Make Trade, Not War

How libertarianism can make the world safe, prosperous, and free.

What’s up with so many Democrats wanting missile strikes on Syria, while Republicans balk? I’m told Republicans are the war party.

Is this just hypocrisy? Politicians change their position on military intervention when their own party controls the White House?

Historian Thaddeus Russell says it’s not. He says it’s always been “progressive” Democrats who led America into war: Woodrow Wilson in World War I, FDR in World War II, Truman in the Korean War, Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam and Bill Clinton in Somalia and Kosovo.

Russell says the progressives like “nation-building” because it fits their view that government can reform the world “not just in the ghettos, but
outside our borders. Anywhere we find the oppressed, we must go out and 
save them.”

Of course there are the neoconservatives, such as William Kristol, who were pro-war under both Bush and Obama.

“The so-called neocons who drove us to war in
 Iraq actually all began in the Democratic Party. They all began as 
progressives,” says Russell. “They supported
 intervention in Iraq to remake Iraq in our image, and they support 
intervention in Syria to do the same.”

Both neocons and progressives call those of us who oppose most intervention overseas “isolationist.”

A Wall Street Journal column complained about “the isolationist worm eating its way through the Republican Party apple.” On the left, Secretary of State John Kerry declared, “This is not the time for armchair isolationism.”

I resent the smear.

“Isolationist” suggests that anyone who objects to killing people in foreign countries (mostly people who have never attacked us) wants to “isolate” America, withdraw from the world.

Before World War II, American isolationists did fight to prevent refugees who were escaping Hitler from coming to America. Isolationists also opposed trade and immigration. That’s nuts. We libertarians who are skeptical about war today are nothing like that.

I want to be engaged with the world without us being in charge of it. Let us trade with people of every nation. It’s said that when goods cross borders, armies don’t. History backs that up. A report funded by 
several governments found that the level of armed conflict in Muslim
 countries is lower today than two decades ago, and trade is the reason. You’re less likely to bomb the people with whom you engage in commerce.

Preferring trade to government action may not sound “progressive” to progressives, but it’s not a surrender to evil or a withdrawal from global affairs. As we trade goods, we also export our ideas and our culture.

 I don't claim that this will end all conflict, but it is harder for radicals to make you hate people who sell you things, inspire you to change your hairstyle or make movies that make you 
laugh.

When the Soviet Union fell, conservatives said it happened because of 
Ronald Reagan’s military buildup. OK, that played a part. But so did 
American music.

In 1988, Bruce Springsteen held a concert in East Berlin,
 and even there, behind the Iron Curtain, 160,000 people came to hear him perform. And they knew the words to “Born in the USA” and sang along. Springsteen stopped his performance and told the crowd he hoped one day all the barriers would be torn down. One year later, the Berlin Wall did come down.

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  • Hyperion||

    Sorry, Stossel. Without constant war, how do you expect us to keep the sheeples at home, in line? Our WOD is faltering. What are we supposed to do. NEEDZ MOAR WARZ!

  • some guy||

    What else could possibly waste enough resources to keep our growth at a manageable level? Constant war or immenent global catastrophe. We have to choose at least one.

  • Hyperion||

    Is this just hypocrisy? Politicians change their position on military intervention when their own party controls the White House?

    Part of it is. But part of it is the GOP has been infiltrated by a few crazed libertarian types. Did you notice that? Also, the natives are growing restless and are very tired of wars, in fact, it's a fairly healthy majority, on both sides of the fence.

  • Gadianton||

    Let our music alarm mullahs.

    Rock the casbah?

  • Anomalous||

    +1

  • XM||

    What about love? Can I make that instead of trade and war?

  • Square||

    "When the Soviet Union fell, conservatives said it happened because of 
Ronald Reagan’s military buildup."

    I never understood this argument. It struck me at the time as coming way out from left field (or right field, to be more accurate).

    The Soviet Union fell because COMMUNISM DOESN'T WORK. The CIA reported in 1974 that the Soviet economy was collapsing and that they posed no real threat to the world, but our wise and beloved Donald Rumsfeld suppressed the report and immediately demanding that we accelerate our production of weapons.

    We could have sat around whistling "Yankee Doodle" and playing board games, and the Soviet Union would still have collapsed. Because COMMUNISM DOESN'T WORK.

  • Anomalous||

    Obviously the Soviet Union would have collapsed either way. The question is, did the military buildup hasten it.

  • Square||

    I suppose I could see something to that - I think the argument was something like "we forced them to build weapons and fight wars that they couldn't afford, which hastened their already inevitable doom."

    I just wonder whether we could've done it without all the weapons and wars that weren't so healthy for us, either.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "The CIA reported in 1974 that the Soviet economy was collapsing and that they posed no real threat to the world, but our wise and beloved Donald Rumsfeld suppressed the report and immediately demanding that we accelerate our production of weapons."
    That may or may not be. But, you'd kind of maybe think that, without benefit of hindsight, people at the time might have thought the report got it wrong. You had the Russian backed Viet Minh winning, Russia invading Afghanistan, the Sandanistas taking Niceragua....

  • Square||

    Sandanistas were 1979, Afghanistan was 1980, if I recall. But still, I agree that it was not unreasonable for people in general to still be scared of the USSR in 1974 - at that point you still had going on 30 years of serious tension. But I also doubt that Rumsfeld was acting 100% in good faith, as he made an awful lot of money off of the whole thing.

    So while the fear among the general populace was understandable, it was also being actively fanned by people who knew they were exagerrating it.

    I think the governments of the US and the USSR found each other convenient demons, but I wonder how the 80s would have gone if the US had more openly called out the holes in the USSR's sinking ship back in the 70s instead of upping the pitch of hysteria.

  • JeremyR||

    You know that "Born in the USA" is an anti-American song? So people singing it in East Germany isn't exactly a good thing

    I'd like to agree with that premise, but I don't think it's actually true.

    Look at the Middle East. They used to have all our ideas. Look at pictures from the region in the 50s and early 60s. They were dressed like us all over the place, from Egypt to Turkey to Iran to Afghanistan, only a few places like Saudi Arabia resisted. But then they rejected them in favor of Islamism and Shariah law.

    The truth is we are losing the culture war, because we hate our culture so much. Bruce Springsteen is a perfect example. And Libertarians often delve into the cultural self-loathing just like the Left does.

  • livelikearefugee||

    "When goods cross borders armies don't" --Baron Von Bismark (or somebody like that)

    What we need are more free trade agreements. Who in their right mind would bomb their customers?

  • juliajuli1||

    my classmate's half-sister makes $72 every hour on the internet. She has been without a job for eight months but last month her payment was $16159 just working on the internet for a few hours.Here's the site to read more......

    -------------------
    http://www.Rush60.com

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