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Yet Codevilla believes – and stresses in his book – that the word “peace” is alien to all of these major schools of thought. And he’s right.

Codevilla builds a new theory on the radical idea that the purpose of foreign policy, especially for the United States, is peace. This is akin to how the Founding Fathers viewed foreign policy.

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For instance, George Washington implored America to “cultivate peace and harmony with all” as its “only” foreign policy goal.

John Quincy Adams, America’s first great diplomat, said, “The first and paramount duty of the government is to maintain peace amidst all the convulsions of foreign wars, and to enter the lists as parties to no cause other than our own.”

These men believed that war was required only by a vital national interest, and our goal should always be to return to peace as soon as possible. Consequently, this remained our national policy right up to the 20th century.

Since the change, though, millions of Americans have died. Perhaps, as Codevilla says, it doesn’t have to be this way.

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This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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