Election 2012

Gary Johnson: "Let's Get Out of These Embassies Now"


DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE—After the flurry of attacks on American embassies abroad, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took time to attack President Barack Obama for the official government response to the attacks, resulting in a setback to Romney's flailing campaign. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson responded with a broad critique of American foreign policy and went so far as to say that we should reconsider having embassies in foreign countries.

"I maintain that because of our military interventions we have hundreds of millions of enemies to this country that, but for our military interventions, would not exist," Johnson told a crowd of college students at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday.

"Let's get out of these embassies now. Let's stop making ourselves a target," Johnson said.

During his speech Johnson, who is at the beginning of a nationwide tour of college campuses, said that politicians use terms like "our vital American interests" as cover for violent military actions that cause more harm than good for the United States.

"Tens of thousands of innocent civilians that die in the countries that we militarily intervene, our men and servicewomen coming back in body bags, our men and servicewomen coming back with their limbs blown off, all in the name of what?" he said.

The recent uprisings in the Middle East have brought foreign policy, ever so briefly, back into the 2012 presidential campaign. To date, 52 people have died in events related to assaults on American consulates and embassies including the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

After his speech Johnson questioned why the United States has embassies at all.

"I questions having embassies in other countries, I really do. Everywhere! I understand American tourists and issues American tourists might have with passports but does that involve an embassy? Does that involve having an ambassador?" he said to Reason during an interview.

Johnson thinks that the embassies are raising the level of animosity some Middle Easterners may have for the United States.

"Let's get out of those embassies now so we don't provide some symbolic target—it's more than symbolic, it's real," he said.

Johnson is scheduled to film some televisions ads with the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire later tonight.

He continues his college tour in North Carolina tomorrow.

NEXT: Obama, Romney Chase Immigrant Votes

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’m actually ok with this. I feel like in the age of modern communications, we don’t need embassies. If face to face talks are that necessary, we can fly in a negotiating team.

    Certainly a lot of the ambassadorships are just blatant sinecures. Like say all the Caribbean island mini countries.

    1. That said, having consulate offices abroad, especially in places that Americans like to travel for historical value (i.e. Egypt), does have certain benefits for the citizenry.

      1. When I was in southern Mexico, a casual acquaintance of mine was picked up by the police. One of her Mexican friends came through a window into her house to look for a way to contact someone in her family. She found a cell phone and called the last number that had been dialed–and it turned out to belong to yours truly…

        I don’t really speak Espanol, and the police in Mexico can be…ahem…unhelpful. It took a few days of searching, but I finally found her–locked up and sedated in a Mexican mental hospital for…being wasted, or so it seemed to me.

        I couldn’t get anywhere with those people–until I called the U.S. consulate. The consulate showed up like the cavalry. All of a sudden, I was allowed to see her. All of a sudden, they didn’t see any reason to keep her sedated anymore. All of a sudden, they didn’t seem to have any reason to hold her any longer.

        As far as I’m concerned, the only truly legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of its citizens, and as far as I’m concerned, Americans never need those rights protected more than when they’re in a foreign country.

        1. ^this. i almost needed them in nicaragua.

          and surprised i never needed them in mexico

          1. Why should I pay to support your international travels. If you can afford to hit Mexico then you can afford to pay for a local “fixer”.

            1. This is a nearly road-privatization level of dogmatic libertarianism. Consulates are bargain basement cheap to operate compared to cluttering every international trip by an American with such concerns (not to mention the subornation of bribery you’re implying?).

              1. Not really. What you do outside American borders is not really the obligation of the American government to protect. The fact that they choose to provide that service is a privilege, not a right. If the cost of the privilege becomes dangerous to the provider or expensive to the taxpayer, they need not provide it any more.

                You’re seriously saying they deserve a service from our government outside our borders because not providing it would be inconvenient to them and “clutter” their trip?

                And moreover, where is any mention of embassies and consulates in the Constitution?

                1. And moreover, where is any mention of embassies and consulates in the Constitution?

                  Article II, Section 2 (referring to the President): “…he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls…”

                  An embassy is where an ambassador works. A consulate is where a consul works.

                  1. That’s true, but ambassadors have a government-to-government role that doesn’t inherently involve providing tourists and ex-patriates with all the taxpayer-funded legal resources they’d have in America. My central point is that the free protection beyond borders for tourists and ex-pats Ken is talking about is extraconstitutional and not obligatory for government to provide, since you are beyond their jurisdiction. The fact that they provide it is a nice service, but not necessarily a delegated power.

            2. Why should I pay to support your international travels. If you can afford to hit Mexico then you can afford to pay for a local “fixer”.

              Same reason you should have to pay to defend my ass in criminal court.

              Immigrants have all the same rights citizens have–except for the right to vote. They don’t lose their votes just becasue they cross a border…

              …and American citizens don’t lose their rights just because we crossed a border and leave American soil either.

              Like I said, defending our rights is the only legitimate function of government, and insofar as our consulates defend our rights, they’re functioning legitimately.

              There’s a short list of things the government really should do. And I put this as one of them. Shit. Completely abandoning your citizens when they leave your borders is what a lot of really nasty totalitarian governments do.

              Abandoning American citizens to Turkish prisons (or whatever) sure as hell isn’t what libertarianism is all about.

              1. Supposed to read, “They don’t lose their [rights] just becasue they cross a border…”

                But you probably already knew that.

                P.S. There’s a small donation in it for you, Hit Run, if and when you fix the preview button.

              2. If you are counting on me to pay for your legal bills, here or in Turkey, you are in bad shape. Have you ever spent any time with PDs? You manage to get your car towed without my help, either on a transactional basis, or, if you are risk averse, contracting with AAA. You could do the same for Turkish legal services. Or you could stay out of Turkey.

                1. The consulate doesn’t pay your legal bills or supply you with a lawyer.

                  They do check on you periodically to make sure you’re being treated appropriately, and they will facilitate communication between you and your friends/family back in the states to help you arrange for a lawyer.

                  They’ll make sure you get a chance to contact a lawyer, and they’ll give you a list of credible lawyers to choose from…

                  But they’re not paying for your lawyer for you. What they are doing is checking in on you, making sure you have access to what you need, and by butting in? They let the government of whatever hell hole you’re in know that they know you’re in police custody–and they care about how you’re treated.

                  They may not sound like much, but as is demonstrated in my experience with that acquaintance? It can make all the difference in the world if you’re been locked up in some third world country.

                  Is it the U.S. government’s business to check in on American citizens who are incarcerated in other countries and make sure they’re not being mistreated by a foreign government the U.S. has friendly relations with?

                  Hell yeah!

                  Just like it’s the U.S. government’s business to make sure I’m not being tortured or unduly deprived of legal representation if I’m being held on charges in Alabama.

              3. “…and American citizens don’t lose their rights just because we crossed a border and leave American soil either”

                No, but they have moved out of the jurisdiction of the American government. In my opinion, the American government is only obligated to defend Americans within their own borders unless they are on diplomatic or military missions. The fact that they provide embassies and consular protections is an extraconstitutional privilege that could honestly be provided by the market instead.

                1. The American government is only obligated to defend Americans within their own borders unless they are on diplomatic or military missions.

                  See my comment above.

                  It is my understanding that the U.S. Consulate is NOT defending Americans or giving them a lawyer under normal circumstances…

                  But when Ken Shultz shows up at the lock down mental hospital demanding to see one of the inmates–to make sure that she’s okay?

                  Nobody gives a shit.

                  When the U.S. Consulate shows up like the cavalry–and wants to know how she’s being treated and wants to meet with her to see with their own eyes how she is?

                  Suddenly, all the doors are open.

              4. Same reason you should have to pay to defend my ass in criminal court.

                Actually that’s because in our system there is a right to assistance of counsel for those on trial. Even non-citizens have this right.

                If Olaf Swiderski is visiting New York City from Poland and gets locked up for solicitation, he gets a public defender.

                If Olaf gets locked up for solicitation in Cancun, he’s not getting crap from the US govt. He’s not a citizen.

                I would actually agree with those who say it’s not an obligation of the govt to help US citizens on private business in other countries, but it is good policy.

        2. ^this. i almost needed them in nicaragua.

          and surprised i never needed them in mexico

        3. ^this. i almost needed them in nicaragua.

          and surprised i never needed them in mexico

        4. …and the police in Mexico can be…ahem…unhelpful.

          Remind me to tell you about the time I was kidnapped and robbed by the Ensenada PD.

          I’ve had some beautiful experiences en Mexico, some mind-blowing awesome experiences en Mexico, and some fucking fucked up experiences en Mexico. Sometimes all three in the same day.

          God I hate Mexico.

          1. I hear it’s a good place to get los antibioticos for SHTF.

            1. I hear it’s a good place to get los antibioticos for SHTF.

              See i m thinking those veterinary grade fish tank antibiotics you can buy online will work.

              Anyone now one way or the other?

              1. Those fish tablets are not pure antibiotics… I’d be a tad worried about what the “filler” is.

              2. There are a variety of online pharmacies that will be happy to sell you many prescription-limited in the U.S., non-DEA Schedule, human medications. Foreign manufactured, so caveat emptor. Price appears to be much cheaper than going to Walgreens. (Never mind avoiding the M.D. gatekeeper fee.)

                Google will be your friend.

          2. Yeah, I’ve bailed a friend or two out of the Tijuana jail.

            Just a few years ago, El Presidente sent the army in to disarm the police in Tijuana…the cops were so bad.

            When you get down South, around Merida in the Yucatan, etc.? It’s the exact opposite of Rosarito, Ensenada, etc. as far as the cops are concerned. In Merida, Cancun, etc., it’s hard for Americans to get arrested. The primary purpose of the federalis down there is to make sure nothing bad happens to Americans. And the local cops aren’t really allowed to interact with Americans at all (and they aren’t allowed to carry guns). The whole economy is based on Americans perceiving the area as safe–rather than drug smuggling, people smuggling, etc., like it is up North.

            Merida is where all the drug cartel bosses send their families because it’s so damn safe…

            I remember when Baja used to be safe like that–as recently as the ’80s. We used to strap some boards on, drive across the border and just camp on the beaches. …out in the middle of nowhere–anywhere north of Cabo. It was like heaven down there. But TJ, etc. has had crooked cops since forever.

            I don’t know anybody that went down to Revolution in TJ more than once and doesn’t have a story to tell about the cops down there. They’re predators.

    2. So when a US citizen in Bumfuckistan on business gets arrested for murder on trumped up charges, who counsels them on the local laws/judicial system?

      1. Why is someone in bumfuckistan without knowledge of the local laws/judicial system?

        1. For the anal sex tourism? Whatever the reason, people from other countries aren’t going to know all the local laws, especially the unwritten ones. You know, who needs a bribe, how much, etc.

          1. Which could never, ever, EVAH, be accomplished by a private firm?

            1. this is parody right?

            2. Good point. If navigating the local laws is a service in demand by corporations and/or travellers, the market would logically reply.

              1. Who’s enforcing the laws against fraud and breach of contract in this scenario?

                The market needs a dominant coercer standing above it to function properly.

        2. It’s going to have kind of a negative effect on trade if doing business internationally requires legal training in 180+ legal systems.

          1. So doing business internationally is the same as facing “trumped up charges”?

            I know that you don’t get out much, but companies do hire these people that specialize in a crazy thing called international law. Do you really think that Nike goes to the embassy to help them set up their sweat shops?

            1. Hard to specialize in international law in a foreign jail cell.

        3. Why is someone an American citizen in bumfuckistan America without knowledge of the local laws/judicial system? Ignorance of the law is no excuse! America is a nation of laws! If you were arrested, you must be guilty!

      2. The State Dept, via Facebook?

      3. like amanda knox… or her parents

        1. Okay, there’s that. I remember watching on CourtTV as the diplomats eloquently and passionately pleaded her case to the courts.

          1. it’s italy. a country where they prosecuted a movie director for MURDER because they couldn’t believe the scene he filmed was fake.

            a country where it is a crime to “libel the police”

            the reality is that it’s not just a matter of knowing the laws and not breaking them. here’s a hint. overseas, just like the US, you can be 100% innocent and still get arrested, and even charged and even convicted

            1. I’m sure sloopy would post the tale of woe in the morning links, though. Which would totally make up for it.

              Though for some reason he seems to be focused on the Puget Sound region these days.

  2. “I maintain that because of our military interventions we have hundreds of millions of enemies to this country that, but for our military interventions, would not exist,” Johnson told a crowd of college students at the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday.

    He continued, “I also maintain that we should militarily intervene in Uganda because too many enemies is never enough.”

    1. Is this snarking?

  3. This is nuclear-strength stupid.

    I thought Libertarians weren’t isolationists?

    1. We’re not. It’s just that Gary Johnson is nuclear-strength stupid.

      1. GayJay should hire his old Sherpas to think for him.They are probably getting too old to carry tourists up Everest by now.

      2. Nuclear-strength stupid is literally true.

        What do you think the reaction of the rest of the mutually-assured destruction crew to the announcement that an unknown 3rd party candidate had won the American presidency, and while claiming to desire international peace, immediately withdrew all personnel from all embassies and consulates worldwide?

        Dr. Strangelove type shit. People forget Russia is run by a former KGB officer who’s 30 seconds and a button away from world war three.

        1. Er, are you implying that our embassies are all that’s preventing Vlad Pootang from nuking us?

          1. No, I’m saying that withdrawing your ambassador and embassy staff is universally seen as a prelude to war.

  4. But if we don’t have embassies they won’t sell us gasoline.

  5. Gary Johnson had no clue what he’s talking about foreign policy. No embassies? Interventions bread enemies?

    1. why?

      (I’m not sure if you’re snarking.)

      1. Embassy have their place in the relationships of sovereign nation-states. You don’t not have them just because people are angry with you and may kill you.

        People are going to be angry at us regardless of whether we intervene or don’t intervene. The U.S. as world hegemon is always in a lose lose predicament.

        And our interests moves us to intervene at times and if this upsets some people it upsets some people.

        1. +1. Basing any foreign policy around ‘will they like us?’ is madness. Immoral madness.

          1. Basing any foreign policy around an understanding of the consequences of your actions is madness. Immoral madness.

            That was sarcasm.

            GJ just jumped the shark with the “let’s close the embassies” schtick.

            That was not sarcasm.

          2. Totally agree.

        2. What interest is currently moving us to intervene in Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Uganda, Mali, Chad, Afghanistan,….

          and please don’t say “to keep AQ from building training bases”.

        3. And our interests moves us to intervene at times

          Except it needs to be a crucial interest and the intervention needs to be as narrowly tailored as possible to protect that interest. Don’t see how any of our recent invasions/kinetic adventures fit that bill.

          I’m OK with having a naval base in Bahrain, for instance. If we’re not king of the hill in the Gulf, the Chinese, Russians, or Iranians will be, and that’s going to be seriously bad for the world in general.

          1. None of those countries have the naval power to rule the Gulf. And even if they did we could quickly remove them. Anyways, I’m ok with a naval base in the area, though I don’t know about Bahrain. Is Diego Garcia too far away?

            1. Diego Garcia isn’t in the Gulf…

              It’s much easier to maintain a presence than to remove a presence. That’s far too strategic a location for every other wannabe superpower to just leave alone if we abandon it.

              1. Didn’t say it was

                Anyways, I don’t much care if Russia or China want to build up their navy and try to replace us. They would fare even worse than we have. And they would be idiotic to cut off oil or do any sort of aggression toward the US. Again, not saying I object to a presence, just that I don’t buy the catastrophic doom and gloom that would supposedly follow if we left

        4. Yes Lyle. The benevolent government only intervenes to protect “our interests” and it’s just too bad if foreigners don’t like this.

          That was sarcasm btw

    2. I like my enemies beer battered, personally.

  6. has, and breed… oops.

    1. We must bread our enemies and dip them in pizza sauce before devouring them!

  7. Hey, if we got rid of the embassies where would we stick all the over-uneducated cronies of our political class. You can’t expect them to, ya know, work for a living or something. Think of all the poor, poor children majoring in international relations, THINK OF THOSE KIDS YOU HEARTLESS BASTARDS!

  8. A declaration is an affirmation. Independence means self-government. They could have called The Declaration of Independence, The Affirmation of Self-Government!

    Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray are the only choice to Save the American Dream: Self-Government, freedom from big government tyranny and oppression…. and to Restore Justice, the guardian of Liberty! The people believe in self-government and self-medication.

    1. Yeah, good luck with that.

    2. Whatever you’re self-medicating with, I want some.

  9. So I sought to counter this argument by saying “Why the flock doesn’t Bolivia have an embassy in Egypt?”

    Well, turns out they do.

    What about Belarus? Them to. Even have a website.

    Turns out I don’t know shit about embassies.

  10. Sorry. They hate us because they think the entire world should be under Shariah Law.

    But even then, the only reason they can rampage in Libya and Egypt is because we intervened. The guy they killed in Libya in particular was a big guy in helping the rebels. So they killed him because they were upset he helped bring “democracy”? Okay…

    Instead, they killed him because no matter what he did, he was an infidel.

    1. Dropping bombs on people and building military bases in their countries has no effect on their opinion of you.

      Yup. That stands up to scrutiny.

      1. It doesn’t lead to violent blowback anywhere else and there’s no reason to believe it does there.

        1. It doesn’t lead to violent blowback anywhere else


          1. You heard me. America deposed lots of governments in latin America (although we had only peripheral involvement much of the time) and no blowback. Those people aren’t culturally retarded.

            1. That doesn’t mean some in the Middle East don’t hate us for that reason. Shit, why don’t we just go ask ’em?

            2. Pay no attention to the Castro and Chavez behind the curtain..

              1. Agreed. The specter of American imperialism has propped up corrupt plutocrats across the world. “Blowback” isn’t just terrorism– although that strategy is increasingly common.

                Which is why Obama “apologizing” or “leading from behind” can be good things. They tend to disprove that stereotype.

                1. Er, weren’t you just minutes ago, bringing up the spectre of WW3 if President Gary Johnson showed signs of weakness to the Russians?

                  1. Withdrawing all your embassy and consular staff is what you do if you’re planning to launch a sneak attack.

            3. There are a few Latin American intricacies that I would categorize as ‘blowback’ or complications resulting from American foreign policy initiatives there. Some of them have affects on domestic policy.

            4. Why does it follow that if Latin Americans don’t respond to intervention with terrorism, that can’t be the reason (or one reason) why Muslims do. As you said, they are culturally different. It’s not like Muslims are the only group to ever do this. The UK and Spain have had terrorist groups related to their rule over Northern Ireland and the Basque Country and Catalonia. In Sri Lanka, there’s been terrorism by Tamil separatists. Just to give a couple examples. And then there’s terrorism in Russia and China that I suppose you think has no connection to their oppression of Chechnyans and Uyghurs?

        2. But private citizens making mean videos on Youtube, that leads directly to blowback and should be BANNED!!!!

      2. Germans and Japanese don’t hate Americans all that much. And oh, did the United States ever bomb the fuck out of them.

        1. Er, Germany attacked the UK (who did most of the bombing there) first, and the Japs attacked us first.

          Iraq/Pakistan/Yemen never attacked us. You could argue that AFG is a different story but it’s a much more tenuous link than you had with the WW2 axis powers.

        2. Except the Germans and Japs attacked the UK and US first…

          1. And we spent billions rebuilding their countries with modern infrastructure, and spent additional billions defending them from the USSR so they could spend minimal amounts of money on national defense.

            Also, in both cases we were restoring a parliamentary government, rather than starting one from scratch.

            Also, we (and others) killed a very significant portion of their male fighting-age population over four years of intense slaughter. Both countries surrendered after there were few fighting-age males left to resist. That was our strategy in Vietnam as well, but we didn’t have the stomach for it anymore. We certainly don’t now. I tend to think that speaks well of us as a country.

            1. FDR was totally OK with leaving both Germany and Japan as smoking ruins while he and Uncle Joe Stalin worked together to build a world of democracy and peace, with Nationalist China as our major Asian ally.

              It wasn’t until the USSR started breaking Allied agreements left and right (foolishly, before the US had started pulling out of Europe) that Truman wised up and began the nation-building project to keep the USSR from gaining influence in western Europe. Japan was a backup ally after the CCP took over in China.

          2. I’m pretty Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait first.

            And it was peacekeeping that got the Marines in Beirut blown up.

      3. Bombs and military bases produced the Muslim Brotherhood?

        1. The blowback was so severe it went through time!

        2. You’re new here so I’ll bring you up to speed:

          1. There is a small core of Muslims who hate the US and the West in general, along with any sort of liberal secular govt.

          2. This core is normally too small and unresourced to do much damage.

          3. Our fucking around in the MidEast etc. creates a lot of justifiable anger and thus a lot of potential recruits for anyone who opposes the US. Such as, the folks in #1.

          Repeat (3) ad infinitum as the idiots* in our govt ratchet up the interventionism every time the folks in #1 and their new friends in #3 say “Boo!”.

          * they’re probably not idiots at all… war is the health of the state as a wise man said.

        3. It certainly helped their recruiting drives.

  11. I was going to vote for Gary Johnson. But, in my state, that’s just a vote for Romney. And, i’d prefer Obama over Romney. Hate them both.

    1. You fucking suck I should’ve known better than to like you.

      1. H+R commenters will break your heart over and over again, Cyto. I went through it with rather too so I feel your pain.

        1. Uh I think you wanna understand why I said Bowie sucks.

  12. LOL, red meat for the Libertarian base. This is what you get when a candidate knows he’s not going to win and just has to earn a lifelong meal ticket from ideologues.

    1. He has known, as we all have, that he wasn’t going to win. What should he do, go out and make speeches calling for something he doesn’t believe in? Are you retarded? LOL

      I know you’re one of those, “If it ain’t Mitt, it ain’t shit!” shitkickers, but some of us actually take this small government/liberty thing seriously.

      1. Fine, but not having embassies? The Derrier is right about the level of stupidity that signifies.

        1. So the functions of an embassy cold not be fulfilled here at home for much less cost?

          1. Oh and, I went to the local indoor range today and had a totally pleasant experience. Good service, and I was the only one there. Some dude came in to test a pistol he was thinking of buying, but only fired 10 shots. Very nice.

            1. Also, need a FFL transfer. Know anyone? The range charges forty fucking dollars, you ess fucking dollars, real money man.

              1. http://www.gunspricedright.com/index.htm

                25 bucks. That’s the best you can do without knowing someone personally.

                Gander Mtn wanted $75 and Anthony…well, you can guess what they said.

            2. I was alone at my outdoor range today too.

              Some buttmunch was down the road at the rifle range rocking out with his AK.

            3. Real liberty favoring individuals do not bother with firearm record keeping formalities.

              1. If they favor their own liberty they do.

          2. No. Next question?

            1. Dude, you’re not dunphy. We expect you to actually make an argument.

              1. I already told you… providing in-person legal rep to US citizens is a huge deal. They don’t have Facebook in the average Turkish prison.

                1. If you are going to Turkey, pay for a local to look out for you.

                  1. What local Turkish person with no rights is going to provide you with the same level of support if you are wrongfully detained as the US State department?

                2. So don’t go to Turkey, unless you are feeling lucky.

              2. ah, trolls will troll

                i am the only person on here to provide any EVIDENCE , let alone argument.

                it’s simply absurd.

                1. Bigorati gotta….

                  Shit. I don’t know the verb form of bigorati.

                  1. Bigorate.

                    1. Go way, bigoratin’!

                    2. Bigorously?

        2. You do note, I hope, that Johnson is talking about embassies, not the consular function of missions. And I agree with him. An embassy – the permanent presence of an ambassador with all the trimmings – is often just flag-waving, budget-excusing silliness. Big buildings, semi-fortified throwbacks to the days of limited communications and slow travel.

          And note that in most friendly countries – in Latin America, for example – almost all the work is consular. Even much of that could be eliminated, automated and contracted out. The “embassy” part is a formality and could be erased.

          There is a problem for friendly countries in that an ambassador is a signal of respect. Implementing the Johnson’s reforms would take some across-the-board shakeup so that the insult effect would be reduced.

          1. It doesn’t sound like he was distinguishing consulates from embassies. Maybe he’ll clarify?

            1. That’s my interpretation of this

              “I questions having embassies in other countries, I really do. Everywhere! I understand American tourists and issues American tourists might have with passports but does that involve an embassy? Does that involve having an ambassador?” he said to Reason during an interview.

              1. So he’s running for president and unclear on what an embassy is. Gotcha.

                1. come on

                  unfair characterization

                2. Wow, Tulpa is really pissed off that not everyone is lining up to fellate Romney with him.

  13. I agree with Gary Johnson 100%. We should get out.

    However, the typical 40+ fat white republican guy views Gary Johnson’s call to leave the embassies as one of being a fag.

    1. So will every other country.

      1. Do you see who you’re agreeing with, Tulpa? This is the level you’ve sunk to.

  14. “I maintain that because of our military interventions we have hundreds of millions of enemies to this country that, but for our military interventions, would not exist,”

    You can maintain that all you want Gary but there’s no silver in them bullets. Anti-American insanity will always be with us for a long time at least. Nothing you can do stop trying to get everyone to like you. Better to be feared and respected.

    And not having embassies? That’s dumb. They serve one of the few legit government functions.

    1. We can’t even defend our own embassies, dude. That’s some respect.

      Our foreign policy resembles an elephant randomly stampeding because of a mosquito bite. That doesn’t earn respect, it puts a target on our hide.

      1. You forgot the part where the elephant forgets to stomp the poacher named ‘Iran’ that keeps shooting it. The rest you got right. Stomping time!

        1. There’s always another mosquito.

          And how dare Iran shoot people in Iraq and Afghanistan! Why don’t they respect their sovereignty?

          1. Um.. or try to kill the Saudi ambassador on US soil?

            Or a zillion other things.

            1. Any proof that they tried to do that? There are plenty of intelligence experts who think that’s nonsense

            2. And that’s especially rich considering the US and/or Israel (with US support) have been assassinating Iranian scientists and supporting a terrorist group

        2. I don’t understand how you can make so many posts dismissing blowback, and then so many emphasizing Iran as the (or at least one of the biggest) main threat to US security. The irony is astounding

    2. The 3rd worlders can only attack us if we let them come over here. A sane immigration policy would but an end to the threat.

      1. I’m picturing a wall running along the Atlantic coast.

        1. Robot ‘chine guns on a flock of drones so thick they blot out the Sun.

  15. I really, really like Gary, but this shit? Seriously?

    The only snowball’s chance in hell he has right now is to hammer the spending issue, and US embassies in foreign lands amount to approximately 0.00008% of what is on Americans’ minds right now. Their primary concern is not having a pink slip waiting for them on their desk tomorrow, and Gary has some serious credentials when it comes to keeping people employed.

    For fuck’s sake, stay on message and make sure it’s the most important one. All the cool kids living in mom’s basement already know where you stand on the hip issues.

    1. GayJay should run strictly on the dope issue. His best bet for pulling a respectable LP number is to get dopers to vote for him. The fair tax should be killing him with libertarians.

      1. The fair tax should be killing him with libertarians.

        Seriously STFU with this nonsense already. Not all libertarians are stupid enough to be put off by a rational midway redo of the US ta system because NOT PURE ENOUGH.

        1. Are you saying Johnson is the lesser evil?

          1. You know how people say Romney isn’t perfect, but he’s good enough so we should vote for him? That’s how I actually feel about Johnson – not perfect, but still good. There’s a difference between a less evil option and a good one.

            1. Isn’t that what Shihka Dalmia says about Obama?

              1. Beats me, dude. All I’m saying is that there are deficiencies (and quantities of them) you live with and ones that you reject – as far as I’m concerned Johnson’s are all in the former category.

            2. Evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb.

              1. Oh, there’s plenty of stupid to go around this cycle.

        2. Maybe YOU want the government to send every household in the whole country a monthly check paid for by a brand new tax of 30% on all retail transactions but us PURE LIBERTARIANS think that is a BAD IDEA.

          1. The monthly check is a progressive adjustment to offset the impact of an inherently regressive tax so poor people aren’t spending 30% of their income on taxes and then expecting welfare programs to correct their increased poverty.

            And I’d still much rather have one single tax (preferably land) over the current system any day.

      2. I was gonna vote for GayJay, but then I got high.

    2. What Michael said.

    3. Agree, though he might attract some lefty folk with this sort of rhetoric…who will then say “sure, pot should be legal, but Obama’s not as bad as Romney” on election day.

  16. This may be the dumbest thing I’ve heard Johnson say. Shutting down EVERY U.S. embassy everywhere would do a huge amount of damage to American business. It would really harm our ability to compete internationally.

    Also Gary, if you want to be taken seriously, no stoner shirts while campaigning.

    1. Also Gary, if you want to be taken seriously, no stoner shirts while campaigning.

      Plus I heard he says the C word in his stump speech.

      1. That might finally get him some much-needed press.

    2. Like somebody said above, it’s nuclear-strength stupid. It’s just as stupid as some of the things Romney and Obama have (rightly) been ridiculed for on this website. At least he doesn’t seem to do it as often.

    3. It didn’t sound like he said shut down EVERY embassy. It sounded like he was referring to the ones in hostile nations, especially ones that don’t respect diplomatic immunity.

      Why waste money on countries that hate us and want to kill our ambassadors and diplomats?

      1. I questions having embassies in other countries, I really do. Everywhere!

        1. Didn’t see that – yeah, he went a little too far on that one. But I do think it’s possible we could consolidate a bunch of embassies and operate more regionally. Instead of having embassies in every country in the Middle East, we can have one in Kuwait, one in Dubai, one in Israel, one in Turkey and one in Kurdistan/Iraq – and those would operate as best as possible to protect Americans in neighboring countries.

  17. I’m surprised nobody has brought up the espionage role of embassies. That might be moderately useful to maintain.

  18. I’m OK with leaving the embassies and never having anything to do with places like Lybia again, but enough with the “if not for our intervention, there would be no hate”

    These people won’t distinguish between terrible mistakes in policy and legitimate anti terrorism activity. The embassy busters got pissed by a parody video and killed an ambassador who supported their cause. They don’t like you, and what sparks their outrage is mostly incidental.

    Besides, you can’t play defense without a little offense. Prez Johnson will still take out terrorists, put them on trial, or even agree to sanctions. That’s bulletin board material enough for the fanatics.

    1. The attack on the embassy was prior to any of the movie induced rioting. It also happened on 9/11. It was a pre-planned attack, with the riots as a nice smokescreen and backdrop.

      1. The administration line is now that it was an unplanned terrorist attack.

        You remember the looks on bystanders’ faces in Monty Python sketches, incredulously watching the ridiculousness unfold around them from every angle? That’s you and me.

        1. That might be purposeful misinformation.

          1. Everything this administration says is purposeful misinformation.

        2. Well you have to admit there’s nothing more terrifying than completely random spontaneous terror attacks.

          Damn those clever mujahadeen, they must have been watching one of those musicals where everybody just busts into coordinated dance moves out of nowhere and you can’t figure out how everybody knew what lyrics to sing.

  19. Get rid of ambassadors (useful idiots), for sure, and just send administration representatives to deal with significant diplomatic relational shit on an as needed basis.

    As for consular functions- having at least a preferred list of U.S. representatives for foreign legal shit is helpful. They don’t even have to be U.S. citizens.

  20. who needs embassies in the age of skype?

  21. Good lord, invasion of the neocons tonight. We definitely need to close all the embassies and consulates in those Bumfuckistan countries that aren’t able to or aren’t interested in restraining hordes of murderous goatfuckers from assassinating our diplomats. Those countries can fuck off. Cut off all aid, remove all defensive and humanitarian assistance and warn Americans not to travel there if they are unwilling to fend for themselves.

    I’m not at all an isolationist, but I also don’t believe we need to maintain embassies or political ties with hostile nations that won’t respect diplomatic immunity. Let trade flourish, but otherwise leave them alone until they start acting like grown-ups.

    1. If the Libyan government had done this we’d already be bombing them.

      But it wasn’t a hostile nation, it was a hostile mob of AQ-affiliated terrorists. If you pull the embassy, you’re blaming the whole country for the actions of a mob of 100 terrorists. That creates a sort of a dangerous heckler’s veto, no? If the Chinese manage to have a proxy invade our embassy in Japan and kill everybody, do we pull diplomatic relations with Japan over it?

      If we act like that, and a mob invades our embassy in Saudi Arabia, how do we know if the terrorists are Saudi or Iranian?

      1. True, but if we’re in a country where the military is unwilling to stick their neck out half an inch to protect our diplomats from a murderous horde of their citizens storming the embassy walls, we probably shouldn’t be – especially in countries where such hordes are highly likely to exist.

        There are more than a few countries with little to no political willpower to protect American diplomats.

        1. We should have our own security in a country that is recovering from (or not recovering from) civil war during the past year.

          1. If we can’t maintain an embassy without a whole army regiment to protect it, perhaps we should temporarily close that embassy until the country’s security situation has stabilized and base operations out of a more stable neighboring nation’s embassy.

            1. Having an American embassy is not a right. If you can’t keep mobs from storming the place, you should lose yours. Then if you want to chew out the ambassador in person, you will just have to travel to someplace safe to do it. Like Rwanda, Uganda, or Ethiopia.

              1. “If you can’t keep mobs from storming the place, you should lose yours.”

                It’s the host countries responsibility to protect foreign diplomatic missions. They expect the same for their diplomatic missions here. Having a fortress in a sovereign country is not the purpose of an embassy, and the amount of military personnel in them is not subject to the whims of the U.S. and we wouldn’t allow that to be done here either.

                1. Well I do think that if the host country cannot provide adequate security, we should provide our own.

                  IF they will not let us provide our own AND cannot protect us themselves, then yes, we ought to say f ’em and bug out.

                2. Libya isn’t really a sovereign country at this point.

                  You don’t think our embassy in Iraq is a fortress?

  22. Sandi was going to take a shit in this thread but several people got there first.

    1. First good laugh I’ve had all day.

  23. It is pretty hypocritical that libertarians support globalization when it comes to trade and business, but when it comes to global security we want to act like we’re living in the dark ages. Yeah, let’s just pretend that Americans will never leave the country again. We’ll be fine!

    1. Libertarians believe in individuals and businesses made up of individuals freely trading without government interference. The fuck are you on about?

      1. Unfortunately most countries don’t have libertarian governments that refrain from interfering when you step onto their turf.

        1. I agree with someone who said above that the consulate function of embassies is roadz level libertarianism but for those who want to go so far it certainly isn’t “hypocritical” of them to believe in free trade. That is absurd.

        2. Doesn’t mean her comment wasn’t idiotic

  24. Looks like Gary Johnson is the Jerry Lewis of US politicians.

    Magazine Cartoon Prompts French Embassy Closures

  25. “I question having embassies in other countries, I really do. Everywhere! I understand American tourists and issues American tourists might have with passports but does that involve an embassy? Does that involve having an ambassador?”

    Damn. What a dumb thing to say. Just fucking dumb. Not even Ron Paul would go that far and for good reason.

    1. Yeah, this strikes me as like Badnarik railing against driver’s licenses.

      Even if he does have a point, people are looking for reasons not to vote for libertarians–and if Johnson runs again in four years or, like Ron Paul, runs again someday as a Republican?

      It’s gonna follow him around.

      1. Well to be fair, it does seem like it was an unscripted, off-the-cuff comment. I think tomorrow he should walk it back and clarify that he means we shouldn’t be maintaining embassies in highly unstable countries that are willing to offer protection for our diplomatic staffs.

        He definitely went too far, but it isn’t going to define him going forward if he just backtracks.

        1. “but it isn’t going to define him going forward…”

          This assumes the debatable point that he’s actually going somewhere.

    2. It shows an incredible naivete for someone who wants to be taken seriously as a potential president. The way to perfect peace is complete disengagement from the world! So says the libertarian candidate.

      It is this sort of ignorance why Johnson is not “surging” in the polls. I voted for Barr last time because I cannot stand McCain. There is no way in hell I’d vote for Johnson.

  26. “Tens of thousands of innocent civilians that die in the countries that we militarily intervene, our men and servicewomen coming back in body bags, our men and servicewomen coming back with their limbs blown off, all in the name of what?”

    I agree that military actions need to be soberly and carefully considered and not entered into at the drop of a hat. But what Johnson suggests here is so abstract as to be a black/white moral issue when it is really context dependent. Johnson is advocating a simplistic, childish idea of how to conduct foreign policy.

  27. “‘I questions having embassies in other countries, I really do. Everywhere! I understand American tourists and issues American tourists might have with passports but does that involve an embassy? Does that involve having an ambassador?’ he said to Reason during an interview.”

    Is this really what GJ thinks is the primary purpose of an embassy? From what I’ve seen, one of the major functions is processing visas for people trying to come TO the US, not helping tourists with their passport problems. WTF

    1. And the more relevant question:

      Did he have that mountain-top, oxygen deprived look on his face when he said this?

  28. Does that mean we would pull embassies from all consulates, or just the ones in backward Muslim countries? And does it mean we close the consulates also? What about immigration and tourist Visas? I didn’t really mind having to fly to Rio for my wife’s immigration interview. But I would have been happier to just avoided the entire draconian process and just have them give it to us.

    I am all for closing the embassies in these countries that are still living in the 6th century, and also cutting off all aid. But in all countries? Not sure that I am following the logic there.

  29. Makes a lot of sesne to me dude.


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.