By John Kennedy – Mises Institute
At the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made remarks about American leadership. He highlighted the importance of an American military presence throughout the world in order to protect “democracies’’ like Ukraine and Israel. Secretary Austin also had remarks about noninterventionists:
You know, in every generation, some Americans prefer isolation to engagement—and they try to pull up the drawbridge. They try to kick loose the cornerstone of American leadership. And they try to undermine the security architecture that has produced decades of prosperity without great-power war. And you’ll hear some people try to brand an American retreat from responsibility as bold new leadership. So, when you hear that, make no mistake: It is not bold. It is not new. And it is not leadership.
Secretary Austin needs a history lesson in the founding ideals of the United States. If what he said is true, then American figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were bad leaders. President George Washington issued a neutrality proclamation in response to the revolution in France and the subsequent declaration of war on Austria, England, and Prussia, which embroiled the whole European continent in war. In President Washington’s farewell address on September 19, 1796, he made his vision for American foreign policy clear: “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.”