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Cruz and Rubio: Heirs to Bush-Obama Militarism

There's no point splitting hairs over whether Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is the biggest warmonger. Both love the bloody and costly U.S. empire.

ENBENBI see no point splitting hairs over whether Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is the more egregious warmonger. Both love the bloody and costly U.S. empire. Both believe in American exceptionalism. (Rubio arrogantly calls for a "New American Century.") Both want to make war in the Middle East (and beyond) and "stand behind Israel," though such policies provoked the 9/11 attacks. Both want to pour money into the military, as though America were militarily threatened. (The U.S. military budget equals the budgets of the next seven highest spending nations.) Both want to prevent detente with Iran, which poses no danger. Both hype terrorism as an existential threat. Both want the government to spy on Americans, especially Muslim Americans. Both want to "control the border," code for violating the natural right of people to move freely and make better lives without government permission.

On the Middle East, admittedly, we see a difference. Rubio, having learned nothing from the Iraq and Libya interventions, would overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while also attacking the Islamic State. Cruz, to his credit, realizes that regime-change would leave Syria in the hands of bin Ladenites or worse, so he'd "carpet bomb" ISIS only. Thus Rubio toes the neoconservative line more faithfully. The neocons, who front for Israel's ruling interests, want Assad ousted because he's an ally of Iran and weakening Iran is the priority. After all, without this manufactured threat, how could Israel continue, with America's blessing, to crush the Palestinians' independence aspirations or have its way in southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights?

But this difference between Rubio and Cruz should not be exaggerated. Cruz's website declares he would be all-in for Israel: "We must make clear to the world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States. America’s security is significantly enhanced by a strong Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. Our American-Israeli alliance is something to celebrate." Rubio agrees.

Cruz's site goes on to pledge that "a Cruz administration will continue to support Israel’s regional qualitative military edge and make sure that, especially in light of the worsening security climate caused by Iran and ISIS, Israel has everything it needs to defend itself." It also says Cruz "would immediately reassess US policy towards the Palestinian Authority. Not one penny of American tax dollars should go to an organization that incites hatred against Jews and seeks to partner with the terrorist group Hamas."

Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz could have written that. So could have Hillary Clinton.

I can see Cruz being persuaded to move on regime change in Syria under the right circumstances (which perhaps could be easily arranged). His position on George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, please note, is that it was a mistake "knowing what we know now." But these are weasel words. Lots of authoritative people knew in 2002 that Iraq had no WMD and that Bush's warmongering was based on cooked intelligence.

When Cruz says, "Without [intelligence reports of WMD], it is difficult to imagine the decision would have been made to go into Iraq, and that predicate proved erroneous," he is being either naive or dishonest. The Bush foreign-policy team and the neocon brain trust outside the government wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein before 9/11. After the attacks the administration strove to blame Saddam, to the point of trying to torture confessions from prisoners and spreading false stories about Iraqi meetings with al-Qaeda representatives. Does Cruz not know this?

If you need further proof of the essential sameness of Cruz and Rubio, you need only observe their attempts to portray Barack Obama as a peacenik determined to dismantle the American empire. Considering that Obama is bombing at least seven Muslim countries; sending more troops to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria; and backing the Saudis' genocidal war in Yemen—and that he supported Secretary of State Clinton's disastrous regime-changing intervention in Libya—we can imagine what Cruz and Rubio think a hawkish foreign policy should be. 

So go ahead and argue about who would pursue the American policy of perpetual war with more gusto. I don't think that game is worth the candle.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog. 

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  • SIV||

    "With Cruz you lose"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We must make clear to the world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States.

    You don't win a GOP nomination by pledging antisemitism.

  • DJF||

    And anything less then 110% for Israel is antisemitism.

  • allie||

    110%? You fucking bigot. Israel deserves nothing less that 10000000%.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You dare put a numerical upper bound on your unconditional love of Israel? Such reasoning is a Cauchy sequence that converges to Hitler!

  • Chip Chipperson||

    I'd rather be 110% for Israel than 1% for the Islamic savages.

  • Suicidy||

    No kidding.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Both want to prevent detente with Iran, which poses no danger."

    That's ridiculous.

    I knew it had to be Richman.

    Is there anyone else at Reason that would make such a ridiculous assertion--that Iran poses NO danger?

  • Jordan||

    What danger does Iran pose to us?

  • John||

    A lot less than they once did, if you assume they are just talking out of their ass and don't really mean to destroy us. To say they are not a danger requires believing that Iran's leaders don't actually mean anything they say. That is entirely possible. They are politicians afterall. It is also entirely possible they really do mean it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've been through this a dozen times.

    They had a clandestine nuclear program in violation of the NPT, they have a missile program, which has already successfully launched multistage rockets, and they're state sponsors of terror--especially Hezbollah.

    And that's just off the top of my head.

    Feel free to argue that it's in the best interests of the U.S. to do nothing about these threats, but please don't blow smoke up my ass and tell me that Iran presents NO danger.

  • John||

    Even if you believe the Iranians have no intention of using those missiles against the US, the Saudis and the rest of the Middle East knows the Iranians will happily use them or the threat of them against them. And they are not going to stand by and let it happen. A nuclear Iran almost certainly means a nuclear Saudi Arabia. Maybe you could argue that a nuclear war in the Middle East would not pose a danger to the US, it would seem, however, that it wouldn't be good.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Egypt and Jordan will want nukes if Iran gets them, too.

    Iran willfully subjected itself to crippling sanctions for a decade rather abandon its nuclear enrichment program. They retain the ability to enrich their own uranium.

    I don't know what the future will bring, but ten years from now, with their already advanced missile and rocket technology, who knows what they'll be willing to endure in pursuit of nuclear weapons?

    Meanwhile, even if they come to possess a nuclear deterrent and never fire one at anybody, what does that mean for Hezbollah? To the extent that Iran holds Hezbollah back, it is because of fear of retaliation against Iran. Take away that fear of retaliation, and Hezbollah becomes an even greater threat.

    The Iranians share technology with North Korea, too.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/congr.....es-nuclear

  • John||

    And once they have nukes, even if they don't use them, they will have the threat of using them. That would give them a free hand to sponsor terrorism and do pretty much anything they wanted. Imagine if there was another 911 only instead of it being traced to Afghanistan it was traced back to a nuclear armed Iran. Are we going to risk nuclear war to do something about it?

  • DJF||

    """They retain the ability to enrich their own uranium."""

    Which is their right under the NPT that both the US and Iran signed.

  • John||

    But why would they want that right when we have offered to give them Uranium fuel for free. Enriching Uranium is a long and expensive process. Yet, they choose to do this even though they could get all the fuel they want for free from the IAEC in return for not doing it themselves.

    What reason do they have to want to do it themselves other than they want to make HEU and not just fuel?

  • DJF||

    ""But why would they want that right when we have offered to give them Uranium fuel for free""

    The US would use this to control Iran, would the US give total control of the supply of Uranium to Iran?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The US would use this to control Iran, would the US give total control of the supply of Uranium to Iran?"

    They could get uranium sufficiently enriched for civilian purposes from their ally, Russia, too.

    If they didn't want to forfeit the right to enrich their own uranium under the treaty by illegally enriching uranium in secret in violation of the treaty, there was an easy way for them to avoid that. They could have abided by the treaty and not enriched uranium in secret. They didn't have the right to do that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Which is their right under the NPT that both the US and Iran signed."

    They violated the NPT by enriching uranium in secret, and they continued to enrich uranium in secret in defiance of the NPT.

    In other words, they forfeited their right to enrich their own uranium.

    Violating treaties has consequences, and if the consequences don't include forfeiting their rights under the treaty, then what should the consequences be?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Egypt and Jordan will want nukes if Iran gets them, too.

    Finally...peace in the Middle East...

    ...one way or another.

  • John||

    Yeah Frank,. MAD was a great thing. A ticket to peace. Not an insane idea that only occurred because it was the only option available. I mean it is not like the US and Soviets didn't nearly destroy the world multiple times during the cold war both by choice and by accident.

    I am sure we can dodge that bullet again only this time with countries that are five times as crazy and ten times as incompetent as either the US or USSR was.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That wouldn't lead to peace.

    Just like MAD didn't lead to peace in the Cold War.

    MAD led to Korea, Vietnam, Angola, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc., etc.

    MAD led to 40 years of proxy wars. Not peace.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    How many nuclear powers have gone to war with each other, Ken?

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're missing the point.

    The fact that the Soviets and U.S. didn't go to war with each other doesn't mean the Cold War was peaceful. It meant 40 years of proxy wars from Angola and Afghanistan to Vietnam and Guatemala.

    I suppose I could point to India and Pakistan going toe to toe from time to time. They both have nuclear weapons. But that's a better example of them fighting through proxies in places like Kashmir.

    Note that Iran already has a proxy army. They keep Hezbollah on a tight leash out of fear that if Hezbollah attacks us directly, we will retaliate against Iran--likely through our own proxy Israel. If Iran no longer fears that we will retaliate against them because of what Hezbollah does--because Iran develops a nuclear deterrent--then that will not lead to peace between Iran and its enemies. That will free Iran to act through their proxies.

    A nuclear Iran does not lead to peace. At best, it leads to conventional war through proxies. At worst, it leads to nuclear war when Iran's enemies develop the same capabilities and deterrents.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Wait...

    You consider Hezbollah a threat to the US? How is an organization without an air force or a navy a credible threat to the US? They are, at most, a minor annoyance.

    And personally, I don't give a flying fuck, what problems they cause in their little shithole corner of the world. Not my concern until I'm aggressed against. Your paradigm is completely wrong. In a post fracking world, we have no national interest in the Middle East. We have no need to be involved in anyone's proxy war.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You consider Hezbollah a threat to the US? How is an organization without an air force or a navy a credible threat to the US?"

    There's this thing called terrorism.

    Hezbollah has been known to indulge in it.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    There's this thing called terrorism.

    Dude, terrorism IS NOT a credible threat to the existence of the US or our way of life. There is NOTHING that terrorism can accomplish that the entity being attacked doesn't do to themselves.

    They blow up a building, and that's horrible, but it's a flee on a dog's ass when compared to a nuclear exchange or an armed invasion (as I said, an annoyance). An annoyance is not a credible threat.

    Look at it this way. There are, arguably, a handful of terror attacks in the US every year (depending on definition) and they kill a handful of people. The very worst ever (by orders of magnitude) less than 3000. By comparison, we have roughly 15,000 murders every year.

    Now, if one buys into the position that we need to preemptively attempt to stop bad shit from happening before it happens (and I don't), wouldn't it make more sense to attempt to preemptively prevent murder over terror? And we don't. We find, capture, try and punish murderers after the fact (as we should terrorists).

    Calling terror a threat worth preemptively engaging is a way to buy votes, increase defense budgets and increase government power while decreasing the people's liberty.

  • Cytotoxic||

    "Dude, terrorism IS NOT a credible threat to the existence of the US or our way of life."

    It was for Israelis in 2000.

    "Calling terror a threat worth preemptively engaging is a way to buy votes, increase defense budgets and increase government power while decreasing the people's liberty."

    Ipse Dixit

  • Suicidy||

    So if an enemy can't just wipe iis out with the stroke of a pen, or a major sustained upfront attack then they're not a threat? What a poor analysis.

  • MacDaddy81||

    Have any other nuclear powers been religious zealots who believe dying in a holy war is the greatest thing one can do? Or believed that murdering their enemies will get them in to heaven? MAD only works if both sides want to live.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Yeah...my enemy wants to die. Sure he does. That's why he spent a lifetime accumulating power...so he can die.

  • american socialist||

    You know what motivates me, Florida man? Fucking people that talk about limited government and then make falling domino arguments about how we should kill a million people in the ME because of Hezbollah. That and the Sermon on the Mount.

  • ||

    American Socialist, that same argument can go the other direction you know. Voluntary socialism like a commune or Kibbutz is fine with me if no one is forced to participate. But how do you impose socialism? That can only be done with violence. You must threaten violence or the system does not work. What happens to people like Wesley Snipes who try to "evade taxes"? They are imprisoned.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Why can't we have both? No militarism and no coercively-imposed socialism.

  • Suicidy||

    Your kind slaughtered over a hundred million people in the 20th century to gain or maintain their dominion over their fellow man. You have no moral superiority over anyone.

  • ||

    John, when did the United States abandon its nuclear program?

    Also, can you name the only country on Earth to have used nuclear weapons in a war? I will give you three guesses.

  • ||

    Sorry, I should have addressed the above to Ken. This is why we need edit buttons.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    There are only 9 nations in the world with nukes. 5 of those nations are more or less western, liberal and democratic nations (US, UK, France, Israel, India). 3 are socialist or formerly socialist countries with rational, materialistic calculations about the effects of a nuclear war and MAD (USSR, China, N Korea). One nation is Muslim-majority, and *still* has tensions with its nuclear-armed neighbor to the east, *despite* being constructed around a secular state.

    And we want more Islamic states with nuclear capability? We want the House of Saud to have ICBMs? There's no threat whatsoever from a potential ISIS with nukes?

    I knew libertarians were stupid, but Jesus.

  • ||

    "And we want more Islamic states with nuclear capability?"

    Actually, I don't want any state to have nuclear capability. What I am pointing out is the hypocrisy of arguments made by many politicians.

  • JohnMoser||

    You're confusing libertarians with fucking hippies. Or liberaltarians. Nukes for our enemies isn't a libertarian ideal. Neither are open borders. Freedom to leave is libertarian, freedom to invade not so much.

  • Suicidy||

    As far as I'm concerned, all our individual rights, freedom, etc. apply to the US and its citizens. I'm far less concerned about foreigners. Foreigners are not entitled to any of our stuff. And if foreign powers and their people become a threat to the US and our interests then they should be dealt with.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If government has any legitimate purpose at all, it is to protect our rights. If protecting our rights from foreign threats requires the government to keep or use nuclear weapons, then that is what a libertarian government should do.

    We are not required to do things that would lead to our own destruction or threaten our rights out of some misguided sense of fairness. Do you imagine we should allow the Japanese to nuke us twice out of a sense of fairness, too?

    The war against Imperial Japan was a war of self-defense. Their government was given the option to surrender after Hiroshima, which they refused to do. We dropped the bomb Nagasaki three days later. Whether we're to blame for Hiroshima is debatable. The blame for Nagasaki belongs to the government of Imperial Japan.

    Our rights were never under greater threat than they were during the Cold War by the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union. Deploying our nuclear weapons in Western Europe during the Reagan Administration was instrumental in bringing the Cold War to a close--and safeguarding our rights. Thank God for the bomb.

  • ||

    “If government has any legitimate purpose at all, it is to protect our rights.”

    If the government that claims to represent us wishes to protect our rights it should begin by not violating them. Otherwise it is like an abusive husband telling his wife that she should not leave him because he will protect her.

    “If protecting our rights from foreign threats requires the government to keep or use nuclear weapons, then that is what a libertarian government should do.”

    As it does not, this question is irrelevant.

    “Do you imagine we should allow the Japanese to nuke us twice out of a sense of fairness, too?”

    No, for one thing those responsible for that atrocity are dead. Also, nuclear weapons kill far more innocent people than they do guilty ones. Killing one group of innocent people is not justification for killing another group of innocent people.

    “The war against Imperial Japan was a war of self-defense.”

    If you truly believe that I would encourage you to read John Denson’s A Century of War.

    “Our rights were never under greater threat than they were during the Cold War by the nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union.”

    Who had the bomb first?

  • XM||

    "Killing one group of innocent people is not justification for killing another group of innocent people."

    A tone deaf response to the nuclear bombings, and a familiar one.

    The civilian casualty of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were victims of a self inflicted wound. Tragic as their deaths were, they're in no way comparable to the many victims who perished under imperial Japan. Lumping both into "groups of innocent people" is nonsensical.

    No one wants to specifically target civilians in war. But in desperate times, most people will reluctantly accept civilian casualty as a cost to stopping a fascist nation from killing other civilians. Of course, something like WW2 can't occur nowadays.

    The bombings killed a lot of Korean and Chinese laborers who were forced to relocate to Japan. Many Asians are ambivalent about whether that was necessary. But most Koreans and Chinese generally accept that course of action as a necessary evil to stop Japan. That's because Japan was raping THEIR people, and waging wars by plundering their lands. If Japan was allowed to surrender while keeping the occupied terriory, the eastern part of the world may resemble the ME of today. Thousands of more people would have died.

    People who actually suffered under tyranny don't play this glib "the ends doesn't justify the means" game. It's not that simple to them.

  • ||

    “The civilian casualty of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were victims of a self inflicted wound.”

    I would encourage you to read this excellent article:

    https://mises.org/library/japans-gift-fdr

  • Suicidy||

    Blame America first? Fuck you.

  • Jordan||

    Hmm, why might they want a nuclear program other than to nuke New York? It's a real mystery.

    What evidence do you have that Iran intends to strike the U.S.? And Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, not us.

  • John||

    They have said in so many words multiple times they intend to use them against Israel

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/jerusa.....ers-m-hys5

    To say that is not a threat to the US you either have to think they are lying or that the US should be okay with Iran using nuclear weapons to destroy a western nation and a long time US ally.

    Suppose you follow the Richman lead and leave Israel to their fate. Do you honestly think that a nuclear Iran that just got away with nuking and destroying Israel would just stop there and not be a threat to the rest of the world?

  • Jordan||

    First of all, Iran is not going to nuke Israel. Both Pakistan and North Korea have nukes, and neither is inclined to start a war in which they will certainly die.

    Second of all, leaving Iran alone is not the same as allowing them to use nukes with impunity. But punishing them for a nuclear strike doesn't require surrounding Iran with military bases or taxing Americans to pay for Israel's military.

  • John||

    First of all, Iran is not going to nuke Israel. Both Pakistan and North Korea have nukes, and neither is inclined to start a war in which they will certainly die.

    To say that you have to assume they are lying. And maybe they are. But there is no reason to think that other than the blind faith that they really can't mean it.

    Second of all, leaving Iran alone is not the same as allowing them to use nukes with impunity.

    How exactly do not allow them to use nukes with impunity and also leave them alone? Those two things are contradictory. Further, it looks to me like continuing the sanctions and refusing to trade or have diplomatic relations with them is leaving them alone.

  • Jordan||

    How exactly do not allow them to use nukes with impunity and also leave them alone?

    Ok, now you're just playing dumb.

  • John||

    How so Jordan? I am not saying we should bomb Iran. I am saying we should never have made a deal with them or ended the sanctions. So again, explain to me how my position is not leaving them alone?

  • Suicidy||

    You comparison is not relevant. Different countries, different people running them. Those mullahs may well choose to nuke Israel at the cost of their own lives. How the fuck do YOU know they won't? They sure talk about doing it enough. They have no right to those weapons.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    To say that is not a threat to the US you either have to think they are lying or that the US should be okay with Iran using nuclear weapons to destroy a western nation and a long time US ally.

    The US should not "be okay" with it. But other than verbally expressing our disapproval and sorrow, it's not our business whether Iran bombs Israel or Israel bombs Iran. In particular, we have neither a right nor an obligation to intervene militarily.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    But, that doesn't really respond to Ken's point, does it? They might or might not have legitimate reasons to be hostile to us. But, it's kind of silly to say that, given hostility and capability they pose no danger.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, not us.

    -241 U.S. Marines

    Indeed, while Hamas or Fatah/PLO have never killed American troops, as far as we know, the one group you can say split American blood is Iran's proxy Hezbollah.

  • Jordan||

    That was decades ago and occurred in a warzone in which we were involved. What threat does Hezbollah pose to Americans today?

  • Ken Shultz||

    See my comment below.

    1) Why hasn't Hezbollah targeted the U.S. specifically since they (elements that formed Hezbollah) targeted the U.S. specifically since?

    2) The question isn't whether Hezbollah poses a threat today; the question is whether they would pose a threat if Iran had a nuclear deterrent and the ICBMs to deliver it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That was decades ago

    1983 is ancient history to you? Let me guess, you're a Millennial, right?

    occurred in a warzone in which we were involved

    That's a rather disingenuous description. We were there as non-combatant UN Peacekeepers. Furthermore, the barracks were specifically targeted for attack by Hezbollah. It's not as if it were "collateral damage". There is even a monument to the attack that was erected in Tehran.

    What threat does Hezbollah pose to Americans today?

    I don't know, let's ask Argentina.

    While I'm not advocating us going in guns blazing, the point is that out of the 3 groups (Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah), only Hezbollah has shown the willingness to attack Americans and has demonstrated the ability to operate internationally. It is ostrich head in the sand-like thinking to state that Hezbollah doesn't possess a threat to the US; whereas, you would be completely correct if you were to say the same about Hamas and Fatah.

  • ||

    We were there as non-combatant UN Peacekeepers.

    One of the dumber ideas of Reagan, almost lost in the sea of his other dumb ideas. And 241 people paid for that. Reagan felt sorry, but they were dead.

  • John||

    It was an idiotic idea to send them there. That, however, doesn't make Hezbollah less responsible for what happened.

  • mtrueman||

    "as far as we know, the one group you can say split American blood is Iran's proxy Hezbollah"

    We know a lot more than that. MEK has also targeted and killed Americans in the Middle East. Didn't hurt them at all. They've recently been removed from the list of terror groups the US government keeps. Same goes for the PLO, thanks to their use of terror targeting the US, they got a seat at the table, official recognition (what every self respecting terror group wants) and lots of dough from American tax payers. Even Israel gets into the act, bulldozing to death a young American student without any repercussions. Americans are awfully generous when it comes to forgiving and forgetting. But this Hezbollah exception need explanation. I figure it's the victims were in uniform, even though they were all asleep. Wounded national pride and all that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Even if the threat were just confined to Israel, that would have an impact on our security interests.

    Since elements of what eventually coalesced into Hezbollah attacked our Marine barracks back in the early '80s, Hezbollah has not specifically targeted the United States. Why do you think that is?

    I think it's because if Hezbollah ever directly attacked the U.S., the U.S. would let Israel off its leash--and bad things would happen to Iran. A lot of people seem to think Israel is belligerent because of American support. They're getting it backwards.

    Regardless, if Iran no longer feared massive retaliation from the U.S. and its allies in the region because Iran possessed a nuclear deterrent, we should expect Hezbollah to no longer refrain from targeting America and Americans with terrorism.

    Just like how the Cold War may have made direct engagement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union unlikely, but it made conventional wars through proxies (Korea, Vietnam, etc.) virtually certain. Iran already has a proxy army. They're called Hezbollah, they engage in terrorism, and they already fight in Lebanon, Syria, and anywhere else Iran wants them to go.

    If you don't want to go to war with Hezbollah, you might want to oppose Iran enriching its own uranium.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Feel free to argue that it's in the best interests of the U.S. to do nothing about these threats

    All threats are not equal. I will argue that the US should allocate resources to defend against threats based upon their magnitude and the likeliness of them actually occurring.

    Since Russia has a HUGE nuclear arsenal, all of which is pointed at us, I'd estimate the nuclear threat presented by Russia is 99% greater than that of Iran, and that the MASSIVE resourses allocated to defend against Russia can be reallocated to defend against Iran within a matter of minutes. Arguing that more resourses are required to defend against Iran miniscule nuclear program is simple fear mongering and an attempt to grow government.

  • John||

    The threat is a product of the consequences and the likelihood of it occurring. Yes, Russia has a bigger arsenal but are also much less likely to use it than Iran.

    Moreover, because they have a nuclear arsenal, we have to put up with a lot more mischief from countries like China or Russia than we do from countries that don't. A nuclear Iran is a much greater threat than a non nuclear one for the simple reason that confronting a nuclear Iran means risking nuclear war and that gives them more freedom to attack us and our interests.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    On what do you base this assertion that Iran would be much more likely to use nukes than Russia? I call total bullshit on that.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I call total bullshit on that.

    Thanks. I've decided not to acknowledge his existence. But, yes, the troll is arguing from a false premise (as usual). Red Tony's gig is to infuriate you enough to get you to argue with him and satisfy his never ending need for attention. I'm done wasting time with him.

  • Cytotoxic||

    "On what do you base this assertion that Iran would be much more likely to use nukes than Russia?"

    The fact that they are religious nuts.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Who is "they"? I know many Iranians, and none of them are particularly religious.

    BTW, you are also a religious nut. Your religion is called Objectivism.

  • Suicidy||

    Do you base everything on false equivalencies like this?

  • Suicidy||

    Are you fucking serious? One country is run by a calculating opportunist. The other is run by religious fundamentalists that believe these are the end times and that dying in the process of murdering the infidel is a golden ticket to the afterlife.

    Are you really so obtuse as to not understand those differences?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Since Russia has a HUGE nuclear arsenal, all of which is pointed at us, I'd estimate the nuclear threat presented by Russia is 99% greater than that of Iran.

    You keep talking about the threat Iran poses now.

    I'm talking about the threat Iran will pose once they have acquired nuclear weapons and ICBMs.

    I'm talking about the means by which they will acquire nuclear weapons--and why we should never have capitulated on sanctions and let them enrich their own uranium again. Refusing to let them enrich their own uranium was the primary means by which to ensure that they would not become a nuclear threat.

    Obama traded that away for magic beans--to make his personal mark on history. No amount of good intentions will safeguard our rights from a nuclear Iran. It does not matter whether they have nukes and ICBMs right now. It matters that they don't acquire nukes in the future.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I'm talking about the threat Iran will pose once they have acquired nuclear weapons and ICBMs.

    Iran will NEVER be the threat the Russians are. They simply cannot afford it.

    If we have the capability to defend against a Russian threat, we automatically can defend against an Iranian threat. Your pants-shitting over a couple of nukes is cute, and all, but there is no basis for it in reality. If Iran ever gets to the point where they threaten to surpass Russian in nuclear capability, I will entertain the need to increase our capabilities. Until then, I'll simply assume you are fear mongering as an excuse to grow government.

    A nuclear Iran is an extremely minor threat to the US for the foreseeable future, by comparison to the few nations that actually have the capability to impact our existence/way of life.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Iran will NEVER be the threat the Russians "

    They only need one nuclear warhead and one ICBM to be a serious threat to the rights of millions of mainland Americans.

    That it is better to head off that threat before it ever materializes by standing firm on sanctions and insisting that Iran forfeited the right to enrich their own uranium isn't even debatable.

    It's bizarre. It's like you're trying to head off a war by insisting on the very terms that will make war with Iran and its proxies most likely.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    They only need one nuclear warhead and one ICBM to be a serious threat to the rights of millions of mainland Americans.

    No shit. So what? Russia has 4650 active nukes. They aren't using them against us for the same exact reason the Iranians won't. NOBODY uses nukes when they know they'll be annihilated minutes after doing so.

    As it stands, a nuclear armed nation wouldn't hesitate to invade Iran. The second they have a nuke, that all changes. It actually makes war LESS likely.

    It's like you're pissed off that Iran getting a nuke takes away your ability to preemptively invade them with impunity.

  • Suicidy||

    Iran is not run by rational people. How the fuck do you not understand that?

  • mtrueman||

    "They had a clandestine nuclear program in violation of the NPT, they have a missile program, which has already successfully launched multistage rockets, and they're state sponsors of terror--especially Hezbollah."

    Having had a nuclear program or even a nuclear weapon does not make them a threat. The fact that you choose the past tense tells us all we need to know. Multistage rockets are not a threat to the USA unless they are armed with nuclear warheads. And as you already pointed out, her nuclear programme is a thing of the past. As for Hezbollah, you misunderstand them. They are a threat to Israel. It is a militia without an airforce, without a navy. They pose no threat to the USA.

  • John||

    Since when is their nuclear program a thing of the past?

  • mtrueman||

    "Since when is their nuclear program a thing of the past?"

    Ask Ken Shultz for details. He said Iran 'had a clandestine nuclear programme.' Had he said they 'have a clandestine nuclear programme' you'd have something substantial to worry about. If you have any evidence that Iran still has a clandestine nuclear programme, don't waste your time chatting on this board, contact your local authorities. You have information that all your nation's secret services (or any nations') have not managed to glean.

  • John||

    Sorry but ken is wrong. They didn't have one. They have one now.

  • mtrueman||

    "Sorry but ken is wrong."

    Poor Ken. As I say, if you have evidence, pass it on to the authorities. Why waste more time chatting here.

  • Suicidy||

    You're a fucking fool. It's good that most people are not this deluded about the Iranians.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They were enriching uranium in secret. That's the battle. Getting weapons grade material.

    That's a nuclear program.

    Iran was found to be in violation of the NPT because they were enriching uranium in secret--and that was more than a decade ago.

    Once their nuclear program was declared to be in violation of the NPT, they announced that they were moving ahead with their enrichment anyway. That was more than ten years ago.

    Yes, Iran had a clandestine nuclear program. They were enriching uranium in secret. That's a violation of the NPT. That's what we're talking about.

  • mtrueman||

    "That's what we're talking about"

    You are talking about Iran being a threat. Because of a programme that hasn't been operational for over 10 years. If that's the most threatening thing about Iran you can find, I suggest you ask John about his claim, counter to the findings of the world's secret services, that Iran is still working on nukes. That's something even I would find threatening.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You are talking about Iran being a threat. Because of a programme that hasn't been operational for over 10 years."

    I said they've been in violation of the NPT for more than ten years--not that they haven't been enriching uranium in secret for ten years.

    If they'd rather suffer crippling sanctions amid falling oil prices than open their enrichment facilities to inspection, then it's rational to assume that they were still enriching uranium.

    Why would they suffer crippling sanctions for ten years to hide nothing? If that's what they were doing, then the consequences for their own stupidity should fall on them.

  • mtrueman||

    "Why would they suffer crippling sanctions for ten years to hide nothing?"

    Every nation has plenty to hide. Iran is nothing special here. As for the NPT, if Iran was determined to build the weapons to threaten you, they'd simply follow the path of the North Koreans. They withdrew from the NPT, as was their right, and went on to develop them. The US sat by and did nothing to stop them.

    But to answer your question, why suffer, in the absence of evidence that they were up to something sneaky and no good like a secret weapon programme, I'd put it on domestic concerns. Not caving into the demands of Uncle Sam plays big in revolutionary Iran. Sanctions also hurt the little guy more than they do the mullah/business elite. If anything sanctions tend to firm up an authoritarian grip over a nation. see Iraq under Saddam.

  • WTF||

    Of course it's Richman. Who else would claim that America maintains an actual empire with a straight face?

  • mtrueman||

    "Who else would claim that America maintains an actual empire with a straight face?"

    It is a standard claim made by the left and some anti-authoritarians. Is Richman the only writer on staff here who talks of an American empire?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Wait, this is sarcasm, right? Who could maintain with a straight face that the U.S. does NOT maintain an empire?

    http://www.thenation.com/artic.....n-history/

  • mtrueman||

    Richman does indeed seem to be the only person on staff here who talks of an American Empire. They're not so squeamish about using the phrase at CATO or other anti-authoritarian mags. Reason is more about advocacy over domestic issues than foreign affairs so cut them so slack.

  • David Emami||

    Having foreign military bases does not make you an empire. Having vassal states makes you an empire.

    And by posting a link to The Nation, you instantly forfeit being taken seriously.

  • mtrueman||

    Look into Neil Fergusson's views. He's not a leftist nor anti-imperialist. CATO isn't afraid to talk about empire if you care to look there. As for Reason, Sheldon's all we got, damn his eyes.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "Having foreign military bases does not make you an empire. Having vassal states makes you an empire."

    The U.S. has many vassal states, if by vassal state you mean a state that will do whatever the U.S. wants.

    "And by posting a link to The Nation, you instantly forfeit being taken seriously."

    That's a fallacy of origin. Why don't you argue on the merits of the facts instead?

  • David Emami||

    A vassal state is one that *has no choice* but to do what the empire wants, because if it disobeys, it will suffer military consequences -- for example, the various countries of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Those were vassal states of the Soviet empire. Can you point me to a single solitary country that is in the position of, say, 1956 Hungary? Does British foreign policy closely match that of the US because American tanks will roll into the streets of London if the Brits disobey?

    This sort of ridiculous hyperbole is one reason why I have such a low opinion of some (not all) of the anti-interventionist folks. It takes more than merely exercising military force beyond its borders to qualify a country as an empire. Disagreeing with "interventions are inherently evil" does not make one a militarist or warmonger or all the other terms you guys throw about.

    As to The Nation, my problem with them is their bias, dishonesty, and their conclusions, not (in this case) the facts they cite. The fact that they would say "the US has foreign military bases! It's an empire!" means they're full of crap. This is consistent with their other output. And if someone demonstrates that they're full of crap enough times, it's entirely-reasonable to ignore anything beyond "2+2=4" from them.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You have got to be kidding me. How many examples would you like? If the US does not like the government of a vassal state, they engineer a coup or outright invade.

    1947 Greece

    1953 - Iran

    1954 - Guatemala

    1954-1958 - attempted North Vietnam coups

    1959 - Haiti

    1961 - Bay of Pigs

    1965 - Indonesia

    1973 - Chile

    My fingers are getting tired. That should be enough to demonstrate that if a vassal state does not have the government the US wants, the US will get involved.

    Oh, and here is one you might personally remember:

    1989 Panama invasion - Noriega was getting $100,000-$200,000 per year from the CIA from the 1960s to the 1980s. After Noriega stopped doing what the US wanted, the US invaded.

  • David Emami||

    Assisting one side or the other in a civil war is not invading, nor is backing a faction in a coup. None of your 1947-1973 items qualify. This is especially true when we're backing one faction when someone else (such as the USSR) is backing another faction. The only example you give of a US invasion -- Americans fighting that country's government, rather than assisting the people we agreed with -- is 1989 Panama, where you conveniently leave out the attacks on Americans and Panamanians, and the threat to a major strategic asset (the canal) which still belonged to us at the time.

    So, again, please point me to our equivalent of 1956 Hungary, or 1968 Czechoslovakia, or tell me who our Marshall Petain is.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You are engaged in a definitional retreat that will leave the concept of an empire meaningless. Of course you can eventually arrive at a definition of "empire" that will exclude the U.S. But you will have proven nothing except a self-indulgent tautology.

    Replacing the leaders of a country through violent means doesn't mean the U.S. views the country as a vassal state, because they haven't invaded? The result is the same. A coup is just cheaper and easier to hide politically.

  • David Emami||

    To clarify: when I say I disagree with their conclusions rather than their facts, what I mean is they tend to say "X is true, therefore Y is true," when no one disputes X but only someone dishonest or ignorant would claim that Y follows from X. In this case, X being "the US has foreign military bases" and Y being "the US is an empire."

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Death to America" is just their way of letting us know they care.

  • John||

    This is an interesting article on why the Republican Establishment hates Cruz so much. The author says

    Cruz is not (as the Establishment punditeska suggests) a “Jacksonian” isolationist in the sense of Walter Russell Meade’s use of the term; rather, he is a John Quincy Adams realist in Angelo Codevilla‘s reading. Cruz feels no ideological compulsion to assert America’s world mastery. He is concerned about American security and American power. The Establishment came into being in America’s brief moment at the head of a unipolar world, and is imprinted with that notion the way ducklings are imprinted with the image of their mothers. The world has changed: China is becoming a world power, albeit a world power of a sort the West has trouble understanding, and Russia is fighting for national revival. These things are neither good nor bad for America, but exactly the opposite. From a Cruz administration we would expect the pursuit of American self-interest, which would mean a substantial improvement in military technology as well as collaboration with Russia and China where it suits American interests and opposition where it doesn’t.

    http://atimes.com/2016/02/iowa-and-the-world/

  • Bill Dalasio||

    ...rather, he is a John Quincy Adams realist in Angelo Codevilla‘s reading

    Which isn't exactly bad from a moderate libertarian standpoint. I've argued any number of times that a realist foreign policy would be an order of magnitude less interventionist than the all-intervention-all-the-time rigamarole we have today. It would also be a lot better for the country's blood and treasure.

  • ||

    A dozen paragraphs on Cruz and Rubio. One mention of Hillary...even though she's never seen a war she didn't like.

  • John||

    Its worse than that. The case against Cruz is appalling and borderline anti-Semetic. First we get

    Cruz's website declares he would be all-in for Israel: "We must make clear to the world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States. America’s security is significantly enhanced by a strong Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. Our American-Israeli alliance is something to celebrate.

    And this is shortly followed by

    I can see Cruz being persuaded to move on regime change in Syria under the right circumstances (which perhaps could be easily arranged).

    The argument is that Cruz likes the Jews and supports Isreal, therefore the NeonCon Jews are likely to talk him into going to war in the Middle East like they did Bush.

    That is disgusting and Reason should be ashamed of having published such garbage.

  • DJF||

    """""The argument is that Cruz likes the Jews and supports Israel"""

    Cruz statement goes far beyond liking Jews which he does not mention and supporting Israel which has been nothing but a burden to the US.

    Oh and before you call me anti-Semite for calling Israel a burden, I also think the rest of the US allies are burdens as well

  • John||

    How does he go "far beyond supporting Israel"? Yeah, Cruz supports Israel. So what? Riichman uses that fact to conclude that Cruz is just like "Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz could have written that" and therefore will go to war.

    That is at best appallingly stupid. And at worst, given that he is talking about Israel and lists two Jews as the malevolent types who will talk Cruz into going to war, anti-Semitic. Last I looked lots of non Jews supported invading Iraq and no one outside of the boards on Storm Front thinks we invaded Iraq to support Israel.

    Just what the is Richman saying here other than Cruz is going to let a bunch of fifth columnist Jews talk him into going into war in the Middle East?

  • Jordan||

    In Defense of Israel: Or How I learned to Love the Race Card

  • John||

    If the card fits. There is not a single word in that post saying anything good or bad about Israel. The post is all about Richman. And you would never tolerate such bullshit in any other context. This is no different than someone writing against Hillary on the basis that black leaders in the Democratic party will talk her into getting the US involved in Africa.

  • DJF||

    """How does he go "far beyond supporting Israel"?""'

    """"We must make clear to the world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States. America’s security is significantly enhanced by a strong Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. Our American-Israeli alliance is something to celebrate.""''

    That is far beyond supporting. Israel is not the strategic bedrock for the US.

  • John||

    That is no different than what we say about Europe. And Israel is our one reliable ally in a very important part of the world. Again, you hate Israel. That is fine but stop pretending that this is about anything but that.

  • straffinrun||

    Anyone who’s supporting Sanders because they oppose Clinton, said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), needs “to think back to why do they think that, because that’s the fingerprints of the Republican smear machine all over that.”
    http://www.politico.com/story/.....z3zDGnq3Tj
    Here's something about Hillary that is quite fun.

  • GILMORE™||

    "A dozen paragraphs on Cruz and Rubio. One mention of Hillary...even though she's never seen a war she didn't like.

    Even though she's the only one who's ever actually had the power to provoke international confrontations and influence the deployment of military assets. and is probably more-responsible for the distribution of arms and stoking conflict in Syria than anyone outside of the Saudi GID

  • John||

    There is one Presidential Candidate who has been the main driver behind an illegal war and whose negligence and incompetence has gotten Americans killed. Yet, Sheldon seems unconcerned with her and instead concentrates on his ability to read Ted Cruz's mind.

  • Chipwooder||

    Question - has Richman ever written a piece that DIDN'T have Israel as the villain?

  • John||

    He is embarrassing. And the fact that reason continues to publish his work shows how big their blind spot is when it comes to the Left. Richman is no less offensive than someone like John Derbyshire. Reason would never publish something Derbyshire wrote. Yet they happily publish Richman's Father Coughlin like rantings.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yet they happily publish Richman's Father Coughlin like rantings.

    Under the by-line "Reason Staff". They are now collectively signing on to Richman's bigotry.

  • WTF||

    Richman - the main reason that I didn't donate on the last fund drive.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    My appreciation for Richman's articles cancels out your hate.

  • ||

    I would donate some big chunks of cash ($5!) if John Derbyshire started writing for Reason.

  • John||

    Derbyshire, for all his faults, is unlike Richman a really smart guy who has very interesting things to say on subjects like Math in particular. Hell, you could have Derbyshire do a bi weekly column on math and its various misuses by the media and politicians on both sides and it would be damned interesting. What does Richman bring to the table?

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Clicks.

  • Rhywun||

    I could read anything he has to say about China too.

  • Loki||

    What does Richman bring to the table?

    Look at the number of comments on this and other Richman brainfarts. I think each comment gets counted as a page view since the page is reloaded each time you click "submit" (I'm not 100% sure how page view analytics works, but I think that's correct). It's all about the page views.

  • ||

    Derbyshire's decline in recent years has been a depressing spectacle.

  • John||

    I agree. He is a very smart guy and used to be an interesting and independent thinker. Now he is just a racist. It pains me to no end to say that. And I gave him way to much of the benefit of the doubt on that because I always liked him so much. But it is true.

  • ||

    We finally agree. Now the goat will eat the tiger.

  • John||

    Hell has frozen over.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Someone needs to resurrect Bruce Lee so he can kick Derbyshire's ass again.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Since Derbyshire is just about the opposite of a libertarian and a racist, I seriously doubt Reason would publish anything that nincompoop writes.

  • John||

    And since you are a moron, you completely missed the point. They shouldn't publish Derbyshire anymore than they should be publishing Richman.

  • mtrueman||

    "And since you are a moron,"

    Are there other anti-semites on staff at Reason you are aware of, or is Richman the only one?

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    Yeah, it's one thing to be critical of Israel, it seems to be something else entirely to blame Israel for virtually all the problems in the Middle East while arguing the Iranians just want peace.

    It isn't anti-Semitism though since the only Muslim state Richman is ever really critical of is Saudi Arabia - which just so happens to be a US ally. Now the Saudis are pure scum and it's a shame our politicians refuse to even criticize them, but basically Richman takes the Chomsky line on foreign policy, which is that you should always criticize anyone with links to the US while ignoring crimes committed by US enemies.

  • John||

    Richaman lets his hatred of the West and the US in particular make him nuts. He will do anything to defend countries that would if they were able happily murder him for the crime of being gay and sees the US, the place where he is allowed to live in peace as the root of every evil in the world.

  • kbolino||

    would if they were able happily murder him for the crime of being gay

    Sheldon Richman is married to a woman and has three children.

  • John||

    My mistake. I am not sure where I got that. Nevermind.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "My mistake. I am not sure where I got that. Nevermind."

    Probably the same place where you got the idea that Iranians are murderous thugs that would immediately launch any nukes if they had them.

  • John||

    Did you get your reading comprehension as a prize in a crackerjack box? Are you that stupid or just that dishonest? No one with the ability to read above a third grade level could think I have said that anywhere on this thread. Why do you insist I did? Stupid or illiterate? It has to be one.

  • Rhywun||

    How gay is that?!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    but basically Richman takes the Chomsky line on foreign policy

    Yet Chomsky lacks the "curious fixation" Richman (and Max Blumenthal, btw) have for Israel. Unlike Chomsky, I have yet to read anything by Richman concerning the Rohinyga of Burma, or the ethnically Nepali Hindus of Bhutan, or the bloody Kivu Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has seen more than 400,000 women raped as part of a psychological warfare strategy, or the 1,000s of forced disappearances that have occurred in Thailand under the military dictatorship of Prayut Chan-ocha. Despite Richman's bodhisattva vows he is silent on all the pain and suffering in the world, except within a strip of desert the size of New Jersey.

    Wonder why.

  • WTF||

    Richman is working on a forthcoming article for Reason explaining how all of those things are the fault of Israel and American imperialism.

  • mtrueman||

    "Wonder why."

    I suppose it's his anti-imperialism. You'll find similar focus on Israel among the left. Nepal, Myanmar, Congo etc are not imperial powers. They are not receiving the billions Israel receives from the US in military aid. Nepal is not a nuclear power and its ability to threaten neighbours is limited. Same can be said of Myanmar and the Congo. Israel is again a different matter, it has weapons and has been in a perpetual state of conflict since her founding.

    Sheldon is not unique. He's not saying anything that isn't said in Israel by Jews and Arabs on a daily basis. Yet you ignore them. Wonder why.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Israel is again a different matter, it has weapons and has been in a perpetual state of conflict since her founding


    Yup, the Democratic Republic of Congo certainly hasn't been in a perpetual state of conflict since its founding. It certainly hasn't been involved in the war with the greatest number of casualties since WWII. And those things in their soldiers' hands? Definitely not weapons.

    You really are damned stupid and ignorant, to boot. You don't have to try show hard to show off those qualities, though.

  • mtrueman||

    When Congo gets nukes I expect everyone, including Sheldon, will discuss her more frequently. Wonder why.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    And Sheldon can speak with some authority on Israel, since he is Jewish and grew up with a grandfather that was an anti-Zionist:

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/.....r-zionism/

  • Chipwooder||

    Exactly. Israel is in no way pristine or above reproach. They do plenty of things that should rightly be criticized. They most certainly are not the source of all problems in the Middle East, nor is Iran some kind of benevolent country.

  • John||

    Israel has nuclear weapons and by far the best military in the region. And yet, Israel has not done anything since 1973 other than invade Lebanon a couple of times and that was in response to Hezbollah shooting rockets across the border.

    Even if you take the Palestinians' side in things and see Israel as another Apartheid South Africa, how then do you also conclude Israel is the real threat to peace in the middle east? They have never started a war unless it was in response to being attacked and have been the victim of unprovoked invasion three different times in the last 70 years.

    Anyone who claims Israel is a threat to peace in the Middle East is either insane or virulently anti-Semitic or both.

  • mtrueman||

    "how then do you also conclude Israel is the real threat to peace in the middle east?"

    Israel is not threatening peace in the ME. There is no peace to threaten. As long as Israel continues to occupy Palestine, there won't be peace in the region.

  • John||

    So that is the Jews fault not the people who actually threaten the peace.

    Go fuck yourself you anti Semitic piece of crap.

  • mtrueman||

    "So that is the Jews fault..."

    Insofar as the Jews are party to what amounts to a squabble over real estate, sure they are at fault. It's not Palestinians who're occupying Israel. It's 2 pi radians the opposite.

  • Lord Rollingpin||

    2 pi radians is 360 degrees, which would make it the same. Maths is hard.

  • mtrueman||

    "Maths is hard..."

    A lot harder than baiting trolls.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Yes he has. Just recently. I noted my shock in the comments.

    I guess he was just storing up Joo hating for a big splash today.

  • ||

    You know who else loved a bloody and costly empire...

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    Suge Knight?

  • WTF||

    Genghis Khan?

  • Loki||

    Emperor Palpatine?

  • Glide||

    As a fairly likely Rubio/Cruz voter, I understand and agree with the premise. But with no Rand, the other (general election) options are a throwaway statement vote for Gary (which, to be fair, I am considering), a corrupt statist who is just as warlike, a proponent of 90% top tax rates, and Donald Trump.

    Perfectly reasonable to hold potentially allies accountable for their anti-libertarian positions, but (especially for Cruz) I think Reason works way too hard to highlight their flaws without celebrating the fact that they're potential allies at all.

  • Loki||

    a throwaway statement vote for Gary (which, to be fair, I am considering)

    If it helps, just remember that the only way your single throwaway vote will matter is if Shrillary (or whoever you see as the greater evil) wins your state by a single vote, and your state's Electoral College votes are what put her over the top. You probably have better odds of winning the Powerball.

    So I say go ahead and vote for whoever you really want to be president regardless of their odds of winning (or not vote if your choice is NOTA). In the highly unlikely event that your individual vote gives away the election, you can apologize to your fellow "wreckers" on your way to the re-education camp.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "Lots of authoritative people knew in 2002 that Iraq had no WMD and that Bush's warmongering was based on cooked intelligence."

    It goes well beyond that. Saddam, even if he had had so-called "weapons of mass destruction" (and poison gas, the only "WMD" that Saddam ever employed, is in fact not a weapon of mass destruction), was no danger to the U.S. During the eighties, under Reagan, the U.S. assisted Iraq when it used poison gas against Iran, and under Bush I the U.S. encouraged Saddam to take part, but not all, of Kuwait. It was only after the first Gulf war proved that war could be so much fun that the Right invented the notion that Saddam was somehow a danger to the U.S., desperately seeking a new Cold War to replace the one that St. Ronald had so tragically won. Of course, now Iran has replaced Iraq as our new "maximum enemy". The enormous "State Department/Pentagon/CIA-industrial complex" that the U.S. created during the Cold War is a solution searching for a problem to justify its continued existence and gigantic budget. Bernie Sanders is the only real skeptic in the race, and he'd much rather talk about overturning Citizens United.

  • John||

    The US never encouraged Saddam to invade Kuwait you fucking half wit. And Iran used poison gas in that war as well.

    It was only after the first Gulf war proved that war could be so much fun that the Right invented the notion that Saddam was somehow a danger to the U.S., d

    Amazing how invading Kuwait and plotting to kill a former US President will do that.

  • ||

    Put aside the retarded antisemitic babblings of the Sheldon. Let's review the candidates:

    1. Hillary: "Yes, bomb."
    2. Bernie: "We need to work with other countries as a team to bomb."
    3. Cruz: "Bomb, bomb, bomb."
    4. Rubio: "Bomb."
    5. Trump: "Bomb the sit out of them."

    I see a pattern here.

  • John||

    Why do you think Cruz is "bomb bomb bomb"? The only evidence that Richman gives for that is his professed support for Israel. I would encourage you to read the link I gave above about Cruz and why the GOP establishment hates him so much. At least according to that link, the hate him as much as anything because he doesn't see the US as having a duty to be the world super power and policeman. That would be a very good thing in a President and certainly not bomb bomb bomb.

  • ||

    Why do you think Cruz is "bomb bomb bomb"?

    Because he explicitly said so?

    [T]he approach of the Obama administration to ISIS has been fundamentally unserious. We have dropped a bomb here, a missile there, but it has really been a photo op foreign policy. What we need is a concentrated, directive military objective to take ISIS out. Now, what does that entail? A far more vigorous air campaign than we're seeing. We're dropping a fraction of the ordnance that we have in other campaigns such as Afghanistan.
  • John||

    Okay. He is saying that we need to fight ISIS and win and stop fucking around. Notice what he doesn't say. He doesn't say shit about nation building or making the place nice again.

    Take the issue of whether we should go to war with ISIS out of it for a second. Cruz thinks we should but understand he thinks that because they have already attacked Americans abroad and have vowed to do the same in the US. They are at war with us. And his response to that is to just destroy them. Not go in and build a democracy or strike at the root causes, but kill them and go home.

    I would submit to you that that is fundamentally different and better than the other candidates. Cruz basically says the US is a great power but not the only one and should act like it and deal harshly with those who threaten us but otherwise stay the hell out of things and stop worrying so much when other great powers do the same. Understand, the actual NEOCONs in the GOP think Cruz is an isolationist nut.

    That position may not be to your liking. And that is of course fine. But understand Cruz is not the same as people like Bush or McCain. He is not a Wilsonian or an internationalist who views the US as having some kind of special rule to run the world. And that is very significant and good.

  • ||

    I haven't seen any of the candidates advocate nation building. And since this is a gang, not a country, which nation?

  • John||

    The nation is Syria and Iraq. And everyone but Cruz and Paul are advocating nation building. They just are not being as blunt about it. Hillary is the queen of starting wars for humanitarian reasons. And the Republicans, sans Paul and Cruz have never repudiated Bush's nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cruz is the only Republican who says Obama was right to leave Iraq. The rest of them think he made a huge mistake and it is our duty to stay in Iraq and prop it up forever.

  • ||

    First one I checked was Clinton.

    "I will not send American combat troops to Iraq or Syria. That is off the table. That would be a terrible mistake," Clinton said.

    So, still, no real difference between Mom and Bunny Breckenridge. I haven't gathered quotes from the other gangstas yet.

  • John||

    And what possible reason do you have to believe her Old man? Sure Cruz could be lying too. But Hillary unlike Cruz, has a long history of doing the exact opposite of that.

  • ||

    I have no reason to believe any Democrat of Republican politician, including Mom and Bunny Breckenridge.

    Ted Cruz?

  • John||

    Sure Old man. But the bottom line is Hillary absolutely believes the US has a duty to enforce the international order and stop humanitarian crisis even if that means going to war and Cruz does not. Hillary is much more likely to go to war and go to war for a stupid reason than Cruz.

  • GILMORE™||

    ""I will not send American combat troops to Iraq or Syria. That is off the table"

    Noted = Obama has been saying the same thing... WHILE deploying 'troops' to Syria.

    This idea of taking politicians rhetoric at face-value while ignoring their actual behaviors and tendencies is insane

  • Aloysious||

    Eight sentences in...

    ...Iran, which poses no danger.


    ...*facepalm*
    Cute rhetorical trick, there, Richman. Worthy of a progressive.

  • Loki||

    When Cruz says, "Without [intelligence reports of WMD], it is difficult to imagine the decision would have been made to go into Iraq, and that predicate proved erroneous," he is being either naive or dishonest. The Bush foreign-policy team and the neocon brain trust outside the government wanted to overthrow Saddam Hussein before 9/11.

    Cruz wasn't part of the Bush foreign policy team, nor was he, AFAIK, part of the "neocon brain trust outside the government" in 2002. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and go with "naive" as opposed to dishonest. A lot of people were "naive" back then. The question is, did he learn anything about the futility of attempting to nation build in the middle east? It seems like he did, but who knows, maybe his advisers will be able to talk him into invading Syria, if elected.

    Hopefully not, but I think the only one R side that wouldn't have been talked into it was Rand. On the D side, Bernie Sanders might not be talked into it, but he just sucks so hard on everything else. This election is shaping up to be an even bigger shit show than ever. No matter who wins, "we the people" lose.

  • John||

    I thnk Cruz is just as unlikely to have done it as Paul. Richman, being a mendacious idiot, repeats the lie that Bush invaded Iraq only because of the WMD issues. And that is just not true. Bush invaded Iraq because they refused to go along with the UN inspections regime. Yes, that involved WMDs but there was more to it. It wasn't just about Saddam getting WMDs. It was, and if you go back and read Bush's speeches leading up to the war he makes this point over and over again and more often than he does about the threat of WMDs, about maintaining the UN's and the international order's credibility. Saddam broke the 1991 Ceasefire and was floating multiple UNSC resolutions. If nothing was done, the credibility of the entire international order was destroyed. Iraq was more than anything a Wilsonian war. It is probably the most Wilsonian war the US has ever fought.

    And Cruz, unlike the other Republican candidates sans Paul, is not a Wilsonian. He would have only invaded Iraq if he was convinced it was in our interests to do so and would not have given a single thought to the credibility of the US or the international order. That makes him much less likely to have been persuaded than anyone else running right now other than Paul.

  • lap83||

    Cruz doesn't hate Israel, that's all Richman needs to know to conclude he's the same as Bush. It's like Reason decided the foreign policy beat should go to one of our trolls.

  • John||

    It is funny as hell to read Reason lump Cruz in with all of the NEOCONs and then go over to the Weekly Standard or the Wall Street Journal and read actual NEOCONS having panic attacks about the possibility of a crazy isolationist like Cruz becoming President.

  • Loki||

    Fair points. Cruz is definitely the best of sorry lot left now that Rand's out. If he gets the nomination, I may still vote for him. I'm on the fence with him right now. His flip-flop on criminal justice reform irritates me, but hopefully he's just doing that to pander to "law and order" types.

  • John||

    If nothing else, the fact that the GOP members of Congress and all of the various staffers hate his guts so much says there must be something good and different about Cruz. I really think Cruz would put a stop to some of the stealing and we would end up with a smaller government at the end of his administration than we had at the start.

    I know that is not libertopia, but it would be the first progress on that front we have had in 70 years.

  • NYer||

    Cruz disagreed with Rubio on shooting down Russian planes flying over Syria and Standing up to Russia over Crimea.

    Cruz see's the problems with unaccountable NSA Spying and the executive having the power to indefinitely detain Americans without Due Process. Rubio doesn't see a problem with either.

    Cruz actively reaches out to libertarians to bring them into his coalition. Rubio wants nothing to do with libertarians and has saddled up completely with Neoconservatives/Hawks, establishment Republicans, and Drug Warriors.

    Yeah, they're the same alright /sarc

    Cruz isn't a libertarian but at least he occasionally remembers that the Federal Government should be limited and cautious in its actions. The rest of the remaining field, I'm not so sure.

    In regards to Israel. Both Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders have proclaimed their support of Israel and claimed it as a strategic ally for the United States. Support for Israel isn't exclusive to Hawks.

  • John||

    Cruz is not a Libertarian. He is, however, leaps and bounds preferable from any objective libertarian perspective to any Republican nominee since Reagan and maybe Goldwater. Yet, Reason continues to go out of their way to tear him down. Shouldn't they be happy at the prospect of one of the major parties' nominees is moving in a Libertarian direction?

  • ||

    I am no fan of Cruz or Trump. But between the two I think Trump would be les horrific for liberty. I say that primarily because of Cruz's stance on foreign policy when compared to what Trump has said in the past and even (to a lesser degree) on the campaign trail. Trump would at least be willing to sit down with Putin** for example. The other remaining Republican candidates seem to crave a new Cold War with Russia.

    **I am thankful to Putin for providing sanctuary to the American hero Edward Snowden.

  • John||

    Cruz has said the same. Cruz's expressed willingness to work with China and Russia when it suits US interests is one of the reasons the GOP establishment is so panicked by his candidacy.

    Think about it, the Republican establishment has said they could live with Trump before Cruz. Do you think they would believe that if they were not confident that Trump will buy into all the Wilsonian world order bullshit and Cruz wouldn't?

  • kro3||

    Edward Snowden is a hero AND a criminal. He stole and exposed more than just a little dirt, he also decided to put truly sensitive information into play.... While fleeing to, of all places, Russia. That is where he fu¢ked up. Does anybody honestly believe Putin would have bothered in the least with that double-agent-dummy if he had nothing real to offer?

  • The Grinch||

    I'm convinced nothing terrorizes some here at Reason more than possible political relevancy including, apparently, the "Reason Staff" who has given tacit approval to the ravings of their two shittiest writers on the site in the space of a morning. It's Goddamn pathetic.

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  • toolkien||

    As a general response to some thoughts above, it is obvious that the technology of the internet brings people closer together to exchange ideas, but fractures us into our own little cells at the same time. Thirty-five years ago you had Reagan, love him or hate him, but he was the face of one basic brand. Now we've got sixteen sub-divisions of right/libertarian/minarchic thought, and faces to place on them, none of which suit. One guy prays too much, another likes Israel too much, the other hates dogs...

    Of course, since the broad application of Force against peaceful and productive people, here or "there", is repugnant to me, there's not much to choose from. People want to throw Uncle Bernie out there as at least "good for A, B, and C", but as a pure anti-socialist, I don't care if he MIGHT be more lenient on drugs or scary brown people, if he thinks he can co-ordinate tooth paste production and will use the Force of the state to do so, he's just as evil as Trump is accused of being. Force is Force is Force. We need to define worth while candidates based on if they will unleash Force on peaceful/productive people. And if the best of the lot is "yes, 80% of the time", then there's nothing to be gained from the least of multiple evils.

    I have little doubt that we are headed over a cliff within a decade, and if voting for Cruz, for example, merely slows that inevitability down to eleven years from now, then who gives a fuck?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Couldn't agree more. How libertarian is libertarian enough to vote for? That's personal preference, but for me, the guy's gotta be in the libertarian box on the Nolan chart (realizing the limitations of such a tool).

    This is Rand.

    This is Cruz.

    If you can't get out of the liberal/conservative areas of the chart (and none of the Repubs are even close, except Paul), you're just more of the same, so fuck off, I'll burn my vote on Gay Jay.

  • buybuydandavis||

    'Both want to ... and "stand behind Israel," though such policies provoked the 9/11 attacks. '

    There you have it.

    9/11 - Da Joos were responsible!!!

  • buybuydandavis||

    'Both believe in American exceptionalism. (Rubio arrogantly calls for a "New American Century.") '

    Damn them!

    Don't they know America is Da Devil?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Only dipshits believe there is such thing as 'American Empire' or that Cruz is the same as Bush and Rubio.

  • buybuydandavis||

    'Both want to "control the border," '

    They're against OPEN BORDERZ!!!

    They both be Da Debil!!!!

  • SFC MAC||

    Newsflash, Richman: WE ARE AT WAR with an enemy that combines terrorism with its religious doctrine and wants to turn the world into a Caliphate. Some people can’t connect the dots between the slaughter of 3000 people in our country and atrocities across the world in the name of “Allah”. They declared war on Western civilization in 693AD. The first volley in the current war was fired in Tehran with the 1979 hostage crisis.

    Muzzie terrorists are trained, funded, indoctrinated, supported, and bred all across the Middle East. It’s the epicenter of Islamofascism. This could have been finished years ago if we had actually fought a war instead of piecemeal battles. This war—any war— can be brought to a relatively quick finish by dedicating every military resource—tactical, strategic, and intelligence—to kill the enemy. They attack as, we annihilate them. Every single one of them. It isn’t hard. Pick your targets and commence fire. And don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings.

    If we had worried about offending anyone in WWII, we’d be annexed to a Third Reich.

    Unless or until Western civilization decides to put an end to the muslim threat, this war ain’t over by a long shot.

    But don't you worry your little DemProg noggin. Barky has done all he can to make muzzie vermin feel welcome in America and he's certainly done everything he can to empower Islamofascist nation states like Iran.
    http://tinyurl.com/je24htw

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  • FloridaProf||

    Probably the most overused, hackneyed phrases: "American Empire." Really? Do you seriously believe there is anything approaching an American empire? Who is it we allegedly control?

  • mtrueman||

    "Who is it we allegedly control?"

    IMF?

  • kro3||

    I'm not a fan of Rubio but what's with the Cruz hate? Who are you going to vote for now, a progressive trying to play socialist or a straight up socialist? Cruz is what's left and at least he stands behind the constitution. There's a lot of hate and trash talk going on in here, kind of what I always expect at any given prog site but..... Wait, should I double check where I am?

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