Sunday, June 27, 2010

War Protesting is Too Important to be left to Liberals

Despite tea party camaraderie, conservatives remain suspicious of that oddball ideology called libertarianism.  Conservatives agree with perhaps 90% of it, but it's that other 10% that's bothersome. 

Kinda like the new guy at work.  A solid family man, he seems normal, likes sports and enjoys bantering over the issues of the day...  but he wears a bowtie and drives a '56 Citroen.  Hmmm...

Leftists Give "Anti-War" a Bad Name
Libertarians, like our founders, believe we should only resort to war when our nation is threatened.  This irks many conservatives rubbed raw by eight years of screaming Bush-haters.

To understand where these anti-war libertarians are coming from, I recommend The Siren Song of Pax Americana, a coherent argument for discontinuing American military interventions.  I don't agree with every line, but it is a good anti-war argument minus the "Bush is Hitler" and "America is terrorizing little brown people" crap constantly being slung in all directions by the slobbering baboons on the left.

His first point is that there are so many fires we just don't have enough people or equipment to stamp them all out, and endemic cultural dysfunction (or mere cultural differences) make the task even more difficult.  A close corollary is that world peace can never be achieved, so we are wasting time, money and lives in a Utopian pursuit. 

If an inconsequential and globally un-strategic country falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?

The author asks a good question:

Why must a single power act to restore order? If America does not act, will not those nations in the vicinity of a crisis have a strong incentive to cope with it?
The Balkans in the 1990's comes to mind.  Nobody coped with it.  Europe dithered and we had to go in.  Or did we?  Would it have damaged our national interests to stand back and let them go genocidal on one another?  Sounds callous, but "Nothing" is exactly what we are doing in the hundreds of other hot spots, most famously, Darfur.  More importantly, The US Constitution nowhere charges the federal government to "do something" just because our moral sensibilities are offended.

OK, what about "protecting" Middle Eastern oil?

As oil is the principal source of revenue for the Persian Gulf countries, an explicit attempt to withhold this source of wealth from world markets would certainly be more painful for the perpetrators of such a policy than for their intended victims.
But he lost me at the end...
We will never be able to limit American overreaching so long as the current imbalance in military power persists.

Given America's overwhelming military superiority to any opponent, the temptation to use that power is well-nigh irresistible. To cope with this problem, our military forces must be drastically reduced.
Logically, that makes sense.  Build war toys and politicians can't resist using them.  But in today's world, it is just not practical. 

The best we can hope for is to maintain a very strong defense tempered by a citizenry who demands that a very high bar must be cleared before we actually use it.


Trestin said...

I would like to see us scale back our unnecessary bases. Do we really need thousands of boots in Western Europe? It is insane to barrow billions of dollars from China to maintain all of this.

Silverfiddle said...

I'm with you on the European bases. I think we stay for two reasons, one political and one strategic.

Political: To keep them in the NATO fold

Strategic: We need the air bridge. We can't fly everything from the US halfway around the world. We need a stopping point.

Notice the problems in Kyrgyzstan? Did you also notice how we're cozying up to Tajikistan? Dushanbe could end up replacing Manas.

Personally, having been there, I'd love to see us abandon all middle east and south asia lands. The people hate us and would rather wallow in their squalor and hatred. I say leave them alone and smack them hard when they threaten us.

Always On Watch said...

For the past century, America has been too involved in foreign affairs.

Didn't George Washington warn America of the danger of foreign entanglements?

Well, in the 21st Century, we're seeing what a mess it is for all Americans when our leaders get all tied up with these foreign entanglements.

Silverfiddle said...

AOW: Right! I support our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq 100%! I was there.

We need to wrap these up the right way and then resolve to be a little more circumspect about "foreign entanglements" in the future.

The Born Again American said...

I say instead of signing the START treaty, we just dust off our nukes... If we have to make an example out of someone, I think Iran would be perfect... Remember when our presidents weren't busy apologizing for being the greatest country on earth...

Silverfiddle said...

You know, Born Again, there's a lot of truth in what you say.

The threat of force used to be a deterrent. Now, with CNN and the muslim passive-aggressive martyrs hijacking the UN, the bad guys know we can't hammer them to hell like back in the old days.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Silver, I agree with Born Again.

But more to the point of; "If an inconsequential and globally un-strategic country falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it really make a sound?"

Well maybe not on a global scale immediatly but ask the people on the local soil say as an example in the forming of the former Soviet Union and you may, no will get a louder response.

Is it our duty to help? No.
Is it our responsibility? No.

Is it in our strategic interests be they economic, political and dare say moral,,,YES.

I ask, what would the original 13 colonies of Britain on North America be without foriegn intervention from the nation of France?

We lead by example as set forth from our founding, freedom.

Silverfiddle said...

Christopher: Are we threatened? Is it authorized in the constitution?

Those are the two questions that must be asked.

We human beings have a moral duty to help others, but we cannot hijack a constitutional state to do so.

Will said...

911 was the game changer for me. I was always more Jeffersonian when it comes to foreign policy, but planes flying into buildings, killing fellow Americans on American soil (plus radical Islamic terrorism throughout the world,) is what changed my traditional libertarian/classical liberal ideas to what Robert Ringer refers to as, "theoretical libertarian, practical conservative."

But I am of the opinion that foreign policy, broken down to either interventionism, or isolationism, is far too simplistic. Viewing foreign policy from different perspectives, gives us a better understanding, and options to how we the people would like to see us on the world stage.

Briefly, we have Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian, and Jacksonian, foreign policies. The first is about building an empire, not unlike the British Empire, prior to WW2. Wilsonian is spreading "democracy" by invading countries, and jamming US style "democracy" down the throats of mostly peaceful people. Jeffersonian: "trade with all nations, alliance with none." Can't get more succinct than that. And basically Jacksonian is: the SOB's have attacked us, therefore, let's kick their ass, and get our troops home pronto.

My preference is Jacksonian foreign policy. But for the sake of brevity, I'll leave it at that, other than I am sick to death of labels... which might be a good topic for another time.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Silver, I offer a response:

"Are we threatened?"

Yes, every minute of every day, you know this as well as anybody.

"Is it authorized in the constitution?"

Same answer.

I ask now exactly what "constitutional state" have we hijacked? The only bogus one I can recollect is the CSA as that was unconstitutional being it was never ratified.

Please give examples otherwise.

Silverfiddle said...

So Christopher, you must understand perfectly how the commerce clause got all stretched out of shape.

You need to put a finer point on it than that. Any president at any time can start any war or invasion based upon your criteria.

Silverfiddle said...

Will: I agree. Theory is great, but you've got to go with what works, and i prefer the Jacksonian model myself. With a nod to Cristopher, I will acknowledge that waiting until we're attacked could spell the end of us, so there's got to be some leeway there.

Wars, if successful, will solve a problem, but open the door for more to enter in.

A little more circumspection would do us good.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Ah Silver my friend , one point at a time.

Amswer my last request and we may pursue this to a finer point.

TKZ said...

Silverfiddle, I think you're right on with this one. A strong defense is necessary in times of war and in times of peace, and is the biggest securer of the peace. We can be anti-war, support the troops, want a large defense, not want to have bases all over the world where we're not wanted, and still be good conservatives. :o)

To me the difference with the French's help in the American Revolution is that we specifically requested their help. I think countries that want our help should request it, and at that point we can choose whether or not to defend them.

Rational Nation USA said...

SilverFidle - I am an avid proponent of a strong, agile, responsive defense system.

I however am opposed to interventionist foreign policy.

I am reminded of another great general and president's
warning... The military industrial complex. We have been living it for the past fifty yrs.

Strong defense used wisely. We have with only one exception (that being the response to 911) have acted unwisely. Just my opinion.

You do make some very good points here SilverFiddle.

Bastiatarian said...

I'm a non-interventionist, but that doesn't mean I won't do anything before I get knocked on the head. My analysis is that we needed to engage in war in the Persian Gulf region, but that it needed to be swift and harsh rather than another imbecilic attempt by politicians to implement the myth of diplomacy.

As I've written elsewhere, I believe that the only correct way to wage war against an enemy state is as follows.

1. Give one warning, telling the aggressor state that if it does not PERMANENTLY cease all efforts or preparations to harm my nation or its interests, that I will erase it.

2. If the aggressor state does not PERMANENTLY cease, use any means necessary to remove PERMANENTLY the ability of that state to harm or prepare to harm my nation or its interests. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. Rubble.

3. Go home.

Other than that, the only other step would be to turn to other potential aggressors and ask: "Anybody else want a bite of that sandwich?"

Harsh? Maybe. However, we're not talking about a friendly game of Yahtzee. We're talking about war. I've never been in the military, but I understand that, even when completely justified and necessary, war is a horrible, cruel, damnable thing. Rainbows and unicorns and group hugs are irrelevant.

Jihadists and other bad guys will continue to wreak havoc as long as they know that the American government is not serious about stopping them. They're not afraid of diplomats, social programs, and community organizers, and so they continue to kill.

Wars that are marketed to the citizenry as compassionate wars, with our soldiers limited by strict rules of engagement, and a focus on winning hearts and minds, merely drag on and on and on, and my boys come home in a box.

Silverfiddle said...

Bastiatarian: That is the way war used to work back before CNN and other organizations provided a world stage for aggressors to pull their passive-aggressive martyrdom bs...

I agree with you and RN.

TKZ said...

Bastiatarian- I LOVE IT!

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