As the nation’s birthday of July 4th approaches, America is awash in foreign commitments that might lead to war — in Eastern Europe, in the Middle East, in the Western Pacific. One patriot who was present at the creation, George Washington, had firm opinions about how to avoid war. Washington paraphrased Edward Gibbon in his first annual address to Congress, stating that being prepared for war was an especially effective way of preventing it. He also counseled in the same speech that the young Republic needed to be self-sufficient in the tools of warfare. Six years later, in his Farewell Address, Washington warned against sustaining permanent animosities or affinities for any foreign nation, saying that such feelings would lead the nation astray from its true interests and quite possibly into war. I have written a commentary about Washington’s views on how to avoid war for Forbes, and you can read it here.
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