America First Foreign Policy

Since the beginning of recorded history, sovereign nations have executed foreign policies primarily to serve their self-interests. Even in ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh had a Counselor of Foreign Affairs. Often the purpose of foreign policy was to protect resources, trade routes, land, people, and a way of life. More times than not, foreign policy was an extension of government policy for selfish pursuits. The primary concerns of the needs of the foreign entity were not always considered. War has been described as the extension of government policy by other means. Diplomacy has too many times been abused at the altar of ideological purity.

What is different about the United States of America?

The United States of America was founded on the principle that all rights come from a Creator, not the government. Rights bestowed by a Creator are absolute and eternal. If they are absolute and eternal, then they are applicable to all mankind. In this belief then, U.S. foreign policy has sought to advance these eternal rights to all nations through principled foreign policy.

Every child in America who has graduated from the sixth grade has heard the term “the American melting pot.” It was from this multifarious environment in our early history that diverse nationality, culture, and religion provided the ingredients of a new theory on self-governance. Throughout history, a people yielded to the authority from which they recognized their rights were granted. Until 1776, that authority was a king, czar, emperor or dictator. They may have been benevolent. But the result of government dominance was that an elitist class restricted the opportunity of an individual based upon the elitists’ privileged view of the world and their own special interest needs. Progress was dependent upon their concepts of theory practiced by trial and error on the average citizen. The nobles’ positions and incomes were not subject to the efforts or actions that they enforced on the commoners.

What then has been the purpose of American principled foreign policy? It has been the hope that the world would develop into a place of consummate freedom. After American independence, the young nation struggled for seven years to establish a governing document that embodied our founding principles. They drafted and passed a body of law so revolutionary that the elites of the world gave the country little chance of success. This document of course was the Constitution. In simple terms, it provided for the rule of law (enforcement of contracts and settlement of disputes), due process (everyone is equal under the law), independent courts (incorruptible arbiters), freedom of press and speech (all ideas and accountability are welcomed), and transparency (government is accountable in all transactions). These principles are truths that are the basis of a unifying, principled foreign policy. And these principles are the essence of the United States’ foreign policy advocated for the benefit of the world. It is the first time in the history of the world that a great nation has advocated for others what it advocates for itself.

Have there been racial and gender prejudices in our history? Yes. But the Constitution has provided a framework to eliminate bias, prejudice, and the lack of due process. We have made progress in civil rights as a country.

Have we been at war? Yes. But every time it was to defend democracy, or to defend the sovereignty of a partner nation, or to prevent genocide, or to protect a people’s freedom. Any nation today that criticizes U.S. foreign policy does not do so upon the basis of this platform of unifying principles. In fact, most of our detractors do not adhere to any one of these unifying principles.

Has America dealt with and aided nations with whom we do not agree on all issues? Yes. But only to move them towards the concept of freedom in the hopes of helping their citizens. Egypt is an ally of the United States. It does not embrace all of our principles. But they have recognized Israel’s right to exist and they have established and maintained diplomatic relations with them.

Should America then be the world’s police force? Not necessarily. But the presence of the United States military, as the arm of a foreign policy committed to principles, is what keeps a volatile world from erupting into regional and world conflict. Much like a policeman patrolling a neighborhood, their presence deters crime.

Further, the United States is the only world power with any chance of enforcing transparency. Without transparency, currencies can be manipulated. Banking systems can be corrupted. Illegal trafficking of drugs, contraband, and humans are difficult to control. Without transparency, dictators abuse and manipulate trade, investment, and citizens. We are blessed as a nation to have achieved the economic prosperity that we enjoy. We are further blessed by the fact that our currency is the world’s reserve currency. We have the resources, the processes, the systems, and the position to advance, develop and protect freedom in this global economic system. Our principles support freedom for the benefit of all people.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered a foreign policy speech last week driving a central theme of making America first.  Part and parcel of that speech was that our world partners should pay their fair share, primarily for defense of their sovereignty. This argument has merit. The criticism of the Democrats and the establishment is centered on the concept that international relations and transactions have primarily been established over several years following World War II. They proffer that international agreements are complex, interrelated, intertwined, and intractable. In other words, they contend that foreign policy is messy and can only be managed and maintained through business as usual.

What is not being argued is that our country’s principles should be advanced. Our principles are sound. They have stood the test of time. Due process is making progress. Freedom as a priority is the foundation of human dignity and the advancement of society. We should be proud as Americans of what we have established, accomplished, and rendered for the world.

Freedom is an eternal force meant for the fulfillment of all men and women. Just as the Federalist Papers argued, in equal freedom provided and applied, we all prosper. By advancing the principles of rule of law, due process, independent courts, free press and speech, and transparency, American foreign policy advances the cause of human civilization, regardless of the form of government involved, culture, or ethnicity. America should stand on this pronouncement and make no excuses.

By advancing these principles and universal liberty, the United States, in belief and commitment, is making America and the world first.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?