Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Of Allies And Adversaries: Donald Trump’s Principled Realism

By Josef Joffe

Image credit: Poster Collection, US 06304, Hoover Institution Archives.

I. U.S. Doctrines from Washington to Obama

Foreign policy doctrines are as American as apple pie, and as old as the Republic. Start with George Washington’s Farewell Address: The “great rule” in dealing with other nations was to extend “our commercial relations” and “to have with them as little political connection as possible.” So stay out of Europe, and keep Europe away from us.

Echoing Washington, Thomas Jefferson promulgated the “no-entangling alliances” doctrine. John Quincy Adams decreed: “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” James Monroe told off the Europeans: Stay out, the Americas are for the Americans, North and South. Teddy Roosevelt doubled down by proclaiming the right to intervene in Latin America.

Harry S. Truman went global. The U.S. would support “free people who are resisting … subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” So did Dwight D. Eisenhower: He would commit U.S. forces “to secure and protect” all nations against “overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism.” John F. Kennedy famously declaimed: “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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