Peace Through Strength is Hogwash

Sorry, President Reagan.

I don’t believe in peace through strength.  I believe in peace through peace, as did our Founders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded former Soviet Union state Crimea.  Now Putin threatens military invasion of former Soviet state Ukraine.  What do I say?  I say, “Who cares!”  These events “neither pick my pocket nor break my leg” (Thomas Jefferson).  Crimea and Ukraine are former states of U.S.S.R.  Large portions of their populations are loyal to Russia.  Frankly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen while Pres. Bush was busy invading Iraq.

I couldn’t care less Putin is invading these so-called countries and NATO “allies.”  Believe me, when war comes to NATO, the only nations we’d go to war to defend is Britain, France, and Germany.  Really, who are we kidding?  Sorry Poland, Finland, Spain, and Italy.  And I’m not so sure we’d come to Germany’s aid.  For goodness sakes, after 50 years can’t Germany defend itself?  France we owe a great debt for helping us beat the Brits in our war for independence.  Britain we’ll defend;  they’ve been a long and loyal ally.

This idea of “peace through strength” must be examined.  We certainly cannot use it to justify policing the world.  Our nation was not chartered to be the world police.  Our Founders chartered a nation to stand alone, unique, unto ourselves, a nation of free people.  Free to pursue happiness, safe from an over-reaching despotic government, free to contract, enterprise and partner in business as each of us chooses.

Our great strength as a nation is not our Navy, our stealth jets, best trained and equipped soldiers, our satellites, or our ICBMs.  America’s great strength is what we’ve been exporting for 200 years:  rule of law, enterprise, and individual freedom.  How many nations now have written constitutions like ours?  How many have thrown off monarchies and dictators in exchange for rule of law?  How many today afford freedom of the press and recognize individual liberties to some degree?  America’s example of rule of law, democratically elected representatives, constitutional protections, free enterprise, and individual freedoms has fostered more peace than any well trained well equipped army could accomplish (with all due respect to our wonderful armed forces and their families).

Some will argue we must defend U.S. interests abroad in order to keep America safe at home.  To that I say, “Hogwash!”  To that I say, “Doing so will bankrupt and destroy us.”  Was Vietnam a U.S. interest?  Was Korea a U.S. interest?  Was Iraq and Afghanistan a U.S. interest?  This idea of spreading democracy by the end of a barrel is a travesty.  America was simply not chartered to do that.  Doing so bankrupts nations—they over extend themselves.  History is littered with dead empires defending their “interests abroad.”

Reagan was all wrong on this matter.

Some exclaim, “Nations will fall if we don’t defend them.  What about South Korea?  If we pull out of South Korea, North Korea will invade South Korea.”  To them I say, “Yes, I would pull all U.S. troops out of South Korea faster than you can say Gangnum Style.  To Kim Jong Un I’d send this brief note: ‘If we have to come back it won’t be to re-establish a DMZ.'”

Iraq?  Leave.  Afghanistan?  Leave.  Germany?  Leave.

U.S. officials must stop meddling in foreign affairs, namely engineering coups, propping up despots, and over-throwing democratically elected governments with which we don’t align.  This is shameful behavior for our part.  Just shameful.  Are we that insecure in our person and ideals?  Really?

America’s foreign policy was chartered for trade, not military might.  It’s only by our system of enterprise—the unleashing of creative ingenuity and invention—that we have the wealth to pay for our military dominance in global matters.  But, let’s not confuse wealth for power.  Wealth is NOT power.  America is a blessed nation.  God has blessed America thus far. Our history has been blessed.  America has been blessed with what money cannot buy.  America has what millions of people have not: friendly neighboring nations, natural resources, mild climates, fertile soils, two coastlines, rule of law, self-determination, financial opportunity, security, and individual freedoms.

Not peace through strength, but peace through peace.  Let the peoples of nations determine how they wish to be governed.  If it gets bad enough they’ll do something about it.  We did!  With a rag-tag army of colonists facing off against the greatest army and navy in the world.  Let folks settle their own affairs.  And if China and Russia, Iran, or North Korea fill our vacuum, let them—let China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea go broke over-extending themselves.  Besides, if you aren’t willing to fight and die for your own country, why should we send our sons to do it for you?  The very notion would appall our Founders.

Should we be isolationists?  No.  We hear the call of our allies.  We hear the call for help from a friendly trading partner.  We have a great deal of influence to avert genocide.  Certainly we can act.  But we should never think it’s our military might that protects us.  Think about it.  Imagine if we had no military (which I am not all suggesting).  Hypothetically, not one soldier.  Now imagine Russia amassing 500,000 troops in Mexico across the Texas border preparing to invade the U.S.  In the U.S. we have 300 million citizens.  Over half U.S. citizens are gun owners.  Many of them are heavily armed gun owners.  Frankly, I don’t think the Russian army would make it out of Texas!  That’s power.  But, that’s the power of freedom. You want to take my freedom?  Come and get it.  If I can’t live free, I’d rather not.  That’s the house you’re walking into.


Edit 03-19-2014: Finland is not a member of NATO.  Crimea is not a state unto itself; although it is an autonomous republic it is a state within the state of Ukraine.




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