Libertarianism

Libertarians Versus the War Hawks

War, like most government plans, tends not to work out as well as planners hoped.

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Scorpions and Centaurs/Flickr

Both libertarians and conservatives want to keep America safe. We differ on how best to do that. Most libertarians believe our attempts to create or support democracy around the world have made us new enemies, and done harm as well as good. We want less military spending. 

Some conservatives respond to that by calling us isolationists, but we're not. I want to participate in the world; I just don't want to run it. I'm glad Americans trade with other countries—trade both goods and people. It's great we sell foreigners our music, movies, ideas, etc. And through dealing with them, we also learn from what they do best.   

On my TV show this week, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton will tell me why my libertarian skepticism about the importance of a "strong military presence" is "completely irrelevant to foreign policy decision-making." 

Bolton thinks it's dangerous and provocative for America to appear militarily weak. He supported the Iraq War and says that if Iran were close to getting nuclear weapons, the U.S should attack. "I will go to my grave trying to prevent every new country we can find from getting nuclear weapons," because if they do, "it's going to be a very dangerous world."

He criticizes Presidents Barack Obama's and George W. Bush's failed attempts at negotiation with Iran, "negotiation based on the delusion from the get-go that Iran was ever serious about potentially giving up its nuclear weapon program." 

That kind of talk makes Bolton sound like a hard-headed realist. Who wants to be naive like Bush or Obama? But hawks like Bolton ignore parts of reality, too. 

They are quick and correct to point out the danger of Iran going nuclear. They are not as quick to talk about the fact that Iran has a population three times the size of Iraq's—and the Iraq War wasn't as smooth or short as then-Vice President Dick Cheney and others assured us it would be. 

If it's realistic to acknowledge that America has dangerous enemies, it's also realistic to acknowledge that going to war is not always worth the loss of money and lives, and that it makes new enemies. War, like most government plans, tends not to work out as well as planners hoped. 

I asked Bolton if he thought the Vietnam War was a good intervention. "Obviously, the way it played out, it was not," he said, but, "it's always easy after the fact to second-guess." 

Bolton also acknowledges that the Iraq War did not go well, but then adds, "Where mistakes were made was after the military campaign." The U.S. was unprepared for the civil war that broke out. The U.S. also failed to turn utilities and other state-run companies in Iraq over to the private sector, maintaining poorly run monopolies on energy production and other essential services, often squandering billions of dollars. 

It might be seen as a harsh lesson in the importance of planning for the aftermath of toppling a bad regime. But we libertarians wonder: Why assume government will do better next time? 

Occasionally government acknowledges mistakes in domestic policy—but that doesn't mean it then becomes more efficient. It usually just spends more to try, and fail, to fix the problem. It's the nature of government. Politicians don't face the competitive incentives that force other people to make hard decisions. 

Candidate Obama garnered support by criticizing Bush for costing money and lives through a protracted stay in Iraq. But that didn't stop President Obama from putting more money and troops into Afghanistan. In his first term alone, Obama spent about three times as much in Afghanistan as Bush did in two terms.

Did we win hearts and minds? I don't think so. The Taliban may still retake the country. 

Our military should be used for defense, not to police the world. 

NEXT: Kid Twirls a Pencil in Class, N.J. Threatens to Take Him From His Dad and Requires Blood and Urine Testing

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  1. That is COLORADO’S Mobile Billboard for the 2008 convention I believe…AWESOME!

    1. I contributed to the mobile billboard fund ya know.

  2. But don’t you see, Stossel, that it’s a choice? A certain kind of dichotomy, if you will. Either you never shy away from getting involved in other countries’ affairs, or you close off all contact with them. You must pick one of the two. For the children.

  3. It might be seen as a harsh lesson in the importance of planning for the aftermath of toppling a bad regime. But we libertarians wonder: Why assume government will do better next time?

    It probably won’t. But that doesn’t change the fact that some regime may be a threat to the US such that removing it is the only option.

    Yes, Wilsonians underestimate how hard and unpredictable war is. Libertarians to their credit do not. The problem Libertarians have is their response to that realization is to just pretend war is never necessary or that we, rather than our enemies, can choose peace.

    Should the US police the world? I don’t know. The answer to that question depends on a lot of things but mostly it depends on how policing the world compares to the other options available. The fact that policing the world sucks and is expensive and never works out the way we hoped just means policing the world sucks and shouldn’t be done lightly or for anything but urgent and grave reasons. It does not however mean that the alternatives to not policing the world might be worse. It sounds great to walk away and leave the world to its own devices until the world manages to make things so bad you can no longer ignore it and it is too late to keep it from doing you great harm.

    1. The mistake the internationalist make is that they assume every compromise is Munich and every regional conflict one with world wide significance. The solution to that mistake is not however to assume no moment can ever again be Munich and no regional conflict can ever have larger significance. Doing the latter is just as reckless and stupid as doing the former, it will just take longer to finally have to pay for the mistake.

    2. The problem Libertarians have is their response to that realization is to just pretend war is never necessary or that we, rather than our enemies, can choose peace.

      Flog that straw man, Red Tony! Flog it good!

      1. It only seems like a straw man because you don’t understand what I am saying. Pretending that we can live in the world and only go to war when and if someone directly attacks our soil or that never defending our interests militarily will somehow make such an attack less likely, is effectively pretending war is never necessary or that we can have peace if we rather than our enemies choose it.

        1. Saying that war is rarely necessary is “effectively” the same as saying it is never necessary.

          Because rarely and never are “effectively” the same thing.

          That’s Tony grade derp.

        2. Tony argues that limited government means no government.

          Red Tony argues that limited war means no war.

          Same “logic.”

          1. But neither is necessary.

            1. While they may not be necessary, they do happen to be inevitable. Reality is not optional.

              1. ..but morality is.

                1. Yes, because being an unprepared victim is the “moral” thing to do, right?

          2. sarcasmic

            It’s interesting that “John” didn’t bother to shun your clever moniker “Red Tony,” and I wonder why?

            Could it be that the Tonys don’t want to discuss who they really are, or am I just being paranoid? Is it possible that some left leaning group is actually paying for some of these guys to post here? Has there been any discussion about that here at Reason?

            1. Yeah. Both Tonys bug out when I point out the fallacies in their arguments. Tony will often come back later for some final swipe, but Red Tony quits altogether. He just can’t handle it when I point out the straw men and logical inconsistencies in his arguments. He says I’m being stupid, but the truth is that he doesn’t know what to do when I tear down the foundation of his most cherished arguments against libertarians. Other than stick his fingers in his ears like a child. Then the next time the subject comes up, he’s back out there attacking the same straw man arguments with the same logical inconsistencies. Just like a liberal returning from the hive.

            2. Concern troll is concern.

    3. other options available

      Personally, I think our use of political assassinations is *largely* underused.

      I think our society/government is, or would be, exceptionally resilient to it and I think it puts politicians in a place where they should be with regard to enacting policies in places where they shouldn’t be enacting them.

      I think it further creates and sends clearer political messages than the large-scale policies of warfare used to (when killing everyone on Earth took massive campaigns rather than the push of a button).

      Especially given our currently shady executive policy wrt to assassinations, I certainly wish the FF had been a little more clear in the matter.

    4. John|6.11.14 @ 12:23PM

      “Should the US police the world? I don’t know.”

      I believe you could have stopped right there.

      1. good for you. Since you apparently are incapable of understanding everything else I said, that doesn’t surprise me. If you would like to try and think a bit and engage in an actual conversation, you should maybe give it a shot sometime.

        1. Says the guy with his fingers in his ears yelling “La la la laaaaaa I can’t hear you La la la laaaa.”

          lol

        2. John
          “good for you. Since you apparently are incapable of understanding everything else I said, that doesn’t surprise me. If you would like to try and think a bit and engage in an actual conversation, you should maybe give it a shot sometime.”

          So, your attempt at an “actual conversation” with me begins with this notion that I am incapable of understanding your arguments and I need to “think a bit!”

          Well, as libertarians have this non-aggression principle as the foundation of their philosophy which also provides a limiting factor for foreign entanglements as its dominant feature, other than your notion that top men should have the discretion to invade any country they see fit, what is your guiding principle to limit aggression? Or to put it another way, how would you prevent a future Viet Nam or Afghanistan from happening other than telling us we need better top men?

    5. “The problem Libertarians have is their response to that realization is to just pretend war is never necessary or that we, rather than our enemies, can choose peace.”

      That’s a heck of a straw man, though I suppose you’d think that’s true if you only ever read the articles decrying war. Do we really need to say that wars of REAL self defense are necessary? Almost like if the other country violates NAP then you can defend yourself?

      Anyhow, if China decides to mess with [fill in the country here] or Russia decides it wants to annex [whomever], I fail to see why I should care.

      The Arabs have a saying, “Me and my brother against my cousin, me and my cousin against the foreigner” (something like that, anyway). It means, as long as you aren’t a threat to them, they will happily fight each other. This applies to ALL other countries too! Think about it.

      Ask yourself, why would they want to attack us if we would destroy everything they love with extreme prejudice? Why not take stuff from the weaker (closer) neighbor?

      Signed, a former US Marine.

      1. So if China decides to “annex” Mexico or Canada by force, and they’ve moved a few million troops to our borders, we should just mind our own business until they’ve actually crossed our borders? Is that the libertarian idea of National Defense?

        1. Ironic example since the UN basically is doing exactly that to Russia and yet we all freak out when they retaliated with the Crimea invasion. But according to you, I infer from your post, that we should retaliate exactly like that as well. So who is right mister warhawk? Can’t have it both ways.

    6. ” But that doesn’t change the fact that some regime may be a threat to the US such that removing it is the only option.”
      That has literally never happened. The closest the US came to having a state be such a threat to the US that it’s removal is the only option was the USSR. News flash, the USA didn’t remove it, it collapsed.

      ” It sounds great to walk away and leave the world to its own devices until the world manages to make things so bad you can no longer ignore it and it is too late to keep it from doing you great harm.”
      So where is your evidence that the USA policing the world has ever worked?

    7. ” But that doesn’t change the fact that some regime may be a threat to the US such that removing it is the only option.”
      That has literally never happened. The closest the US came to having a state be such a threat to the US that it’s removal is the only option was the USSR. News flash, the USA didn’t remove it, it collapsed.

      ” It sounds great to walk away and leave the world to its own devices until the world manages to make things so bad you can no longer ignore it and it is too late to keep it from doing you great harm.”
      So where is your evidence that the USA policing the world has ever worked?

    8. “some regime may be a threat to the US such that removing it is the only option.”

      Maybe we should wait until they actually show they intend to attack the US before removing it? Or should we attack all potential threats, say like North Korea, Cuba, Russia, Iran, Syria, and China? We can do it – after all, we spend as much on our military as the rest of the world combined; thus, we can wage war against the rest of the world.

      That will eliminate the threats, just like it did in Iraq and Libya, which weren’t threats before we invaded, but are now, even though our politicians said they were threats earlier.

  4. Bolton thinks it’s dangerous and provocative for America to appear militarily weak.

    Telling people what to do is NOT a sign of military strength.

    1. Depends. Wars mostly start because of miscalculation. Every great power has some kind of red line. There is some point where if the other side does something they will go to war. Wars usually happen when one adversary miscalculates and thinks the other party will tolerate something when in fact that something is the red line.

      People always talk about Munich. Well, that was a good example of miscalculation causing a war or at least triggering the war. Hitler never dreamed France and the UK would go to war over Poland when they hadn’t gone to war over the Czech Republic. He invaded Poland thinking it was not a red line. It was. Why did he think that? Because the allies rolled over on the much more important issue of Czechoslovakia. Instead of creating peace, their weakness lead Hitler to miscalculate and do something that caused the war.

      The danger of being too bellicose is that you make your enemies paranoid and conclude war is inevitable and thus attack you figuring they might as well get the first lick in. The danger of being weak is that you make your enemies bellicose and think they can do something you won’t tolerate.

      It is just not as simple as “if we would just be peaceful we would never have a war”. Some nations will gladly take advantage of us if they think they can. And worse, they will do it to such a degree that we will end up eventually having to respond and that will give us a war.

      1. It is just not as simple as “if we would just be peaceful we would never have a war”. Some nations will gladly take advantage of us if they think they can.

        If I’m not forcing you to do something against your will, what reason would you have to go to war with me?

        Now, I will give you, there are some evil people out there who will attempt to take advantage of you (i.e take your shit). THAT is initiation of force, and a response is justifiable. AND THAT is the reason to have a powerful military.

        Trade is voluntary for both parties involved. There is no force. Trade with everyone.

        But you don’t need to tell other countries how to run their country. EVER. Doing so pisses people off, giving them reason to war with you. How do you react when the Europeans tell us we need to ban guns?

        Speak softly…big stick. Life 101.

        1. If I’m not forcing you to do something against your will, what reason would you have to go to war with me?

          Because I am an asshole who wants to dominate you and do what I want. Are you so naive that you think other nations like China give a flying fuck whether we try and “force them to do anything” and wouldn’t gladly dictate anything to us that is in their benefit if they could? You have no problem understanding how people suck, why do you not understand nations do too?

          But you don’t need to tell other countries how to run their country. EVER. Doing so pisses people off, giving them reason to war with you. How do you react when the Europeans tell us we need to ban guns?

          Sure. But if you are kidding yourself if you think not telling countries how to run themselves internally will keep us from having conflicts with them. Are you really that naive?

          1. But if you are kidding yourself if you think not telling countries how to run themselves internally will keep us from having conflicts with them.

            Keep flogging those straw men, Red Tony.

            No one said that meddling in the internal affairs of other countries is the only reason in the world for having conflicts, and that there would be no conflicts at all if we stopped.

            If you go around poking people in the chest, eventually someone’s going to give you a black eye. If you stop poking people in the chest, it doesn’t mean nobody will give you a black eye.

            But keep it up Red Tony. You’re on a roll.

          2. You know John, I find something about you curious.

            You hate cops because they’re assholes and bullies who needlessly cause harm wherever they go.

            Yet you swoon when our government does the same thing on an international scale.

            What gives?

          3. It would have prevented every war since WWII (and maybe WWII), except maybe the Gulf War.

            Why did we give a flying fuck what happens in Korea or Vietnam? Some bullshit notion that it was our job to stop the spread of Communism?

            I almost buy Gulf War I, as our national interest was oil. But, I’m not sure how we feel we have claim to other people’s oil? Regardless, our continued presence in the region is what CAUSED the next two wars. (Not saying the attacks were justified, only that they wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t in SA.)

            1. (Not saying the attacks were justified, only that they wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t in SA.)

              Getting a conservative to wrap their head around that is like convincing a drug warrior that prohibition causes more problems than it solves.

            2. It would have prevented every war since WWII (and maybe WWII), except maybe the Gulf War.

              It would have prevented the Korean war? The north invaded the South because we were trying to tell the North how to run its affairs? It would have prevented the Communists from taking over Vietnam?

              It wouldn’t have prevented any wars. It just would have given the US a ready excuse to not fight the cold war and allow the communists to invade and subjugate most of the world. Maybe that would have been a good thing. We will never know. But it doesn’t prove your point. The fact is most nations are aggressive and nasty and will happily dominate and in some cases invade and forcibly subjugate other countries if they have the opportunity. Never commenting on their internal evil and hoping for the best isn’t going to change that.

              1. The north invaded the South because we were trying to tell the North how to run its affairs? It would have prevented the Communists from taking over Vietnam?

                No. Why do we care about S Korea/Vietnam? We didn’t need to get involved in either of them.

                1. Why do we care about S Korea/Vietnam? We didn’t need to get involved in either of them.

                  Because thanks to our efforts South Korea turned into a wealthy and prosperous country that we make billions trading with rather than a communist hell hole. Last I looked international trade was a good thing and allowing the entire world to turn into a communist prison state is not very good for business.

                  Do you think the communists would have stopped at Korea? They would have moved onto Japan and from onto somewhere else. You seem incapable of understanding that sometimes people have motivations of their own that are independent of what we do.

                  The world faced a murderous an horrific ideology funded by an evil super power and your contention is we should have said “not my fucking problem” and walked away. As if we could have somehow existed and never been effected by huge parts of the globe becoming Cuba or that we didn’t greatly benefit by that not happening.

                  I wish the world were as you believe it to be and such that we could just walk away and never bother with it and never pay a price for doing so. Sadly, it is not and it never will be and really never has been.

                  1. Okay, I’ll bite! Suppose those commies did invade one country after another in Asia but instead of protecting these countries out of hand we simply offered them a choice, become one of our United Sates, live under our constitution, engage in free trade, and then and only then we will bring you in under our military umbrella, otherwise you are on your own. What would the world look like today if we had pursued that course of action?

                    And you seem to assume that invading other countries is cost free, why?

  5. Bolton also acknowledges that the Iraq War did not go well, but then adds, “Where mistakes were made was after the military campaign.” The U.S. was unprepared for the civil war that broke out. The U.S. also failed to turn utilities and other state-run companies in Iraq over to the private sector, maintaining poorly run monopolies on energy production and other essential services, often squandering billions of dollars.

    Which is a pretty direct statement that the military, while a useful tool, *cannot* be the only/largest/fallback/go-to tool in the foreign relations toolbox. When your defense of military intervention is that you defeated a military that you already defeated just a decade earlier (and who had massive surrenders both times), and that we failed to carry through on that success socio-economically, you’ve pretty much just admitted that you have a toolbox with too many hammers. A toolbox filled with hammers because your socio-economics are a clusterfuck.

    1. The U.S. also failed to turn utilities and other state-run companies in Iraq over to the private sector, maintaining poorly run monopolies on energy production and other essential services, often squandering billions of dollars.

      It’s almost like the Ivy League educated mandarins of the State Department and USAID have no fucking clue what brings economic success.

    2. Exactly. We can defeat other countries. What we cannot do is make other countries want to fight for us or even fight for themselves if they don’t want to. If you conclude that Saddam was a threat to US interests, you can defeat him and throw him out of power. What you cannot do is make the Iraqis form a government to fight off radical Islamists if they don’t want to anymore than we could force the South Vietnamese to get their act together and fight the communists. That is up to them.

      It is like all of this panic over Al Qada taking over Mosul. That is the Iraqi’s problem. We can’t fight al Quada for them forever. If they want something better than an Islamist shithole, they are going to have to fight for it themselves. If they let Al Quada turn their country into a base to attack the US, then well they are going to have to live with US bombs dropping on them again. It sucks, but that is the way it is. We can’t build their country for them. They had over seven years of the US defending them. If they can’t do it now on their own, that is their fault not ours.

  6. Meanwhile in France and across Europe, taxi drivers are on strike to protest Uber…. publicizing their enemy and forcing people wanting a taxi ride to call….. Uber

    http://in.reuters.com/article/…..UG20140611

  7. Bolton thinks…

    That’s a lie.

  8. The U.S. was unprepared for the civil war that broke out.

    I have never understood this assertion. How could civil war *not* have broken out?

    1. Neocons gonna neocon.

    2. It is because the people in the White House and the State Department listened to a bunch of expats who looked and talked like them instead of people who were on the ground. Also, a civil war didn’t immediately break out. A civil war only broke out after Al Quada started one by bombing the mosque in Samara.

      Ultimately, there is no way the US can force the Shia and the Suni to get along if they didn’t want to. And sometimes wars are just necessary. There is just so much bad blood between to groups that no compromise can occur until they get tired of killing each other.

    3. How could civil war *not* have broken out?

      If there had been an immediate transition to a free market economy, I don’t think it would have been all that bad. Remember, Saddam was a national socialist. The misery of Iraq was not all caused by political violence. A lot was a result of a terribly managed economy.

      We did a lot of handing out aid, and not enough actually letting the market function. Giving away aid puts all the shopkeepers out of business, and then they leave. Then when the aid stops, what do you have left?

      1. I disagree. The civil war was going to happen eventually. The Suni had been on top too long to give up being so without a fight and the Shia had been victimized too long not to want payback eventually.

        Had we not invaded Iraq, eventually Saddam would have died and one of his idiot sons would have taken over. Everyone hated the sons. The country would have quickly devolved into a civil war and would look like Syria does right now.

        People say we did no good in Iraq. Well, Iraq, whatever its faults, doesn’t at least right now look like Syria and that is what it would have eventually become and still may become depending on what the Iraqis themselves want to do.

    4. How could civil war *not* have broken out?

      Had Saddam been left in power I doubt a civil war would have broken out. Just sayin’.

      1. Unless Saddam was really a vampire and immortal, that doesn’t really answer the mail. Even if he could have clung to power, once he died, the sons would have quickly lost control.

        1. For some silly reason I thought that was in reference to a post-war Iraq after the military had been disbanded and most of the infrastructure destroyed. In that case a civil war was inevitable because they country lacked a military and the general population lacked infrastructure. So lacking means to fight a war and with the people unhappy about not having reliable electricity and water, civil war was inevitable.

          My bad.

  9. He supported the Iraq War and says that if Iran were close to getting nuclear weapons, the U.S should attack. “I will go to my grave trying to prevent every new country we can find from getting nuclear weapons,” because if they do, “it’s going to be a very dangerous world.”

    By this tortured bit of reasoning, the US should have stopped England, France, and China from getting nuclear weapons because it just made the world more dangerous. And yet, the United States is the only nation to have deployed a nuclear weapon against another country.

    Very interesting.

    1. Maybe some countries are not like the others? If you think France or the US is as dangerous with a nuclear weapon as Iran, then I don’t what to tell you other than you apparently don’t know much.

      Also, whether you stop a country depends not just on whether it would do any good but on how practical it is. Attacking China or North Korea is a bit less practical than attacking Iran.

      1. Maybe some countries are not like the others? If you think France or the US is as dangerous with a nuclear weapon as Iran, then I don’t what to tell you other than you apparently don’t know much.

        As snippy and petulent as this is, it doesn’t address the historic record of the U.S. having the distinction of being the only nation to have used a nuclear weapon against another.

        Also, whether you stop a country depends not just on whether it would do any good but on how practical it is. Attacking China or North Korea is a bit less practical than attacking Iran.

        You mean like how in the canons of US foreign and military policy it is always deemed “impractical” to attack a country with nuclear weapons?

        Who wouldn’t want nukes if it meant keeping the U.S. military out of your backyard?

        1. Who wouldn’t want nukes if it meant keeping the U.S. military out of your backyard?

          Cops don’t like it when citizens arm themselves, and the world police don’t like it when countries arm themselves.

          It makes them more difficult to bully.

          1. True Dat ,True Dat

        2. As snippy and petulent as this is, it doesn’t address the historic record of the U.S. having the distinction of being the only nation to have used a nuclear weapon against another.

          the US used a nuclear weapon to end a war that was already occurring and when the only other available option was invasion and millions of deaths.

          If you want to debate whether we should have done it, fine. But your answer to that question nothing about whether Iran getting the bomb is a good idea. At best you are left with saying “since the US once used the bomb and should not have, there is no reason to deny any other country from obtaining it”. That is idiotic.

          Who wouldn’t want nukes if it meant keeping the U.S. military out of your backyard?

          Yes, Nukes allow countries to do things that countries without nukes can’t. That is why Iran wants one and why them getting one is so problematic. You think you have made a point here but you really haven’t.

          1. “the US used a nuclear weapon to end a war that was already occurring and when the only other available option was invasion and millions of deaths.”

            The biggest lie in the whole god-damn war. The Japanese were on the edge to surrender. Murdering hundreds of thousands who had little or nothing to do with the conflict was unjustified.

          2. the US used a nuclear weapon to end a war that was already occurring and when the only other available option was invasion and millions of deaths.

            This is a well-travelled piece of propaganda. The Japanese were prepared to surrender as early as May 5, 1945, so long as they were allowed to retain the Imperial system. But our Executive Branch, led by the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, was not prepared to let them do that. The raging hard-on at the time was for “unconditional surrender.” Meanwhile, the Manhattan Project, as per its director, operated under the assumption that the bomb was being developed against the Soviets.

            So how do we get to the falsehood and false choice of “Nuke or Invade” when the Japanese were prepared to stop the fight? If the nuke was for the Soviets, why deploy it against Japan? To break the Japanese’s back and force them to accept an “unconditional surrender” and to cow the Soviets.

            Yes, Nukes allow countries to do things that countries without nukes can’t.

            A stunning piece of illogic, but please, continue.

            That is why Iran wants one and why them getting one is so problematic.

            What about Iran makes them so morally unfit to have nuclear weapons?

            You think you have made a point here but you really haven’t.

            So far, all you’ve given me is moral outrage and vague insinuations about “those sneaky Persians.”

            1. What about Iran makes them so morally unfit to have nuclear weapons?

              Dood! They’re like MOOOOSLEMS!!11!1

            2. Yes, Nukes allow countries to do things that countries without nukes can’t.

              A stunning piece of illogic, but please, continue.

              Why is that illogical? If you have nukes, you can do things like slaughter your own people and invade weaker neighbors with no worries of other countries interfering. Russia can invade Georgia with impunity. China can annex Tibet. Iraq invades Kuwait and a world coalition bitch slaps them. Having nukes makes the rest of the world very hesitant to stand up to you. Why can’t you comprehend that?

              What about Iran makes them so morally unfit to have nuclear weapons?

              The fact that they say they plan to use them to destroy Israel and terrorize their neighbors such that they can establish a Shia middle east. The fact that their neighbors are so terrified of them that they are likely to get nukes themselves and create an arms race and risk nuclear war which would have enormous harm to the entire planet.

              If your best argument is that Iran and Imperial Japan are no worse than the US, you have no argument.

              If you are going to be this stupid, just yell Red Tony like sarcasmic and show your stupidity in less words and let me know I should just ignore you like I do him.

              1. Fuck you John. I pointed out that your argument regarding war is EXACTLY THE SAME ARGUMENT that Tony makes with regards to government.

                It’s the exact same argument, John. That’s why I call you Red Tony. Because you make arguments that are logically identical to his.

                Then you stick your fingers in your ears like a child and yell “La la la laaa I can’t hear you la la la laaaa.”

                Grow the fuck up you thin skinned pussy.

                1. No fuck you sarcasmic. If you think I misrepresenting your argument, says what your argument is. You never do that. You just scream stray man and red tony. It gets tiresome. Coward’s arguments are wrong but at least he makes them. Why can’t you? Go find a single place on this thread where you ever stated a position or did anything but scream about how i was misrepresenting you. Make a fucking argument and state a position rather than constantly obsessing over how your opponents allegedly misrepresent you.

                  I don’t expect you to agree with me. But I do expect you to have a position if you want me to pay any attention to you. Sorry but “that is as straw man” and “red tony” is not a position. Yeah, I get it, you don’t agree with me. Big fucking deal. Say something in addition to that for once.

                  1. You just scream stray man and red tony. It gets tiresome.

                    I’m sure it gets tiresome when I point out the fallacies in your arguments. If you don’t like it then maybe you should quit with the fallacies.

                    When it comes to the military you’re just like a leftist socialist.

                    The feel that if there is something you don’t want the government to do, not only do you not want it to be done at all but you don’t want the government to do anything at all.

                    You’re the same way. When libertarians say “No, we don’t want the military to do that” you respond by saying “You don’t want it to be done by anyone at all and you don’t want the military to do anything at all.”

                    That’s why I call you Red Tony. Because you subscribe to the same fallacies.

                    Stop with the fallacies and I’ll stop with the Red Tony.

                2. “Without Government, (insert issue here)”

              2. Why is that illogical?

                Because it waves off the question of SHOULD nations with nuclear weapons do things that nations without should not with a little fait accompli.

                If you have nukes, you can do things like slaughter your own people and invade weaker neighbors with no worries of other countries interfering.

                And no one was doing this prior to the creation of the nuclear weapon?

                China can annex Tibet.

                China was unable to seize Tibet without nuclear weapons?

                Russia can invade Georgia with impunity.

                Russia was unable to invade Georgia without nuclear weapons?

                Iraq invades Kuwait and a world coalition bitch slaps them.

                So countries CAN invade each other without nuclear weapons! But then, it could be argued that Iraq would have never countenanced invading Kuwait if Kuwait had nuclear weapons, which is equally valid as the insinuation that the U.S. & Friends would not have invaded Iraq if Iraq had nuclear weapons.

                I mean, since we are playing with the crystal ball of “What If?”

                Having nukes makes the rest of the world very hesitant to stand up to you.

                So if you do something another country doesn’t like, they have the right to invade?

                Very realpolitik.

                1. The fact that they say they plan to use them to destroy Israel and terrorize their neighbors such that they can establish a Shia middle east.

                  Since you’ve conceded that nuclear weapons are a deterrent to invasion, let’s just pretend the open secret isn’t a secret and that Israel has nuclear weapons. Wouldn’t those nukes serve as a deterrent against Iran? Or is Iran just so full of durqa-durqa jihad crazy that mutually assured destruction has no place in their thinking, though they do appreciate nukes as deterrents?

                  1. Iran is so full of crazies that they WANT the entire world to disintegrate, as this is a requirement or sign of the coming of the 12th imam. The twelfth and final Imam is Muhammad al-Mahdi, who is believed by the Twelvers to be currently alive. According to Twelver Shiite doctrine, he is an actual historical personality and is the current Imam and the promised Mahdi, a messianic figure who will return with Christ. He will reestablish the rightful governance of Islam and replete the earth with justice and peace. He’s the islamic Jesus, and they’re looking forward to the islamic “Rapture”. Yes, they are that fucking crazy.

              3. Actually, Pakistan possessing nukes make me for more nervous than Iran having them, the Pakistani ISI is waaaay too cozy with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban for comport,

  10. Bolton is a fucking right wing idiot.

  11. The Chinese and Russians should run the world. And Americans should be extremely happy to let them.

  12. Si vis pacem, para bellum

  13. Well, as libertarians have this non-aggression principle as the foundation of their philosophy

    In general Libertarians don’t understand the world. Let us look at nations. Thinking of them as motorcycle gangs is very helpful.

    Libertarians don’t like to think like that. It is way too ugly to contemplate.

    So what does a gang have to do to maintain its position. It has to be tough. And form time to time it has to evidence the willingness to prove its toughness.

    Sucks. But reality is often like that.

  14. Not sure if someone already corrected this (no time to read 70 comments) but there is a factual error in this piece.

    Iraq’s population is roughly 36,000,000. Iran’s is roughly 77,000,000. “More than double” would be objectively true, but “three times” goes beyond even my charity.

    Other than that, nice bit as always!

    1. Iran’s land area is more than three times that of Iraq.

  15. I fully agree, A good friend of mine is your typical war-hawk republican, I have tried to argue the above points many times, but they fall on deaf ears, the right wing has its media sheep followers just as well as the lefties do.
    Pathetic.

    1. You don’t understand motorcycle gang psychology. See my comment:

      https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_4570175

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