February 14, 2022
While I do not agree with all the views of this essay below, the author raises an important historical analysis. United States was a far better nation when it was committed to the American System policies of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, and Franklin D Roosevelt. The USA has lost its way, suffering from a ratcheting down of its culture, which has resulted in an un-American foreign policy.
By Matthew Ehret, February 10, 2022
It should be clear that the USA is in desperate need for a new security doctrine more befitting those ideals laid out in her founding documents.
These principles were elaborated upon by President Washington himself who warned the young nation of avoiding the dual evils of foreign entanglements externally and party politics domestically.
John Quincy Adams extended these ideas further still by drafting the Monroe Doctrine which he knew could only work if America ventures “not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”.
That is to say, as long as the USA focused her efforts on fixing her own problems with a focus on internal improvements, then the Monroe Doctrine would be a blessing for both herself and the international community.
Sadly, other impulses within the US establishment of 19th century America had other ideas.
Working with a young protégé named Abraham Lincoln, Adams fought tooth and nail against the Spanish-American War of 1846 which saw a deep abuse of his doctrine.
After the last “Lincoln-republican” William McKinley was assassinated, Teddy Roosevelt’s “big stick” diplomacy launched a new 20th century trend that saw the USA extending its hegemony over weak states rather than keeping out foreign imperial intrigue as Adams had envisioned.
Another essential component of Adams’ security doctrine was shaped by his view that the international community as a whole should never be defined as a sum of parts to be dominated by a single hegemon like the British Empire had done for centuries.
Adams understood the importance of seeing the world as “a community of principle” where win-win cooperation based upon the self-improvement of both parts and the whole would constantly bring renewal and creative vitality to diplomacy. It was a top-down systemic approach to policy that saw economics, security and political affairs interwoven into one unified system. This is an integrative way of thinking that has been sorely lost in the hyper theoretical, compartmentalized mode of zero-sum thinking dominant in today’s neo-liberal think tank complex.
It was for this reason, that Adams advocated the use of Hamiltonian national banking and large-scale infrastructure projects like the Erie Canal and railways throughout his years as Secretary of State and President. From this paradigm, if American interests would be extended across the continent or the world more broadly, it would not be through brute force, but rather by the uplifting of standards of living of all parties.
Over the years, we have seen small but powerful attempts to revive Adams’ overarching security doctrine.
We had seen it revived with President Ulysses Grant’s efforts to extend US industrial know-how to countries across the world during the 1870s. We saw it again with McKinley’s promotion of rail lines uniting the Americas in what was to become a new industrial renaissance for Latin America.
We saw it come alive again with FDR’s program for internationalizing the New Deal across China, India, Ibero America, the Middle East, Africa, and Russia.
Eisenhower made some noble moves towards this renewal by ending the Korean War and attempting his Crusade for Peace driven by US-Russian cooperation and advanced scientific investments into India, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Latin America. Eisenhower’s many positive plans were sadly derailed by a growing parasite in the heart of the US deep state which he addressed in his famous “military industrial complex” speech of 1960.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), thirty-second President of the United states, only president to serve four terms, created the New Deal, formed strategic alliance with Russia and China. (Courtesy of thoughtco.com)
Kennedy’s efforts to end the Vietnam war, revive FDR’s New Deal spirit in the 1960s, while seeking entente with Russia was another noble effort to bring back Adams’ security doctrine, but his early death soon put an end to this orientation.
From 1963 to 2016, tiny piecemeal efforts to revive a sane security doctrine proved short-lived and were often undone by the more powerful pressures of unipolarist intrigue that sought nothing less than full Anglo-American hegemony in the form of a New World Order whose arrival was celebrated by the likes of Bush Sr and Kissinger in 1992.
Despite his many limitations, President Trump did make an honest endeavor to restore a sane security doctrine by focusing American interests on healing from 50+ years of self-inflicted atrophy under globalized outsourcing, militarism, and post-industrialism. Despite having to contend with an embarrassingly large and independent military-intelligence industrial complex that didn’t get less powerful after Kennedy’s murder, Trump announced the terms of his international outlook in April 2019 saying:
“Between Russia, China, and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including nuclear, which is ridiculous.… I think it’s much better if we all got together and didn’t make these weapons … those three countries I think can come together and stop the spending and spend on things that are more productive toward long-term peace.”
This call for a US-Russia-China cooperative policy ran in tandem with the first phase of the US-China Trade deal which went into effect in January 2020 guaranteeing $350 billion of US finished goods purchased by China. None other than George Soros himself suffered a public meltdown that month when he announced that the two greatest threats to his global Open Society were: 1) Trump’s USA and 2) Xi’s China.
Of course, a pandemic derailed much of this momentum and the trade deal slowly broke apart. Despite these failures, the idea of returning the USA to an “American first” outlook by cleaning up its own internal messes, extracting CIA operations from the military, defunding regime change organizations like NED [National Endowment of Democracy] abroad and returning to a traditionally American policy of protective tariffs were all extremely important initiatives that Trump put into motion, and set a precedent which must be capitalized upon by nationalist forces from all parties wishing to save their republic from an oncoming calamity.
One year into Biden’s “rules based international order”, the hope for stability and peaceful cooperation among the nations of the earth has been seriously undermined. Unlike Trump, who rightfully severed US cooperation with NATO, the current neo-con heavy administration has made absorbing Ukraine and other former Soviet States into NATO a high priority going so far as to assert that Russia’s invasion is immanent should NATO forces not protect “poor, peaceful Kiev.” No mention of Nazi-ridden Azov Battalions used by Nuland and the CIA to topple the former government in 2014 is ever mentioned of course. 8500 US troops have been told to be put on high alert and 2000 US troops have been deployed to Poland and Germany. Over 19 NATO war games have been planned for 2022 which will start this month, and even China is concerned that Biden’s “NATO-of-the-Pacific” agenda is seeking to enflame Taiwanese independence and absorb the rebellious island into the US military industrial complex.
When looking at Russian “red lines” from this standpoint and holding in mind the new form of a Eurasian Manifest Destiny emerging with Putin’s Far Eastern Vision, Polar Silk Road and China’s BRI, it is a rich irony that the spirit of John Quincy Adams’ security doctrine is alive in the world. Just not in the USA.
Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , and Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow. He is author of the ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series and Clash of the Two Americas. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide Foundation
Read my earlier posts:
U.S. Geopolitics Exposes Itself in CFR report on China’s Belt and Road-Will Africa benefit?
What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy for Ethiopia and Africa?
Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.