The Declaration of Independence
In 1775 at Concord and Lexington, a small group of British citizens living in America took up arms against their own government, starting the American Revolution. Other British citizens chose to support their government and its troops during the crisis.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the British Empire ruled America before July 4, 1776, and that the reason some of the British colonists rebelled against their own government was that their king was a tyrant?|
The United States of America was founded on the principles of individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government. In order to establish a free society, Americans used the Constitution to limit the powers of their government officials.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the Constitution does not give people rights? People’s rights preexist both the Constitution and the federal government. The Constitution sets barriers to the power of the government in order to prevent it from taking away people’s preexisting rights.|
Citizen-Soldiers versus. Standing Armies
Americans believed that an enormous standing army in their midst would be one of the gravest threats to their liberty. That’s why they relied on well-armed and well-trained citizen-soldiers to secure their liberty and security. Our ancestors established a republic, not an empire.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the reason that Switzerland is never invaded is that every Swiss man knows how to fight and many Swiss families are armed to the teeth, in order to protect the nation from invasion? It’s been said that invading Switzerland would be like swallowing a porcupine. Did you also know that the Swiss government minds its own business in international affairs, which is why terrorists leave the Swiss people alone?|
Our Founders and Foreign Wars
The firm policy of our American ancestors was to keep our nation out of foreign wars, even though the world was filled with tyrants who mistreated their own people. The vision of our ancestors was to create a society of freedom to which people all over the world could come to flee the tyranny in their own land.
|Did You Know?Did you know that John Quincy Adams, who was U.S. Secretary of State, told the House of Representatives on July 4, 1821, that America “does not go abroad, in search of monsters to destroy?” Did you also know that the people of France gave the Statue of Liberty to America?|
The Spanish-American War
In 1898, our nation took a fateful turn from being a republic to becoming an empire. In that year, our government decided to wage a war of liberation against the Spanish Empire to free the Cuban and Philippine people from Spanish tyranny.
|Did You Know?Did you know that after the U.S. government defeated the Spanish Empire, it slaughtered thousands of Filipinos because they thought that “liberation” meant self-rule, while the U.S. government felt that “liberation” meant U.S. military rule over the Filipinos? Did you also know that the Spanish-American War was when U.S. government began its century-long obsession with exercising control over Cuban affairs?|
World War I
In 1917 the U.S. government decided to embark on another overseas military adventure — entry into World War I, which involved a complex conflict between many European powers.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the purpose of U.S. entry into World War I was to “make the world safe for democracy” and to make it “the war to end all wars”?|
More than 100,000 American men were sacrificed in World War I. One consequence of the war was the Russian Revolution, which brought Vladimir Lenin and communism to power in the Soviet Union. Another consequence, which can be directly attributed to U.S. intervention in the war, was the chaos arising from the total defeat of Germany, which in turn gave rise to Adolf Hitler and National Socialism.
|Did You Know?Did you know that there is no difference in principle between communism and socialism? Both seek to redistribute and equalize wealth through the political process. That’s why both communists and socialists — both Stalin and Hitler — embraced such government programs as old-age assistance (Social Security) and national health care (Medicare and Medicaid).|
Post–World War I Era
Given that the consequences of World War I were so horrific and that so many American men had died for nothing, Americans were overwhelmingly opposed to ever involving our nation in another foreign war.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the U.S. government ultimately changed the name of Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War I, to Veteran’s Day?|
During the 1940 presidential race, President Franklin Roosevelt affirmed to the American people his personal opposition to U.S. involvement in foreign wars. “I’ve said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
|Did You Know?Did you know that prior to 1941, the party platforms of both the Democratic Party and Republican Party opposed U.S. involvement in foreign wars?|
Many historians now say that Roosevelt was lying and was instead trying to get the Germans or Japanese to “fire the first shot” when he spoke those words to the American people during his campaign for reelection.
|Did You Know?Did you know that before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. military forces had attacked Japanese troops in China and that the U.S. government had frozen Japanese bank accounts in the United States, imposed an oil embargo on Japan, broken Japanese secret diplomatic codes (which permitted U.S. officials to monitor Japanese communications), and left thousands of American troops in the Pacific (on islands seized in the Spanish-American War) as “bait” for the Japanese? Did you also know that one of the main reasons that U.S. interventionists wanted to go to war against Japan was that Japan was bombing cities in China, an act which most of the world regarded as uncivilized?|
World War II
In 1939, after annexing Austrian and invading Czechoslovakia, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Shortly afterward, the Soviet Union also invaded Poland.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the reason that Germany gave for invading Czechoslovakia was to liberate Germans living in Czechoslovakia from the tyranny of the Czech government?|
On September 3, 1939, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany, with the goal of freeing the Polish people from tyranny. On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on the United States. Since the U.S. Constitution prohibits the president from waging war without a congressional declaration of war, the president secured a declaration of war from Congress against both Japan and Germany.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the U.S. government did not enter World War II to free the Jews and that very few Jews were in fact saved by World War II? In fact, during the entire 1930s and early 1940s, the U.S. State Department was filled with Anti-Semites, which is why German and Eastern European Jews were not permitted to emigrate to the United States and why the U.S. government rejected a famous ship named the St. Louis that was filled with Jewish refugees. By the time the war was over, some 6 million European Jews were dead.|
Great Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union totally smashed the Nazi military machine and regime. The Poles, Czechs, East Germans, and the peoples in eight other countries were “liberated” by our friend and ally, the Soviet Union, and enjoyed the “benefits” of the Soviet domination for the next 45 years.
|Did You Know?Did you know that President Franklin D. Roosevelt entered into a formal agreement with the Soviet Union’s dictator, Joseph Stalin, that provided that Poland would be “liberated” by the Soviet communists? Did you also know that the Soviet communists killed many more people than the Nazis did?|
At the conclusion of World War II, Nazi officials were brought to trial for war crimes before the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.
|Did You Know?Did you know that the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal held that waging a “war of aggression” — that is, a war in which the invader had not been attacked by the invaded country — is a war crime and that some of the Nazi defendants were convicted of waging a war of aggression? Did you also know that the Nuremberg judges rejected the Nazi attempt to justify their war of aggression by reference to doctrines of “a war of liberation” and “preemptive attack”? Did you also know that the Soviet Union was a judge, rather than a defendant, at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, despite the fact that Soviet forces invaded Poland shortly after Germany did, killed 10,000 Polish officers in cold blood during the war, and raped thousands of German women?|
In the Pacific, Allied forces smashed the Japanese military machine and established democracy in Japan. China, on the other hand, whose invasion by Japan had produced calls for U.S. intervention before the attack on Pearl Harbor, was taken over by Chinese communist forces in 1949, who have remained supreme in China ever since. Those Chinese communists later helped to kill some 100,000 American men in Korea and Vietnam.
|Did You Know?Did you know that more than 300,000 American men lost their lives in World War II?|
The Cold War
At the end of World War II, U.S. officials immediately announced that it was necessary to maintain the enormous U.S. military-industrial complex created during World War II in order to oppose our new enemy (previously, Hitler’s enemy) — the Soviet Union (which had arisen as a consequence of World War I and into whose clutches President Roosevelt had delivered the Eastern Europeans and East Germans).
|Did You Know?Did you know that in previous wars, America had dismantled the standing army needed to fight the wars, discharging its soldiers back into the private sector?|
Korean War and Vietnam War
As part of the new fight against Hitler’s old enemy — communism — some 100,000 American men were sacrificed in foreign wars in Korea and Vietnam.
|Did You Know?Did you know that many interventionists actually believe that while Americans should take credit for all the good things that foreign wars and foreign interventions produce, Americans are not morally responsible for the bad consequences because, they say: (1) U.S. officials have good intentions and (2) because the adverse consequences come long after military victory, which is why interventionists did not accept moral responsibility for the rise of Adolf Hitler after World War I, the triumph of communism after World War II, and the September 11 terrorist attacks after the Persian Gulf War.|
The Postcommunist Era
In 1991, the Soviet Empire came to an end and the Berlin Wall came crashing down, peacefully. After suffering for some 50 years under the Soviet Union’s World War II “liberation” to which President Roosevelt had consigned them, East Germans and Eastern Europeans were finally freed from the yoke of that communist “liberation.”
|Did You Know?Did you know that during the Cold War most interventionists did not advocate invading East Germany and Eastern Europe and bombing and killing them in order to free them from the Soviet tyranny to which FDR had delivered them and instead preferred to leave them free themselves peacefully on their own?|
The Saddam Hussein Era
In 1990, one of the U.S. government’s principal allies and agents during the Cold War, Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, went independent and invaded Kuwait without permission of the U.S. government. That invasion began a U.S. obsession with Saddam Hussein that resulted in more than a decade of U.S. foreign war, foreign aid, and foreign interventions against Iraq.
|Did You Know?Did you know that during the Cold War, the United States and other Western nations furnished biological, chemical, and components for nuclear weaponry to Saddam Hussein, with the intent that he use the weaponry against the Iranian people? That’s why the U.S. government was so certain that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — Saddam didn’t return all that they gave him.|
The Persian Gulf War, which undid Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, produced many adverse consequences: the deaths and injuries of dozens of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis; massive ever-increasing spending for the U.S. military-industrial complex; a 13-year trade embargo against Iraq that cost the lives of some 500,000 Iraqi children; the enforcement of the so-called no-fly zones, which produced additional Iraqi deaths; and the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, which cost the lives of 3,000 Americans and which accelerated the move toward a total police state in America.
|Did You Know?Did you know that President Bush has intentionally, knowingly, and deliberately disregarded the provision in the U.S Constitution that grants to Congress the power to declare war? Did you also know that the president takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution when he assumes office?|
In March 2003 the president initiated another foreign war against Iraq. So far, the invasion has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers, the deaths and maimings of tens of thousands of Iraqis (including both civilians and ordinary soldiers), the destruction of billions of dollars in property, the loss of billions of dollars of museum antiquities, the deaths of UN officials, the uncontrollable expenditure of billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money, a magnet for terrorists everywhere who hate U.S. foreign policy, along with all the future perverse consequences that will inevitably flow from the war. (Bear in mind, however, the non-responsibility principle that interventionists maintain about foreign wars: Supporters of foreign interventions can take credit for the good consequences of foreign wars but are not morally responsible for the bad consequences because U.S. officials mean well and because the bad consequences come after the day of military victory.)
|Did You Know?Did you know that a phrase that could easily describe the foreign-policy philosophy of interventionists is: “Perpetual war is the best way to attain perpetual peace”?|
Congratulations! You’ve now completed Foreign Policy for Tyros. That means that you know more about U.S. foreign wars than any of your friends and relatives! Why not surprise them at your next dinner party?