American Foreign Policy Hasn't Changed in 25 Years

(The article excerpt below was published in 1976 in Harry's investment newsletter, Harry Browne's Special Reports. It is in the context of a discussion of the presidential debate between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. At that time, the U.S. government was leading an international coalition to overturn the government in Rhodesia, because the government was run by white politicians, while the majority of the population in Rhodesia was black . 

(The effort succeeded. Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, ruled by Robert Mugabe, and all the concerned citizens of the world immediately turned their attention to the next place to impose their utopian ideas.

(Robert Mugabe still rules Zimbabwe. And today it is a land of terror. Roving bands of thugs, supported by the government, kill farmers and businessmen and steal their property. As you might expect, American politicians and diplomats have long since lost interest in Zimbabwe; they completed their "good works" there decades ago. Today they are busy bringing "peace" and "justice" to Serbia, Afghanistan, or Iraq.)

October 20, 1976

. . . When a reporter asked [President Gerald] Ford if the U.S. intervention in Rhodesia meant that American foreign policy now called for unseating dictators everywhere, I thought he was laying a trap. When the President said, in effect, that the answer was yes, I expected the reporter to ask if that included the communist countries. Of course, the reporter didn't ask that. But surely, I thought to myself, Carter wouldn't pass up such an opportunity. What better way to get Ford tongue-tied and trapped in a corner? But Carter, too, let it pass.

The whole subject of communist countries would have been ignored if Ford hadn't lost his head and blurted out that the Eastern European countries were free of Soviet influence. Apparently, no one wanted to win the election.

I wish the U.S. government would keep its paws out of all foreign countries communist or noncommunist. But I can't understand why no public figure has pointed up the inconsistency in U.S. foreign policy. The politicians count it a matter of morality to strong-arm the governments of Rhodesia and South Africa but not any communist governments.

Apparently, it's a sin for white men to rule black men but not a sin for white men to rule white men or black men to rule black men.

Overlooked are the Rhodesians, black and white, who have worked so hard for so many years and generations to create some property for themselves. The odds are overwhelming that the country will be in a shambles in ten years as has been the case after so many other "liberation" movements.

Do you remember the dreaded Mau Maus the sadistic guerillas who were in the news in the 1950s for slaughtering people in Kenya? Their leader was Jomo Kenyatta. Do you remember him? Have you ever wondered what happened to him? Was he executed for murder? Were the Mau Maus stamped out?

No. Jomo Kenyatta is today the president of Kenya and is one of the African leaders whose opinions appear to be so vital to American foreign policy experts. Does America's future really require catering to such people?

The meddling in Africa is justified by saying that it will bring peace to Africa. But where is the war? Only guerillas are invading Rhodesia. Then why not go after the guerillas?

It's interesting to note that part of Henry Kissinger 's deal with the Rhodesian government is a U.S. guarantee that the guerilla attacks will end. If the U.S. has the power to make good on such a guarantee, why hasn't it already stopped the guerilla attacks? Doesn't its humanitarian concerns extend to the innocent farmers who have been killed?

All supposed justifications for U.S. intervention contain one unspoken assumption that the U.S. will be successful in its objectives. But where has it been successful before? In Vietnam? In Angola? Anywhere? And next year, when the bully has moved onto some new failure and is beating up on someone else, we will have forgotten the promises for peace by which the 1976 bullying was justified.

And American foreign policy is a bully policy. Bullies don't pick on anyone of equal size. That's why the U.S. isn't bullying the Soviets or Red China  or even Castro. . . .


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