Wednesday, January 25, 2006

America's Foreign Policy: Self-Interest vs. Self-Sacrifice

The United States, inspite of being the world’s preeminent military power, has been having its foreign-policy efforts so regularly frustrated. From Vietnam to Lebanon to Somalia to the current morass in Iraq, why has America been so incapable of decisively defeating its enemies—enemies that are militarily far inferior.
Peter Schwartz of the Ayn Rand Institute maintains that success in foreign policy, including success in waging war, depends ultimately on the strength not of a nation’s weapons, but of its moral philosophy. And in that area, US has been tragically deficient. According to him, the fundamental reason America has been failing in defending its own interests is that its intellectual and political leaders embrace the altruist premise that the pursuit of self-interest is morally wrong. And, Mr. Schwartz argues, unless US upholds the opposite philosophy—the view that self-interest is morally good— it will not be able to protect its freedom against foreign threats.

(courtesy: Peter Schwartz, Ayn Rand Institute)

Could you believe that moral philosophy, and not military might, could govern the destiny of a country? Leonard Peikoff, the intellectual heir to Ayn Rand, feels US is drifting towards what Germany was during the Nazi-era. His book “The Ominous Parallels” is all about this could-happen scenario.


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