Does anyone else get irritated by the phrase “Jacksonian foreign policy”?
“Buchanan’s diplomacy along with the recent conclusion of a Franco-British treaty maintaining independence of Belgium, gave what the United States had been seeking for twenty years, a Commercial Treaty with Russia.
In 1831, President Andrew Jackson announced to Congress that a minister would soon be nominated to negotiate a commercial treaty with “His Imperial Majesty and the Emperor his predecessor’. Despite, enjoying a most friendly and liberal trade relations with Russia, a commercial treaty had not yet been received. Health concerns of the minister and preoccupation by war had delayed attempts in the past.
“With the other powers of Europe, we have fortunately had no cause of discussions for the redress of injuries. With the Empire of the Russias our political connection is of the most friendly and our commercial of the most liberal kind. We enjoy the advantages of navigation and trade given to the most favored nation, but it has not yet suited their policy, or perhaps has not been found convenient from other considerations, to give stability and reciprocity to those privileges by a commercial treaty. The ill health of the minister last year charged with making a proposition for that arrangement did not permit him to remain at St. Petersburg, and the attention of that Government during the whole of the period since his departure having been occupied by the war in which it was engaged, we have been assured that nothing could have been effected by his presence. A minister will soon be nominated, as well to effect this important object as to keep up the relations of amity and good understanding of which we have received so many assurances and proofs from His Imperial Majesty and the Emperor his predecessor.”
In 1832, Jackson made very little mention of the negotiations other than to mention that “Negotiations are going on to put on a permanent basis the liberal system of commerce now carried on between us and the Empire of Russia”
In 1833, Jackson finally had the pleasure of announcing that the treaty of navigation and commerce had been concluded. Jackson used the day of December 6, not the 18th. December 6th was the first day of the convention to sign the treaty. Either way, the treaty had been ratified and would now secure a “flourishing and increasing commerce” between the two nations.
“The friendly relations which have always been maintained between the United States and Russia have been further extended and strengthened by the treaty of navigation and commerce concluded on 1832-12-06, and sanctioned by the Senate before the close of its last session. The ratifications having been since exchanged, the liberal provisions of the treaty are now in full force, and under the encouragement which they have secured a flourishing and increasing commerce, yielding its benefits to the enterprise of both nations, affords to each the just recompense of wise measures, and adds new motives for that mutual friendship which the two countries have hitherto cherished toward each other.”
For President Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, this was the end of a successful negotiation with Russia. The treaty did nothing but formalize the status quo and there are questions about its effectiveness, but nevertheless for the next 79 years it cemented the friendly commercial ties between the two countries. That is, until 1911 when the United States under President William Howard Taft would terminate the treaty. …”
Andrew Jackson’s foreign policy toward Russia – minding our own business in the Western hemisphere, negotiating a commercial treaty, indifference to Ukraine – was the exact opposite of what these clowns are pushing for today. The Russian Empire in Andrew Jackson’s time included Alaska!
Anyway, this little history lesson was provoked by Ben Domench’s article over at National Review.
“According to conventional wisdom, America’s modern history regarding foreign policy and national security has gone through periods of significant upheaval. We have been a nation that desired retreat from the world stage in the wake of Vietnam, that engaged the power of market forces to try to reform Communist China in the post–Cold War era, and was bent on wars with utopian visions of re-creating the Middle East in our democratic image after 9/11. But from another, more rational perspective, America’s foreign policy has been through all this time remarkably consistent: a Jacksonian bent toward our security interests, with the will and capability to reach out to destroy our enemies at any time, and against wars of conquest or goals that seem out of touch with reality. …
It was this attitude of permanent Jacksonianism that Donald Trump tapped into as a candidate for the presidency. He ran not against all wars, but against dumb wars — not as a dove, but as someone who wanted the ability to strike back against America’s enemies with the greatest possible might.
There is currently a large discussion about the future of conservatives’ understanding of what it means to adopt an America First foreign policy. As with so many slogans, this one is ripe for interpretation and reinterpretation. But one thing an America First policy cannot be, and will not be, is something at odds with the overwhelming interests of the American people in supporting our friends, opposing our adversaries, and maintaining America’s stature in the world. The American people have very clearly picked a side in this conflict, casting aside any past illusions of a productive relationship with Vladimir Putin, a view shared by our allies in the West and beyond. An open letter based in such fantastical assumptions about the nature of the current conflict is unlikely to change the minds that matter, nor should it.”
Did President Andrew Jackson ever concern himself with issues such as the status of Poland and Ukraine (and Finland and the Baltic states) under Tsar Nicholas I? Did anyone believe at the time that America had a vital interest at stake in that part of the world worth going to war with Russia?
My favored foreign policy toward Russia is actually the Jacksonian one. Ben Domenech’s foreign policy is the Lindsey Graham or John McCain foreign policy which is a willingness to go to war with Russia … over the status of Donbas.