During his time in the U.S. Senate, Jesse Helms sought to ensure his foreign policy principles were rooted in conservative truth. When evaluating foreign policy matters and making important decisions, Helms sought to answer the following questions:
1) Does this protect our national sovereignty?
Our founders understood from the first days of our nationhood that no one can speak for Americans, but America. We can never be a party to any organization or agreement that removes, from this nation, the absolute authority to make our own decisions. While it is appropriate to seek cooperation with other nations with compatible goals, it is never in our national interest to be a part to agreements that would give any other entity authority over our troops, our trade, our tariffs, our citizens or policies.
2) Does this promote a strong national defense?
The pages of political history stretching to antiquity illustrate the truth that there is no virtue in ignoring the danger created by insufficient defenses. Nations who have lowered their defenses, with the best of intentions, inevitably found themselves vulnerable to attack by nations with the worst of intentions. Our nation must be firm in its resolve to never have its autonomy or freedom threatened by any enemy. That resolve must be demonstrated by a military force ready to respond to threats to our domestic peace and tranquility from any place, and of any kind. Our military must have the personnel and materials required for any contingency and our people must prize both freedom and the responsibility for insuring it.
3) Does this promote the pursuit of a moral foreign policy?
The pursuit of a higher good has always been a part of the American ideal. We are a nation of immigrants, seekers of freedom who have made it our business to welcome the newcomer. We are a nation of idealists, who believe that every human hungers for the freedom we take as our American birthright. We are a nation of brave men and women who know that words of comfort without action are hollow and useless. We are people who cannot ignore the plight of the abused or the threats of tyrants. The United States of America must always measure its foreign policy against the faith guided tenets of our heritage, not against the vagaries of current opinion or selfish self-interest.