Interventionism

Trivial Dispute: Obama Versus the Straw Interventionists

You may strain your eyes trying to differentiate between Obama and the people he dismisses as "interventionists."

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White House/Instagram

American politics is largely a series of debates over unimportant details. These debates are conducted far above the fundamental level because the supposed contenders share the same premises. Where they disagree is at the level of application, and so the disagreements end up being fairly minor, especially if you think the premises are wrong.

This is an especially pronounced feature of what passes for foreign-policy debate within the accepted range of opinion. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Barack Obama's address to the West Point graduates the other day. In that address, as in other speeches on foreign policy, Obama tried to position himself in what he likes to portray as the reasonable center. On the one side is "isolationism":

It is absolutely true that in the 21st century, American isolationism is not an option. We don't have a choice to ignore what happens beyond our borders.

On the other are those he calls "the interventionists from the left and right":

U.S. military action cannot be the only—or even primary—component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader—and especially your Commander-in-Chief—to be clear about how that awesome power should be used.

Note how Obama stakes out his "moderate" position between isolationism and interventionism. To do this he has to misrepresent what he stigmatizes as "isolationism" and create a straw man in order to place himself in opposition to the interventionists.

Isolationism—the appropriate term is noninterventionism—does not naively suppose that what goes on in the rest of the world is of no possible interest to those of us who live in the United States. Rather, it is based on the understanding that U.S. government entry into other people's conflicts can be counted on to make things worse by magnifying the violence and setting in motion other regrettable unintended consequences.

For example, the conflict in Syria became a full-blown civil war when Obama and other Western politicians declared that President Bashar al-Assad "must go" and formally recognized certain members of the opposition as the legitimate government. This removed any incentive that Assad and the opposition had to negotiate, which would have ended the killing of innocents caught in the crossfire. U.S. assistance to alleged "moderates" in the opposition (which is dominated by al-Qaeda affiliates) prolongs the civil war and adds to the casualty toll among noncombatants.

"The West's formal sanctification of a mishmash of oppositional forces also dealt the death blow to the original Syrian uprising," Brendan O'Neill writes at Spiked Online. "The West had helped to reduce the Syrian people to the level of observers of—and fundamentally victims of—a civil war between oppositional forces selected and armed with the okay of the West and a regime decreed illegitimate by the West."

This is how these things go. Feel-good "humanitarian intervention" is deadly.

More generally, the noninterventionist position recognizes that the threat of terrorism—which Obama says is the principal threat Americans face—is a direct consequence of long years of U.S. support for repressive, corrupt regimes in the Muslim world, the bombing and embargoing of Iraq, and the bankrolling of Israel's injustices against the Palestinians. Even American military officials acknowledge that antiterrorist measures—like drone killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia—create more enemies than they eliminate.

Obama's straw man is the interventionist who sees military force as the only or the primary tool in the toolbox. Who actually fits that description? Even Sen. John McCain, who's overly fond of American military power, says the U.S. government should not send troops to Syria or go to war with Russia over Ukraine. But Obama needs this caricature so he can portray himself as the reasonable and moderate voice in the room.

You'd strain your eyes to find differences between Obama and the people he calls "interventionists." Note that in his speech he said:

Regional aggression that goes unchecked—whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea, or anywhere else in the world—will ultimately impact our allies and could draw in our military.

Leaving aside whether what he calls aggression in any given case really is aggression (what counts for politicians is not what is done, but who does it), the only way for the U.S. military to be drawn into a situation is if a president sends it in. It is not an act of nature.

In the trivial dispute between Obama and his interventionist opponents, there's a distinction without a crucial difference: multilateralism versus unilateralism. Obama says the U.S. government should militarily intervene, "unilaterally if necessary," only when "core interests" are threatened. Before concluding that this standard is highly restrictive, be aware that Obama defines "core interests" as "when our people are threatened, when our livelihoods are at stake, when the security of our allies is in danger."

Of course "our allies" include countries on Russia's border and soon could include former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia. "Our allies" also include Israel, which threatens its neighbors like Iran. How do they constitute our core interests? Apparently China's growing economy and its disagreements with Japan are also threats, if we are to believe the Obama administration.

As for "our livelihoods," this indicates that Obama agrees with his predecessors that the American people should be compelled to go to war over oil in the Middle East. And does "when our people are threatened" include Americans traveling or working abroad? Obama's supposed restriction turns out to be a license to police the world.

In the end, the unilateralist-multilateralist squabble serves to distract us from examining the interventionist premise per se.

To show how interventionist Obama's alleged third way really is, here's something else he said at West Point:

When issues of global concern do not pose a direct threat to the United States, when such issues are at stake — when crises arise that stir our conscience or push the world in a more dangerous direction but do not directly threaten us — then the threshold for military action must be higher. In such circumstances, we should not go it alone. Instead, we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action. We have to broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development; sanctions and isolation; appeals to international law; and, if just, necessary and effective, multilateral military action. In such circumstances, we have to work with others because collective action in these circumstances is more likely to succeed, more likely to be sustained, less likely to lead to costly mistakes.

Except for the nod to "collective action," it is hard to see how this policy distinguishes Obama from the people he calls interventionists. There is always trouble in the world to stir our conscience, and in a globalized marketplace, it is not hard to conjure up threats. So grounds for intervention—unilateral or multilateral—will never be hard to come by.

That's why the interventionist paradigm must be replaced with principled nonintervention. Licensing the U.S. government to police the world—Obama calls it "leadership" and "American exceptionalism"—is a surefire path to disaster, even if it means only enlisting local proxies to do the dirty work. History demonstrates this.

The government will always keep secrets about its activities abroad, and that secrecy will shroud from public view inevitable operations to benefit special interests—the military-industrial complex would abhor nonintervention—and to support brutal and corrupt regimes that are useful to the policy elite's objectives. Government simply cannot be trusted with such power.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. One good thing about Obama’s endlessly empty rhetoric is that his interventionist rhetoric has been mostly empty also. Does anyone in China or anywhere else believe that anything short of landing a million Red Army troops in Japan or Taiwan “could draw in” American military?

    1. Tell that to Libya.

      And why should I, the American tax payer, give a damn if China invades Japan or Taiwan? Japanese entertainment has gone down a very steep hill in the past decade so i’m completely immune to any emotional appeals.

      1. We must pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assurethat we get the next season, and many more, of Attack on Titan.

        1. I have all the yaoi and Chu Ishikawa I will ever need. Western otakus make most of the hentai on Deviant Art anyways.

          1. Ah, you’re a weeaboo. Explains a lot.

            1. I sort of was at a younger age. I was always a rivethead first.

  2. Brussels Jewish Museum attack: Jihadist ‘claimed responsibility for shooting in video’:

    A 29-year-old French former jihadist volunteer in Syria has been arrested in Marseille on suspicion of killing four people in an attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels last weekend.

    The suspect, who was known to French security services as a jihadist volunteer in Syria until last year, is refusing to answer questions, police sources said.

    If his involvement in the Brussels attack is proved, he will be the first ex-European volunteer with extreme Islamist groups in Syria to have committed an act of terrorism on his return to Europe.

    Great, just great.

    1. Not America’s problem.

    2. Didn’t you read the article? Blowback for Israel’s shabby treatment of Iran.

      THIS IS WHAT SHELDON RICHMAN ACTUALLY BELIEVES!

  3. To be fair to President Obama, he occasionally does take a non-interventionist approach. Like when a US Embassy is being attacked.

    1. If he took a non-interventionist stance on anything he would have realized that embassies (which cost money) have no use in the age of Skype (which is not only privately run but is FREE to use).

      1. I disagree. While it’s not absolutely necessary for communication, it can help to get a better feel for what’s actually going on in the country when you have someone there, it can help engender a more personal relationship having someone able to meet their rep in personwith plenipotentiary powers, and is helpful for our citizens that are in that country that need help.

        1. In foreign affairs people need to learn to shut-up and trade, and if people leave US borders then it should be their responsibility, not mine as a taxpayer who hasn’t left US soil (unless you count being in international waters), to return safely.

          1. Yay +1

            If wishes were fishes, I’d cancel all treaties, make it illegal for any government employee to work outside the US, and bar all US laws from having any affect outside the US. There’s your isolationism!

            I read somewhere that the Paris embassy is one of our largest anywhere. Tells you something about priorities.

            1. If I were president any foreigners who would try and stop me would eat lead and any Americans will get a copy of the Constitution in their face (despite agreeing with 90% of it I don’t believe in it and it badly needs to be replaced with something that is more compliant with the Cato Institute and the ACLU).

              And i’m a globalist, not an isolationist. It’s illegal to murder or assault non-citizens on US soil and ships can hire private security to ward-off dirt bags in pangas.

              1. it badly needs to be replaced with something that is more compliant with the Cato Institute and the ACLU

                Yeah, that’d be fucking awesome. Insurance mandates and compulsory birth control for everyone!

                1. @ PM

                  I don’t expect people to follow my comments but we’ve interacted enough for you to know that I oppose healthcare mandates. That and the government’s funding of abortion are what I disagree with the ACLU on, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning the Cato Institute.

            2. And if by treaty you mean trade agreement then i’m all for those.

              1. Absolutely. All foreign entanglements.

                1. I’m pro-NAFTA.

      2. And of course it was possibly motivated by not drawing attention to the (alleged) weapons running to Syrian “rebels” he was orchestrating. Which certainly isn’t non-interventionist.

        1. Like I said if Obama was anything like a non-interventionist he would actually act like he was in the twenty-first century instead of sometimes talking like it. Obviously government weapon running is interventionist.

      3. The NSA has informed the President that if he wants a private conversation, he’d best do it in person.

        1. The NSA should be abolished.

    2. Yeah. He’s another York Harding.

  4. Going into Afghanistan after 9/11 was entirely appropriate. The prosecution of that phase of the war (embedded SOF backed up by larger units) was extremely successful. We probably should have just killed the maximum number of Taliban, then said “if you do it again we’ll be back”.

    I can be argued either way on Iraq regardless of how the decisions were made to get in. On the con side there is the folly of nation building on the pro side there is the strategic advantage of having a puppet government and a large airbase in friendly Iraqi territory.

    1. Iraq did nothing to America. Waste of money either way. I’d rather use the money to fix potholes or deepen ports so we can take in more post-panamax size ships. Much better for the AMERICAN people.

      1. I’m consistent in my opposition to government intervention, especially intervention at home. Fixing pot holes and deepening ports (vel sim.) are not the job of the government.

        1. How is the government maintaing things that the government built in the first place a form of interventionism? Also i’m not a loony anarchist.

          1. Anarchists are not loony any more than a globalist we just have different views of how the world should work. of course we wont be ready for real anarchy unless everyone starts abiding by the NAP but no need for calling idealists loony because other people who haven’t grown enough spiritually wouldn’t allow it to work, since globalist ideology suffers the same problem

            1. We already have some globalism and it works just fine. Quit listening to union propagandists, also there’s no evidence that spirits exist.

  5. The US government, whether Republican or Democrat run can’t do interventionism in the USA without screwing it up, why would I think they can do it in foreign countries with different languages, religions, politics, economics, etc etc.

  6. You’re asking Sheldon, if I can tell the difference between Obama and Dick Cheney? Yes, hands down. You know Obama ended the Iraq War, right?

    1. “You know Obama ended the Iraq War, right?”

      Yes. Bush handed him the schedule and he followed it.
      If only he was a weren’t worse than Bush everywhere else, Bush would still qualify as the worst.

      1. It’s ok, comrade, I know who you are pulling for.

        1. american socialist|6.1.14 @ 2:35PM|#
          “It’s ok, comrade, I know who you are pulling for.”

          So far, dipshit, you’ve proven to know just about zero, so I’m sure you haven’t a clue here, either.
          But keep licking that ass.

          1. Booooring. Are your two minutes of hate up yet? Bash that keyboard a little harder next time. Can’t you turn it up a notch… Motherfucker?

            1. Hey look two idiots flinging shit at each other again.

              1. I’m with you. As I said personal attacks are for me a waste of time. I just responded in kind to a particularly offensive and rude commenter. My weakness. I do make a considerable effort to respond civilly despite what I get on my end.

              2. Rollo|6.1.14 @ 5:06PM|#
                “Hey look two idiots flinging shit at each other again.”

                Aw, gee, Rollo, what handle were you using when I called you on your bullshit?

            2. american socialist|6.1.14 @ 3:59PM|#
              “Booooring. Are your two minutes of hate up yet?”

              Yeah, licking that ass gets boring, but low-watt bulbs tolerate boredom quite well.
              Keep that tongue going, a.s.!

              1. BASH! BASH! BASH! You’ll break that keyboard if you keep that up. You know what I do when I see your response to my posts? I smile like a little schoolgirl. You make my day, honey.

        2. And we all know what you’re pulling. Go ahead, pull the other one. No, the other other one. We all know you want to.

    2. Do you realize that even if Dick Cheney himself had been the next president, he would have had to withdraw also? Obama wanted to stay and even attempted to negotiate that position.

      1. John McCain said that u.s. Troops would remain in Iraq for 50-100 years. Libertarians should support that!? Dick Cheney still thinks the war in Iraq was a good idea and Obama was against for the start. You think it was wrong to support Obama in 2008 or against his opponent in 2012, who staffed his foreign policy team with Bush retreads?

        1. There you go again accusing people you don’t know of being/voting Republican. That’s the third fucking time that i’ve called you out on that you fucking commie. I’ve never voted for a Democrat or Republican in my life.

        2. Unlike you commie fucks, we libertarians oppose every war.

          Remember WW2? When Stalin’s american whores supported the draft, beat up anti war protestors, reported anti war activists to the FBI, and supported internment?

          And when old right patriots like Robert Taft and Lindbergh were accused of being nazis by commies like John Roy Carlson for opposing the war?

          Mccarthyism was a just punishment for those who carried out the brown scare during WW2. CPUSA supported the smith act.

        3. Can you, or will you not, acknowledge that President Obama tried to negotiate a delayed withdrawal from Iraq?

      2. Bless your heart, don’t bother responding to it. I’m not 100% convinced it could pass even a simple Turing test.

    3. Dude you admitted to willfully breaking a contract that you voluntarily signed. You have zero rep around here. Shut the fuck up.

      1. Eggs,

        The only solution is for you to challenge wwhorton to a duel.

        1. Do you troll the WaPo forums? Run into the paywall or something?

        2. Oh my god. I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

          Mandalay is a sock puppet for amsoc!

          BWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!!!! That’s so sad!!!!

          1. wwhorton,

            Fuck you moron.

            1. I think you mean, “Fuck you, moron.” The comma is important, because otherwise it seems as if you’re trying to type in pidgin English.

              Keep trying, lil’ tiger, you’ll get it!

              1. Road guy isn’t taking the high honors at graduation.

                1. Sevo,

                  Neither are you, you piece of shit.

              2. Here is the correction you wanted. Fuck you, moron. Keep posting you fucking asshole, and you will get it too. Have a nice evening, Anal Breath.

                1. I am always disappointed when there isn’t at least one Ass Chunk in there.

    4. We’re still involved in Iraq, so I wouldn’t say he ended shit.

      1. “We’re still involved in Iraq, so I wouldn’t say he ended shit.”

        Yep, the Afgan war is gonna get “ended” the same way so a.s. can lick Obo’s ass on that one, too.

        1. Sevo,

          When are you going to run for President so we will all have to lick your ass?

          1. On The Road To Mandalay|6.1.14 @ 4:05PM|#
            “Sevo,
            When are you going to run for President so we will all have to lick your ass?”

            ^?

            1. Fuck you, dimwit. Shove it up your rectum.

              1. Fuck you, dimwit. Shove it up your rectum.

                There you go with your anal fixation again.

      2. I blame the Vietnam war on Richard Nixon. He was just following Robert macnamara’s withdrawal timetable. It’s obj that should get the credit for ending the war. Why didn’t they give him the Nobel Peace Prize?

        1. Who’s OBJ? And while Nixon was a scumbag he actually inherited the Vietnam war. He just escalated it.

          And fuck timetables. If they rolled on in then they can roll on out.

          1. He just escalated it.

            If by escalated it you mean he ended it, then yeah sure.

            I can criticize Nixon for a lot of things, but he fucking ended the war in Vietnam.

            1. Vietnam ended because Daniel Elleberg and Mike Gravel embarrassed Nixon with the Pentagon Papers.

              1. Vietnam ended because Daniel Elleberg and Mike Gravel embarrassed Nixon with the Pentagon Papers.

                Wow, you actually believe that?

                1. I also believe that the Holocaust happened.

            2. *Ellesberg

            3. *Ellsberg

          2. Sorry, Lyndon baines Johnson (lbj)

            1. You know who else escalated a war resulting in +75% of the American Casualties and also lost ?

        2. american socialist|6.1.14 @ 3:38PM|#
          “I blame the Vietnam war on Richard Nixon.”

          Not surprised you’re that ignorant of history; start with Truman.

          1. Sevo,

            Not at all surprised that you will always be an asshole.

    5. Damn, son. That was incredibly weak, even for you.

    6. You’re asking Sheldon, if I can tell the difference between Obama and Dick Cheney? Yes, hands down.

      One’s black, and that’s about as much as you needed to know, right?

      You know Obama ended the Iraq War, right?

      Uh, no. Unless you count not overriding the SOFA signed during the Bush administration as “ending the Iraq War”. Of course, Obama did unsuccessfully push to override the SOFA and keep more troops in Iraq for a longer period of time than the SOFA specified. So he only really skates by even in that regard.

  7. I was particularly encouraged by his pledge of our nation’s best-trained military minds to the task of fighting the war on climate change. What are they going to do, pour ice cubes into the Arctic Circle to help keep it cold?

    1. Let me be clear…nobody needs more than one ice cube per drink.

      1. Anyone who wants a cold drink is a greedy right-wing extremist teabaggin Koch-sucker.

      2. Don’t worry, kibby, I’ve got you covered.

  8. For example, the conflict in Syria became a full-blown civil war when Obama and other Western politicians declared that President Bashar al-Assad “must go”

    WTF, dude? I’m all for slamming politicians for making a bad situation worse, but Syria had the full-blown civil war going quite nicely before Obama opened his trap about it.

    1. Syria’s problem. Cut spending.

    2. I imagine he did harden Assad’s position a bit, backed him into a corner, so to speak, and made a few generals think more clearly about who they wanted to back.

      But the real answer is that it was and is none of our business.

  9. Even American military officials acknowledge that antiterrorist measures?like drone killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia?create more enemies than they eliminate.

    How so?

    1. Rudy Giuliani, is that you?

    2. The same was destroying buildings in NYC creates more Islam haters.

      1. So the obvious solution is complete, utter annihilation of the enemy.

        1. Ahhh yes the classic “final solution”. Kill anyone and everyone within a thousand miles of the enemies and round up the rest to be sent to “camps”.

        2. Sounds better in the original German, Mike.

          1. You two dumb fucks don’t find the Nazi references at least mildly ironic consider, oh, say, the Dresden bombings?

            1. The Dresden bombings worked.

              1. You come across as a psychopath. You scare me.

                1. That was posted in response to Michael not PM.

  10. and the bankrolling of Israel’s injustices against the Palestinians.

    Was waiting for you to work the JOOOS in somewhere and was not disappointed.

    1. Is criticizing the Chinese government the same as criticizing all Chinese people?

      1. Is exclusively criticizing a country established as an ethnic and religious enclave, and blame-shifting unrelated or tangentially related world affairs to its government, while writing extensive apologetics for regimes that refuse to recognize its legitimacy and have made repeated bellicose saber-rattling threats against it the same as being a racist cunt?

        Let’s go to Pat Buchanan for the call on the field…

        1. ethnic and religious enclave

          Sounds collectivist and anti-libertarian.

          There was a certain historical figure who believed that Germany belonged to Germans and only Germans.

          1. Actually, he believed that all of continiental Europe belonged to the Germans and only Germans.

  11. “Our allies” also include Israel, which threatens its neighbors like Iran.

    No idea why they’d be worked up about peace-loving Iran. It’s a mystery.

    1. Iran’s naval “ships” are powered by Mariner Magnums for fuck sakes.

      1. Iran’s ships are totally what the Israelis are concerned about.

        1. Yeah ships that are so menacing that they can be towed on trailers.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGNeJCDFsBc

          I mean it sounds like a monster so it must be one!

          1. Whoosh!

            Pray, look upward for the point that just sailed on by…

            1. Oh, he got it.

              Anyone who tries to play Iran off as a non-threat is a mendacious fuck.

              1. A non threat to who, and in what context?

                I have no doubt Iran could chuck enough Chinese ASMs at a US task force in the Persian Gulf to sink a ship or two. I don’t consider that to be a threat to the United States.

              2. @ Suthenboy

                That foil hat must be cutting off circulation to your brain.

                Who is Iran a threat to? They’ve never done anything to the US. You mean Israel? I. Do. Not. Care. About. Israel. They. Can. Eat. Sand. They’re weak anyways.

                1. The original statement was about the relationship between Israel and Iran, so that’s the only relationship germane to the conversation. You’re either not following the argument or purposely obfuscating to try to win points.

                  1. @ mr simple

                    What original statement?

                    1. Oh I thought you meant my (as in yours) original statement.

                  2. “Dances-with-Trolls” spewed the typical neocon canard about Iran being filled with ten-foot-tall acid-drooling, wife-beating desert warriors flying magic rugs of Islamofascist doom. Yes the wife-beaters do exist there I am not denying that.

                    1. Ah, I see, you’re just a fool. OK. Carry on, fool.

                    2. “Dances-with-Trolls” spewed the typical neocon canard about Iran being filled with ten-foot-tall acid-drooling, wife-beating desert warriors flying magic rugs of Islamofascist doom.

                      Actually he said:

                      No idea why they’d be worked up about peace-loving Iran. It’s a mystery.

                      You got an awful lot of very specific words that weren’t actually typed out of that trifling input.

                    3. I know how neocons thinks.

            2. My point was that Iran is weak.

              1. My point was that Iran is weak.

                *insert obvious Seinfeld joke*

                Iran is weak compared to what?

                1. Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece

                2. and North Korea. Things made in South Korea are of bad enough quality. North Korea takes the shit pie.

    2. And I don’t think any of them have the Cosworth blocks either.

    3. I have to admit, Israel’s periodic threats to cleanse Iran with nuclear fire are disturbing.

      Why, these threats were made again just recently:

      http://elderofziyon.blogspot.c…..4tZCGdOW3x

      1. Aw, c’mon, it’s an obvious Zionist fake.

        1. Just like the Holocaust!

          1. What neo-Nazi militia do you and Old Man belong to?

            1. SFX: whizzzzzzz

    4. God, there sure are a lot of neocon war lovers who call themselves libertarians. Don’t worry you have good company in amongst Reason contributors who made excuses for the war in Iraq. I wonder why that is.

      1. Speaking of mendacious fucks…..

        1. You are referring to this guy? https://reason.com/archives/200…..-one-state

          Do you think he quit from nature biotechnology or was fired for hocking global warming denying junk science? My guess is the latter. Personally I couldn’t hack going from writing ABOUT the real world to writing FOR boring plutocrats, but–hey– I bet the pay is better.

          1. Wow, you even do ad hominem poorly.

          2. american socialist:

            Personally I couldn’t hack going from writing ABOUT the real world to writing FOR boring plutocrats, but–hey– I bet the pay is better.

            Both probably pay better than writing about how awesome it can be financially to lose your house to the bank.

            Talk about spinning reality…

            1. Hi Brian, commenting here is just a hobby. As I’ve said, i ‘m doing fine and your inordinate interest in my financial standing… Let me say, I’m touched. Thanks, man… I’m better off than I would be if I was some sucker who believed in this economic system or the integrity of its banks.

              1. american socialist:

                Thanks, man… I’m better off than I would be if I was some sucker who believed in this economic system or the integrity of its banks.

                Clearly, the banking financial system is the result of libertarianism run riot at the highest levels of money and power.

                It’s about as libertarian as the military industrial complex.

                Still, I think you’re a sucker for believing that socialism is going to be your salvation. You’re going to be waiting a long time for that.

              2. “i ‘m doing fine and your inordinate interest in my financial standing… Let me say, I’m touched. Thanks, man…”

                Protip: if you don’t want people showing an interest in your financial standing, don’t start commenting about your own financial standing.

                Even better, try not to brag about how awesome it was to be upside down in your house and defaulting on your loans. No one hears a story like that and assumes they’re reading the words of a shrewd person.

                1. I don ‘t think you should be interested in my financial standing. Why do you keep bringing it up ? Is something bothering you, Brian? Not getting any? You sound tense.

                  1. “I don ‘t think you should be interested in my financial standing.”

                    Then don’t bring it up, especially if you’re going to feel “insulted” by what people think, and abandon the thread.

                    Because American Socialist is never insulting, ever.

                    Now, go back to lecturing everyone on libertarian hypocrisy. I’m sure you have the whole room’s full attention, and lots of credibility.

              3. american socialist|6.1.14 @ 6:11PM|#
                “Hi Brian, commenting here is just a hobby.”

                You should find something to do well.

                1. “You should find something to do well.”

                  Hey Brian, is this considered a personal attack (bad) or sarcasm (presumably good). Just checking in. Thanks, man

                  1. Just a suggestion, commie-kid.
                    Try to find something to do well.

                2. Sevo,

                  Fuck off.

                  1. Not on your life, asshole.

      2. Aside from the fact that Reason writers have their disagreements (eg MOST are not anarchists), Reason, Gillespie and Welch in particular, were vehemently opposed to invading Iraq from the very beginning.

        1. Hmmm, they were?

          “For non-isolationists like me, this can be a good thing — I still think the world is a better, safer and more just place after the wars in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, for example (while remaining COWARDLY AGNOSTIC about Iraq). But to ignore the momentum that such interventions create, and the danger that that momentum may cause, would be folly.” [emphasis mine]

          https://reason.com/archives/200…..tion-logic

          It’s pretty funny how “libertarians” apply one standard while a Republican is in office and another when a Democrat is in office. I keep wondering why that is. Did someone mention ass-licking a couple posts back?

          1. american socialist:

            Did someone mention ass-licking a couple posts back?

            I remember, a while back, a certain socialist whining and crying that he didn’t like insults:

            I don’t like the personal nature of the insults being hurled here so I am retiring from this thread. Have a nice day.

            I guess it’s all fun and games talking about libertarian ass-lickers and motherfuckers, until you’re feelings get hurt, and then it’s time to catch the vapors and go home.

            1. I’m entitled as a commenter to talk about what I want, no? I wasn’t whining… Really, Brian, nothing you guys say really hurts my feelings and occasionally you say something interesting. It’s good to hear from people with whom you disagree.

              You think what I did above is a personal attack? Ccl claimed that Matt welch was against the war in Iraq from the start, I said no he wasn’t and posted an article to that effect.

              Do you consider it out-of-bounds to suggest a reason why– that is, that many writers at Reason are unreliably libertarian when a republican is in office. You think that’s personal in nature?

              1. Nothing there states he was pro attacking Iraq.

                1. Ccl said they were adamantly opposed to attacking Iraq. Agnostic doesn’t mean “adamently opposed” unless agnostic means I’ll give it a pass when a right-wing Republican is in office and then I’ll bitch and moan about it and tell every one–falsely– that I opposed it “from the very beginning.”

                  Is that what agnostic means? You might also note that mr. Anti-war was for sending in troops into Afghanistan and Bosnia.

              2. Brian, nothing you guys say really hurts my feelings and occasionally you say something interesting.

                You said you felt insulted. That’s a feeling. And it’s a hurt feeling.

                You think what I did above is a personal attack?

                I claim that consindering others “ass-lickers” and calling them “motherfuckers” is a personal attack, among the many you’ve posted before. In general, you come across as a sarcastic, rude troll. Which is why I find it humorous when you suddenly feel “insulted”.

                If you want to be that way, go for it. What you write says more about you then it will ever say about libertarianism, or the writers here. You’re just revealing yourself to us, not the other way around.

                Also, if you want to bring up your personal finances, go for it. Talk about what you want to.

                If you want to let us know how hurt your feelings are when I’m not only unimpressed by your own financial stories, but say (and rightly so) that you come across as someone with financial struggles, rather than someone who’s rocking it, go ahead and let us know.

                And, if you want to do all of the above (i.e., a sarcastic, rude troll, who also turns around and gets insulted when the stories of his own financial amazingness don’t inspire the awe he thinks he deserves), then knock yourself out.

                Again, you’re saying more about yourself than anyone or anything here. And, if this is the way you want to share socialism, I’ll be happy to give you the microphone.

                1. I’m never sarcastic.

                  Where did I say I was insulted?

                  If you are serious about giving me a microphone I’ll send you a hushmail account with which I can send you a writing sample. I’d love to write for you guys as kind of an anti-libertarian. Hook me up with a job! I need all the money I can get.

                  1. american socialist|6.1.14 @ 9:03PM|#
                    “I’m never sarcastic.”

                    Can’t tell. Stupid, mendacious, confused, yes. Sarcastic, not sure.

                  2. american socialist:

                    I’m never sarcastic.

                    Really? Even when upthread, you wanted to give the Nobel Prize to LBJ for ending the VIetnam War?

                    I’m sorry. I guess Poe’s Law strikes again.

                    Where did I say I was insulted?

                    Here:

                    I don’t like the personal nature of the insults being hurled here so I am retiring from this thread.

                    I’d love to write for you guys as kind of an anti-libertarian. Hook me up with a job!

                    Thanks for the offer, but I think I’ll pass. Call it a market failure.

                    I need all the money I can get.

                    Exactly. I can tell, because you had to give your house to the bank. That and you’re never sarcastic: everything you say in sincere.

              3. american socialist|6.1.14 @ 7:14PM|#
                “I’m entitled as a commenter to talk about what I want, no?”

                Absolutely! Lies, misdirection, strawmen, all the standard lefty crap. Just keep it up, we can all use the humor.

          2. I said Iraq not Afghanistan or Yugoslavia you illiterate fuck.

      3. Reason contributors who made excuses for the war in Iraq.

        Still waiting on a citation for this.

        Here, this’ll help you get your search started.

  12. More of the same Obama bashing as usual. I’m sure that whoever the next President is, that he/she will get the same bashing from the same paid propagandists.

    With that said, if government “cannot be trusted with such power,” than who can? Who is supposed to run the country?

    1. Citizens.

      1. What kind of “citizens”? Street people? Retarded people? Rich people? Define the type of “citizens” who should be running this country. Give me some explanation instead of one word.

        1. Yes, all of them. Everybody. Individuals freely interacting as is their desire.

          I don’t need someone else to “run” my life, especially when he/she is insulated from the consequences of their stupidity. Thank you, I’d rather gamble on my own choices about how to live my life than those of a Bush, a Clinton, an Obama.

          If you feel the need to have someone “run” your life, there’s plenty of gurus who will be happy to do so. In the meantime, reducing the power and scope of government to its clearly delimited functions will allow others to choose different gurus, or horror of horrors, no guru at all.

          1. Sorry Old Man, but there will always be a government of some kind to “run” your life. It consists of law enforcement agencies, and taxes, and things like that. If you live in a country (which every one does) than you already know what I am talking about. Get used to it. If you want to escape government plan on going to some deserted island. But someone probably owns that island already, so you really can’t escape that government thing can you?

            1. Turing fail

            2. Similar to my other comment, you are trying to argue that government is supposed to wage endless war ?

              1. Road guy gets easily confused.

                1. Sevo,

                  The only thing I am not at all confused about, is knowing that you really are more worthless than dog shit.

                  1. “The only thing I am not at all confused about, is knowing that you really are more worthless than dog shit.”

                    VERY easily confused.

              2. You really are stupid as hell aren’t you?!

    2. Yeah, Mandalay, I mean, somebody’s gotta launch drone strikes against Pakistani weddings, amirite?

      1. If your sense of humor gets any bigger you will inflate and fly away into space never to be seen again.

        1. Sorry, Mandy, but I use humor to help me deal with the fact that there are people like you who genuinely believe that a.) people are too stupid and/or evil to make decisions about their own lives, but b.) are fully capable of selecting a small cadre of benevolent and wise bureaucrats to wield authority over the lives of everyone else.

          It’s hilarious, really. You actually believe that there’s some sort of vital need that’s being filled by the Obama administration. I can only guess at what that need might be since you seem to think he’s doing a fantastic job at it.

          1. Wrong on ALL counts. I don’t believe in the Obama administration anymore than I believed in the Bush Administration. My point is that everyone will always be under some kind of government. Anyone who thinks they are not will soon get a rude awakening for breaking a law and ending up in prison. Don’t pay taxes and find out what happens. You know the drill. Wake up to reality and get your head out of your asshole.

            1. “My point is that everyone will always be under some kind of government.[…] Don’t pay taxes and find out what happens. You know the drill. Wake up to reality and get your head out of your asshole.”

              So your point is we should just accept it?

              1. So don’t accept it. You will always be under some kind of government, be it federal, state, or local. The people who run governments don’t really give a shit whether you like the concept of government or not. Don’t pay your taxes and find out what happens. That’s just one example. You really must be stupid as pig shit not to realize that your anti-government stance is the protest of a retarded child.

                1. On The Road To Mandalay|6.1.14 @ 9:51PM|#
                  …”You really must be stupid as pig shit not to realize that your anti-government stance is the protest of a retarded child.”

                  So you’re here to advise us of our confusion?
                  You do realize this is a libertarian site, right? And you have some idea of what libertarians think of government?
                  NO WONDER you come across as such a fool!

    3. Maybe the country needs less ‘running’ than you suppose.

      1. Just a one liner? So tell me how the country should be run “less” than I “suppose”. I need to see a detailed explanation from you in print. I’m waiting for your wisdom so I can become more enlightened.

        1. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a document spelling this out. Yeah, and to make it a cool document, it would be hand-written on parchment, with fancy cursive fcript, and all old and stuff. Lots of signatures on the bottom.

          Too bad there isn’t something like that.

          1. And your point is?

            1. Second Turing fail.

              1. Have a nice evening, shit for brains.

    4. How about nobody? The fact of the matter is, both Neocons and Socialists have been actively intervening for one hundred years. Aside from the two world wars, are military actions have been purely philosophical endeavors. Sure, propping up a dictatorship can be financially lucrative in the short run but it usually ends with a coup de’etat and an entire nation resenting, if not right hostile towards us.Despite Richman’s often lazy reasoning, I believe the point was less military activity would be a long term benefit for us all.

    5. “cannot be trusted with such power”. That is a rather strange argument, because what really is being discussed here is government that wages endless war and interventions. Unless you believe government is supposed to run things by endlessly waging war, what you are actually arguing for sounds like this: “if government does not attack all these countries who else is supposed to do it ?”.

    6. More of the same Obama bashing as usual. I’m sure that whoever the next President is, that he/she will get the same bashing from the same paid propagandists.

      Excellent point in light of the fact that Reason has never once in it’s entire publication history dating back to the 1970’s written anything critical of any president until Obama took office. It’s even worse than you can imagine though. These nigger-lynching propaganda artists are so devious, most of them voted for Obama and claimed they were fed up with Republicans just to give themselves cover for their nigger-lynching of our glorious leader. Can you believe that?

      1. “Can you believe that?”

        I remain amused that every lefty twit who shows up here, in spite of all evidence, presumes this is a so-con site, devoted to the support of Bush, Reagan, Cheney, etc.
        EVERY DAMN ONE!

  13. “Rather, it is based on the understanding that U.S. government entry into other people’s conflicts can be counted on to make things worse by magnifying the violence and setting in motion other regrettable unintended consequences.”

    It would have been much better to stand by and just watch the Soviet tanks roll across Europe after WWII.

    Interfering in “their” conflict would only make things worse. Right, Sheldon?

    The thing is, Sheldon is a straw man.

    “For example, the conflict in Syria became a full-blown civil war when Obama and other Western politicians declared that President Bashar al-Assad “must go” and formally recognized certain members of the opposition as the legitimate government.”

    Yes, because recognizing existing totalitarian regimes is good, but recognizing those fighting to overthrow them is bad, and causes all the problems.

    “is a direct consequence of long years of U.S. support for repressive, corrupt regimes in the Muslim world, the bombing and embargoing of Iraq,

    Supporting oppressive regimes is bad. Opposing repressive regimes is bad.

    ” and the bankrolling of Israel’s injustices against the Palestinians.”

    Damn those Isrealis! If only they’d be good little Jews and let themselves be exterminated like they’re supposed to, everything would be fine.

    Why does Reason have a European Progressive as a staff writer? Just to piss us off?

    1. Do you consider yourself a libertarian? From what you’ve written I trust you haven’t given a lot of thought as to why your taxes might be high. Really, it’s all about giving money to black people and Mexicans… Yes, that’s it. You should check out frontpagemag or breitbart.com. They have the staunch “libertarians” you are looking for over there.

      1. “Really, it’s all about giving money to black people and Mexicans…”

        Straw man down! a.s. is gonna get really burned one day!

      2. Really, it’s all about giving money to black people and Mexicans

        Mostly old people and sick people, actually. Social Security alone, as you will see from the chart, accounts for more of the budget than military expenditures. Add in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP and you’ve got 46% of the entire federal budget. The 12% of the budget spent on safety net programs doesn’t quite hit the 19% level of defense, but still it’s nothing to sneeze at either.

        Of course even at our current rate of intervention we could spend about half what we currently do on the military, so those aren’t really mutually exclusive positions. Still, it’s a good thing we’ve got budget hawks like you around to keep us honest.

        1. Don’t confuse american socialist with facts. He didn’t even know that retired people aren’t counted in the labor force participation rate.

    2. *It would have been much better to stand by and just watch the Soviet tanks roll across Europe after WWII.*

      Actually, if we hadn’t INTERVENED by giving the Soviets a kazillion tons of materiel–which I’m pretty sure started after Barbarossa and before Pearl Harbor, the only place the tanks would have been rolling would have been east over the Urals into hidey-holes for 50 years.

  14. On The Road To Mandalay|6.1.14 @ 6:58PM|#
    “Sorry Old Man, but there will always be a government of some kind…”

    I think we have a clue here.
    This is an adolescent product of government education who has a view of history extending to, oh, 1800 or so. And a philosophical view extending to the realization that there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two teams.
    And an imagination defined by those limits.
    IOWs, we’re dealing with ignorance no one here wants to try to correct; road-guy gets to do it on his own or not do it at all.

  15. I see Mary is off her meds again and posting under her Mandalay handle. Or is it American? Or is it Tulpa?

    It’s kinda hard to keep up with all of these shitlicking retards that have to play forty different parts.

    1. Why the hell are these socialist trolls not banned?

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