Rand Paul

Let's Try a Libertarian Foreign Policy

Don't believe haters like Rick Perry and Chris Christie. A libertarian foreign policy is the only cure for what ails us abroad.

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This story originally appeared at The Daily Beast on July 16, 2014. Read it there.

After two long, drawn-out, bipartisan, and totally lost wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that aren't even over yet, it's finally clear exactly why American foreign policy has gone so tragically wrong in the 21st century.

The culprit, at least according to the leading lights of the Republican Party and the Obama administration, is what Gov. Chris Christie excoriated last summer as "this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties…a very dangerous thought."

Libertarians, says Gov. Rick Perry, are just nouveau isolationists and "isolationist policies make the threat of terrorism even greater." Writing in National Journal,Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson compared libertarian pols like Sen. Rand Paul to isolationist Sen. Robert Taft, who notoriously opposed American intervention in World War II and attacked the Nuremberg Trials as illegitimate.

You got that? It's not our go-it-alone crusaderism and robust military presence all over the world that has managed to lower America's "favorability" in the eyes of longtime allies and client states such as Britain, Germany, Japan, and Egypt. It's our hypothetical willingness to stop being globo-cop that's the issue, not our very real attempts to nation-build and even region-sculpt in parts of the world that have asked us to leave.

To hear the Dick Cheneys and Rick Perrys and John McCains of the world tell it, folks such as Paul, who explicitly calls for military, economic, and political "containment" of "radical Islam," are "curiously blind," desperate to withdraw to a "Fortress America," and just flat-out "crazy."

Forget for the moment that under both Republican and Democratic commanders-in-chief, libertarians had exactly zero influence on foreign policy—except perhaps for Paul's leading role in scuttling Obama's attempt to enter the Syrian civil war last fall.

"Isolationism is not an option," Obama told the graduating class of West Point earlier this year in a speech that, like most commencement addresses, was mercifully being forgotten even as it was being delivered. Every problem doesn't have a military solution, explained the man who tripled troop strength in Afghanistan to no observable change in the fortunes of the war there and dispatched planes and people to Libya for…what reason again?

No, said Obama, every problem doesn't have a military solution, but that doesn't mean we can't go to war without notifying Congress or worrying about what it will cost in lives and dollars. Obama's speech was a meringue of meaninglessness, and in that sense was a perfect encapsulation of his disastrous foreign policy.

America will act in concert with the nations of the word, said Obama, except when it doesn't want to. Because lots of people die in war, we'll act only when U.S. national interests are at stake.

But global warming is a national interest and "America's support for democracy and human rights goes beyond idealism—it is a matter of national security." So that's why U.S. special forces were dispatched to Nigeria (even before that country approved such a helping hand) and why American soldiers are traipsing around Africa looking for warlord Joseph Kony.

And troops—well, advisers—are going back to Iraq, six years after this president was elected on a promise to get us out of there.

Obama's foreign policy certainly hasn't lacked for the use of force. It has, however, lacked for successes, as became clear during an unintentionally hilarious yet telling State Department press conference in May. State's Jen Psaki said that, in her view, "the president doesn't give himself enough credit for what he's done around the world."

"Credit for what?" one reporter interrupted. "I'm sorry, credit for what?" The others in the room started laughing.

Around the same time, NBC's Richard Engel, who is not known as a staunch critic for the administration, was asked to name a few countries with which relations have improved under Obama. His reply? "I think you would be hard pressed to find that…I think the reason is our allies have become confused."

First under Bush and now under Obama, the one constant in American foreign policy is a lack of any conceivable constraint on whatever the president deems expedient at any moment in time. This is disastrous, especially when it comes to military and covert actions, because it precludes any serious public discussion and prioritization.

That's not just bad for the U.S. It's also bad for our allies, who have no framework by which to structure their own actions and expectations. The president is allowed to both declare red lines and then to ignore them when they are crossed, to dispatch troops or planes or supplies according to whim. In all of this, Obama in no way represents a break from Bush, but perfect continuity.

As The Daily Beast 's Eli Lake wrote for Reason back in 2010, the roots of this particularly strident new sense of imperial power can be traced back to the authorization of use of military force (AUMF) signed into law just a few days after the 9/11 attacks.

"Just as President Bush said the 9/14 resolution gave him the wartime powers to detain, interrogate, capture, and kill terrorists all over the world," wrote Lake, "so too does President Obama." Until recently—and because of pushback from characters such as Rand Paul, his fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee, and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden—Congress has been especially deferential to all aspects of executive power when it comes to foreign policy and war-making.

The results are plain to see in the still-smoldering battlefields across the globe and the rapidly deteriorating situations in places as different as Ukraine, Egypt, and even the U.S. border with Mexico. When the executive branch has carte blanche to act however it wants, it can't act effectively.

What would be a better foreign policy than what we've seen over the past 14 or so years? It's tempting to say, Anything, anything at all. Certainly, at least this much makes immediate sense: The United States should in fact withdraw militarily for good from Iraq and Afghanistan, especially if those countries' governments implore us to do so. And there are allies in both regions that we should continue to support not just morally, but materially and militarily.

All large-scale and long-term military engagements should actually be put to a specific congressional vote as dictated both by the Constitution and by common sense. The use of military force should be governed not by a set of infinitely expandable terms such as ensuring human rights and expanding democracy, but far narrower and less grandiose ideals of national defense.

As Rand Paul wrote recently in a response to criticisms from Rick Perry and other Republicans, "Anytime someone advocates sending our sons and daughters to war, questions about precise objectives, effective methods and an exit strategy must be thoughtfully answered."

Most importantly, foreign policy should not be reduced to a synonym for military action and covert operations. The most powerful weapon the United States has for expanding peace and enlarging prosperity has nothing to do with guns and bullets and everything to do with the way in which we have created a nation of 300 million-plus people who generally get along peacefully while pursuing radically different visions of the good life.

To the extent that we share our culture and commerce with the world rather than our drones and disdain, we will not only protect ourselves more effectively, we will actually help more people.

During the Cold War, the United States wasted millions if not billions of dollars on highly mannered, pathetic "cultural exchanges" designed to show that the "free world" could compete against communism in areas such as chess, and classical music. Yet no dissidents ever named a revolution after piano prodigy Van Cliburn; they named their revolution after the Velvet Underground.

Whatever else you can say about radical Islam, it won't survive an onslaught of prosperity and self-determination for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East. In this it is no existential threat to the United States or the West more broadly.

Similarly, the United States and the West beat back the Russian threat when it was able to focus all elements of its society on beating us like one of Khrushchev's old shoes. There's no reason to believe that Putin's sclerotic basket-case of a country will be tap dancing down Pennsylvania Avenue anytime soon.

For the entirety of the 21st century, leading Democrats and Republicans have shown their inability to conduct foreign policy as anything other than unmitigated disaster. If a libertarian alternative—one that emphasizes cultural and economic exchange and uses military intervention as a limited, last-best-option that should be explicitly sanctioned by Congress—strikes you as immature and unlikely to succeed, that says more about your powers of self-delusion than you'll ever understand.

This story originally appeared at The Daily Beast on July 16, 2014. Read it there.

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  1. I feel that this was a missed opportunity. Considering that public sympathy for the decriminalization, if not legalization of certain drugs is at a high, Nick could have pointed to the fact that so much of our foreign policy lunacy, especially in the Americas, is driven by the Drug War.

    1. It’s tricky, because most people would need a full-length article to get the link. It’s easy for us because we’re exposed to the concept pretty much daily.

      1. Maybe just a picture of a DEA FAST team in Afghanistan with a caption of “What the fuck are they doing here?”

  2. “Isolationism is not an option,” Obama told the graduating class of West Point earlier this year

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Has someone proposed isolationism?

    1. Let me be clear. There are some who say we should have troops stationed in every nation around the world. There are others who say that no American should be allowed to communicate in any way with any other person. I reject both of these extreme viewpoints.

      1. He’s totally stealing that.

      2. You forgot stationing troops on the Moon. We’ll still need to do that.

        1. Speaking of which: Have you seen the movie Iron Sky? Hilarious.

    2. The ‘isolationist’ stuff is certainly a strawman. But the only ‘libertarian foreign policy’ stuff I’ve ever heard is ‘let’s be friends with everybody and trade with everybody’.

      Presumably that means selling Assad better chemical weapons, selling Kim better nuclear testing devices, and selling non-state separatists in Ukraine more effective SAM batteries.

      The biggest problem with libertarians re foreign policy is that:
      1. they are stupid
      2. they are naive
      3. they are delusional
      4. they are just jerking off to some theory

      1. “presumably” …

        You’re a joke.

  3. I love that in the sidebar, this post is accompanied by a shot of Kramer holding Little Jerry.

  4. The fundamental problem, I think, of both our diplomatic and military “policies” is that they don’t seem to result from any overarching principles. If they do, damned if I can figure out what they are or where they are articulated.

    That’s the first step: say what your goals/principles are, and get some consensus around those. Then we can have a productive conversation about how best to get there.

    As it is, I suspect we are just ad hoccing along on inertia. Which never ends well.

    1. There are no overarching principles in Realpolitik. “Don’t do stupid shit” is about as good as it gets.

    2. I think a good number of the military boondoggles come about simply so politicians can save face. If they don’t DO SOMETHING, it will be perceived as weakness and ruin their reelection chances.

      And I can’t think of a worse reason to kill people.

    3. The goal is to protect business interests that American stockholders/owners have in foreign areas.

      1. Sometimes it is.

    4. we are just ad hoccing along on inertia. Which never ends well.

      fixed

  5. In all of this, Obama in no way represents a break from Bush, but perfect continuity.

    Except there will be two less ground wars when Obama leaves office.

    1. On the dates set up by BOOOOOOOOOSH!

      1. I have several hundred US Special Forces in Iraq and a plan to leave a couple of brigades in Afghanistan indefinitely that say we won’t meet Bush’s timetable.

    2. No there won’t. We plan to stay in Afghanistan until at least 2017 and we current are reengaged in Iraq.

      Those are Obama’s wars now. Do you plan to volunteer to fight them or are you a chickenhawk?

      1. I didn’t make the 300 handpicked instructors for Iraq. Some war that is.

        If it escalates to 150,000 infantry you will be right for the first time.

        1. So you are a chicken hawk. In fairness, your obvious disabilities would likely preclude military service. So there is that.

          1. Well, he has to grow up, first. The Army doesn’t take 12 year olds.

            … Hobbit

        2. Give it time.

        3. It was a war in Iraq and Afghanistan for years after Obama took office.

          He fought those wars he owns them.

          Just cuz Dems stopped protesting didn’t mean the fighting stopped.

    3. Don’t worry. He still has time.

  6. To the extent that we share our culture and commerce with the world rather than our drones and disdain, we will not only protect ourselves more effectively, we will actually help more people.

    It is statements like these that cause me to think Nick is a moron. That is just not true. And I don’t mean that in a “they just hate us for our freedoms” bullshit way. I mean that people in the world have their own reasons for hating us. Our trading with them and “sharing our culture” doesn’t always or even very often have much of an effect and when it does it is not often good. Nick confuses causality here. Nick thinks that a country like Canada or France doesn’t hate us because we trade with them and share our culture. Ah no, we trade with them because they don’t hate us. We traded with and shared a common culture with Germany in the 19th and early 20th Century, yet ended up fighting two world wars against them. We had extensive economic ties to Japan before World War II. Trade and cultural ties doesn’t guarantee that you will remain at peace.

    1. Biggest German trading partner in the late 30s was France. Biggest German trading partner in 1940 was the USSR.

      1. I read recently where the German Army passed Soviet trains full of aid supplies given to their “allies the Nazis” going the other way on the morning they invaded Russia. That is amazing to think about.

        I am snarky because Nick to be especially grating. Seriously though, there is a case to be made for nonintervention. That case, however, is not “if we just trade and send our culture to people war will be much less likely”. It would be great if that were true, but it is just not true, never has been and likely never will be.

        1. Well see as a libertarian I know from history that there is always a vigorous trade and cultural exchange going on. That’s what people do. Governments make war, not individuals.

          The trade and culture thing is bullshit because the governments that make war don’t give a shit about trade. The progtard mentality of “there will always be money for us to steal” is not new. Kings have believed that for centuries.

          1. Yes, governments make war. And running out of other people’s money is one of the bigger reasons they do so.

            Also, people make war. We always think that people if given the choice will choose peace. Mostly that is true but not always. Sometimes people want war. Sometimes people benefit from war. War allows people to be a part of a larger cause and it papers over national divisions and failures.

            That is one of the more annoying things about Nick. He clearly understands that the US government will go to war for bullshit reasons or for reasons mostly or entirely driven by domestic politics but he seems incapable of understanding other countries will do the same. Does Nick not think that Russia or China have their own John McCains?

          2. Governments make war, not individuals.

            I think that Tolstoy makes an excellent point in War and Peace. Tens of thousands of men do not march thousands of miles from their homes to rape and murder their fellow man because some government, or Top. Men. if you will, tells them to do it. There is something more.

    2. The nations of Europe freely shared culture and commerce, and freely traveled across borders, up to July 1914. See how well that preserved peace.

      1. And does actually think there is anyone on earth who doesn’t know and have contact with American culture? Just exactly what cultural exchange does he propose that isn’t already happening?

        1. I forget when, but they did a poll of people in 2nd and 3rd World countries and the vast majority had no idea that people, much less Americans had been to the Moon. And of those who knew, most believed it was the Soviets. Like they actually pointed to a picture of Armstrong and said that was Yuri Gagarin.

          92 percent of young Afghan men have never heard of 9/11 and thus have no fucking clue why we’re in their country. Therefore, they are easy prey to the “OMG! ZIO-AMERO-CRUSADERS!!!!” propaganda.

          We could do a lot better job at cultural exchange, i.e., PSYOPS.

        2. There are many small villages in Africa that do not yet have McDonalds. And most countries do not have a Disneyland

  7. If a libertarian alternative?one that emphasizes cultural and economic exchange and uses military intervention as a limited, last-best-option that should be explicitly sanctioned by Congress

    And this statement makes me think Nick tries to make up for being a moron by being ignorant. The US has spent pretty much the last 100 years emphasizing cultural and economic exchange with the world. And now here comes the jacket with this brilliant idea that “Hey, we should try cultural exchanges with other country”, and I actually think he is stupid enough to believe it is some kind of new idea.

    If there is such a thing as “Libertarian foreign policy”, it needs a better champion than Nick.

    1. Amen. I can’t say the same thing loud enough.

    2. Unfortunately, Reason does not have a real foreign policy – other than open borders and warm fuzzies like cultural exchange.

  8. I think you are being far too literal here. He never said there would be all peace and harmony instantly or even long term. He doesn’t pretend everything will be smoothed over with Russia or Islamic fundamentalists just because America isn’t so quick to pull the trigger on military interventions.

    But it’s hard to really defend our foreign policy beyond we sucked less than the likes of the Soviets or the European imperial powers. I don’t think it’s just in the 21st century, either.

    Nick’s larger point is that the current threats we lose our heads over (Russia, terrorism) are exaggerated. In the case of the Middle East, our own policy decisions helped to create to the environment in which they want to blow us up. We pursued short term goals with little consideration of the long term effect. Usually because, at least domestically, it was politically expedient to do so.

    As long as the Middle East is full of corrupt governments that paint America and Israel as the boogieman while robbing and stomping on their own people, you aren’t going to win a ‘War on Terror.’ Not with drones or bombers or ground troops.

    If anyone believes there’s an intelligent way to intervene in Syria, or Ukraine, or some of these other hotspots that won’t have unintended or unwanted consequences, I’ve yet to hear them.

    1. As long as the Middle East is full of corrupt governments that paint America and Israel as the boogieman while robbing and stomping on their own people, you aren’t going to win a ‘War on Terror.’ Not with drones or bombers or ground troops.

      Perhaps so. But cultural exchanges and trade won’t do any good either. And I don’t accuse him of thinking it will cause peace. The problem is that he assumes that we are not already doing such things already and that there is some new way to do them that will do any good. And that is just fantasy.

      Nick’s solution to things is just stop fighting and go home. Okay, that is fine as far as it goes. But what then happens when our enemies don’t want to stop fighting and follow us? Nick doesn’t have an answer for that other than the vague hope that they would never do that since if only they knew us and knew our culture better they would love us. Ah, no not really. They have their own reasons for hating us. IN fact, you point to one of the bigger ones; hating us relieves their corrupt governments of responsibility for their failures. Our going home is not going to end that.

      1. When it comes specifically to terrorism, they didn’t start to hate us out of thin air, though. We propped up or toppled/opposed governments in the region. Our support of Israel (not making a qualitative judgement of it, just pointing out a fact) also didn’t win us any friends among the Muslims.

        There is certainly no quick fix as a result. You don’t get to start with a clean slate here. But I don’t think we are really deterring terrorism by dropping bombs throughout the region, either. I don’t think we accomplished any of our goals in Iraq, and maybe only a few in Afghanistan. Both are largely political failures that have only exasperated the problems that existed.

        So, if the goal is simply to prevent terrorists from pulling off attacks in our territory, I think there are cheaper ways of accomplishing that. But, no, simply exchanging culture and ideas with those people isn’t going to solve the problem.

        1. Brochettaward|7.19.14 @ 2:36PM|#

          When it comes specifically to terrorism, they didn’t start to hate us out of thin air, though. We propped up or toppled/opposed governments in the region. Our support of Israel (not making a qualitative judgement of it, just pointing out a fact) also didn’t win us any friends among the Muslims.”

          Our relationship with Israel has nothing to do with their hatred of us. The Arabs don’t have any love for the Pals. The current King of Jordan’s father killed 20,000 of them at one time without a peep of interest from the rest of the Arab world. The Pals are just cannon fodder for the Arab rulers to throw at the Jooos to keep their miserable people from focusing on their real problems and overthrowing their current leaders.

          The Islamist have always hated us. It is what they were taught to do since the days of Muhammad. During the days of the Barbary Pirates they had never heard of Israel yet they still hated us. They hated the US before there ever was a US. We are infidels to them and that is all they need to hate us.

          1. The Islamist have always hated us.

            No they didn’t, you ignorant fuck. Pre WW1 they didn’t give a shit about us.

            The barbary pirates didn’t give a shit that it was ‘our’ ships they were robbing. All that mattered is that there was loot and ransom to be had and the ships were no longer under european protection.
            That you would even use someone called the barbary fucking *pirates* as a vehicle to truck out your bullshit bigotry boggles the mind.

      2. I love Nick, but he’s an isolationist fool. And I don’t care if he tells me to no call him an isolationists. I call him that today, tomorrow, and the next day.

        Libertarians need to get serious about foreign policy. Nick Gillespie and Reason are nowhere near serious yet.

        1. Serious too often seems to mean do something, even if that something has horrible unintended consequences.

          It’s very similar to the progressive calls for economic intervention and regulation.

          1. Serious could be don’t cut defense spending and forward military basing, but mounting fewer interventions.

            It could also mean for Reason to not send its writers on Russia Today, and to start hiring some foreign policy specific writers.

          2. People need to understand that doing nothing *is* doing “something”.

          3. Serious certainly does mean ‘actually try to understand what you are talking about’. And in the context of foreign policy, it means ‘actually try to understand what is going on in other countries’.

            Otherwise, might as well assign responsibility for ‘US foreign policy’ to a herd of chihuahuas (or big slobbering St Bernard’s with booze around their neck if the image of yapping chihuahuas sounds too ‘activist’ and ‘interventionist’)

        2. Calling someone “not serious” is another way of saying “What they believe is something outside of what I will bother thinking about. So I won’t actually refute their position.”.

          What is “not serious” about libertarian foreign policy theory? It’s completely serious.

  9. I would just like to go back to being feared and respected. Every time we elect some leftist douchebag we fuck everything up and look like a bunch of pussies.

    1. I agree, but there’s another side of that – invading countries with really bad plans, and looking incompetent when things go less smoothly (to put it mildly) than anticipated.

      Foreign policy isn’t a big dick measuring contest. Nor is it the arena to try and institute your beliefs on the rest of the world.

      We don’t have the political or military leadership capable of achieving those objectives. Nor do we have the political will as a people.

    2. Shorter Suicidy:

      AMERICA FUCK YEA!

  10. A libertarian foreign policy gets us Syria, ISIS, Putin, Libay, and Jesus Christ knows what else.

      1. How did libertarians have anything to do with any of those messes? We bombed Libya and helped topple Gaddafi. Now we have anarchy in the entire country.

        Syria? We have our ‘allies’ in the region calling for us to help put Sunni radicals in power because they would oppose the Shiites in Iran. At least nominally. Who cares if they also would hate us or be unable to keep order in the country? Bombing would most likely not have made a difference in the end result.

        ISI was created as a result of the Iraq invasion. They would not exist if we didn’t invade, and wouldn’t have control over a large swathe of land without our help.

        Putin and the Ukraine mess has more to do with the EU’s push to move into the Ukraine than anything done by America.

        You are also equating libertarian foreign policy (whatever that may be) with stuff done by Democrats. Probably because you just hate Democrats.

        1. The U.S. isn’t currently doing any intervening in these places. Yet they are complete disasters. Lots of people being killed, etc. And who knows what future shit will come out of these disasters.

          These places are examples of non-intervention. And I’m not sure they good arguments for why shouldn’t intervene in some way.

          Oh, and please don’t project stupid ideas onto me unless I make them myself. Got it buddy?

          1. The U.S. isn’t currently doing any intervening in these places. Yet they are complete disasters. Lots of people being killed, etc. And who knows what future shit will come out of these disasters.

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This is idiotic. The U.S. helped overthrow Qaddafi but because we aren’t militarily involved in Libya at literally this very instant it’s proof that the catastrophe of Libya is the fault of libertarians. Maybe if we didn’t help overthrow a strongman and hurl that country into anarchy the problems with Libya wouldn’t be happening.

            As for ISIS, the only reason their incursion into Iraq has been to any degree successful is because America left that country so fucked up that it is now essentially indefensible. If Saddam were still there, ISIS would never have been able to make inroads.

            As for Syria, let’s say we’d gotten involved. What’s the best case scenario? We topple Assad and Syria ends up like Iraq or Libya? We help Assad maintain his power and they basically end up right where they started? There was no group in Syria we could have backed which would have left that place better off. What the fuck’s the point in intervening if there’s no conceivable end game that could work out to America’s advantage?

            1. Umm, nobody said Libertarians are at fault for anything.

              Libya today is example of not being involved in a country.

              Yes, I know we (NATO) bombed Ghaddafi. So what though? The country is a disaster now and will be for the foreseeable future.

              We never bombed Assad. Look at Syria today.

              We haven’t even begun to give Ukraine any lethal weapons. Go watch VICE news and see all the killing going on there.

            2. I’m not saying intervene in any of these places. I’m just pointing out that they are place where we’re not intervening and things aren’t going well for the people there.

              1. I’m just pointing out that they are place where we’re not intervening and things aren’t going well for the people there.

                Who cares? How is it ANY of our concern? They want to kill each other, great, have at it, what exactly is our interest?

                1. I’m not saying intervene in any of these places. I’m just pointing out that they are place where we’re not intervening and things aren’t going well for the people there.

                  Now I’m really confused. You point out how we intervene, bad shit happens. You point out that when we don’t, bad shit happens. It seems like bad shit just happens, to me.

                  How are libertarians to blame or going to do anything dumber than what we’ve seen of late? You make no sense. No one put any words into your mouth, or stretched what you said.

    1. Here’s the website of Aegis Defence Services. I’m sure you can put your money where your mouth is and pay for at least a squad of PMC operatives you chickenhawk piece of shit.

      1. Some libertarian doesn’t know how the world works. Color me so surprised.

    2. lolwut!?

      What about our foreign policy since, oh, Eisenhower strikes you as especially libertarian?

  11. “Haters”? What unadulterated bullshit. The fact that they disagree with Nick makes them haters?

    I’m no fan of either man, but this is just stupid. Does Gillespie really think that these guys just want to go and kill people in foreign lands because they hate those people? He sounds like a drug-addled Occupy Proggtard with that kind of thinking.

    This is why no one but 2% of the country takes anything libertarians say seriously. You guys have a good message (a great message, actually), but are incapable of articulating it without injecting rank stupidity in the process.

    1. Well, you can get into the technical details. When it comes to the Islamo-fascists, yes. It sort of boils down to them hating us.

      Or is your answer something as simple as they are Muslim, and are always going to want to fight Jihad or something? I’m not trying to put words into your mouth, but I don’t see where else you would be going with that claim.

    2. Um, I think he’s calling them “haters” toward libertarians, not foreigners.

      But I could be wrong–whenever I try to articulate something I inject some rank stupidity into it.

  12. He’s talking about the title of the article,where Perry and Cristie are referred to a haters.

    He also berates the reference to them as “haters” by saying Nick sounds like a “Progtard”. You know…because libertarians should do as their Team Red masters say they should.

    1. My mistake. I completely misread his comment. Misunderstood who he was talking about.

  13. Might I suggest a speak softly and carry a big stick approach to foreign policy?

    Not a big Teddy fan, but…

    1. Pretty sure Teddy was a helluva lot more violent than that quote implies. Proto neocon.

  14. America has not shown any self confidence in its foreign policy since about 6 weeks after 911 when Bush started making conciliatory comments about Muslims. He should have declared war on Al Qaeda and all of their supporters and destroyed them hastily.

    Unfortunately, I think his “turn-the-other-cheek” Christianity and unfounded respect for all religions turned him into mush and drove his altruist nation-building policies and abandonment of a righteous destruction of our enemies who attacked us. Of course, Obama is doing the same thing and is doubling down on altruism in every aspect of his governing.

    1. Yep, this.

    2. It’s reasonable to avoid alienating Muslims that had nothing to do with 9/11. Why create more enemies than you already have? At the same time, you want to clearly identify exactly who your enemy is. I don’t think Bush did a very good job of walking that line.

  15. I like the libertarian platform, and the described foreign policy platform sounds great:

    “The most powerful weapon ? of the good life. To the extent that we share our culture and commerce … we will actually help more people.”

    I’m pretty sure the Eastern Europeans, now in the EU, appreciate these thoughts, however they got to live these thoughts after the west won the cold war. I’m sure Ukrainians would like to live these thoughts. What would a US libertarian president do for Ukraine? What does a US libertarian president do for the Kurds and their independence?

    Saudi Arabia is an ally. I don’t think the Saudi Arabian leaders believe in high-minded thoughts. They are attacked by Iran. What would a US libertarian president do for Saudi Arabia?

    Unfortunately, libertarians tend to cherry-pick from history. Of course, they would have joined in WW II and saved South Korea but not gone into Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq. September 12, 2001, how would a US libertarian president react?

    It is easy to preach ideals, but it is extremely difficult to fathom what a libertarian president would do when confronted with reality. It is also extremely difficult to predict how bad actors, heads of government that are flush in petro dollars, would react. So unless Rand Paul can come up with some very specific answers to the questions above, I and probably a lot of other people out there, would have a real hard time voting for him.

    1. What would a US libertarian president do for Ukraine?…Kurds

      Well, first off, they are the president of the United States, not the world. The Kurds will never have their own state unless Iraq crumbles and they carve it out by force. Period. And it would be stupid of us to support Kurdish state that our current allies oppose.

      Ukraine? What are we currently doing for them? They were in shambles already before the recent conflict.

      You are pretending that America can solve all the world’s problems.

      They are attacked by Iran. What would a US libertarian president do for Saudi Arabia?

      Iran has no ability to launch an invasion of Saudi Arabia. Are they going to cut through Iraq, or perhaps am amphibious invasion? We’ve already provided the Saudis with weapons and military aid.

      Iran couldn’t support that operation economically or militarily. It’s not even possible. Here’s what I love about the criticism here – very few people understand the first thing about military operations.

      Let’s assume Iran had that capability. Are they just going to ignore the carriers we have in the Gulf at all times? Sail right past American bases? Or stretch their supply lines out through Iraq where half the population is massively hostile to them? Not to mention Kuwait and the other Gulf States which despise Iran…

      You didn’t pose a single legitimate question.

      1. I think his point is on foreign policy the libertarian line tends to be “We’ll stay out of it.” So logically the next question is what about WW2? The Korean War? If nobody can provide a logical divide between the wars we’d join and the wars we wouldn’t without the hindsight of history then libertarian policy isn’t a very useful one.

        It basically boils down to, follow us and you’ll always be right except for all the times you would have been massively wrong. For a philosophy that appears so logical in every other facet, it’s pretty weak.

        1. Yes, I got that. My point is that he is scared of unrealistic scenarios. Maybe there’s a time for a Reagan to be in power, or a Churchill type.

          There may also be a time when a Rand Paul is better for the country.

          If you want clear lines drawn on scenarios that don’t exist, that’s pretty much impossible.

          Are we more comfortable with the RINO agenda of intervening everywhere? Or an insecure Hillary who is more worried about being called soft because she’s compensating for not being a man?

          Attacking every country that does something you disagree with (economically or militarily) is pretty clear. There’s no line, but we all get it. That doesn’t make it intelligent or productive.

          What I’m seeing is people are scared of having a president who doesn’t act. Just like most people are scared of having a government that doesn’t regulate the economy.

          1. “Are we more comfortable with the RINO agenda of intervening everywhere? Or an insecure Hillary who is more worried about being called soft because she’s compensating for not being a man?”

            Yes, that’s a very good point. No to the intervention everywhere, which might be Perry. No to the insecure Hillary.

            Liking Rand Paul, I’d like to hear exactly how he is going to find that middle ground between intervention all the time and isolationism. At the moment, we are left guessing, and if left unknown, the default would be his father’s very isolationist views.

            Your points on Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Iraq are well taken. Promises were also made to Ukraine when it gave up its nuclear weapons. Up until the jet downing, I figured we’d have open war between Russia and Ukraine before the year was out. After the jet tragedy, the EU finally may be compelled to sort out that problem.

      2. Brochettaward, you don’t seem to have liked my examples. Fair enough. Pick your flash point in the world. Then you have to come up with the foreign policy prescription that is probably going to entail more than spreading peace and freedom through leading by example. I’m not talking about going into Ukraine, Kurd territory in Iraq, etc. with the military. I’m talking about whether the US should be balancing out bad actors around the world. Russia and Iran were two examples. I lived in Ukraine for 15 years so that is close to home. Ukraine mess is caused by EU? I thought it was because the Ukrainians threw out the Putin-backed kleptocrat and Putin didn’t like it. But screw them, because that’s an EU problem? If the US doesn’t balance out bad actors, what happens next? Iran, weakened by sanction, can’t attack Saudi Arabia (today). OK. What does the region look like in twenty years. It’s very easy to criticize Republican and even Democratic foreign policy, which I agree should be improved. But how? Specifically. Non-interventionsism encompasses everything and anything. Military as a last resort. Yeah, I get that. There are a million steps between doing nothing and using guns.

        1. Iran, weakened by sanction, can’t attack Saudi Arabia (today). OK. What does the region look like in twenty years

          There are very few countries on the planet that are actually able to project force away from their own borders for anything more than in a very limited capacity. Sanctions don’t help any, but Iran lacks the military capacity. There is also a massive issue with geography.

          The only real trouble spot that America would have to respond to that I can foresee would be China and Taiwan/South China Sea.

          What would I do? Well, I’m not Rand Paul. Nor did my foreign policy develop out of strict libertarian doctrine of non-intervention. That’s a naval and air power issue, and we’d stick to the basic plan we’ve had in place for over half a century to stop China.

          It’s a highly unlikely scenario, though.

          If North Korea actually attacked South Korea, I’d intervene reluctantly. No president would have a real choice in that matter because you have thousands of American troops right on the border.

          I actually think America has both a moral and common sense obligation to do something about Iraq

          1. …at this point in time. We created the mess, and ISIS is Al Qaeada on steroids. I would have done more than Obama did. I would not have gone into Iraq in the first place, but once the die is cast, you are asking a fundamentally different question than you were before.

            But, again, I’m not Rand Paul, and I’m not going to determine my vote based on unrealistic scenarios.

            Even if Paul was a complete dove or isolationist, the reality is that there would be a great deal of pressure for him to act. It’s not as if it’s the president and no one else has input or power. The public and political support determines how the president acts in foreign policy as much as anything else.

    2. Don’t think anyone here would disagree that there needed to be a response to 911. One could even argue Afghanistan was justified. Right up to the point where we started shooting folks that had nothing to do with 911 (the Taliban) and decided to get into the nation building business.

      1. I think FA is outlining a potential discriminator of Libertarian v. team red or blue. Nation building is the progressive reflex. Going to war has been around for as long as there have been states/tribes/clans/nations

        The wrong lesson was learned from WWII – nation building only works if:
        1. the foe has not just been beaten on the battle field but the cities have been flattened
        2. with civilion casualties in the millions – the nation to be rebuilt is in an attentive/cooperative state a.k.a beaten to a bloody pulp
        3. there needs to be a threat of invasion from someone worse than you – the progressive nation re-builder (in this case Stalin’s Russia)

        Since deliberately setting out to do 1&2 is repulsive, and Stalin is dead – lets skip the whole nation building BS.

        IF provoked, go in. Blow up their military, take out the leadership if convenient and get the hell out.

    3. I’m drawing the same conclusions. Rand Paul and the Libertarian establishment need to fucking get serious.

  16. I mean, you could have at least asked something about China. It’s a little more plausible, but still highly unlikely they actually act.

  17. Lets jsut roll with the punches already dude.

    http://www.AnonToolz.tk

  18. “Isolationism is not an option,” Obama told the graduating class of West Point earlier this year…

    One of the funny things about reading books and essays from the 50s and 60s is how dramatically the meaning of common political terms has evolved in a relatively short period of time. “Conservative” is a good one, as it seems to be a slur meaning “reactionary” until Kirk gets on the scene.

    In many of his early libertarian essays, Rothbard speaks of himself and the Old Right as “isolationists” without shame. To him, an isolationist was someone who didn’t want millions of American boys to wind up in mass graves on another continent–the isolationist openly opposed the draft, opposed militarism, and opposed all of the international projects of Wilson and FDR. The right was isolationist and a principled, if mostly powerless, protest group until the neocons arrived on the scene and McCarthyism & redbaiting transformed the GOP into progressivism lite.

    Given how things have gone since then with the rise of the American empire and the fucking democrats pretending to be the party of peace, it’s clear enough that history proves Obama wrong. Isolationism certainly is an option, as it would save American lives and American treasure while signalling to the world that the cultural, political, and economic development of other nations is no longer considered the business of the busybodies who pretend to represent the interests of American citizens.

    1. I personally do think a very high bar for direction intervention needs to be set. The biggest issue I have currently is America has sort of entangled itself already that a complete withdraw would take time.

      Is it right to, say, hang Japan out to dry when we’ve made promises? How about Taiwan?

      Realistically, America is one of the most defensible nations on the planet. The closest thing to military competition are separated by an ocean with no real staging ground for an attack. Our Founding Fathers recognized the power of geography in the war against the British and the development of foreign policy.

      1. There are as many ways to disentangle the U.S. from its overseas commitments to NATO or individual nations as there are to negotiate withdrawals from invasions. The diplomats can handle the details, but the commitment to non-interference & old-school isolationism is what interests me.

        Even without formal economics to refer to, the framers recognized how imperial nations bankrupt and devour themselves economically via overreach and eating out the substance of its people.

        Even that simple recognition is beyond Obama, who seems to believe that the American economy can shoulder any burden that a socialist or imperialist hangs on it because some wily statistician has “demonstrated” that this or that manipulation is cost-neutral. Same with the GOP who voted for Part D or the trillion-dollar war in Iraq.

        I say it a lot, but this is what happens in a culture where schoolkids read Marx but not Bastiat. There’s something fundamentally wrong with most politicians’ understanding of the world and the individual actor’s role in it.

        1. There are as many ways to disentangle the U.S. from its overseas commitments to NATO or individual nations as there are to negotiate withdrawals from invasions. The diplomats can handle the details, but the commitment to non-interference & old-school isolationism is what interests me.

          Eventually, sure. The country could get out of those commitments. But there’s little we could do that wouldn’t leave a place like Japan basically defenseless for a period of time.

          Is that moral or wise?

          And non-intervention/imperialism – does that include when asked for help? Obviously, you can’t go to everyone’s aid, but would you always say no?

          1. But there’s little we could do that wouldn’t leave a place like Japan basically defenseless for a period of time.

            Gradual withdrawal. Reduce aid/presence over 10-20 years to zero.

            And non-intervention/imperialism – does that include when asked for help?

            Depends on our interests. Does it benefit us, or is it a handout?

          2. And non-intervention/imperialism – does that include when asked for help? Obviously, you can’t go to everyone’s aid, but would you always say no?

            Ideally, yes, because there wouldn’t be a standing army available to aid them in keeping with the liberal values of the framers. Individuals and organizations would always be free to do as they please with their lives and wealth. Or states, if your system had enough respect for federalism.

  19. CONSTITUTION, ANYONE? AT LEAST NICK MENTIONED IT!

  20. Some of the elected people are not upholding and defending it. Every Libertarian should be able to quote that document forwards and backwards. That’s where we get our liberty, RIGHT? We have a self proclaimed “constitutional lawyer” telling us that isolationism is not an option when it’s Congress’ constitutional duty to decide what the option will be. They took an oath to exercise that duty and he took the same oath.

  21. And some people just don’t want Starbucks and Lady Gaga concerts.

  22. I like rolling around with that idea.

    http://www.AnonToolz.tk

  23. Alt text: Brains. I need brains!

  24. When both sides hate you and look to bash you, then you know you are probably doing something correctly.

  25. Don’t believe haters like Rick Perry and Chris Christie.

    **********

    Haters — Rick Perry. Chris Christie. Wow. The absurd language of the left. Disappointing.

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