Other than Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, I haven’t heard any politician espouse any principles of foreign policy. Senator John McCain stated during the Republican debates—regarding dealing with Iran—something to the effect, “Don’t broadcast your plans.“ But that was a war tactic. Not foreign policy.
The only policy I can discern from watching those involved with foreign affairs seems to be: If you think they might do something dangerous, throw bombs or bullets (or both) at them.
But even that gets wishy washy as we didn’t do it with the USSR or China so there must be an addendum to that, something to the effect, “provided they are not so big and mean that they could fight back and hurt us.”
So current US foreign policy seems to be “Bully when you can. Otherwise just rattle your saber.”
If that is our foreign policy, "Great!" We have a foreign policy. If that is our foreign policy, then it needs to be expressed as policy.
It should be written down and passed around so that everyone knows we have a foreign policy and what it is.
That is poor foreign policy however and will get us into the kind of trouble in which we find ourselves.
The foreign policy principles written here are far superior to our current, unspoken, unwritten foreign policy.
Please keep that in mind as you read through Foreign Policy Principles that policy is just that: policy. They are guidelines for action. You work within those guidelines. In an exigent moment, to advance the cause, you may veer from policy, but only momentarily and not as a general practice.
You may have to back off a total application of a concept for a while until you can apply it fully, particularly when you consider the deep trouble we are in as a country for lack of policy to guide our activities in foreign affairs. But over the long haul, these policies can be pretty well applied as stated. Any variance should only be temporary.
I decided to write these up after listening to the Palin - Biden vice-presidential debates. Sarah Palin, being a governor, would have little experience with foreign affairs. But that doesn’t mean that she can’t understand foreign affairs or do well as a president or vice-president in dealing with foreign affairs. Particularly when considering the current state of foreign affairs and the United States of America.
Joe Biden on the other hand spoke expertly, spouting off bountiful amounts of data on foreign countries and people. But as I listened to him, it became apparent he was like the fantasy football player who is an encyclopedia of information about players and statistics, but don’t ask the fantasy football player to coach an NFL football team!
Biden had lots of interesting information to spout off. But I didn’t hear anything that amounted to a modicum of value regarding foreign policy.
Foreign Policy Principles is real Policy. Not just data. And the application of this policy would bring about a much more successful status of this country (and most countries) with regards to its neighbors on the globe.
These policies are time proven, real life workable policies to use to successfully negotiate foreign affairs—if your interest is to promote freedom throughout the world. (To achieve other goals, other policies should be used. For instance, if a country wishes to Rule the World, Michiavelli's The Prince would probably be more suitable.)
These policies are listed in approximate order of importance.
These principles apply to any country, but they especially apply to the United States of America as the last super power of the world and as a promoter of individual liberty.
1. Communicate with everyone. And “everyone” means just that: everyone. Be inclusive. It doesn’t always have to be the President or Secretary of State that does the talking. If it is the rebel band such as the Contras or Al Qaeda, don’t be afraid to talk. All right; for such rebellious troublemakers you send a lower level ambassador like a Jesse Jackson. But talk with them and listen. You may be able to avoid a serious escalation of their dispute with a simple acknowledgment of their complaint and a communication of the complaint to the government in power.
The First Amendment provision of Redress of Grievances is a constitutional guarantee to citizens of the various States of our federation (the United States). But it is also a natural right of all people with regards to their government. And if we can provide relief to the peoples of the world by granting them that right, we should do our best to do so. Always maintain neutrality, otherwise those in power may resent our communication with others questioning their power or the effects of the use of that power.
Nobody rebels without a cause. That government has done something to violate the rights of the people and some of them are rebelling. Discussion can find the problem and even a route to peace. Even the police have found it beneficial to negotiate with the most unusual of characters. The murders of the Branch Davidians and Vicki Weaver was not beneficial to the government of the United States. Through that experience the FBI learned: Don’t attack. Negotiate.
The role of a Friendly Giant as a mediator can be very powerful in world politics. But is must be a friendly giant, otherwise talking with everyone can be a risky business.
2. Trade with everyone. This is really a subset of “talk with everyone.” Trade is communication using particles a little more solid than sound waves. Regardless of our feeling about a country or its people, always communicate; always trade. Both enhance relationships. Both improve conditions.
Never barricade or hinder the trade routes of any country, with the possible exception of those with whom we are at war. Trade improves well being. It is part and parcel to establishing a route to personal freedom and political liberty, even for those who are oppressed.
Oppressive government must subside off the labor of those whom they suppress (unless they get foreign aid—see below). So when one trades with oppressed countries there is no one to trade with other than the oppressed in that country—the government has nothing to offer in trade. So trade benefits everyone, including the oppressed.
3. Do not engage in foreign aid. Except for a very few seriously physically impaired, every man on this planet has the capability to support himself and his family. Likewise with women, depending on the state of technology in the country in which they live.
For the population of an entire nation to be unable to sustain itself is only for one reason: the government has oppressed its people with taxes, regulations and general suppression to the point that they cannot support themselves and are starving.
Foreign aid to such countries never gets to the people it is meant to help. The foreign aid only prolongs the existence of the oppressive government as the "aid" gets redirected to individuals in that government thereby supporting its suppressive actions against its people.
Those people living in relative freedom under little oppression from government you will find are living with a decent standard of living and do not need foreign aid.
So do not engage in foreign aid.
4. Do not invade a foreign country without a declaration of war from the Congress. This principle is pretty much an American principle. It is mandated by our constitution and is in keeping with our form of government and ideals of a free society with individual rights. But it can be applied to any country with modification in form (they might not have a “congress.”).
Ignoring this US Constitutional mandate has lead this country down many bloody war-torn roads with no improvement in foreign or domestic conditions.
5. Except in times of war, do not engage in foreign alliances. Maintain neutrality. There is no need to form alliances of any kind with any country on peaceful ventures. Trade alliances, environmental alliances, all such “peaceful” alliances only end up antagonizing those left out of the alliance or those who disagree with or for some reason are unable to participate in the alliance. Such alliances only tend to cause violations of the first three principles of foreign affairs. They will at least cause a diminution of the good relations established as a result of using the first two principles in that they violate the “friendly giant” principal.
It is an observable phenomenon that war has never solved anything. No war has. War at best has allowed a chance for reason and negotiation to take center stage and bring about a reform.
But the killing of people and destruction of property was not the reform.
I don’t know that any war of aggression has ever even been necessary. None of the American Wars were. They were all contrived and except for foolish diplomatic actions could all have been avoided without any further worsening of conditions.
The possible exception to the above are wars of liberation where the people rise up against an oppressive government and overthrow it. But even those come about because the people were so lazy and irresponsible over a long period of time as to let their government get into that condition. Even in the American example, conditions did not change after the Revolutionary War. In fact they continued to get worse—than under British rule—until the Constitution was adopted. Only then did peace and prosperity come to the domestic scene in America and then in the space of only 100 years America became a world super power, a force to be reckoned with.
But it was reason and peace—not war—that brought about that success.
6. Set a good example. This is the best and really only way for a free country to “conquer the world.” It cannot be done with force of arms without destroying oneself and one‘s own freedom. This is an historical fact established over and over by those countries who would rule the world through imperialism.
A free country cannot rule the world. But it can conquer oppression. But only by encouraging others to be as free as it is. And that can only be done by setting a good example for others to observe, learn and follow.