What is an “American” Foreign Policy?

American foreign policy is a disaster. It has been since the 1860s.

Most people forget that the American empire was not created in the last thirty years.

It began as an extension of the moral self-righteousness of the Republican crusade against the South during the War.

Democracy and American liberty needed to be extended across the globe. So did the dollar, but that didn’t have the same ring to it.

Until 1861, American foreign policy focused on nonintervention. That is not the same as “isolationism” as critics like to contend.

This was a non-partisan consensus.

George Washington warned against American involvement in European politics. John Adams spent his four years in office trying hammer out a treat with France to avoid war, even if Congress was forcing his hand. Thomas Jefferson urged against “entangling alliances” while his successor, James Madison, was forced into war with Great Britain after exhausting what he considered to be all peaceful means to avoid conflict.

James Monroe and his Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, crafted the Monroe Doctrine, which specifically stated that the United States would not get involved in foreign wars for foreign interest.

Peace through strength had real meaning, and the strength was American economic muscle.

Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, and Tyler followed this path.

James K. Polk pursued a continental empire with the goal of acquiring Pacific ports, a policy that eventually led to American involvement in Pacific wars, and he was aggressive with Mexico, a point that John C. Calhoun made frequently.

That was the one exception to the rule in the antebellum period. Taylor, Fillmore, Piece, and Buchanan generally pursued a Washingtonian/Jeffersonian foreign policy.

Why? Because it worked and kept American free from foreign wars.

Even John Quincy Adams said while Secretary of State–some historians call him the greatest Secretary of State in American history–that while Americans should sympathize with countries seeking liberty and democracy, they had no role in making that happen.

That changed in 1865 when Republicans and then their progressive offspring went crusading around the world to spread “liberty and democracy.”

The has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead American soldiers and massive government expenditures, the very thing Washington and Jefferson wanted to avoid.

As politicians in Washington bellow about sending millions or billions of dollars to one foreign country or another, or openly discuss putting boots on the ground in foreign countries, Americans should reflect on what that means for them.

More inflation, more blood, and a less peaceful United States.

I discuss what a truly “American” foreign policy would look like on Episode 885 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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