The current Presidential administration continues an aimless… and bewildering foreign policy- it should come as no surprise considering the diluted message the United States has sent the world following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The fact that three successive Presidents have failed to show a unified American position in the world is a clear indication of a failure to understand our history.
The Final Founder
The foundation of American foreign policy was set in 1823… and crafted by John Quincy Adams and James Monroe. Tucked away in his annual message to Congress was a bold and profound statement about the global interest of the United States- supporting freedom. Too many politicians and “analysts” dismiss ideology as unrealistic in the geopolitical sphere. This “nuanced” approach has enfeebled our position in the world- we have lost our way.
The Monroe Doctrine is not just about keeping Europeans out of North America… the ideological framework of the proposal is too often overlooked-
“that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers. . . But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. “
Harry Truman’s Liberalism is too often overlooked by historians… indoctrinated by the historiography of FDR and the New Deal. Truman’s Fair Deal was every bit as progressive and in regards to civil rights, it far exceeded the progress of his predecessor.
Truman was also dealing with the Red Storm rising… the ambitions of Stalin’s Russia in post-war Europe. Roosevelt had established an amiable tone with the Soviets at Yalta- the direct precursor to the aggressive moves of the Red Army in Eastern Europe. On April 23, 1945 Truman met with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. The new American President made it clear that policies were changing-
“I explained to him [Molotov] in words of one syllable…that cooperation is not a one-way-street.”
“I have never been talked to like that in my life….”
“Carry out your agreements and you won’t be talked to like that.”
Listen to me now….
The Buck was stopping….
Delegates at the Constitutional Convention privately questioned whether George Washington’s attendance would make a difference… his comrades from the Revolutionary War knew it would; that his renowned resolve would provide legitimacy to their undertaking in Philadelphia. Some doubted Washington’s imposing presence could really move men.
Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s adjutant during much of the War… challenged a Pennsylvania delegate, the jovial Gouverneur Morris, to greet the General by grasping him by the shoulder. The bet was a feast for 12. Morris boasted to Hamilton that no man could intimidate him, even Washington.
At a formal dinner a few nights later… Morris approached Washington and greeted him with a firm grasp of the General’s shoulder,
“My Dear General, I am very happy to see you look so well.”
Washington removed Morris’s hand and took a step back… fixing on Morris what was described as an “angry frown” and “steely glance” that “withered” Morris and forced his retreat. He later confessed to Hamilton,
“I have won the bet but paid dearly for it, and nothing could induce me to repeat it.”
Five Steps to Pearl Harbor Edition
- July 8, 1853– Using gunboat diplomacy, Commodore Matthew Perry threatened to bombard Tokyo unless the Japanese government opened its ports to American trade.
- September 5, 1905– Japan and Russia sign the treaty of Portsmouth, negotiated by President Theodore Roosevelt, ending the Russo Japanese War. Three days of Anti-American riots followed, spawned by the belief Roosevelt had cheated the Japanese out of legitimately won war claims.
- October 17, 1941– Militarist and Imperialist Hideki Tojo becomes Prime Minister of Japan. Tojo had been advocating the creation of Pan-Asian Japanese empire since 1934. He considered America “the cancer of the Pacific” that had to be eliminated.
- May 1940– President Franklin Roosevelt orders the US Pacific fleet to move its base of operation from San Diego to Pearl Harbor. Admiral James Richardson vehemently protested the move and was replaced as commander.
- November 26, 1941– Secretary of State Cordell Hull presented the Japanese ambassador with our final proposal to resolve the diplomatic impasse between the US and Japan. Japan was to withdraw from Indochina and China to avoid potential hostilities. The Japanese strike fleet had left for Hawaii the previous day.
Early in 2000, the Smithsonian Museum of American History announced… it would assist in the production of an epic film about the American Revolution starring Mel Gibson. Historians, history buffs, and living historians were further enticed by the original script detailing the exploits of “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion. Disappointment with “The Patriot” started early, as producers ordered a substantial rewrite of the script after researching the complex life of Marion. Apparently, a slave-owning Indian fighter cannot be heroic in a major Hollywood production. Gibson instead portrays an anachronism- a South Carolina plantation owner who allows free blacks to work his land; a rebel torn between his family and the American cause.
Cute kids mask bad movie
It’s as if a group of impressionable, idealistic college sophomores… sat down and scripted the American Revolution “as it should have been.” Young women stand up and chastise their elders in town meetings, slaves struggle for freedom in the deepest parts of South Carolina, and the evil imperialist British forces commit mass murder similar to the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre of 1944. There’s plenty of speechifying, Gibson’s slow boiling, hunky Heath Ledger, and adorable children- but the film is woefully short on history. Couldn’t the Smithsonian have advised on more than just costuming? Gibson’s rage is incapable of overwhelming such a careless script (the same script that compares British soldiers to Nazis.) The Hollywood community doesn’t have the courage to make a film about the complexities of American history. We are either preached to with politically correct drivel like “Dances with Wolves,” or insulted with comic-book nonsense like this monstrosity.
1776 or 1944?
The current administration continues to assail the press and critics utilizing their free speech rights… The President’s minions disingenuously claim that he is merely “fighting back.”
Only those who approve
Trump does not believe in civil discourse…. If he does not agree with something, or it challenges his actions, he feels it is illegitimate and should not exist. This is tyranny.
George Washington warned his fellow citizens about the dangers of losing free speech…
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”