“America First” Happens With Individual Rights, Not Nationalism

In a speech yesterday, Donald Trump criticized the lack of an “America First” policy. He defined this, in part, as a failure to make other countries pay their “fair share.”

The minute you say “fair share,” you have to answer the question, “Fair share – of what?”

A country has no obligation to other countries, not unless it’s to pay a debt or to protect its own rational interests. An obligation to Israel, for example, is one thing. We have major interests in the Middle East. Not only oil, but defense against the gathering storm of brutal Muslim jihad. Israel is a beacon of freedom – in comparison to other Middle Eastern countries, at least – in a strategically important part of the world.

A lot of legitimate resentment exists because of the billions in foreign aid we give to other nations. We give this foreign aid not just because the country’s survival serves American interests, but because those countries need it. It’s nothing more than international socialism, where need—and need alone—is the operating standard. Of course, the countries in the worst shape are the nations with the worst dictatorships – tribal, Communist, socialist or religious dictatorships. When we give money to these countries, in practice we give money to the dictatorships. This helps the dictatorships flourish. It makes no sense on its own terms. Even if you believe that America’s central purpose in life is to produce wealth so that it may give most of its wealth away to others, to help them, then how does it help them to support and enable their dictatorial governments?

The solution to all this is not nationalism, but capitalism. I don’t think Donald Trump understands this. I do think Hillary Clinton understands it, and her goal (like Obama’s) is to obliterate capitalism, if she can. Under capitalism, all wealth—except the relatively small portion needed to fund a defensive military, police force and a criminal/civil court system – would be in private hands. Nobody would help foreign nations unless they had the money, or could raise the money from voluntary parties, to do so themselves. Remember that governments, including our own, are spending other people’s money, and therefore feel little or no accountability for how they spend it; private parties (individuals, charity groups) would feel full accountability for how they spend their money. It would be a very different world, under capitalism.

Trump was right to criticize Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, by saying it “gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper.” Contrast Obama’s position towards Islamic terrorism with Ronald Reagan’s against Communism. When Reagan was president, he called the Soviet Union an evil empire. He proceeded to spend unprecedented amounts  on the military, and he declared that our foreign policy to be, “we win, they lose.”

Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, with regard to ISIS and Islamic terrorist nations, such as Iran, has been precisely the opposite. We spend less on the military. We bribe Iran not to build a nuclear weapon, as they proceed to do so right before our eyes, laughing at us. We tie the hands of the military by insisting they do not kill anyone (especially anyone Muslim) while fighting a war. And our president blames all of the world’s problems on America, while threatening to prosecute as criminals American citizens who engage in “hate speech” against Islam, the creed of the people who are trying to destroy us. This would be like Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General threatening to prosecute anyone who engages in “hate speech” against Communism. It’s beyond insane.

Trump was also right to criticize George W. Bush’s equally hapless and hopeless foreign policy. “It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western Democracy.”

Absolutely right. The Iraq war was a tragic waste. Aside from the fact that Saddam Hussein had little or nothing to do with the real enemy – terrorist-sponsoring states such as Iran and, later, ISIS – the war operated on the naïve belief that simply by overthrowing a dictator the Iraqi people would automatically embrace a democratic republic such as the United States originally was. We see how well that worked out. The Middle East is more unstable than ever; this is due both to Bush’s and Obama’s policies.

We should get rid of all foreign aid, and require our legislators and president to make the case for providing aid to any particular country. The case should be made on strategic self-interest. We don’t need and cannot afford an international welfare state. The welfare state at home is turning Americans into a lazy, fearful, listless bunch of unaccountable wards of the state, gradually but progressively. The welfare state abroad endangers us all by aiding and abetting countries whose governments are run by authoritarians and dictators, and who use our financial support to ultimately harm American interests.

“America First” is actually a proper standard, but only if you define it correctly. I prefer to express it as, “Freedom first” or the “rights of the individual first.” I don’t yet know what Donald Trump is for, but I do like what he is against, in this respect. Hillary Clinton will absolutely lead us further into the abyss. Until or unless America makes a complete U-turn, both in its policies of socialism at home and appeasement of violent enemies abroad, the United States will not make it to its 300th (or even 250th) birthday. Hillary Clinton’s inauguration, if it happens, will be America’s after party.

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