The Lost Policy Of The American Republic: “She Goes Not Abroad In Search Of Monsters To Destroy”

As we celebrate Independence Day, honoring the American colonists’ successful fight to be free of the British crown and establish their own sovereign state, it is instructive to note that the US is, today, the greatest enemy of sovereignty on earth. When the British surrendered at Yorktown, the redcoat band played “The World Turned Upside Down,” in recognition of the overthrow of the Old Order and the inauguration of the New. As we enter the Bizarro World of the twenty-first century, however, one notes with a mixture of sadness and outrage that things have been turned on their heads once again, and the Old Order is back with a vengeance.

This historical inversion began in the wake of World War II, when the US emerged as the preeminent world power, taking the title from the British, who were in no position to fulfill its manifold duties. In placing the burden of empire on our shoulders we put history into reverse.

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The American Revolution was a war fought for liberty against a distant and tyrannical authority, but it was also a battle for independence – that is, for the right of a people to assert their natural sovereignty against a colonial despot. After the success of the Revolution, the young American republic had to contend with the intrusions of the European powers on North American shores: we were encircled by the British revanchists up in Canada, the French imperialists in Louisiana, and the Spanish testing our boundaries in Florida. Yet we survived by staying out of the intrigues of Europe, and standing aside from the power politics that obsessed the Old World.

While abjuring intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, the Founders gave rhetorical support to the battles of oppressed nations against monarchical aggressors:

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