Since men are naturally equal, and a perfect equality prevails in their rights and obligations, as equally proceeding from nature—Nations composed of men, and considered as so many free persons living together in a state of nature, are naturally equal, and inherit from nature the same obligations and rights. Power or weakness does not in this respect produce any difference. A dwarf is as much a man as a giant; a small republic is no less a sovereign state than the most powerful kingdom.

—Emerich de Vattel. The Law of Nations, 1758.

Respect and comity

Free countries should be treated with the utmost respect and comity. Their rights to their own laws and their own sovereignty should be considered sacrosanct. Larger countries should refrain from bullying, subsidizing, or patronizing smaller countries. All free countries, regardless of size, should be treated in a principled manner. When principles are disregarded in favor of pragmatism, small countries tend to be treated shamefully and large countries find themselves acting unjustly. A terrible example of this was when, in 1941, Britain declared war on Finland, a free country. Britain found itself engaged in this vile behavior because Winston Churchill made a cynical pact with the mass-murdering tyrant Joseph Stalin.

When the Soviet Union invaded Finland and the Baltic states, the Anglo-Americans should have declared war on the USSR. No aid should have been given to the enemy, and the invasion that began at Normandy should have continued past Berlin all the way to Moscow. Had that moral course been taken, the countries of Eastern Europe, including the states of the Soviet Union, would have become free instead of falling into a communist dark age. Korea, China and Vietnam would not have followed. The Cold War would never have occurred, eliminating the need for the vast military industrial complex and the plethora of socialist measures that accompanied it. The light that is only now dawning on the world would have occurred sixty years earlier. The progress of mankind would have been hugely accelerated through the billions of additional members added to the Free World’s markets many decades ago.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove