Only a Hamiltonian Republican can fully appreciate how right Coolidge was in saying the business of America is business: Like all other forms of American business, the foreign policy of America always has been and always will be at its finest when it too is the policy of business.
It is only too appropriate that the Capitalistic economics of Alexander Hamilton, which then turned America into the greatest world power in history, should serve as the longterm foundation of American foreign policy Nationalism.
Throughout the 19th century and the early 20th century Hamilton’s National System of fostering a business environment favorable to industrial expansion; infrastructure development; trade protectionism; solid credit conditions; the hefty Continental peace dividend enjoyed by America after the threat once feared by Hamilton of a European military presence in North America became negligible; mercantilistic domination of Latin America; the establishment of an Army and Navy capable of defending both American territory as well as America’s overseas economic interests; the settlement of the Western frontier up to the Pacific; testing the waters of the Pacific with gunboat diplomacy; large scale immigration of European migrants to staff booming factories; these led to the industrial might upholding America’s military industrial complex.
The main competitor to the American military industrial complex, Prussian Nationalism, was crushed in two direct tests of strength.
While the usefulness of industrial might in war needs no further explanation, the post-WWII period of Cold War diplomacy does.
It was during the Cold War when the different elements of Hamiltonian foreign policy were refined. Those elements included offshore balancing, deterrence both conventional and nuclear, allying with tyrannical governments or even installing tyrants that agreed not to interfere with American geostrategic objectives in exchange for our ignoring their “human rights” abuses, supporting indirect proxy wars, indirectly propping up American client states with financial and diplomatic support, directly propping up wherever necessary American proxy states with US military power, carving out spheres of influence, preemptive warfare, and maintaining a broad alliance system with the major Capitalistic powers.
These characteristics of Cold War Republican international relations are known collectively as Realist foreign policy. Since Alexander Hamilton is the founder of American foreign policy realism these characteristics must remain the governing post-Cold War principles of American Nationalism.
But Realism’s various attributes and their relationships have never been formally developed into an overarching theory of foreign policy. Normally the best terminology that can be found is worthless, meaningless jargon; e.g. “American Exceptionalism”.
This incompleteness will be amended with a formal diplomatic theory of Realism – Capitalistic Regionalism, or, Regionalism for short.
Regionalism is a Capitalistic variant of offshore balancing practiced for centuries by the British Empire.
Traditional offshore balancing is defined as –
- A Realist strategy where a great power uses regional alliances to check a hostile power.
Capitalistic Regionalism is –
- A Realist strategy where a great Capitalistic power uses regional alliances with other Capitalistic states to check any threat from a hostile power to either the physical security or commercial interests of the allied Capitalists. Minor powers have the option of being part of this alliance, neutral outside of it, or hostile. Regardless whether minor powers join or not, the great power is able to exercise this strategy so long as other advanced powers agreed to the system.
Hamiltonian Regionalism is given its name to contrast it with Hamiltonian Realism’s doctrinal archenemy,Wilsonian Globalism (the latter of which will be discussed further at the end of this article). Globalism justifies its claim to interfere in every corner of the planet by assuming the modern world is so interconnected that it would be irresponsible for leaders not to take a Globalist approach to international affairs.
In contrast to this, Regionalism acknowledges that isolationism is impractical due to greater interconnectedness. However, only particular regions of the world are strategically important enough to merit the attention and resources of America.
Just as America’s geographic scope must be selective, so too must be our strategic scope: The primary strategic objective of American diplomacy after the Cold War is to protect and serve Capitalistic relations within the First World. All other considerations aside from this – such as “human rights”, “democracy”, and the actions of lesser powers – must be demoted down to distant priorities.
To appreciate the virtues of Regionalism today, we will first explore the history of its predecessor strategy, offshore balancing.