Six years after 9/11, the Bush administration’s disastrous foreign policy has led many Americans to call for a supposedly “practical” alternative. To confront the threats from nuclear-weapons-chasing Iran and other aggressors, they say, we need a policy of diplomatic engagement and negotiation with hostile regimes. But what were the results when essentially the same policy was followed in the decades prior to 9/11?

Was America’s resolution of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis really a triumph of diplomacy? When Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death decree against author Salman Rushdie, for daring to offend Muslims, was our response one that we should emulate? Is it true that responding to aggression with “flexibility” and diplomatic talks will soften the aggressor and bring lasting peace, whereas retaliation only aggravates conflict?

What kind of foreign policy will protect the lives and freedom of Americans?

Tragically, Americans have continually been offered a false alternative in foreign policy: self-sacrificing, “idealistic” policies (such as Bush’s crusade) or unprincipled “practical” policies (such as appeasing Iran) — a choice between two fundamentally selfless, and thus self-destructive, approaches. What America needs instead is a practical, principled approach to foreign policy, one informed by Ayn Rand’s revolutionary morality of rational egoism. (Recorded September 10, 2007.)