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George Washington's major foreign policy advice in his farewell address was that the US should avoid "foreign entaglements." One way to understand his speech is that it warns against getting to tied up in alliances with other countries.
While the US remained relatively weak in its early years, this advice was not too hard to follow. It was only much later that the US really failed to heed Washington's advice. Perhaps the first major instance of this was World War I. In this war, the US was unable (as Washington wanted) to separate trade from politics. Our trade with the Allied Powers helped to push us into a war that seemed like it was none of our business. In the years since, we have continued to become closely tied to other countries in ways that Washington seemed to warn against.
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