Dear President George W Bush:
It is with a heavy heart that I have reached the unhappy conclusion that you might have misplaced my last correspondence dated 19th September 1796. Please allow me the indulgence of assuming that you will not further delay consideration of a few of my last thoughts on the occasion of my retirement from public life. After a modest contribution of forty years to the service of my nation, it was not without great deliberation that I chose to use the melancholy occasion of my retirement to emphasize the priority of conducting our relations with alien states in a manner that would serve the welfare of our fellow citizens. I fully understand the great American tradition that prohibits former presidents from encroaching on the political turf of the current occupant of the White House. Please allow me the immodesty of making a small claim to initiating this great tradition. As it was that I would not be a King to our prince of a nation, I would not aspire to intervene as a prince in the affairs of a duly elected Chief Executive Officer of our precious republic. It is therefore not my intention to undermine your constitutional right to administer the affairs of the nation in a manner consistent with the dictates of your own conscious and best judgement. Although, I would venture to take issue with the members of congress who appear to have abandoned their constitutional duty to make their presence felt in any and all policy issues that might lead the nation to war.
The making of war and peace, the formation of alliances, the nurturing of friends and a healthy aversion to the creation of unnecessary enmity with foreign nations should be the prime concern of the Chief Executive. It was a burden that still scars my shoulders two centuries on in the abode of the heavenly great beyond. So allow me to lighten your burden with a few measured words of advice that stood me well when it was my fortunate destiny to provide guidance to future leaders of our beloved country.
In kind consideration of your prompt review of my deepest thoughts on the subject matter, which I have outlined below in a manner consistent with modernity, I bid you farewell and God Speed.
President George Washington
1. The Golden Rule in Foreign policy:
Observe good faith & justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace & harmony with all…. The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations and to have with them as little political connection as possible.
2. Pay attention to Ike and his warnings about the military industrial complex:
In my farewell speech I wrote of the danger of “Overgrown Military establishments, which under any form of Government are inauspicious to liberty”.
3. Scrap the ‘special relations’ with Israel:
Nothing is more essential than that permanent inveterate antipathies against particular Nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded; and that in place of them just & amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another a habitual hatred, or a habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave.
4. America has no interest in the repression of the Palestinian people:
A passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels & Wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification.
5. Watch the Pollards in the Israeli Lobby:
It gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite Nation) facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity.
6. Be Wary of Israeli Lobby’s influence on Congress, CNN and FOX:
How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public Councils.
7. Don’t just sit there. Confront AIPAC and the neo-cons:
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.
8. The Israeli lobby corrupts foreign policy:
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.
9. Don’t let the Israeli lobby smear its opponents as anti-Semitic:
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 & confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
10. Don’t treat Israel any different from Europe:
Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.
11. Don’t invade foreign nations:
Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?
12. NATO alliance is an exception because it is vital to our national security:
Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
13. The United Nations is also OK:
Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended by policy, humanity and interest.
14. WTO is not OK:
Our Commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing & diversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with Powers so disposed–in order to give to trade a stable course, to define the rights of our Merchants, and to enable the Government to support them
15. Foreign Aid to Israel is folly:
‘Tis folly in one Nation to look for disinterested favors from another–that it must pay with a portion of its Independence for whatever it may accept under that character–that by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favors from Nation to Nation. (See http://www.geocities.com/americanpresidencynet/farewellgw.htm for the full text of George Washington’s Farewell Address)
I have often read quotes from Washington’s Farewell Address in articles but have never taken the time to actually read the whole thing. It is an amazing document that rings true two centuries later. I would urge every American to take the time to review the wise advice of our first president. It made me change my mind about a few things. For one thing, it made me discount the value of supporting an Arab-American lobby that would attempt to mimic the tactics of the Israeli Lobby. If a foreign government has business to do with the United States, it should make its views known through its embassies. Any other approach amounts to meddling in America’s domestic affairs. The Israeli Lobby needs to be dismantled and Arab-Americans need to abandon any plan to emulate the unfortunate success of AIPAC.