Foreign Policy

Bill Kristol and Scott Horton Debate U.S. Interventionism at the Soho Forum

A leading proponent of the invasion of Iraq vs. the editorial director of


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On October 4, 2021, Bill Kristol, an editor at large of The Bulwark, went up against Scott Horton of the Libertarian Institute in an Oxford-style debate on U.S. foreign policy at Symphony Space in New York City.

Kristol was a leading proponent of the invasion of Iraq, the founding editor of The Weekly Standard, a foreign policy adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, and chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle.

Scott Horton is the author of Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism and Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. He's the editorial director of and the host of Antiwar Radio and the Scott Horton Show.

The debate was hosted by The Soho Forum, with Director Gene Epstein moderating.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie; production by Four Corners Media; intro edited by John Osterhoudt

Photos: Brett Raney; Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Wow, the Republican Party really messed up by pushing out patriotic neoconservative intellectuals like Bill Kristol. But at least he seems comfortable in his new home in the Democratic Party. These days he’s endorsing Democrats not only for President, but also for governor.


    1. An evening event held for him could be called Kristol Nacht.

      1. More like Kristol Nein, amirite?

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    3. Nice debate! Turns out my vision of American foreign policy is more Objectivist and Constitutional, so both made good points but tended to favor Horton’s view of non-interventionism, or at least in a limited way. But he makes anti-Israel ( the only democratic country in the area) statements and pro-Palestinian Arab statements that are just plain crazy (like Hamas and Hezbollah dont exist). Overall, Horton was mostly effective and had the upper hand, especially in pointing out the foolishness of the Iraqi invasion, which in hindsight Kristol admitted, hahaha!

  2. Has Bill Kristol ever been right about anything?

    1. Possibly, but I can’t think of any examples.

      I watched this whole debate, and my big takeaway is that Scott Horton is a terrible public speaker.

      1. Horton hatches lays the egg?

        1. I meant what I said,
          And I said what I meant!
          This Soho Debate’s a shitshow,
          One Hundred Percent!”
          –Scott Horton as Horton.

          “Rally it is!”–Bill Kristol as Drag Featherie Runnaway Maisie.

          “Horton Hatches The Egg” Merry Melodies Meets ‘Muricun Politics Meets MGTOW

          I always thought this represented the DemoPublicans and RepubliCratics so well. The classic Dems were lazy and evil and the classic Reps were dense and gullible…and The Elephant Boid of our present latently carries their worst traits together.

          1. And the whole thing is “Art Imitating Life” for MGTOW, except here, MGTOW Horton finally gets a measure of vengeful Justice.

      2. Wow I disagree. I’ve watched Horton twice now..Freedom Fest last summer and this in a debate and both times he came across very insightful and well spoken..

        1. He is insightful and appears to have an encyclopedic knowledge of U.S. foreign policy. However, he read his whole spiel verbatim off a sheet of paper. He was unable to shift focus in response to the situation and hardly even looked up as he was talking. This is unsatisfactory by junior high debate club standards.

      3. Horton is a bigot who’s not used to being challenged by someone smarter than him.

        1. What? Bill Kristol? really? A zionist neo-con who has never been correct in his entire b.s. career.
          No one should take anything kristol says as factual.

          1. Kristol may be wrong on most things, but Zionism? Not per se. Zio ists can want a Libertarian Israel too.

            1. Zionists, that is. In fact, in a free minds, free market world, the whole world is 800 Pound Gorilla Zionism Plus.

  3. who’s left on this planet to audience for Bill Kristol?

    1. All the murderous warmongers.

  4. I reviewed the topic then looked at the comments and decided
    this is a potentially fascinating talk—if each person did a soliloquy
    and wrapped it up in 9 minutes . Is it longer than that ? I didn’t see the time, but Mr. Gillespie surely must obligate the sponsors asMr. Kristol it is his duty . I would only ask Mr. Kristol how he rates the effectiveness of the death squads we trained and sponsored in Iraq and Central America and who would he recommend for running it ?

    1. It’s over an hour. I’ll give you the rundown:

      The whole debate centers around post WWII American interventionism.

      Horton identifies all of the destructive and ridiculous shit our foreign policy interventions have led to during that time period.

      Kristol admits that there have been some major fuckups, but he argues that American intervention has led to a more peaceful and prosperous world on the whole. His chief evidence is that there has been less war, destruction, famine, etc. during the past 70 years than there was between 1914 and 1945.

      They sort of talk past each other and don’t really engage one another’s ideas too much.

      I don’t but Kristol’s reasoning because I think the decrease in conflict and improvement in World standard of living conditions is due largely to greater abundance, inventions, free market capitalism, etc. However, it is interest to think about what the world would be like without the American military spread all over the planet.

      1. Fucking autocorrect makes me sound like a Chinese chatbot.

      2. America would be a prosporous not broke country where the Federal Govt is limited and we engage the world through trade and friendship…sort of like the 19th century

  5. But the story has a happy ending…eventually Bill Kristol rots in hell for eternity.

    1. More like “the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out…” for both and the audience.

  6. Horton did a very good job. Kristol didn’t know what he was getting himself into. The “spring time for Troytsky” comment killed me. The US policy made a lot of mistakes before the end of the cold war and then went off the rails after the USSR collapsed. Their backgrounds are very insightful as well on their pov. You have to understand how the proto neocons (mostly Troyskite Jews) moved so quickly to the “right” post WW2. Kristol is still pumping the “international social democracy” crap that Troytsky was pushing when he got an axe to the head. They found a willing Bill Buckley to push their agenda as the “new right” versus the “old right” of Robert Taft and the rest is a they say..hundreds of thousands of dead foreigners.

    What is said is how few people at Reason seem to care about this was very important. Horton is a libertarian (albeit he cares about libertarian things like the Federal Reserve and the Security State not abortion and open borders and wokeness).

    1. Correct. He and other like him who wormed their way out from under a rock, into establishment think tanks and used them to influence White House and congress into useless, costly and genocidal wars for Israel.

      1. What wars for Israel? Exactly how has Israel benefitted by any of those wars? What difference wpuld it make to to Israel whether Iraq invaded Kuwait or Saddam Hussein was in power? Israel didn’t need the U.S. to stop Iraq from developing nukes. She stopped Iraq herself when she bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak back in the ’80s. She didn’t need the U.S. for that. The reason the U.S. is in the middle east has nothing to do with Israel, rather to secure oil for U.S. companies and general U.S. hegemony. Israel is the most libertarian country in the middle east. To assert that U.S. wars are for Israel is anti-libertarian shit garbage.

        1. What you said, and I said to a degree helow.

  7. You can thank Kristol and other like him, all zionist neocons, for America’s disasters in the middle east. The neocons who squirmed out from under a slimy rock leaving a trail of mucous behind them, wormed their way into think tanks and onto television to push for America’s involvement in the middle east, which means getting America to invade and savage middle eastern countries that israel doesn’t like.
    The idea was the take down of seven countries in five years that might pose a threat or just because they are there in order to put israel into a position of dominance.
    It failed and failed miserably. But israel did not pay the price. America did, in blood and treasury. So have the people of those countries the U.S. military savaged and brutalized.
    Madeline Albright should be tried for mass murder and taken to the gallows. So should Dick Chaney and G.W. Bush as well as Bill Clinton and Obama.
    The world now views America as a failed state with phony elections , a disastrous and calamitous failure in Afghanistan as well as watching the dollar collapsing into the trash heap.
    Washington’s middle east policies driven by these neocons have bankrupted the nation and destroyed countless lives.
    F***you kristol and all the rest of your zio-neocon trash.

    1. So just whatever did Israel have to do with 9/11, Al-Qaeda, The Taliban, The Saudis funding Al-Qaeda, and Afghanistan?

      *Pops microwave popcorn and melts Country Crock Plant Butter, which is Kosher, then kicks back to watch the tongue-tripping begin.*

    2. Johnnie Boy wrote, “…in order to put israel into a position of dominance.”
      Where’s proof? Cliche thinking. Israel is the top dog in the middle east because the Jews are highly intelligent and invented nukes and are a world technology leader in their own right. The U.S. is there to put the U.S. in a position of dominance; that is pretty evident. The reason Israel is dominant is because it is a free country, the Jews have superior intelligence, and the rest of the middle east is anti-libertarian.

  8. How do men like Bill Kristol get into power? Seriously, men like him need to be denied entry at all costs. He is another highly educated war hawk who loves to send people to do the fighting for him because he can’t fight.

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