Three Reasons Why Neutralism Is The Best Foreign Policy

One of the attractive features of capitalism is that those in political power will actually do more for their people when they do less. The idea of a centrally planned economy where everything from price to distribution is determined by the government may have noble goals for committing to such a social arrangement but ultimately it will do much more harm to its cause and to its people than if it left those choices be determined by free individuals.

However, doing nothing when it comes to international relations can be very costly indeed. Sometimes what is needed for the protection of the people and the market within which they operate is, for example, a pre-emptive attack or alliance with one country against another who is deemed as a threat to security.

But, and an incredibly significant but, is that those very same people who are appointed to act on your behalf and protect you can use your tax and your country’s military resources to do the exact opposite. So where in the past neutrality might not have been an option, ever since the balance of powers of superpowers and international relations becoming less about ‘hard’ war and more about ‘soft’ war, it is now an extremely attractive prospect. In fact those who are most interventionist in their foreign policy seem to keep digging a larger hole for themselves.
One very good example of this is western intervention in the Middle East. They support- monetarily or militarily- dictators or terrorists group and later have to further intervene to fix the even larger problem erupted from their intervention. It reflects the same problems we have with domestic intervention: you intervene and you have to intervene more to fix the new arising problems in endless chain of interventions with ever increasing costs.

Switzerland who has a neutral foreign policy does not have to really deal with Islamic terrorism. They never had a 9/11 nor a 7/7. The Islamic radical preachers might mention Switzerland in a general speech about an envisioned world dominated by Shari’a but it does not get the specific hatred and recognition that the US or UK do for, in their eyes, ‘invading our lands and killing our people’. Recruiting people to kill themselves- literally speaking- is a hard campaign but made much easier when you can emotionally move someone’s soul with ‘your brothers and sisters are dying and you’re doing nothing about it!’.

This is all notwithstanding that the people behind much of these terrorists groups are not, for example, Iran but our best friends such as Saudi and Qatar. The US and UK have never had a problem with dictators and terrorists so long as they promote what they perceive as their interests. And it is this idea of thinking that they can make things better by intervening that has led to such poor foreign policy.

And what else is good about neutralism? You wouldn’t guess this one but it’s bad for the capitalists! Military corporations, oil companies and lobby groups cannot use the country’s resources and taxpayers’ money for their own ends.

So that was a lengthy preface but without further ado, here is a list of why neutralism is the best foreign policy:

  1. Security: Neutralism leads to less enemies and less possibility of war. It doesn’t guarantee security but it sure is a better strategy for attaining it than intervening, invading, killing, imposing sanctions etc.
  2. Inexpensive: No need to overspend on the military. No need to have ambassadors to negotiate as the Iranians and the west have done recently. No need to have a bureaucracy to determine the ‘right’ foreign policy which almost always turns out to be the wrong one for which you’ll need an even bigger bureaucracy. Of course, all of this means lower taxes.
  3. Moral: The central principle of libertarianism is that you are free to act as you wish so long as you harm no one else. Switzerland has much less blood on its hand than the US or UK. Surely they would justify their actions but most people know, and even some politicians have conceded to this, that interventionists policies have not worked. Given this is the case the blood of hundreds and thousands of innocent people including women and children is something all of us should be concerned about when choosing our foreign policy.





Border crossing image © Kecko



  1. Britain is part of the West and can not survive if the rest of the West fell – neither could Switzerland (but, as during the Cold War, it allows other people to defend its interests in the world).

    Had Philip II of Spain gained control of the resources of Europe – he would not have left this island alone.

    Had Louis XIV (the “Sun King”) gained control of the resources of Europe – he would not have left this island alone.

    Had the French Revolutionaries gained control of the resources of Europe – they would not have left this island alone.

    Had Imperial Germany gained control of the resources of Europe – they would not have left this island alone, German aims were global (they were not confined to Belgium and northern France).

    Had the National Socialists (Nazis) gained control of the resources of Euripe -they would not have left this island alone. Like all of the above they would have used the resources (the slave labour and so on) they gained to further their world wide aims – including against this island.

    And had the Marxists (the Soviet Union) gained control of Europe and the world they would not have left this island alone – they would have used the resources of the parts of the world they took, to take places such as this island.

    Yes socialism does not work in the long term – and neither does the statism of Philip II or Louis XIV, but in the short term they are a threat. One needs to CONTAIN them – whilst the long term forces of economic law do their work. For example the French Revolutionaries nationalised the factories of France (so much for it being a “capitalist Revolution”), in the long term this was ruinous, but in the short term they could boost production by running everything into the ground.

    It is too late to defend yourself when your enemy has taken out everyone else.

    As Winston Churchill put it “an appeaser is someone who feeds everyone else to the beast – hoping it will eat him last”.

    Such things as the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War were a direct part of the defence of Britain and the United States themselves – as were intelligence operations in France and Italy (against the Communists) after World War II.

    One must not allow the resources of the world to fall into the hands of one’s enemies (and they are enemies – regardless of British policy).

    One can be like Switzerland – and let other people do one’s fighting, but someone has to do it. For example if Hitler had won World War II he would NOT have left Switzerland alone (and neither would the Soviets), The French Revolutionaries proved that it is not impossible to conquer Switzerland – quite the contrary.

    As for Islam……

    I think wars in the Islamic world itself (such as Afghanistan and Iraq) are a MISTAKE (a blunder).

    But the idea that it does not matter if other countries (for example France) become Islamic – is not correct.

    As for the implied sneering in the post – it is also incorrect.

    The instructions of the British government were to OPPOSE the House of Saud in the 1930s – Mr Philby (the father of “Kim” Philby) disobeyed his instructions and helped the House of Saud to come to power (largely because it would cause trouble in the long term – Mr Philby was an anti British socialist, just like his son).

    And the coups that brought dictatorships to power in the Middle East?

    1952 in Egypt.

    1958 in Iraq.

    1962 in Yemen.

    1963 in Syria.

    1969 in Libya.

    And so on.

    These were ANTI Western coups. They all brought collectivists regimes to power. If the West was at fault – it was for not intervening to stop these armed coups taking place (or reverse them).

    So, my dear author, stop sneering at the West loving dictators and terrorists – most of what people think they know about Western policy is wrong, and sometimes it is the reverse of the truth.

    But at least you have not blamed the Taliban on Afghanistan on the West – as ultra ignorant people do.

    The Taliban of course murdered people whom the West had helped against the Soviets – such as “the Lion” who was murdered (by a suicide bomber posing as a journalist) at about the time of 9/11.



  2. I repeat that I think that both the Afghan war and the Iraq war were blunders – just in case anyone missed that point.



  3. As for hundreds of thousands of civilians being killed.

    Contrary to what people are told (often by libertarians) the West has not really got involved in the Syrian War – there has been lots of bluster, but little real action.

    The groups that looked to the West for arms and support got little or nothing – whereas the groups that looked to the forces of radical Islam (Sunni Islam on one side and Shia Islam on the other side) got vast amounts of support.

    Hundreds of thousands of civilians died anyway – even though the West decided not to really intervene.

    Millions of civilians were not murdered in Indo China because the West intervened – they would have been murdered whatever the West did (unless the West had actually fought to WIN – to actually achieve VICTORY, the forbidden word under the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Administrations with their “political settlement” obsession).

    And the biggest examples of the mass slaughter of civilians in human history?

    The Soviet Union and Mao’s China.

    In the case of the Soviet Union – the Administration of Woodrow Wilson opposed (opposed) Western intervention and undermined it.

    And the “old China hands” (TRAITORS) did the same in the United States in relation to the debate about whether to stop Mao coming to power.

    Hundreds of thousands of civilians?

    Try over a HUNDRED MILLION civilians – in the Soviet Union and China combined.

    See the “Black Book of Communism” – and the works of Robert Conquest and Frank Dikotter.

    There is a price for real intervention – and there is a price for non-intervention (or just token intervention) also.



  4. “One very good example of this is western intervention in the Middle East. They support- monetarily or militarily- dictators or terrorists group and later have to further intervene to fix the even larger problem erupted from their intervention.”

    Who are the ‘They’ in ‘They support… …dictators or terrorists group (sic.)…’?

    And who are the ‘…dictators or terrorists group…’?

    When a clock chimes 13, it rather casts doubt on the preceding 12 chimes. And if you cannot illustrate your article with examples, one might doubt whether you know anything about the subject at all.

    Here, you chime 0.5, so we don’t know your working.

    “The US and UK have never had a problem with dictators and terrorists so long as they promote what they perceive as their interests.”

    So how do you explain the US partial arms embargo on Argentina under President Carter?



  5. Paul

    You seem to gloss over the fact that the map of the Middle East was drawn up by European colonialists to homologate their spheres of influence. They drew arbitrary lines and created nation states where none logically existed.

    No doubt, as a good libertarian, you will condemn the aggressive force used against half the world to create the British Empire?

    Further intervention by the West in the last couple of decades has always ended in disaster- we need to keep out of it and allow these peoples to resolve whatever problems we left them without our “help”.

    Whether you justify intervention in terms of protecting our interests or for humanitarian purposes it always makes matters worse both there and here.



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