America: A Shining Example, or an Iron Fist?

Many people have come to believe that America should be the leader of the world. I happen to disagree. I rather think that America should should be the world's example. For nearly one hundred years our foreign policy has been one of "leadership". For nearly one hundred years America's iron-fisted foreign policy has been mostly wrong.

Nine days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, President George W. Bush spoke the following words
The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice -- assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come.
Patiently, invoking the name of God, and assured of the rightness of his cause, he proceeded to colonize Iraq.

The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Constitution of the United States is an inspired document which contains principles that apply to everyone.
77 ...the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
An interesting--and nearly forgotten--principle enshrined in the Constitution is that no one should be in bondage to anyone else. This, ironically, includes the people of other countries.

Unfortunately, George W. Bush's policy of aggression and American Messianism is nothing new; it had its genesis with President Woodrow Wilson, who won a second term because "he kept us out of war"--and who then almost immediately embroiled us in a war that changed the American psyche in ways we hardly comprehend. Crisis after manufactured crisis has, through the years, allowed the United States to brand Arabs, Koreans, Japanese, Hispanics, Germans, and others with the yoke of a faux American liberty.

Prior to becoming President, Woodrow Wilson referred to America as "Christ's Army." In 1905 he claimed
There is a mighty task before us...and it welds us together. It is to make the United States a mighty Christian nation, and to Christianize the world.
Muhammad never said anything that brash. How would Wilson accomplish his task? Through the iron fist of government, of course.

As President, Wilson stirred up religious fervor for war and destruction. His adminsistration claimed such things as a:
"high and holy mission." His Secretary of the Interior, Franklin Lane, spoke of "the world of Christ" coming face to face with the world of force. The Creel Committee declared that the war was "a crusade not merely to re-win the tomb of Christ, but to bring back to earth the rule of right, the peace, goodwill to men and the gentleness He taught."
But it didn't turn out that way. The manufactured crisis of World War I allowed Wilson to bring more and more of American liberties under the auspices of the American state. And the land of the Constitution became a land where, by that same force Wilson claimed to eschew, men became compelled to follow government edict.

We are no longer a nation that sets an example. Beginning with Woodrow Wilson, and continuing to this day, while Americans themselves have remained the most compassionate and charitable people on the face of the earth, their "established" government has evolved until it has come to rule the world with an iron fist. You don't want American government, you Iraqis? Well, tough! How about a McDonalds on every corner? And we shall entertain you with the august echoes of the music of Britney Spears. The compassionate American scarcely

American foreign policy for the past 100 years, while claiming to foster freedom around the globe, has proven to be liberty's antithesis.

realizes how many times every day his government forces his compassion, let alone how many countries we through our military occupations coerce into becoming the spit and image of America. That's not liberty.

George Washington warned America against becoming involved in entangling alliances. Not to worry, we're merely involved in entangling dominions.

. . .

The Constitution was inspired by God and is meant to encourage liberty for all, but it was never meant to encourage the use of force to compel that liberty. Somehow, America's leaders have anointed themselves as God's

George Washington warned America against becoming involved in entangling alliances. Not to worry, we're merely involved in entangling dominions.

leaders on earth, and have, in their lust for power, desecrated the very document they claim to uphold. American foreign policy for the past 100 years, while claiming to foster freedom around the globe, has proven to be liberty's antithesis.

It's time once again for America to return to its constitutional roots. Let us set the example for all. Let us protect our liberties. But let us never again attempt to mold the rest of the world into a place where liberty only means what the American establishment says it is.


  1. I agree with you whole heartedly, except for one thing liberty can never be imposed, however if you push liberty, religion, politics or anything into peoples faces they will tend to reject it even if it is in their best interest to embrace it. Very good post!

  2. We are certainly involved in some entangling dominions, but that does not mean we don't have to worry about entangling alliances - we have our share of those too.

  3. But I heard on FOX News that President Bush is a man of God and is bringing freedom to the oppressed!


  4. Just like the Germans and Japanese rejected liberty shoved in their faces after WWII. Oh wait ... they didn't reject it, even though, it was forced on them.

    Be careful of casting a wholesale blanket over every military enterprise. We live in a world where few virtues are absolute, but are frequently dependent on what constituted the greater good. Were the Dutch that lied to the Germans about hiding Jews in their homes evil because they were liars? Of course not. They were accomplishing a much greater good -- saving the lives of their neighbors.

    Mind you, I'm not defending the invasion of Iraq. Our democratic republic was and is ill suited for nation building. But since we broke it, we now have a moral obligation to fix it as best we can.

  5. David,

    Touche'. You are correct.


    I never realized until recently just how similar Bush's rhetoric is to Woodrow Wilson's and FDR's.


    Along the lines of what I think Ken was saying ... The Japanese and (South) Koreans live in a sort of liberty, but they have not (on the average) very many good feelings for their American overlords, and they wish we would leave. I don't hear that so much about the Germans, but I suspect it's true with them as well.

    The Dutch were not evil for hiding the Jews.

    I agree that we should fix what we broke in Iraq. However, I think it's now about fixed.

  6. Consider these three quotes from President Kennedy:

    "The fact of the matter is that we, this generation of Americans, are the first generation of our country ever to be involved in affairs around the globe. From the beginning of this country, from the days of Washington, until the Second World War, this country lived an isolated existence. Through most of our history we were an unaligned country, an uncommitted nation, a neutralist nation. We were by statute as well as by desire. We had believed that we could live behind our two oceans in safety and prosperity in a comfortable distance from the rest of the world."

    "We find ourselves entangled with apparently unanswerable problems in unpronounceable places. We discover that our enemy in one decade is our ally the next. We find ourselves committed to governments whose actions we cannot often approve, assisting societies with principles very different from our own."

    "We cannot return to the day of the sailing schooner or the covered wagon, even if we wished. And if this Nation is to survive and succeed in the real world of today, we must acknowledge the realities of the world."

    And I agree with Reach, Germany and Japan certainly aren't worse off now than the WWII era. And I suppose South Korea would be better off had they gone the way of South Vietnam?

  7. Frank

    Have you read Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" It chronicles all you are saying in this post.

  8. Dang! You discovered my secret weapon!

  9. Cameron,

    I agree that they are better off now than they were. It's hard to argue what-might-have-beens, but in my opinion, Japan, Germany, and South Korea might very well be better off now. At the very least, they are NOT better off because we still occupy their lands with our military. There may have been a purpose once, but no more.


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