Sheldon Richman on an Open Society and Its Worst Enemies


Last week's bloody events in Paris demonstrate yet again that a noninterventionist foreign policy, far from being a luxury, is an urgent necessity—literally a matter of life and death. A government that repeatedly wages wars of aggression—the most extreme form of extremism—endangers the society it ostensibly protects by gratuitously making enemies, some of whom will seek revenge against those who tolerate, finance, and symbolize that government and its policies. Obviously, the police in more or less open societies—"but rather less than more"—cannot fully prevent the kind of violence that occurred at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery Hyper Cacher. Some or all of the killers, who were known to authorities, reportedly spent time in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—organizations, writes Sheldon Richman, that were not in those places or did not exist before George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 203 and started bombing other Muslim societies in his "war on terror."