Sunday, May 02, 2004

Conservatism and Foreign Policy

How do Conservatives look at foreign policy? This is a big and complicated question, but I’ll give it my best shot.

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” This is from the book of Psalms, chapter 29, verse 11. Our scholars ask, “Why do we need strength if we are going to have peace?” The answer: because there is no peace without strength.America offers its citizens freedom, security, peace, and prosperity. The reason that she can do this is because we have been strong, and men have fought for America in the cause of freedom.

I have heard people say that we cannot be the world’s policeman. Of course we can. We have to be. Like every town, city, state, and country, the world needs a police force. If you have a city without policemen, the strong guys pick on the weak guys and beat them up and steal their things and murder them. When the world doesn’t have a policeman, entire countries are murdered. Free nations are imprisoned by Hitlers and Stalins. Without a world policeman, people like Saddam Hussein can poison and torture and kill their own people.

Not only is the United States the world’s police, but the world is lucky that we are. We are the moral country, we fight for freedom and democracy against suppression and tyranny. Our country is a model to the rest of the world, which is why many counties – even civilized ones – envy us and hate us. There is no nation in the world better suited to protect the world.

Conservatives and Liberals think in two different directions. Liberals are worried about what other nations think – even tyrannical nations like North Korea and corrupt ones like France. Conservatives are worried not about what other countries think of us today, but what the men who built our country would think of us today. Those men knew what was worth fighting for. That is why we are here.

Conservatives understand that, while we cannot bring our blessings of freedom and democracy to every country in the world, it is our duty to try.

Conservatives stand for no more Vietnams. When we left Vietnam, we abandoned a country and left it to die. We had an obligation to fight for freedom there and we failed. Communism swept over the South of Vietnam and released thousands of boatpeople, trying to escape the murderous animals that threatened to destroy them. Those who were trapped in Vietnam suffered and are still suffering because we left. I have room only for a single example, so it will have to suffice. In his book The Vietnamese Gulag, Doan Van Toai wrote of his imprisonment under the Communist regime:

I was thrown into a three-foot-by-six-foot cell with my left hand chained to my right foot and my right hand chained to my left foot. My food was rice mixed with sand…After two months in solitary confinement I was transferred to a collective cell, a room 15 feet wide and 25 feet long, where at different times anywhere from 40 to 100 prisoners were crushed together. Here we had to take turns lying down to sleep, and most of the younger, stronger prisoners slept sitting up. In the sweltering heat, we also took turns snatching a few breaths of fresh air in front of the narrow opening that was the cell’s only window. Every day I watched my friends die at my feet…One South Vietnamese Communist, Nguyen Van Tang, who was detained 15 years by the French, eight years by Diem, six years by Thieu, and who is still in jail today, this time in a Communist prison, told me:…‘My dream now is not to be released; it is not to see my family. My dream is that I could be back in a French prison 30 years ago.’

Americans have trouble understanding the terror of totalitarian regimes, because we are fortunate enough never to have experienced them. This fact may seem to devalue our wonderful gifts. We aren’t conscious of the millions of people who would sacrifice anything just to be in this country. If we let those people down then America dies.


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