John Kerry chose the hallowed grounds of… The University of Virginia to announce his vision for America’s foreign policy initiatives. Democratic politicians have praised Kerry’s speech for its “forward thinking” approach to dealing with our strategic interests around the world. Choosing the school Jefferson built as the backdrop for the speech, undoubtedly leads to comparisons with our first Secretary of State.
Kerry stressed that our interests must include… a massive increase in foreign aid. Looking to our history and invoking such programs as the Marshall Plan (you’re welcome, Europe) Kerry argued that investment on this scale was the only way to protect our interests. Regardless of economic conditions here, we must “invest” in the future of strategic partners to prevent extremism abroad, Kerry argued. Diplomats can do more with pens and bankrolls than our military can with weaponry.
American diplomats tried reasoning and buying… favor with the Barbary pirates in the late 18th century. The infusion of money did nothing to quell the aggression and greed of the North African states. Thomas Jefferson used military force(as Commander-in-Chief) to establish our presence in the Mediterranean. Our strategic partners followed suit and our interests were advanced by negotiating from strength. Much like the benefits of the Marshall Plan came with strategic prerequisites to guarantee our investments, US foreign aid cannot be made on blind faith alone. John Kerry may fancy himself the next Thomas Jefferson, but his empty rhetoric does not compare to the deeds of our first Secretary.