In Support of Strong Foreign Policy. Part II: The Ethical Argument

Many people, especially those on the left, view involvement of Western countries on the international arena as inherently “oppressive” and unethical. Whether it’s economic engagement and expansion of trade, promotion of innovation and of human rights, diplomatic influence or military actions aimed to stop violence, it has become a cliche to term these as “imperialism”.

Good examples of this are when many Western commentators decided to take the side of the oppressive regimes in Iran, Venezuela, China or Russia, arguing that influence or involvement on the part of the West would threaten those countries’ national and cultural identities and would harm their peoples’ interests. These commentators, however, are only helping to promote state propaganda of these regimes. Thinking they are defending the interests of the people who live there, they are in fact only defending the power and wealth of the corrupt governments that abuse and indoctrinate their own people.

If one considers the well being, human rights, freedom and security of people around the world as some of the principles determining whether certain foreign policy is ethical or not, then strong presence and involvement of Western liberal countries internationally has proven itself to be not only ethically permissible, but also often ethically necessary.

Those who like to condemn “US imperialism” do not realise, that, for example, had the US and its allies not intervened in Korea in the 1950s, the millions of people of South Korea who today live in prosperity and are free of persecution, would have been starving and living in constant fear of arrest and execution under Kim’s totalitarian system.

Watch Part I: the Pragmatic Argument.

“Stop parroting the propaganda of Maduro’s regime in Venezuela” by Francisco Toro, Washington Post, February 4, 2019

“Why is the Media Supporting the Iranian Regime’s Propaganda Campaign?” by Jeff Charles, Red State, January 5, 2020

“The Forgotten Maverick General Who Saved South Korea” by Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution, July 26, 2013

“Korea, 60 years ago and now” by South Korean Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan, CNN, June 29, 2010

“America is greater than ‘just okay’” by Marc A. Thiessen, The Washington Post, July 9, 2019

“What We Now Know About Iran’s Global Propaganda Campaign” by Issie Lapowsky, Wired, August 24, 2018

“What explains the sometimes obsessive anti-Americanism of Russian elites?” by Maria Snegovaya, Brookings, February 23, 2016

“Is ‘Human Rights’ a Western Concept?” by Ahmed Shaheed and Rose Parris Richter, IPI Global Observatory, October 17, 2018

“Democracy is not a mystifying western plot – it is a universal value” by Anthony Smith, The Guardian, July 3, 2015

“Western civilisation is an idea worth defending—and reapplying” by Joe Lonsdale, The Economist, August 3, 2018

“NATO’s Success in Kosovo” by Javier Solana, Foreign Affairs, November/December 1999

“Yes, Nato’s defence of Kosovo was long and costly, but it was certainly justified” by Ingrid Burke, The Guardian, March 30, 2011

“NATO’s ‘Humanitarian War’ over Kosovo” by Adam Roberts, Survival, vol. 41. no. 3. Autumn 1999,

“Bystanders to Genocide” by Samantha Power, The Atlantic, September 2001


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