Interventionism

Does Opposing Intervention Mean Ignoring the Plight of Protesters in Foreign Countries?

Their grievances shouldn't be dismissed because the U.S. government's taken a stand

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i can't tell who the bad guy is, is it america?
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Increasing violence in Ukraine and Venezuela has the usual interventionist suspects pushing for more "American leadership" in the crises abroad. President Obama warned of "consequences" if the violence in Ukraine escalated. That wasn't enough for the likes of Peggy Noonan, who argued for the U.S. government to voice "full-throated support" for protesters in Ukraine, and called the president's statements "meaningless, crouching and process-driven." Joe Biden, as he is sometimes wont to do, went further than Obama, warning Ukraine's president that the U.S. could impose sanctions on Ukrainian officials. Though not as significant as economic sanctions against a whole country, even such limited sanctions can serve as a propaganda tool for embattled political leaders.

A principled opposition to sanctions or even military action, however, is not needed to understand why such actions can have the opposite of the intended effect. Not only can U.S. action be used to shore up domestic support and demonize the opposition, it can also distort priorities on the ground, which ought to be driven by the grievances of protesters, not what might please the U.S. government. U.S. national security interests do not necessarily align with principles of democracy, self-determination or even human rights. Indeed, they seldom do. Anyone who's done any kind of travel abroad is likely to have been exposed to the sentiment of foreigners that they "love Americans but hate their government." For protesters in Ukraine, or Venezuela, or anywhere else to succeed, it's paramount that the U.S. stay out of the political conflict.

That, however, shouldn't preclude Americans themselves from having an opinion on the unrest overseas, or even from providing financial and material support for foreign opposition groups (though fears of running afoul of federal law might preclude that), so long as they do it as private citizens free from government encouragement. The American Conservative argues it's difficult to tell who the good guys and the bad guys are in a place like Ukraine, and question whether protesters share any of the values Americans do. Yet it's not difficult for Americans to sympathize with the side that's being shot at by government forces, even if some on that side shoot back. The "right to rebel," after all, is one of the reasons the U.S. has a Second Amendment. 

As Todd Seavey wrote in the Libertarian Republic earlier this month while explaining that libertarians and neo-conservatives may be more "feuding cousins" than "ideological opposites," the suggestion "that libertarian rights apply inside the (presumably arbitrary) geographic boundary of the U.S. but do not apply to the (equally human) Albanians or Cubans or Iraqis overseas would be a bizarre relapse into leftist, geographically-arbitrary relativism" and that "the libertarian default should be in favor of those who recognize no government-drawn borders, those who recognize that the same laws of economics apply in Albania and in Texas and that written law everywhere should reflect that fact." At the very least, libertarians should not excuse the actions of tin-pot dictators abroad because they've positioned themselves as anti-American, nor because of tin-pot dictators at home, and ought to understand that making a judgment on the struggle of people abroad to change their governments doesn't translate to support for action by the U.S. government.

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  1. Does Opposing Intervention Mean Ignoring the Plight of Protesters in Foreign Countries?

    Yes.

    1. “That, however, shouldn’t preclude Americans themselves from having an opinion on the unrest overseas, or even from providing financial and material support for foreign opposition groups (though fears of running afoul of federal law might preclude that), so long as they do it as private citizens free from government encouragement.”

      Correct.

    2. “that libertarian rights apply inside the (presumably arbitrary) geographic boundary of the U.S. but do not apply to the (equally human) Albanians or Cubans or Iraqis overseas would be a bizarre relapse into leftist, geographically-arbitrary relativism” and that “the libertarian default should be in favor of those who recognize no government-drawn borders, those who recognize that the same laws of economics apply in Albania and in Texas and that written law everywhere should reflect that fact.”

      True, but nobody should be forced to subsidize making the written law reflect that fact in other places.

      1. No but there is a lot of space between having a government policy of intervention and ignoring something.

      2. Should they be forced to subsidize making the written law reflect that fact in the same place where they are? Political borders being arbitrary, the argument for or against one is also for or against the other. Is it any wronger for money to be extorted from you to police your block than it is to police a block thousands of miles away? Or less wrong?

    3. Does Opposing Intervention Mean Ignoring the Plight of Protesters in Foreign Countries?

      Yes.

      So you are looking out your window and see a mugger beating a little old lady. Does the NAP allow you to kick the mugger’s ass?

      My position is that the NAP allows you to intervene on the side opposing the aggressor. That said, it does not obligate you to.

      In weighing any decision to interfere, you gotta take the potential downsides into consideration (costs, lives lost, blowback, credibility, ability to effect change…). Our (the US’s) problem is we somehow think we are duty bound to pick a side and get involved even when it’s impossible to tell the good side from the bad.

      I think the US would regain a lot of credibility on this one if our official position is that we don’t have an official position. You kids work it out on your own.

      1. doesn’t ignoring the equivalent of the mugger beating up the old lady constitute a stance of silence is acceptance. Agree that we are not obligated to act but drawing moral equivalence between aggressor and victim seems shaky.

        1. doesn’t ignoring the equivalent of the mugger beating up the old lady constitute a stance of silence is acceptance.

          Not necessarily. Two counterpoints.

          1. What do you do when it’s impossible to tell who the aggressor is? Many times, these things go back hundreds of years, starting with “your grandfather insulted my cat” sorta shit. Those you definitely stay out of.

          2. Where did we obtain the power to be TAWP? Yeah, I might feel bad that your rights are being violated, but quite frankly, that’s your problem…I don’t have the resources to protect your rights. That’s YOUR job, unless you start paying to support our military.

          1. when it’s impossible to distinguish, you stay out. No argument there.

            we’ve more or less given ourselves that power, to the point that it is expected whenever Nation A looks cross-eyed at Nation B, part of the whole exceptionalism thing. I’m against military intervention, just tossing fodder into the debate to see what others think.

          2. We don’t have the resources to protect our rights, let alone other people’s. Let’s solve the US’s problems before taking more on.

          3. “2. Where did we obtain the power to be TAWP? Yeah, I might feel bad that your rights are being violated, but quite frankly, that’s your problem…I don’t have the resources to protect your rights. That’s YOUR job, unless you start paying to support our military.”

            Hear, hear! We’ve got enough problems with aggressive unconstitutional government right here at home, and most thinking people know that starting wars overseas, on any pretext, is just another tactic they use to ratchet up their oppression of us!

        2. So, if you’re so all-fired eager to stick your big fat camel nose into the middle of somebody else’s fight, then go ahead and grab your AR’s and what-not, take a boat to Ukraine, and fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the Freedom Fighters over there.

          But don’t steal Americans’ hard-earned money to support yet another god-forsaken foreign intervention by the (illusory) World Police.

      2. My position is that the NAP allows you to intervene on the side opposing the aggressor. That said, it does not obligate you to.

        In weighing any decision to interfere, you gotta take the potential downsides into consideration (costs, lives lost, blowback, credibility, ability to effect change…). Our (the US’s) problem is we somehow think we are duty bound to pick a side and get involved even when it’s impossible to tell the good side from the bad.

        100000% percent agreement, right there.

        IMO, OIF and OEF were both *legitimate* on those grounds — but OIF was neither practical nor necessary, thus raising questions on whether it was a good use of taxpayer funds and a generally responsible intervention in the grand scheme of things. My answer to that question from the very start was “no” — but that is very different from arguing that it is immoral to, as you say, “kick the mugger’s ass”.

        That is my position on Syria, Venezuela, and the Ukraine as well.

      3. I don’t really see it as a NAP thing. If I kick a mugger’s ass, I am not the state doing it. If the state kicks a muggers ass in the jurisdiction where it purports to represent me, that’s fine. If the state goes to kick a mugger’s ass in Amsterdam, I am going to be pissed about my resources being used against my will in some other shithole.

        1. From below:

          “whatever else your foreign policy aims for it is limited to measures which do not violate the NAP for its own citizens.”

          I guess it is a NAP thing. The state intervening in shit that’s not my personal problem is aggression against me.

      4. So you are looking out your window and see a mugger beating a little old lady. Does the NAP allow you to kick the mugger’s ass?

        My position is that the NAP allows you to intervene on the side opposing the aggressor. That said, it does not obligate you to.

        But there is more to the question of non-aggression when applied to a nation, rather than an individual — in the case of intervention, is it sending a voluntary force, voluntarily funded? In other words, when you kicked that mugger’s ass, did you do it with your own foot, or mine?

        1. And there’s even more than that. Even if the force is entirely voluntary, funded by lottery proceeds or some such, it still represents a national force. As such, it acts on behalf and as a representative of every citizen.

          If you’re talking about a bunch of guys who form a private company to go spread justice and stuff, that’s one thing, but the minute the state touches a military force that force represents the entire state, including its citizens, and that has to be included as part of the NAP calculus.

          1. The A-Team!

      5. “My position is that the NAP allows you to intervene on the side opposing the aggressor. ”

        Is it that simple considering that intervention likely means 1. military action paid for by taking my money and yours and/or 2. conscription?

        If the government wants to get an all volunteer army and fund the intervention with a big bake sale, then that would not violate my rights as a citizen.

        1. And 3., the intervention being done in my name, is always for the wrong reasons.

        2. Did you read my whole post or did you stop at the 3rd sentence?

          1. Perhaps you would like to point out in your following sentences where you addressed my point? You say ‘the NAP allows but does not obligate, and we should not think we have to all the time’ but my point was that the NAP only allows it if our government does so in a way that does not use coercion on me to fight or fund their intervention.

            1. In weighing any decision to interfere, you gotta take the potential downsides into consideration (costs, lives lost, blowback, credibility, ability to effect change…).

              You’re the “…”.

              As well as in the next post:

              2. Where did we obtain the power to be TAWP? Yeah, I might feel bad that your rights are being violated, but quite frankly, that’s your problem…I don’t have the resources to protect your rights. That’s YOUR job, unless you start paying to support our military.

              And based on your argument, the NAP doesn’t allow for the government declaring war even against a direct aggressor as it would “use coercion on you to fund their intervention.”

              So is your point that the NAP precludes war?

              1. Are you seriously arguing I should have ‘seen’ that you addressed my points in…an ellipsis? And your second excerpt does not get at it either, it is talking about how non-citizens that would be the object of the intervention do not pay for it.

                As to your other point here, I think the NAP can allow for the fighting of a war, but the war must be fought and funded voluntarily. I think defensive wars could be so.

                1. Are you seriously arguing I should have ‘seen’ that you addressed my points in…an ellipsis?

                  Yes. Bo, I’m not being dragged down into your minutia. I meant there were other concerns in addition to those listed to include yours.

                  What exactly, do you mean by fought and funded voluntarily? Are you simply talking about voluntary taxation and an all volunteer standing force, or are you talking about asking for volunteers after an invasion occurs and for donations to fund a particular incursion?

                  1. I mean either voluntary taxation and an all volunteer force or simply an armed citizenry and voluntarily formed local militias which would be wise to regularly coordinate with others.

                    1. We already have an all volunteer force. I agree that the way we are currently taxed is not voluntary and should/could be to a degree.

                      Not sure how an “armed citizenry” is going to fend off tanks and bombers?

                      Are you planning on having air forces, naval forces, tank drivers…? How do you propose keeping them trained?

                      Second question/point (from you discussion below). Just because it’s a defensive war doesn’t mean it won’t be fought abroad. WW II was a defensive war.

      6. So you are looking out your window and see a mugger beating a little old lady. Does the NAP allow you to kick the mugger’s ass?

        Part of the problem with our interventionist foreign policy is that we don’t just “kick the mugger’s ass.” We kick the mugger’s ass, then start telling the old lady how to run her life, all the while reminding her of how we kicked the mugger’s ass for her.

        Eventually she starts to resent us as much, if not more, than the mugger we saved her from. Then we wonder why she’s so ungrateful to us. Eventually she may even smack us in the face with her purse. But we still don’t get why she’s pissed at us, so we start beating her up. Except there’s no one else willing to go toe to toe with us, so now she’s no better off in the end than if we’d done nothing.

        Whereas if we’d just kicked the mugger’s ass and said “have a nice day ma’am,” and gone about our business everyone would be much better off in the end.

        Tortured analogy, I know, but you all get the point.

        1. I do get the point. I’m a non-interventionist. We create our own problems by poking people in the chest.

          My point was only that the NAP allows it. Nine times out of 9.1 it’s a bad idea for all the reasons I list and more.

    4. I’m not ignoring the plight of portesters in foreign countries.

      I watching closely what our politicians decide to do to us as a result. And I will be voting.

  2. I’m gonna quote GILMORE’s comment from an earlier article, since it’s a great comment and germane to the topic:

    Ok = since I failed to get in any hate on weds night…

    “Kennedy = Still Traumatized by Hunting Accident”

    …that said = holy frijoles, GEAT()@#$@& Question! “When does ‘your version’ of diplomacy begin?”

    He rambles a bit about how ‘talking is always good…’ (which sort of begs, ‘talking about WHAT, exactly?’)… unable to clearly state how one ‘not intervenes’ when a state’s existing “leadership” lacks political legitimacy. merely “talking” at that point with opposition figures would amount to ‘intervention’ by his own measure.

    Matt also makes a great follow-up with (paraphrase), ‘how do you reconcile non intervention with active meddling by other world powers’?

    he is effectively reduced to admitting that Russia somehow has greater priority to intervene due to mere ‘proximity’; then waffles about spending money. Then suggests his ‘advice’ might be to ‘make two states out of there’. Which seems contradictory to his original premise.

    Does anyone really come away from this with any sense that there’s a coherent, distinct “Libertarian” foreign policy theory at all?

    What is most distinct is the inability to state clear principles that *determine a basis for action*, or what distinguishes what is in our self-interest from what is not.

    1. Cont:

      As an aside = Would libertarians (in retrospect) object vehemently to the covert support that the US provided the polish Solidarity movement? Or even the “moral support” people like Reagan offered? Just curious.

    2. “Does anyone really come away from this with any sense that there’s a coherent, distinct “Libertarian” foreign policy theory at all?”

      Why wouldn’t it be “avoid violating the NAP of your own citizens?”

      1. Because that is a domestic, and not a foreign policy.

        1. But why shouldn’t your foreign policy have that as a guiding principle as well, or in other words, whatever else your foreign policy aims for it is limited to measures which do not violate the NAP for its own citizens. Otherwise are you not arguing that the NAP should be lifted because ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ which is what many leftists and conservatives do when they call for violations of it?

          1. I guess that would depend on how flexible you want to get about interpreting NAP. War and foreign policy are necessarily collectivist enterprises; even in the “defensive wars” non-interventionists like to cite it is highly unlikely that every soldier in an invading force is a NAP-violator (some might be draftees or careerists who would be put in prison for refusing to participate in the military action). Even if they were all NAP-violators, it is hardly the case that they will receive the due examination and process which would determine that fact. Even if you are an an-cap, you are left with killing a whole bunch of people for reasons that are anathema to a strict reading of NAP.

            You get more wiggle room if you restrict NAP to citizens only — but that is rather akin to arguing that war itself is an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ under which NAP can be disregarded; you are creating a distinction which is arbitrary under the principles you have espoused and which in fact undercuts said universalist, humanist principles.

            War sucks. Try to avoid it as best you can, prosecute it as humanely as possible when it happens, but any foreign policy which does not have an appropriate answer for what to do in the case of war is as useless as a science which makes no testable predictions. As I see it, “use NAP” is exactly that sort of foreign policy — unfortunate as that may be.

            1. “You get more wiggle room if you restrict NAP to citizens only — but that is rather akin to arguing that war itself is an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ under which NAP can be disregarded; you are creating a distinction which is arbitrary under the principles you have espoused and which in fact undercuts said universalist, humanist principles.”

              I am not so sure of this. No standing armies, an armed citizenry and voluntary militias which provide for themselves in ways that do not violate their fellow citizen’s rights strike me as not only within the NAP, but also more feasible than many may think and has the added benefit of seeming to be how at least some of the Framers saw these matters.

              1. No standing armies, an armed citizenry and voluntary militias which provide for themselves in ways that do not violate their fellow citizen’s rights strike me as not only within the NAP, but also more feasible than many may think and has the added benefit of seeming to be how at least some of the Framers saw these matters.

                Regardless of how beneficial or in keeping with the Founders’ ideals such a structure would be, once that army/militia/whatever makes contact with an opposing army NAP is right out the window — unless you would like to explain how you’re going to wage wars while treating every enemy combatant and civilian like a non-NAP violator until proven otherwise.

                IOW = you have ideas about foreign policy? Great! Explain them in a way that doesn’t require a refutation or convolution of your principles; as I said this is an area that even an-caps are not well-equipped to deal with.

                1. The NAP allows for me to respond to an aggressor, and if that aggressor is in the form of an invading army I think it can fairly be generalized to all in it (much like we can hold aiders and abettors or conspirators liable even though their direct participation varies).

                  1. Draftees? Careerists opposed to the military action? Civilian population of the enemy which opposes the action? The segment of your own civilian population which opposes the defensive actions for whatever reason, and may not be receptive to you camping your army on their private property?

                    If you really do think your principles are universalist/humanist (IOW, that NAP applies equally to all human beings), and that NAP is the foundational principles, you are severely restricted in your response to the point that engaging an enemy army will result in NAP violations.

                    The only reason libertarians generalize “aggressors/NAP-violators” to = “everyone in an army/enemy country” is because it is convenient to do so, not because it follows from their axioms.

                    1. I think only defensive wars are within the principle I am defending, so the civilian population of the enemy is not involved. Draftees and careerists opposed to the action, but participating in the aggression are tougher, but I think they would fall within the NAP, for example, if a gang coerced someone into going with them to attack you, you would be justified in fighting him off as well as the others.

                    2. only defensive wars are within the principle I am defending, so the civilian population of the enemy is not involved.

                      Successful defensive wars (especially in modern warfare) tend to end only after “taking the fight to the enemy”. It becomes difficult to win a war after it is already clear that you are not going to affect anything in the aggressor’s home territories.

                      Aiding/abetting only goes so far, and (as an example) the businesses shaken down by the Mafia are not generally considered to be such precisely because they could not give consent to the action. Conventional war or counterterrorism as such are not similar to the imminent situation of gangs attacking you; that scenario is more akin to a drafted soldier attacking you on the streets or as part of an occupation. Armies must be organized and sent to attack in a highly collectivist fashion, aggregating a group of people (most of whom are not in imminent peril) to fight another group of people for X (a place where most soldiers have never been) because X has been claimed by their government/anarchy.

                      Deliberate action cannot be construed as similar to heat-of-the-moment response (not that there is a differentiation between the two emerging from NAP), and by necessity sacrifices the aforementioned draftees and careerists in a way which would not be done during peacetime.

                      The reason such things are conflated is because of a need to shoehorn NAP into a war/peace dichotomy which doesn’t follow.

                    3. When the army comes over here and attacks then one can resist it, draftees and eager volunteers, in the same way that a reluctant or coerced gangbanger can be fought back along with the vicious ones. As long as only defensive wars are waged then you can correctly see any of the enemy that came all the way over here as in the same moral position as the reluctant gangbanger.

                      To the extent a defensive war must end in some type of action in the other nation’s territory (for example, after Pearl Harbor it would have been hard to fight a purely ‘defensive war’) then perhaps we have reached Calidissident’s area of an ideal to be strived for with knowledge it may not be achieved. I don’t see how that would be any worse a position than the classical liberal one you identify infra that we have limited government and individual liberty as an ideal, but realize we will not get it 100% of the time.

                      In other words, what you call shoehorning the NAP into a war situation I call trying to live by ideals even when it has the most tension against practical needs.

                    4. When the army comes over here and attacks then one can resist it

                      ‘Attacks’ what? Your country’s ‘land’? I note that libertarians in favor of open borders do not hold this opinion on the government exercising ownership over private land. People who you don’t know and who might be fine with (or indifferent to) the invasion, or who might be NAP-violators themselves being dealt with justly by the occupying force? After all, we can’t trust the politicians and generals when it comes to what is or isn’t a defensive war. (For that matter, what is a “war” to the NAP? Governments aggressing against other governments’ or private security companies’ ‘rights’ to exercise power over a civilian population? Give me a break.)

                      perhaps we have reached Calidissident’s area of an ideal to be strived for with knowledge it may not be achieved.

                      At which point what you have is an aspiration, not a principle — and if this aspiration is being compromised in some ways, there’s nothing that says it can’t be in other ways so long as it is conducive to the true end of the war effort. That is why I said above that “follow NAP” is not a foreign policy — you are making your decisions on grounds other than the NAP (even if you are taking the NAP seriously as an aspiration and thus limiting your actions in certain ways). I prefer to find out what is at root the issue in foreign policy, rather than outsourcing to an ill-applied principle.

                    5. I note that libertarians in favor of open borders do not hold this opinion on the government exercising ownership over private land.

                      The government doesn’t have to directly own it to provide for its defense. It is one of the things we’re supposed to get for paying taxes. Also, allowing anyone who wants to come into this country and find work and live peaceably is not the same as saying government can’t own or defend land. They would still be subject to the same laws as the rest of us and would have to buy or rent their own living space, etc.

                    6. “‘Attacks’ what? Your country’s ‘land’?”

                      Your neighbors or your land.

                      “At which point what you have is an aspiration, not a principle — and if this aspiration is being compromised in some ways, there’s nothing that says it can’t be in other ways so long as it is conducive to the true end of the war effort.”

                      What seems to follow from that is ‘any deviation from the principle justifies any deviation from it.’ And I would say that I aspire to the principle.

                2. If I may interject into this conversation, personally, I think that the NAP is an ideal that should be aspired to during wartime, but I acknowledge that by its very nature, war is something that is not going to be 100% NAP-compliant, even though it is at times moral, just, and/or necessary.

                3. Every actor is responsible for his or her own moral decisions. They chose to be associated with that government that sent them to war, even if it was done through conscription. They might not have had any good choices in their list of things to choose from, but it’s still them making the choice. Either way they’re a threat to you, so it’s best for you to take them out rather than be taken out.

                  Also, I took Bo’s initial statement on NAP of the people to mean “no wars in my name” instead of no wars on the people. I think a libertarian foreign policy would include not sending people to get involved in situations like current Ukraine, but allowing people to support it if they want.

                  1. Businesses shaken down by the Mafia also made their “own moral decisions” and associations. We generally don’t consider it appropriate when someone firebombs such a business and kills its owners, even if members of the Mafia were in their company.

                    1. Would not the difference lie in when the business shaken down is involved in direct aggression against you, then you can reply with force? You are conflating holding someone ultimately responsible with who one can use force against reasonably in defense of self and home.

                    2. We don’t generally consider it appropriate to act aggressively against people in the mafia or kill them unless they were in direct aggression against you. If these innocent business owners were taking up arms to help shake you down, then any defensive actions taken against them would be justified. To expand this to actual nations and war, we definitely find it acceptable to firebomb factories making war machines and munitions, no matter the expressed support of those working in or owning the factory.

                    3. Heck, I find it acceptable to torture little children if it’ll get someone to stop threatening you (by which I mean “me”). You gotta do what you gotta do, even if it means killing me.

          2. Translate that into a simple and clear positive statement starting with, “Therefore, the action taken by the US Government Should be X, because Y”

            Thanks

            1. Therefore, the action taken by the US Government should be one that does not violate the NAP in regards to its own citizens, because above all else the US Government should protect the liberty of its citizens.

              1. F

                Failed to state action. You do not pass go, get free train ride to Siberia.

                Ukraine is game to you?

                1. I thought you were asking for a general statement to guide a libertarian foreign policy, not what should be done in the instance of Ukraine today. What should be done in Ukraine today would depend on a variety of factors to weigh (based on the expected effects in the long term, for example), but my point is that I would limit any action, if it were prudent to take one, to something from my list of non-NAP violating possibilities infra.

                  1. A variety of factors, aye?

                    Jello? meet wall.

                    Sorry, your score does not improve by adding more vague verbiage to the extant non-statement.

                    1. What, do you have a theory for foreign intervention that does not take into account a variety of factors before finding it should happen?

                      Did you work in the Bush administration?

            2. Translate that into a simple and clear positive statement starting with, “Therefore, the action taken by the US Government Should be X, because Y”

              Amen!

            3. “Therefore, the action taken by the US Government should be to offer unconditional asylum to any Ukrainian (or anyone else) who seeks it, because the governmental structures of foreign countries are none of our beeswax, and because any foreign intervention is almost always at best unproductive and at worst catastrophic.”

              How’s that?

              1. “wwhorton|2.21.14 @ 3:42PM|#


                How’s that?

                About 10,000X more intellectually honest than Bo?

                I think theres probably more to the beeswax issue than you think, but whatever. Its a POV, sure. I think, again, the overuse of the term ‘intervention’ is one of the problems with the broad brush libertarian notions of foreign affairs.

    3. Then suggests his ‘advice’ might be to ‘make two states out of there’. Which seems contradictory to his original premise.

      Advice is not fucking intervention.

      I think California should be split into 5 states.

      I am now a neocon interventionist!!!!

      1. No = but where does RP get off suggesting

        a) there is a preferred outcome,

        yet

        b) does not think there is any legitimate rationale for behaving in any particular way to bring about said preferred outcome.

        ie. he vaguely alludes to something he believes to be potentially in ‘everyone’s best interests’ – but disavows any action, indirect or direct, that has any influence on said condition.

        get it?

  3. Joe Biden, as he is sometimes wont to do, went further than Obama, warning Ukraine’s president that the U.S. could impose sanctions on Ukrainian officials. Though not as significant as economic sanctions against a whole country, even such limited sanctions can serve as a propaganda tool for embattled political leaders.

    WTF is wrong with imposing sanctions on tyrants? We are not talking about general economic sanctions (which I do agree is a bad idea in general), but rather a sanction which 1) is targeted at the instigators of tyranny, and 2) won’t affect the Ukrainian people as a whole. The utility of such as a tool of propaganda is essentially nil if the people do not feel represented by their government; did Poland’s Solidarity movement feel slighted or encouraged by similar sanctions against the USSR’s leadership?

    1. How does telling a willing buyer or seller in the US they can not buy or sell with a willing seller or buyer in the targeted not violate the NAP?

      1. Because one of the buyers abroad is an aggressor par excellence and through their actions has forfeited their right to engage society on the same terms as a non-aggressor. This form of reciprocity is in fact the very basis of NAP as a dogmatic principle.

        Same reason you can’t sell someone serving a sentence in Death Row a gun, basically.

        1. I guess if the sanctions are directly targeted to those who ordered or participated in the aggression, which you did suggest, and if it involves transactions that would strengthen or contribute to that aggression, that makes some sense. I like your gun example, but would you bar selling soap to a guy on death row?

          1. I am not really a dogmatist so you are better off asking someone who is, but were I constructing a hard-and-fast principle on the fly, I would suggest that there are three categories of goods to be sold to NAP violators which fall into different moral baskets:

            1) Goods which definitely strengthen the ability of NAP violators to continue their NAP-violating actions (“sell gun to a person on Death Row” would fall into this category). Selling said good to such a person would be unethical.

            2) Goods which could strengthen the ability of NAP violators to continue their NAP-violating actions (“selling a hammer to a person on Death Row”, for example). Not immoral to sell such goods, but not immoral to restrict such, either.

            3) Goods which do not strengthen the ability of NAP violators to continue their NAP-violating actions (bar of soap would possibly be a good example). No difference between selling these goods as opposed to the selling of any goods to non-NAP violators; moral to sell and immoral to restrict.

            Separating these goods in practice would be tricky (ex: giving food aid to N Korea thus allowing the regime to feed its soldiers), but not impossible in principle.

            1. Sounds good to me, and again, honestly, thanks for the ‘gun on death row’ example, it has changed my thinking about sanctions.

      2. how does NOT imposing sanctions on regimes you find criminal constitute something other than silence by acceptance?

        1. um, acceptance by silence.

        2. I like to stop at Chik-Fil-A on the way home from school every now and then, mainly because it is on the way. I did this during the kerfluffle over gay marriage, and I do not think my continuing my business with them amounted to acceptance by silence.

          1. chik-fil-a’s CEO voiced an opinion. Period. He did not fire gay employees, stop serving gay customers, or do anything beyond answer a question.

            1. 1. I kept eating there, so I am not sure what you are getting at.

              2. Are you saying that the voicing of an opinion on politics should never be the grounds for voluntary expressions of disapproval?

              1. 2. No. Just drawing a distinction between a chicken sandwich and Ukraine.

                1. Chicken Kiev?

        3. Because individual people can let other people know whether or not they accept something, and back it up with their own economic actions, without the state making some retarded official position on it?

          1. ^Exactly. I think you’re thinking about the appropriate role of the state all backwards if you’re asking the sanctions question. Sanctions are aggression; this is demonstrated clearly by their intent, to whit, to weaken an opponent and compel their action in some fashion. The role of the state in foreign affairs should be to preserve the safety and integrity of its citizens and their property, not to enforce morality (however desirable an outcome or laudable the motive) abroad.

            As an example, consider the French during the Iraq War, specifically “Freedom Fries”. Private people (yahoos, but people none the less) decided to rename French fries and not buy French things to teach them frogs a lesson. Now, what if, instead, the Bush administration had imposed sanctions? Which would you say was the better of the two situations?

            1. “The role of the state in foreign affairs should be to preserve the safety and integrity of its citizens and their property”

              To a point. The navy could defend a cargo ship that trades between to states from attack by a third state, but shouldn’t be used to force other states to accept trade. Also, if another state imprisons someone who enters it attempting to trade within it, that’s kind of that person’s own problem for accepting the known risks of attempting to trade with an unstable shithole.

      3. IIRC, IT identifies as a classic liberal, not a libertarian, so you’re not going to win an argument with him just by appealing to the NAP. Personally, I don’t know enough to say whether sanctions would be a good idea from a “practical” standpoint. From a moral standpoint, I can at least see the case based on the NAP for sanctions limiting transactions with governments, considering governments use stolen money in their transactions and (in these cases) are using their money and power to oppress people.

        1. Agree 100%, Cali (and yes, I identify as classical liberal).

          1. Having heard people use the term in different ways, how would you say being a classical liberal diverges from being a libertarian (or perhaps better, someone who uses the NAP to judge government actions)?

            1. Libertarianism is an academic reconstruction of sorts of 19th century Anglo-American classical liberalism — it is a subset of classical liberalism which seeks to create an unbreakable, rigorous, and self-consistent philosophical system which can explain and reinforce non-coercion as a fundamental political, moral and social value and out of which axioms for proper society emerges. Classical liberalism is concerned with individual liberty of its citizens as a primary value for government (and sometimes for life as well); it is generally broader and less dogmatic but also less self-consistent.

              I would compare it to the difference between Marxism and socialism: Socialism has as its primary impulses the collectivization of the economy and egalitarianism. Marxism is clear, concrete, and attempts to be an all-explaining answer for human existence (at least, in the moral and political realms), as well as an explanation for why the collectivization of the economy and egalitarianism are important values.

              I am a classical liberal because I do not believe that there exists a philosophical system which can account for all areas of political life (or even the subset concerning coercion), and because even if such did exist it would not be particularly applicable. Still, striving towards such is a useful intellectual exercise.

              1. I see, well said. Thanks.

              2. it is a subset of classical liberalism which seeks to create an unbreakable, rigorous, and self-consistent philosophical system

                Disagree, but only in the sense that some of us libertarians recognize that Goedel’s work applies.

    2. What Blue Tulpa said. The government shouldn’t be in the business of telling people who they can and can’t do business with, even if those people happen to be oppressive authoritarian assholes.

      1. You could call for a voluntary boycott and publish the names of business selling to oppressive regimes. You know try to hurt their bottom line with shame, plus it would drive up the prices people demand from an unsavory client.

        1. Very practical. In 1965 Firestone wanted to set up a truck tire plant in communist Romania. YAF demonstrated, the public took notice, bad publicity resulted, and Firestone withdrew even though the Johnson administration approved of the deal.

        2. Or even form Lincoln Brigades if you truly think the rights of these foreign people are (1) being violated and (2) worth doing violence for. The point, the whole point, of my libertarianism is that the consequences of individuals being wrong are so much lower than that of a State being wrong. Even if your Lincoln Brigade turns into a group of murderous thugs, at least you aren’t doing it with the express consent of the people of the US.

          1. This. I think there are many tools that could be used for libertarian foreign policy that would respect the NAP in regards to a state’s own citizens.

            Targeted sanctions against the actual aggressors as discussed by me and IT supra. Voluntary boycotts, or voluntary raising of money for a side. Voluntary Lincoln Brigades. Moral denunciation by our elected leaders and officials. Offering of amnesty to targeted citizens.

            1. Don’t forget Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

              Tell me you wouldn’t jump at the chance of being a privateer.

              1. Tell me you wouldn’t jump at the chance of being a privateer.

                I wouldn’t personally but I bet I could put you in touch with some cowboys who would.

              2. Before Iraq started, I emailed my Congresscritter about a Letter of Marque. I actually had a staffer call – she wanted to know if I was one of the families involved in some lawsuit vs the Iraqi gov’t. I told her I was not, but figured ganking an oil tanker would get me set for life…then I sort of knew I wasn’t going to get one.

          2. A weakness in voluntary boycott is some unscrupulous people looking to make one big sale and retire might not care about reputation. However that is far less damage than Government could cause. See arming rebels without understanding their ideology.

        3. Not a good approach. This type of coercion through mob behaviour is just another form of government. It isn’t voted in, it is worse in a sense than government, or can be, as it has no guiding principles. It is so easily abused. Chik-Fil-A is a good example. A guy was asked a question, which he answered, and a group of people tried to essentially ruin his life.

          People aren’t always nice. And, mobs are particular examples of groups of people not being nice.

          Definitely not something I would encourage in any way, shape, or form.

    3. 1) is targeted at the instigators of tyranny, and 2) won’t affect the Ukrainian people as a whole.

      Not fucking possible. Unless you think you can target the personal bank accounts of tyrants that may be held outside the jurisdiction of the target country.

  4. Re the alt-text – yes, it is always Amerikkka that is wrong. Does something, it is meddling where it belongs not. Does nothing and it is indifferent to the plight of __________ .

    Guess the That, however, shouldn’t preclude Americans themselves from having an opinion on the unrest overseas, or even from providing financial and material support for foreign opposition groups (though fears of running afoul of federal law might preclude that), so long as they do it as private citizens free from government encouragement. answer is about the only one left. Of course, in this instance, the Russians would say “you are allowing this to happen – you are meddling!”. What if two different American groups clash in Ukraine – or on the way there?

    I guess we can all agree on one thing. This sucks.

  5. and once again, we have a textbook example between a person having an opinion and that same person wishing to use govt to force that opinion on everyone else. It is quite possible to philosophically support people trying to pry govt boots from their necks without also wanting to commit American blood and treasure.

  6. Do rhetorical questions make better headlines?

    1. Does that depend on the story it is headlining?

      1. Are you playing the question game?

    2. Is the Space Pope reptilian?

      1. How can you really be sure he’s not part of the Jewish Freemasons?

        1. Are you under the impression that the Jewish Freemasons aren’t reptilian?

          1. Can you really be sure Dianne Feinstein isn’t one of them?

            1. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I agree.

      2. Does a bear pee on Episiarch in an underground club?

        1. Depends on the club, Hugh. And only if I can film it.

  7. Looks at Obama foreign policy of the past 5 years….

    looks at opposition groups in Venezuela and Ukraine…

    Why the fuck would anyone who supports the opposition want to the US to intervene on their behalf?

    If anything I think having the US oppose the opposition groups would help the opposition groups.

  8. I would say the US economy would be greatly damaged by more intervention. I tend to sympathize with the opposition forces, but not to the extent of bankrupting my own country.

    1. “more” intervention?

      more of what, exactly?

  9. Sanctions are supposed to be “morally acceptable” because we’re not busy bombing the shit out of someone and we’re only “punishing” bad leaders in foreign countries.

    The problem is that evil government leaders don’t actually suffer from sanctions. The weak and the powerless trapped underneath the evil government leaders always bear the brunt of sanctions.

    No matter how the sanction is presented, it always results in withholding fuel, food, and medicine from the weak, the sick, and the starving.

    If we really need to intervene, we should just shoot the mutherfuckers at the top of the org chart.

    1. I agree that sanctions are the apex of fucking stupid in this case. As I’ve said elsewhere, its like a one-size fits all ‘policy’ to appease domestic political interests that “something was done”

      1. I believe that sanctions are the apex of fucking stupid in just about every case.

        There may have been a time when withholding certain commodities could have prevented an internal industry from building the tools of war. But now, anything a government needs to wage war on its neighbors or its own people can be acquired through grey or black markets.

        1. yes.

          Though I would say as a caveat that in the realpolitik universe, there is no ‘rule’ against anything.

          Though “sanctions are always stupid” comes pretty damn close.

    2. This. Where’s “The Unit” when you really need it?

  10. “At the very least, libertarians should not excuse the actions of tin-pot dictators abroad because they’ve positioned themselves as anti-American, nor because of tin-pot dictators at home, and ought to understand that making a judgment on the struggle of people abroad to change their governments doesn’t translate to support for action by the U.S. government”

    I’ve made the point here before = “Libertarian ‘Foreign Policy'” invariable results in some incredibly overwrought contortions in an attempt to apply ‘non-intervention’ in practice. I’ve read that sentence three times, and while I “get the idea”, I find it reflective of the general incoherence when Libertoids are forced to ‘take a position’.

    I would ask Ed to state simply and clearly what “U.S. Policy” should be vis a vis Ukraine, and not waffle about with a lot of hemming and hawing about various principles, contingencies, rationales.

    Simpler = What is in our interests? what is not in our interests? What – if anything – do we do to secure best outcomes?

    The reason I say this is because the ‘cop out’ I hear a lot of the time is that “in a libertarian fantasy world” – the “US” doesn’t HAVE a policy…Individuals do!

    I find this to fall sort of flat when it comes to actual ‘world events’.

    Is the idea that we would *discourage* the EU/NATO from any attempt at backstopping Ukrainian independence?

    1. “Simpler = What is in our interests? what is not in our interests? What – if anything – do we do to secure best outcomes?”

      Eh, I hate opening up this can of worms for politicians. Every foreign policy blunder and intervention ever has been justified as being “in our interests” and/or “securing the best outcome.”

    2. What’s in the U.S. interest is to do nothing, in Ukraine and Venezuela. But if Americans as individuals want to provide material or financial support to groups there, that shouldn’t be discouraged by the government or seen as somehow contrary to libertarian principles.

      1. Holy shit, someone actually made a positive statement!
        Thank you, ed.

        Next we might even get so far as to find out the rationale why.

        I’m not busting your balls – I think ‘do nothing’ is certainly a legit position. The question is *why is it in our best interests?*

        The reason being is that people have this habit of making these sorts of policy pronouncements based on their philosophical premises, with utterly no regard how they actually may result in any benefit or liability for our own interests.

        Personally – without getting into detail for the moment – I do think ‘do nothing’ is probably right for Venezuela, but not so much for Ukraine.

        The short reason why = VZ’s crisis will most likely resolve itself in a manner better than the status quo, both for Venezuela and the US.

        Ukraine, if things continue the way they are, could likely result in imposition of a Russian puppet-state which simmers in civil-war status for another decade. Potentially dragging the region into a larger war. The best outcome in Ukraine is internal political reconciliation sans Russian military influence. The only way that happens is through Western pressure/enforced stalemate.

        Discuss.

        1. amending re: Ukriane = they already have a Russian puppet-state, which is the primary problem… the addition of Russian power backstopping the existing regime should it look at risk of falling is what I was suggesting.

        2. You’re like tulpa and the polygraph thing with this Ukraine stuff.

          You’re starting with a flawed premise then making arguments based upon that. For him it was that a polygraph machine can accurately indicate fraud, and for you it’s that you believe a bunch of politicians and generals know with certainty that specific actions are in our interests. History has shown that they are more often wrong than not.

          The majority of libertarians aver as ed does above. What’s in our interest is to keep our tax money for peaceful trading and not have it stolen by a bunch politicians to kill a bunch of people we don’t know for reasons that we don’t understand 10s of thousands of miles away.

          As for asking simple questions, can you answer me as to why it would be advantageous for me personally to have some of my paycheck taken away to get involved in this fracas?

        3. Goodness, you think you are cute with your ‘interests theory,’ but it seems as vague as anything else. What counts as our ‘interests?’ And can no other value trump ‘our interests?’

          1. “Bo Cara Esq.|2.21.14 @ 3:33PM|#

            Goodness, you think you are cute with your ‘interests theory,’

            Pretentious pedantic twaddle what? Rhetorical open ended question?? Chin-stroking ego-douche? Pervarication dissimulation!? ha ha aha!

        4. I agree wrt Ukraine being more germane to US interests than Venezuela, but it is unclear how the US could contribute to a more stable situation at this point.

          Can Poland or Ukraine’s other neighbors provide a counterweight to Russia, in military or economic terms? Would they be willing to do so? Possibly, so what can the US do to make such a regional alliance a possibility which has not been done already by these countries (serious question, because I don’t know)?

          If the answer to any of those questions is no, then it falls on powers that are farther away — either western Europe or the US. Direct US military assistance is a no-go, obviously. European military assistance sounds promising, but the problem is that none of the countries there is a reliable partner and ally for the Ukraine, either historically or at the present time.

          In lieu of an action plan with some chance of working with the resources we’re willing to commit, I don’t see many options besides a targetted boycott to express sympathies, and perhaps talking to our Eastern Euro partners to see about some sort of defense pact or unstated partnership to make a stable, non-Russian dominated Ukraine a reality.

        5. Ukraine, if things continue the way they are, could likely result in imposition of a Russian puppet-state which simmers in civil-war status for another decade. Potentially dragging the region into a larger war. The best outcome in Ukraine is internal political reconciliation sans Russian military influence. The only way that happens is through Western pressure/enforced stalemate.

          These are just guesses. If you want to help out in Ukraine, you should be free to do so. But I don’t trust politicians and generals. Also, Russia is no threat to me.

          1. “‘These are just guesses””

            Well, that settles that!

  11. Every now and again I hear some realtor’s group advertise home ownership as a way to ensure stable families, and every time I think to myself, “isn’t it more likely that stable families buy homes?” We predicated immense transfers of wealth to homebuilding and mortgage lending at least nominally on the suggestion that home ownership will inspire a bevy of civic virtues, would help patch up threadbare communities, would reverse divorce rates and avert broken families, and that access to equity would stage a middle-class renaissance. And, as it goes with all social policies, it proved a disastrous perversion of incentives. Home ownership doesn’t cause responsible people any more than owning a phone causes friends. People with friends find it useful to own a phone, and stable people with long-term prospects like family or investing find owning a home attractive. Full stop.

    Now replace “responsible homeowners” with “freedom fighters” and “homeownership” with “revolution,” and that should be our perspective on helping fuel bloody revolts in other countries. Sure, the glossy pictures in the Realtor ads look nice, with beaming families clustered around their moving boxes behind a SOLD sign, but the reality is moldering piles of corpses, bombed-out city blocks, and a rather bleak political future.

    1. “the reality is moldering piles of corpses, bombed-out city blocks, and a rather bleak political future”

      Realtors’ll do that.

    2. Sure, the glossy pictures in the Realtor ads look nice, with beaming families clustered around their moving boxes behind a SOLD sign, but the reality is moldering piles of corpses, bombed-out city blocks, and a rather bleak political future.

      Shit, son. Now how do you think you’re going to get a job with Raytheon, BAE Systems, Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies Corporation or L-3 with that kind of attitude?

      1. Hell, how am I going to qualify for my first home loan? They have lists for people like me.

        Or they should, anyway.

  12. here’s another “simple question” for the libertoid FP knitting circle =

    – Say you are Poland

    Does your attitude change in the slightest?

    Note that they are NATO members.

    1. I say we bomb the shit out of someone. anyone. I don’t really care. As long as it’s fucking expensive, poorly thought out and deadly.

      ‘Cause when shit goes pear-shaped, as it inevitably does, the chest thumpers fade into the background for at least a few years.

    2. You’re Poland.

      1. I guess this “simple question” thing isn’t really as popular as a bunch of pedantic dick-waving about the NAP.

        1. Say you’re the inventor of the catalytic converter. Does your attitude about the government interfering in economics change?

          Also, there’s a hole in your submarine’s screen door.

          1. So, obvious questions are obvious. I see.

            The fact that Poland might see this as a security risk is not something you’re willing to entertain, because “nya nya nya we’re not Poland”?

            1. Yes. Fuck Poland and its dependence on other people ensuring outcomes for it. Also fuck NATO, the UN, and the EU.

            2. Given history, Poland should be spending every extra dollar they have on defense, have the world’s laxest gun control laws, and dozens of citizen militia groups ready for any indication of threats to their nation.

              And yes, because I’m not in poland and don’t know anyone in poland I think that I’d rather spend my paycheck addressing my problems than theirs. I’m sorry if that seems heartless to you, but I’ve got to care for myself and my family before I can worry about poland.

              1. I am Polish-ish. See if I actually give a crap about any of their customs, traditions, or problems. I would feel the same way about Israel were I Jew-ish.

                1. Your lack of fuck giving has been noted.

      1. Are you serious?

        The ‘OMG NeoNazis!’ line is primarily being marketed by Russian media to tarnish what is a widespread national populist opposition.

        I really don’t think they’re worried about the Ukrainian blitzkrieg anytime soon. However, they probably DO prefer to keep Russia at more than arms length.

        1. I’m serious as a heart attack.

          Or at least as serious as the current leader of the major opposition party involved in the protests when he said things like:

          “[You are the ones] that the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine fears most”

          or

          “They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.

          “National populist” in Ukraine doesn’t mean Ross Perot.

          1. “‘National populist” in Ukraine doesn’t mean Ross Perot””

            LOL

            Yeah. That said, there are plenty of people who talk like that in Poland as well. Nevertheless = this spinning of the ‘opposition’ as being a gang of Nazi sympathizers remains a ridiculous exaggeration.

            Also, perhaps related = Poland put it to the opposition a few hours ago: “Do this deal or you’ll all be dead”

            http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/…..hink_again

    3. I asked this question about Georgia a number of years ago:

      You’re the Georgian PM. Russia is right above you, Turkey is close by, and you are interested in preserving your country’s sovereignty and freedoms. Does NAP non-interventionism help in this regard, i.e., not creating alliances or preparations outside of voluntaryist efforts? Probably not.

      1. I think you may be the only person here who seems to grok that this libertarian philosophical stuff kinda turns to mush in the face of Realpolitik.

        I have no problem with ‘non-intervention’ as a guideline. Or even as an ideal to aspire to. I don’t think it functions as a universal principal always leading to best outcomes, however.

        1. That’s basically where I’m at. It’s an important consideration, but not the determining one. As shown by how collectivist libertarians get about “armies” once you talk about “defensive war”, not even libertarians think NAP is the overriding concern — they just don’t want to think about their politics that way. Fair enough, but I’d rather figure out what the core issue is, and go from there *while integrating NAP/other moral calculus*.

        2. Should the US intervene? If so why, and how?

          1. …and also, how does intervention further my personal interests?

            If we’re being all practical and shit about this thing.

            1. “General Butt Naked|2.21.14 @ 4:12PM|#

              …and also, how does intervention further my personal interests?”

              *Personal* interests?

              What, the mail order brides weren’t enough?

          2. I think this word “intervene” gets tossed around way too much.

            The short of it is, in this situation, whether the EU/NATO is willing to actually overtly backstop Ukrainian independence. ie. “make clear to Russia that they can meddle, but they can’t roll in with tanks”

            I think this is happening behind closed doors to that effect. in the open, people like Poland are taking a direct role in trying to defuse the situation (which naturally concerns them greatly)

            I think it is in US & EU interests to ensure that there be no fracture of Ukraine, nor any civil war. This means using money and diplomatic power to try and get people at a table to discuss power sharing.

            You want to call that ‘intervention’ go ahead. I think its better than pretending to be morally superior by going “Fuck em if it doesn’t ‘directly affect me'”

      2. I don’t see alliances as inherently contradicting the NAP or libertarianism. If necessary for national defense, I think a government is justified in making a defensive pact with another country. I do think for the US today, being the sole superpower with no threat of invasion from a foreign country (unlike Georgia) that there’s no need for permanent alliances like NATO.

  13. Question of the year:

    Who will have a functioning democratic government first, Ukraine or Venezuela?

    I ask a friend that about an hour ago, he said Venezuela, because Ukraine is being backed by Putin. Seems a legitimate possibility.

    1. So Ukraine will have a functioning government by year’s end, but Venezuela will return to functioning democracy status before Putin lets loose of the reins? I can see that.

      1. Of course, joe claims Venezuela is currently a functioning democracy.

        Maybe Ukraine too.

      1. Seems unlikely.

    2. I would hope Ukraine.

      I think it may be more important at least.

      1. Which is more likely, Ukraine gets a functioning democratic government or Ukraine becomes a province in Russia?

        I fear it might be the latter.

      2. I think it may be more important at least.

        How so*?

        *honest question

        1. Because if Ukraine goes tits up or becomes a Russian puppet state it may reduce the number and quality of Ukrainian mail order brides?

        2. Aside from mail order brides?

          I’m of the view that Ukraine provides something of a bellweather for both the future of the EU as well as Russia.

          A western-aligned Ukraine provides longer term economic strength for the EU, which badly needs to integrate upwardly mobile economies to sustain itself.

          A Russian-puppet Ukraine, in my view, reopens the prospects of a Russia which sees its neighbors as vassal states to be systematically plundered. I don’t mind Russia as a hyper-corrupt petro state – I do mind them as a hypercorrupt *expansionist* petro-state.

  14. Didn’t our communist friends tell us last night that that all this unrest was caused by the CIS because the US hates to see working Communist regimes and that everything was worker’s paradise before we got involved?

  15. This article pre-supposes the existence (and presumably desirability) of the US government within a tax-supported paradigm.

    The principles of justice are universal, in the sense that they apply to all natural persons (and only natural persons), in all places (both sides of every border) and for all time (not one thing today, and another tomorrow).

    The main thing that distinguishes the US government from free enterprise security agencies, is the tax-financing. Yet the US military is tax-financed even while stationed behind US borders. That means, the non-initiation-of-force principle does not lead to non-interventionism and prohibits as well to behind-the-borders non-interventionism so long as both are tax-supported.

    To “intervene” simply means, party “c” sides with party “a” against party “b” in it’s conflict with party “a”. One could be a non-interventionist and a libertarian, true. But similarly one could be vegetarian and libertarian. Neither non-interventionism nor vegetarianism flow naturally from libertarianism.

    Conversely, interventionism–i.e. always intervening–could mean force-initiation but that is not inevitable.

    In short, non-interventionism and libertarianism have nothing in common; their conflation is the mischief work of Murray Rothbard. His writings are apocryphal and are based on a mis-interpretation of natural justice.

    For more on this, please go to the Libertarian Defense Caucus website.

  16. To paraphrase that old T-shirt about what people who don’t ride Harley’s are:

    If you don’t pick up a rifle, you ain’t shit. The idea that our braying like donkeys means anything at all is ridiculous. Without your butt on the line you might as well just keep your mouth shut.

  17. The question in the title has been made irrelevant by a much larger one. Why is Krayewski approvingly linking to a column calling for rapprochement with neoconservatives, written by an individual who has associated his whole career with neocons? It’s like he is trying to convince the reader that neocons are just like us.

    If you have studied them seriously for any length of time, you know they are not just like us. Or like anybody. And they do not consider themselves one of us, either. Not even close. They want to suppress us, any way they can. And they do.

    Here is a bigger question. Who is making the editorial decisions at Reason and allowing neoconservatism to creep in, and why?

    And the biggest question of all: Why are the supposed libertarians in the comments section always overlooking these little pro-neocon insertions that have cropped up into Reason.com in the past few months?

    1. I haven’t noticed it outside of this article, but that bit about neocons puzzled me also.

  18. It may be true that:
    “the libertarian default should be in favor of those who recognize no government-drawn borders, those who recognize that the same laws of economics apply in Albania and in Texas and that written law everywhere should reflect that fact.”

    BUT applying that belief does not necessarily entail interventionism. As with so many other things, trying to fix the problem directly is often worse than simply letting the problem exist as it is. Libertarian individuals certainly favor freedom for everyone regardless of borders, but libertarian governments should not actively do the same. It is proper for a person to care about the entire world, but the proper focus of a government is on its own people.

  19. Whatever our government does, if we intervene militarily, we’ll create enemies for the US from at least one side of the conflict. Such enemies are likely to become terrorists or create some that attack us.

    If we verbally support one side, the other side won’t like it, as it affects their ability to have a government that is respected, recognized, and that can do business with other countries. But they can’t say we came in and killed people, or overthrew the government, or forced them to do anything.

    It’s like when one intervenes in a fight between the couple next door. It’s unlikely your verbal intervention will result in you being physically attacked, but if you physically intervene, you have a good chance of being punched, and might even result in both of them attacking you for butting in.

  20. I’m going to approach this not through a libertarian perspective, or a classical liberal perspective (which I am closer to than a pure libertarian), but through the eyes of a pragmatic businessman:

    1. Never conduct an action that the costs are unknown. Unless you cannot in any way avoid it. That is the way you go bankrupt. War is one of those actions.

    2. Fighting always costs you. If someone picks a fight with you and you punch him 100 times and he punches you 3 times you win. But, you got punched 3 times! So, you lose. He might have lost more, but so what? You go home with a fat lip. You gained nothing.

    3. Why then ever fight? Because sometimes you have to. And, sometimes it is morally imperative to. But, accept there will be a cost, and you won’t know what it is, even when you’re doing the morally right thing. Which sucks.

    Sometimes you have to fight, and it can be better than not fighting. It can be less violent to fight if the overall amount of violence goes down as a result.

    4. Never fight when you’re going to lose seriously. The cost is huge. Unless you absolutely without question have to. But, that should be a life or death situation.

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