We should continuously pursue policies reasonably calculated to achieve peace with all nations. Given today’s weaponry, this should be a top priority for all people living in all nations. Most people living in most countries desire peace. While people look different in distant parts of the world, eat varied foods, celebrate other holidays, and have alternative beliefs and traditions, they are more similar than different in the ways that matter most. However, the people who run the governments of various countries can diverge fundamentally. How we analyze the actions they take as leaders of their countries gives rise to two foreign policy approaches.

One approach views and analyzes countries’ actions as if they are individual entities acting over long periods, even many generations, of time. I will refer to this approach as the “individual country” approach. The other method analyzes only the actions of the individuals controlling the mechanisms of government in a particular country, independent of the actions of other individuals who managed those governmental mechanisms years or generations ago. I will refer to this approach as the “individual ruler” approach.

For example, the “individual country” approach would analyze what the United States did during WWII and in all of the foreign military conflicts following that war to render an opinion about the foreign policy of the United States as a single entity. The “individual ruler” approach would hold only the individual people in charge of the mechanisms of government responsible for what they did when they were in power.

I prefer the individual ruler approach because people should be held accountable for what they do and not for what others did, often before their birth. Also, all countries are simply collections of individual people. We should not pretend countries or governments are like people who can be held accountable for their actions. To be fair, most people living in a country have no control or influence over what the people running their governments do. We should judge the people who control the mechanisms of government and the people who knowingly assist them as responsible for what they do while in control.

This distinction is important because virtually all countries have aggressed at some point at the direction of their government officials. Using the individual country approach, one could argue that all countries are aggressors. As a result, any military action taken against any country could be argued as defensive and justified based on their past aggressions and assumed current substantial threat. People could attempt to use this approach to justify endless military actions in response to earlier aggressions. Unfortunately, the history of humanity includes countless aggressions of all types. Everyone is associated with a group or country that has been aggressed against and upon at different times. We must stop the cycle of aggression and the holding of longstanding grudges.

We should acknowledge that perfect justice is not an option while we smartly move towards peace as quickly as possible. It makes sense to forgive and forget past aggressions of all countries and focus on ending all present aggressions and avoiding future ones. To that end, it may make sense to enter into a mutual international agreement with as many countries as possible to maintain the present borders of all nations and jointly defend them. We could expect that when enough countries agree to such an arrangement, we could sufficiently deter others from ever invading another’s borders. At some point, the world’s nations should strive to be united, at least on the issue of keeping the peace. The reasonable humans of the world are indeed on the same team.

Another recurring foreign policy issue relates to the question of whether to assist people living in foreign countries who are being aggressed upon by people controlling their own or the governments of other countries. As has been previously discussed, people have the right to defend others if they choose. That said, using one country’s military solely to protect people in another country is not national defense. National defense should be the sole purpose for any government or country to maintain an official military force. While assisting oppressed people in another country is a worthy moral goal, governments should not pursue moral goals.

However, private citizens should be permitted to do whatever they want so long as they do not violate the 3L Legal Principle. As such, they are free to personally travel to foreign countries to defend others from aggression, send money or weapons, and employ others to do what they are also permitted to do. As with all people’s actions, if they are mistaken about the facts or do anything to aggress against others, they should be held accountable.

A significant benefit of having private citizens acting to assist others in foreign countries to repel aggression is that they do not represent anyone but themselves. Private action likely avoids setting in motion a chain of events that could greatly expand a conflict to other countries. As private citizens in one country act to assist others in a foreign country to repel aggression, their government and its nation’s military can remain officially neutral, significantly decreasing the chances that an entire nation gets dragged into an escalated conflict. Private citizens spending their own money is also the best way to gauge real support to assist others in foreign countries. If private citizens are unwilling to spend their own time or resources to help others in a foreign country, the cause may not be sufficiently worthy.

If private citizens generate enough money, we should expect private corporations to offer professional military organizations to serve the interests of private citizens who wish to hire professionals to assist victims of aggression in foreign countries. Suppose the market of private citizens desiring to help victims of foreign aggressions is substantial. In that case, we should expect a powerful private military organization to defeat most small ruthless dictators worldwide. Indeed, the mere threat of action from a private military could deter such dictators from acting in the first place.

Using private, for-profit corporations providing military services, we can assist victims of aggression worldwide while government militaries remain neutral. At the same time, the market of concerned citizens will determine whether military intervention in a foreign country is a worthy cause measured by whether they are willing to spend their own money on it. Private citizens who live in 3LP compatible countries will undoubtedly have more expendable resources to use for such purposes. As such, we should have reasonable confidence that the private citizens of the world will muster more significant private military muscle to defend against aggressors than those who seek to aggress in the first place.