"Just another tidbit of Easter European reaction to President Obama's missile defense decision, to drop Bush-era plans for a missile shield with radar based in the Czech Republic and missiles based in Poland: a news headline (not an op-ed) on page 1 of major Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes today read 'There Will Not Be Radar. Russia Won.'"
The Founders' View on Allies
"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."
"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have as little political connection as possible... Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalships, interest, humor, or caprice?... It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world."
"I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe, entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of Kings to war against the principles of liberty."
"I sincerely join... in abjuring all political connection with every foreign power; and though I cordially wish well to the progress of liberty in all nations, and would forever give it the weight of our countenance, yet they are not to be touched without contamination from their other bad principles. Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto."
"Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants."
"About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none…."
"In national as in individual dealings, more liberality will, perhaps, be found in voluntary regulations than in those which are measured out by the strict letter of a treaty, which, whenever it becomes onerous, is made by forced construction to mean anything or nothing, engenders disputes and brings on war."
"On the subject of treaties, our system is to have none with any nation, as far as can be avoided... We believe that with nations as with individuals, dealings may be carried on as advantageously, perhaps more so, while their continuance depends on a voluntary good treatment as if fixed by contract which, when it becomes injurious to either, is made by forced constructions to mean what suits them and becomes a cause of war instead of a bond of peace... It is against our system to embarrass ourselves with treaties, or to entangle ourselves at all with the affairs of Europe."
"We had better have no treaty than a bad one. It will not restore friendship, but keep us in a state of constant irritation."
"[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom."
"I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of the labor, property and lives of their people."