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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ayn Rand On Foreign Policy

The first chapter of “Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A” contains a few Q&A in which Ayn Rand calls for a total rejection of the traditional conventions that have led to the dubious foreign policy decisions and misguided foreign adventures.

She advocates strong foreign policy for safeguarding the interests of the citizens.

The foreign policy topics covered in the Q&A are wide ranging: the Vietnam war, Arab-Israeli conflict, threat from the Soviet Union, military preparedness, development of nuclear weapons, immorality of pacifism, collateral damage in wars, and much else.

To indicate the general flavor of Rand’s arguments on foreign policy, here are the excerpts from some of her answers:

On Cuban crisis
President Kennedy’s ultimatum was the first time in fifty years that an American president spoke like an American president. It was magnificent. For once, he addressed Russia properly; and Russia, like any bully, backed down when confronted with strength. But Kennedy let the victory disappear into meaninglessness, and nothing happened. He surrendered to the United Nations. Therefore, we didn't win any concession, merely a gesture.

On Vietnam crisis
The idea that this country cannot defeat Vietnam is ridiculous, and the whole world knows it. But we are not allowed to use our strength. We’re not allowed to take proper measures—that is, pursue the Vietcong across borders and into its own territory, and so on. We are fighting with our hands tied. The idea that America must withdraw from Vietnam is worse than appeasement. It is a shameful pretense. Further, since the world knows we are not physically weak, it would be an admission of moral corruption: that we do not possess a primitive dignity that any nation should have—to its own dead, if nothing else—that if it is involved in a war, it should finish it. It must win or be defeated.

On military preparedness
We should be ahead, as we were originally. One of the historic crimes of this country’s governments is that they allowed our superiority to deteriorate. But we can’t complain about that now; we must correct it.

Immorality of pacifism
This is the position of the goddamned pacifists, who won’t fight, even if attacked, because they might kill innocent people. If this were correct, nobody would have to be concerned about his country’s political system. But we must care about the right social system, because our lives depend on it—because a political system, good or bad, is established in our name, and we bear the responsibility for it.

Foreign obligations and treaties
Western countries are leaning on one another, as bad risks and parasites, and the United States is the only remaining pillar, though it’s almost eaten away. So the first step in any solution is to break those foreign obligations, and demand payment for what is owed. If the United States received part of the money the world—and particularly Europe—owes it, we might have a Renaissance in America overnight. The problem is that that money no longer exists. There are only consumers on a more advanced stage toward dictatorship than we are.

(Source: Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A; Chapter: “Politics and Economics”)

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