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Jefferson’s Blog

Some election issues are timeless.
Thomas Jefferson writes on the issues of his day, and ours.

September 13, 2012

Do presidential candidates need strength in foreign policy?


“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.”

–Thomas Jefferson to President James Monroe, 1823

Comments

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  1. In our world today, our leaders most certainly need to have strength in foreign policy. Our leaders must be able to be peacemakers first, and if our Nation is threatened, then they must have the fortitude to make war.
    I grieve for our world these days.

  2. Seems like Jefferson got this one wrong. To ignore foreign affairs can be short-sighted and inhumane. Being aware of foreign affairs and bumbling them might cost Mitt the election. There’s no such thing as too much foreign policy knowledge, or too much grace in handling foreign policy.

  3. Mr. Jefferson did not necessarily get it wrong. His time was different. The world was larger due to lags in communication and travel. More importantly, the world was less economically interdependent than today.
    Leaders today absolutely must have a thorough understanding of both the history and theory of foreign policy. It is a different world than that of Mr. Jefferson.


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