war, we put an economic boycott on Iraq, which includes oil. As for getting oil from Kuwait, this was disrupted by the bombing of the oil refineries, which took two years to get back on line.
So, why was this war fought? For two reasons: One, that it was fought to destroy Israeli’s enemy—the main reason. Second, that it got the excess oil of the world markets, as Iraq’s sale was depressing international oil price.
Now, we’ll take a look at this from the general point of view. Regardless of what natural resources other nations have, we will still have access to it. For whoever wins the war, we will still have the opportunity to buy what they produce. If a nation wins that doesn’t produce the natural resources, they would control the other nation and sell to us. If a nation wins that does process these resources, they will continue to sell to us. By our involvement, and other nations—under the umbrella of the United Nations—we actually prolong the war, not to mention the destruction of their infrastructure. If we get involved in a war where the nation that has the natural resources loses, but still have control of their material resources, they will not want to sell to us, which is natural. By remaining neutral, both sides would have appreciate it and would continue to sell to us.
Nation That Doesn’t Want to Sell
We are supposed to be a nation who believes in self-determination. If this is so, then it is the right of each nation to sell what they want at what price they want. How would you like to be told that you have to sell to such-and-such a person at a certain price? You wouldn’t like that would you. Nor do other nations like that, too. Sadly, the right to sell to whom we want is denied to Americans, so it is only natural that we are taking away this freedom from other nations. For decades now, we are told that we have to rent to blacks, Mexicans, or whomever, regardless of our past experience with these people. This applies to selling homes, serving food, etc.
In a truly free society this choice should be left to the individual. There will be many others who will sell, rent or provide services to others who are turned down.
If during a conflict of a war, which was kept local, we still have other choices to get out raw material, or manufactured ones for that matter. In most cases, there are other nations that we can buy the raw material for finished products from. Then, there is the stockpile or reserves that we can use during this time.
A nation should use the same common sense that the head of a family should use. A husband would not leave his car tank on empty when he knows that his family would have needed to drive somewhere. He would not leave the oil heater nearly empty, the pantry empty, or spend all the money he has saved. Thus, a nation should have reserves of all natural resources, especially if it’s a material that only one or two nations of the world produce. This is just common sense, which, unfortunately, most people and nations lack.
Manufacturing is the Key
The United States has many natural resources, though in an age where there are many different materials needed to produce the things that we use, we do not need to have the resources to do so. Take a look at nations like Germany and Japan. They have little in the way of natural resources, but they can get whatever they need to produce things like cars, TVs, computers, etc. They can get the raw materials they need from every corner of the world. The nations that have little in the way of manufactured goods, but much in natural resources, can sell what they have for things that they need. Thus, all nations prosper.
Though there are many chemicals and minerals that the United States does not produce, we can virtually manufacture all that is need in this age of modern technology. There is no machinery that we don’t have or can’t buy; no talent that we need to make the things of modern science. Thus, we can trade what we make for that which we need. The second and third world nations that don’t have the money to buy the equipment needed or the talent to make such things a computer and cars, but can sell what they have for what they need. Thus, all nations benefit.
In the past decades, many of our factories closed down because of cheap imported goods, or have relocated overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. This is the result of bad government. However, this can be corrected, by giving companies tax incentives to come back. By having tariffs that increase the price of these cheap goods, the US government can make it more attractive to produce these same products within our nation.
The Need for Tariffs
Many people are against tariffs, even patriotic Americans. However, if tariffs are used right, it would be a great benefit for American workers. First, let’s take a look at some facts.
Neither the United States, nor any other nation can control what other governments and businesses do, nor should they. Although they try, it’s a dismal failure. If another government wants to subsidize their business, it’s their business. If companies in other countries want to pay their employees less, there’s nothing we can do. When we do try to dictate to other countries, it costs us billions of dollars in sending over our military, not to say the cost of lives in wars fought. This is very costly, yet it produces no products that people can use. It also produces no peace. So, it’s definitely a ‘lose, lose’ situation.
Another thing to consider is, that people should have freedom of choice in what they buy. So, how do we solve a situation where people may purchase things made in other countries but also have work so they can buy things? The answer is tariffs on imported goods.
If tariffs are put on goods that can be sold in our country cheaper than what we can produce, a tax should be put on it so when it’s sold in the market it would have the same price as those ‘Made in the USA.’ What would this produce? It would keep businesses opened in the US, employ our people, keep our economy strong, and give the people the choice to buy from other countries IF they so chose.
Some people may say that this can’t be done. Anything can be done if it’s the law of the land. Look at how many bad laws that we have; yet most people obey them even if they don’t like it. With a law that benefits businesses and workers, creates peace and prosperity, people would be happy. Businesses would still be free to locate in other countries, but they won’t have the freedom to put Americans out of work, neither would foreign companies. If they want to sell to other countries that don’t have a tariff, or one that is as high as the US, they can do so. For people who say that this will cause trade wars, so be it. However, they will only be denying their own people products from our country. If it comes to this, the American economy is huge and will produce enough money to satisfy businesses at home. Businesses in other countries who want to sell to our huge economy, will either have to settle for having their products on par with American made products or leave. They can sell to other countries including their own.
If a nation needs our products, they’ll buy from us. Most nations don’t manufacture high technological things, so they would have to come to us.
Think of the uselessness for one nation to ship goods to another that nation makes the same goods; then the other nation shipping their own kind of products back. This is a waste of time, money and fuel. This results in a lose-lose situation all the way around.