Philosophical Anthropology and Practical Politics

By F. S. C. Northrop | Go to book overview

11
Neutralism and United States Foreign Policy*

Neutralism can be best approached through its historical and ideological context. Its historical context is both immediate, since World War II, and of wider scope, reaching back in the case of the United States to the days of its Founding Fathers. In the case of other nations, it goes back to the fifteenth century when Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon around Africa to southwestern India where he inaugurated the Western imperialistic domination of Asia, Africa and Middle Eastern Islam. The ideological context of neutralism is equally complex, involving at least five factors: (1) The political, economic, and religious or antireligious philosophies of (a) Communism and (b) contractual modern constitutional democracy. (2) The religious and social philosophies of the African, tribesmen; of Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, or Shinto Asia and of Islam, which differ not merely within and among themselves, but also from the Stoic Roman legal or the Judaic-Christian West in either its Byzantine Communist or its liberal democratic modern variants. (3) The European theories of foreign policy in the imperialistic era. (4) The classical theory of United States foreign policy of its Founding Fathers, as given later positive application in accordance with its basic contractual democratic philosophy by President McKinley and Congress in Cuba in 1898 and by President Truman and Congress in

____________________
*
This chapter is reprinted with permission from The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July, 1957, Vol. 312, pp. 42-68.

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