Now that even Obama admits that military force is needed to manage the Middle East, and negotiations only go so far, thus embracing the Bush Doctrine, it’s time he looked a little farther in history for the Jefferson Doctrine.
If you recall history, the Barbary Coast pirates carried out their threats against US interests—namely vessels that sailed under the US flag. They demanded a tribute, and the US paid. At the same time, the US started building its own fleet. When they came back to ask for more money, President Jefferson had the congress declare war on them and proceeded to attack their nation, including all allies of said nation. (Read the history here.)
Larry Schweikart at Big Government points out this basic historical fact and wonders why we don’t apply it to day.
I think we should. It would certainly end any cause for foreign aid, and although the troops would get a workout, the world would quickly learn what their boundaries are.
This is how the doctrine works.
First, maintain a military that is ready and able to do battle anywhere in the world at the drop of a hat.
Second, deal with nations as you normally do. The goal of American foreign policy is always to protect our interests, which we now know is foreign trade.
Third, at the slightest provocation, send in our troops to knock down the offender and all her allies, under a declaration of war from congress.
Fourth, ensure that the successor to the previous government is friendly to the United States and complies with basic civility in foreign affairs.
The policy is simple, and under the policy, the Middle East would have ceased being a problem fifty years ago. The only reason why we have a problem with terrorism is because we allow state sponsors of terrorism to exist in this world.
The benefit of the policy is that we do not need to maintain a large army constantly at the ready. The reason for this is simple: we take decisive military action and leave. We don’t have to have our troops continually deployed like we do in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Let’s suppose Afghanistan reverts to its former status as a state sponsor of terror. At the first sign of provocation, we invade and topple the government, and stay just long enough to ensure that the next government isn’t hostile. In the case of a country like Afghanistan, it may take three or four invasions before they realize they can’t have a stable country if they continue to taunt the United States. Perhaps in their weakened state, bordering countries who are friendly to the United States will consume their territory and impose their own form of justice on the nation for fear that they may be labeled as anything less than an ally of the United States.