"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."
by:
George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'
Source:
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796, Ref: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (521)
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Reader comments about this quote:
But we NEED foreign investment, don't we? I mean, we won't be satisfied till we've sold ourselves and all we possess as a nation to foreign interests, will we? Soon foreign private interests will own more of America than will its population. And what does 'ownership' mean? It's defined as the right to USE and DISPOSE of in a manner according to the discretion of the owner. It's the New World Order of the Multinational orientation.
 -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Don't underestimate the future usefulness of Eminent Domain.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Wise; President Washington stating his "opinons" upon retiring to Mt Vernon after a rather difficult & tumultuous second term. Once his mind was set his determination to see it through placed him in the forefront of the Founding Fathers.
     -- dragonswizardz     
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    I don't think any president after George Washington DIDN'T 'entangle' us in foreign affairs. We just don't seem able to mind our own business. Too bad we can't just do the Trade thing and forget about occupying nations until they become 'democratized'.
     -- A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL     
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    Excellent quote, excellent thought, excellent ideal, however reality prevails. We tried the friendly trade, and isolationism routine. the Barbary Pirates (Islamic Terrrorists) were not buying it, and they were only the first. We were forced to respond. If we gain the approval or assitance of allies we are accusted of engaging in entangling alliances, if we act unilaterally to protect ourselves we are accused of being imperialist, overbearing, and jingoistic. We are the most superior culture in existence in the world today, and we must act in our ownself interest at all times. Imposing the opportunity for freedom on people is in our self interest, and theirs. We are not, and never have been imperialists. No country in history has done so much good with its military, economic and cultural power. If you believe there is a superior culture in the world, go there and be happy. Otherwise quit with the kumbaya BS and come up with realistic solutions to realistic problems, not blanket statements about no entangling alliances that are as dated as the reason for the three mile limit.
     -- helorat, Milton     
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    American culture does not exist, unless of course you are referring to fast food, guns, fundamentalism, and Red-necks, barbeque, days on the couch with Bud and the tube, the worst divorce rate in the world, the abuse of over a million children a year, the abuse of women, a corrupt supreme court, a government that can be bought, a press that has forgotten the meaning of its occupation, and last but by no means least, over 60 million people without health insurance – yes, there are a lot of good people in American but unfortunately many of them are leaving – its muscle in the world is force by weaponry and not intellect. Yes, we had a culture to be proud of but alas it was smothered by greed - the most superior culture in the world, that must be a joke...
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    Well said anonymous. The underworld rodent seems to have his history backwards (claiming that Islamics are the first in attack, and then claiming that any who disagree with him should leave our country... neatly demonstrating the ill of his posiiton). Personally, I think the President who would not be King (GW) has neatly outlined why the King who claims to be President (King George W, aka GWB) is a fool... and why we are fools to endure him and his fools chorus. Impeach!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Much of the extremism in Iran can be directly linked to the US's pre/during/post Shaw history. Most of today's terrorist and otherwise foreign problems directed at the US prove Washington's statements on impartial foreign influence. The terrorists are not really animated and don't get much juice from ranting about Uruguay, Tonga, or the Ivory Cost. But now that the problems are in our face and threaten our peace to destroy, we can no longer afford the higher road of impartial influence. King George and many others (including those politicians trying to destroy the Republic with such de facto rules as health care) should be criminally tried in de jure courts. (BTW I know of no de jure courts remaining in the US so you know it can't happen, it is a juris prudent and physical impossibility.)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- Anon      
    He was a great man.
     -- Anonymous     
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    Involvement in other countries has currently caused many problems for the US but if you really look back in US history, you will see that there are times when our involvement was completely necessary. After attack on Pearl Habor, If we went into complete seclusion instead fighting WWII, Japan probably would have taken over all of China. And what about all the Jews being massacred by the day in Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Should we have just let them die because we didn't want to get involved. There is no right and wrong answer for these situations. Our involvement in any situation will come with sacrifices but that is when you are faced question of if it's really worth it. To Mike, Norwalk: I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Iran. I would just like to inform you though that the Iranians hate the Mullahs and would much rather have the Shaw back. Iran was not like this before the Mullahs, you didn't have to where head scarfs or not aloud to go into to football games because your a woman. To Robert: I do agree that America is not the most superior country in the world but your examples of children and woman abuse is ridiculous. It's terrible that we have that in this country but look at so many other countries. There are still countries today where woman don't even have equal rights as a man. And really if you find America so culture-less and terrible, then why do you live here?
     -- Roxy, Houston     
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    Adams, Jefferson, and Madison all repeated Washington's warning in one form or another during their presidency's (Madison coining the phrase "entangling alliances"). It is amazing to me to hear the foolishness of the conversation on this board concerning Islamic radicalism. By the way Jefferson spent a full 1/3 (33%) of the nation's budget on fighting Islamic terrorists (by the name of the Barbary Pirates) in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
     -- Onan, Atlanta     
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     -- Casey, Crystal Springs      
    I approve
     -- God, Heaven     
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    cool
     -- none of, your buisness     
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    To Robert, Sarasota. You must be relatively young. I grew up in the America you refer to as a "culture to be proud of". I grew up in the 50's and 60's. America was strong both morally and financially. Then came the hippies (liberals) of the 60's. They wanted "change". Sound familiar? Well they got it. Now we have the America you talk about in your beginning statements. When I was young, people stood proudly when the Pledge was said. Not today. You got the America you wanted. Enjoy it. Liberalism will lead to the destruction of the world.
     -- Jack, Enfield     
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    Jack, let's "thank" the leaders, the politicians, the military/industrial complex who molded the events and history of the 1950's-70's for the resulting failures of Viet Nam, welfare socialism and the huge military budget that dwarfs any nation in the world. The "coming of age group" that you target are only now seated in the halls of power and our legacy is yet to be seen, but thanks for all the debt.
     -- Rick, Winston-Salem     
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    dude , this is straiqht up COOL .
     -- Anonymous     
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    As Americans we don't really learn much history in school. Unless we pursue such knowledge intensively as adults, we remain shamefully ignorant. Pearl Harbor is a great example... our govt provoked the Japanese into attacking, and then our govt KNEW about the plan to attack in ADVANCE but allowed it to happen so that America could enter the war. And then we dropped the Atomic Bombs - the only country in history, to this day, to ever use such a devastating Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) killing and maiming MILLIONS. Yes, attacks on America are definite blowback to some vicious, atrocious, evil our govt has done.
     -- Shannon, northeast US     
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     -- Anonymous, America      
     -- Allen, DC      
    George Washington was not an Isolationist .. but, instead a wise Non-Interventionist who did not believe in getting entangled in other nations broils.
    Washington also stated, "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.... Trust in temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies... steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." (President George Washington, Farewell Address, 1797)

    George Washington: "The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure." (1793.)

    James Madison also were Non-Interventionists and stated the following,

    "To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others...." James Madison
    Madison's Inaugural Address - The American Presidency Project - March 4, 1809

    "Honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none," - (President Thomas Jefferson, Inaugural Address, 1801)
     -- Mary - MI     
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    Mary, thank you, very well done ! ! !
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Aside from General Washington's failed admonition to remain "constantly awake," is the way his warning about "excessive partiality" toward foreign governments has morphed into a joke, seeming nonsense propelled by constant expeditions going far beyond mere employment of the second "arts of influence."

    D.C.'s current toolbox for 'exporting democracy' features bribery, destabilization campaigns aimed at fomenting citizen revolt against targeted governments, arming the worst kinds of "allies," 'black' CIA prisons, torture, daily drone assassinations, air strikes and ultimately invasion (preemptive war) when all else fails.

    That's the reality, one apparently beyond the grasp of most Americans regardless of economic class or otherwise suitable demographic - because "excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike for another" is consistently, successfully mass-marketed by compromised media.

    That much is unmistakably revealed by the months-long litany of propaganda and lies supporting D.C.'s current hegemonic thrust into Ukraine - outright BS that's left thermonuclear suicide on humanity's menu once again.

    Damn fool neocons, still in supreme control of policy via acquiescence of BOTH political parties, are playing Russian roulette with everybody's marbles. Obama has been cast by Fate in Ukraine as the degenerate gambler, wagering wildly and desperately on the Bear's historic turf, in the Bear's personal casino - because of unsustainable, bankrupt U.S. pursuit of empire on behalf of capitalist exploiters.
     -- Mann, Kalamazoo     
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    Rick, you are certainly right about the mistakes that were made in the 20th century regarding foreign-policy but also remember that the 20th century began with Woodrow Wilson and the march of progressivism. I believe it was you who talked about Pearl Harbor? Are you saying that Hitler should not have been stopped? Japan was an ally of Nazi Germany.
    You talked about the US dropping the atomic bomb but have you studied the atrocities that the Japanese inflicted upon captured civilians and POWs and the US would've taken massive casualties in invading the Japanese home islands, developing and dropping the bomb was the right thing to do to end the war quickly!
    Now let's talk about the 60s counterculture movement, many of the student movements and antiwar protest groups were infiltrated by communists, indeed the Communist had penetrated these counterculture extreme leftist groups and planted the seeds that has given us today Marxist professors like Bill Ayres (Obama's buddy) and legions of other anti-American in acadamy.
    Every war after World War II has been an unconstitutional war and both parties were and are doing it! Yes America has made mistakes and no country is perfect by God we are better than most!
    I highly recommend catching the movie "America"
     -- Mike, Pleasant Hill     
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    If only this sentiment prevailed in America. What is NOT an 'American interest' which is not the justification for any military action in foreign lands -- forget about the obligatory declaration of war by Congress, now just send troops willy nilly wherever and whenever you want -- after all, the US has over a thousand military bases around the world in addition to the 6000 military installations in the US. All the rest of the world is aware of the US domination of the world -- only Americans seem to be ignorant of the fact, just like the Germans in Hitler's time. Wake up!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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