Saturday, March 28, 2009

Foreign policy, Libertarian-style

My old friend Waldo seems to think I've gone Republican:

On the other end of the spectrum lie the were-Libertarians. Unlike werewolves, who transform according to the lunar cycle, were-Libertarians transform from standard-issue Republicans every two years at election time.

Take, for example, this Grassley-like pronouncement by The Delaware Libertarian:

Make no mistake: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and whatever comes after are now President Barack Obama's war.

Do the Republicans become more hip broadcasting the same old reactionary message by a new technological means? Should I be more likely to vote for policies counter to my interests jsut because I learn about how the Republicans want to screw me via cell phone?

And why should I want to become a Libertarian if, in the off season, they just peddle GOP talking points (as if Barr-Root wasn't enough of a betrayal of that for which they claim to stand)?...

As much as we admire the Libertarians, no amount of shitty Republican off-year rhetoric will help you make a case for being a viable third party. And if you can't see that your non-greed interests lie with the Left than the Right, well, then, renominate Barr-Root.

Waldo, typing furiously rather than logically in his bath tub, fails to notice a few things:

1) The Libertarian Left (of which I am definitely a part, just ask Eric Dondero and he'll tell you) has been consistently against US military interventionism in Iraq, Afghanistan, or just about any place else. When I criticize President Obama, I do so from a policy of consistency that you won't find many GOPers or Democrats able to claim. Moreover, I criticize President Obama from exactly the same perspective and with the same rigorous analysis I used on Dubya. (Waldo's use of the word pronouncement might erroneously convince readers not to click through to several thousand words of specific political, operational, and logistical analysis.) So the idea that I've fallen into shitty Republican off-year rhetoric is pretty ironic from both a blogger and an entire political party (Democrats) who haven't bothered for even a few minutes to subject the President's policies to any serious analysis.

Pretty much like the pass the GOP and the Dems gave Dubya from 2001-2004.

2) In arguing that Afghanistan is now President Obama's war, I was following such reactionary GOP sources as the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and most major British papers. President Obama had three choices: (a) get out; (b) stick with the status quo; or (c) double down. He doubled down. I happen to believe as a citizen, a Libertarian, and as a 21-year military veteran that he should have gone with choice (a).

Waldo argues that I should keep quiet while my brothers and sisters will be killed in an imperialistic war because those with only a superficial understanding of the issues will think I'm aping the GOP?

3) As far as a viable political party, thanks for the advice. But Waldo again juxtaposes my quote with the Barr-Root nomination, which I disowned, and with the Right Libertarian wing of the movement, which is both courting and being courted by the GOP. Unsuccessfully, I think, but never mind that.

The problem here is one of intellectual consistency (or the lack therefore) which allows the semi-submerged typist to take the analysis of an anti-interventionist Left Libertarian and, by carefully clipping the conclusion without even acknowledging the supporting argumentation, to convert that into a straw man of the Libertarian Right.

Disappointing, but Libertarians are used to it by now.

As for a more concise statement on Left Libertarian foreign policy, here's a good, short intro from Kent McManigal, which will probably get me stereotyped by my other liberal friends as supporting armed revolution, but--what the hell--it's a slow day:

"Isolationist"? "Anti-war"? I hear some people use those reasons as an excuse for why they can't support libertarian philosophy (and Libertarian candidates).

It is dead wrong and absolutely absurd.

I am not "isolationist" in the slightest. That would be barring the door and ignoring the rest of the world. No, I agree more with the founders of America who warned that we should pursue "Trade with ALL nations; entangling alliances with none". That is reasonable and logical behavior. It avoids the mistakes that have marched deluded folks off to foreign battlefields and made otherwise sensible people into murderers in foreign lands. Yet, the false "conservatives" use this excuse a lot to avoid facing their own lack of consistency.

I am "anti-war" in as much as I know it is wrong to invade another country with government troops on false pretext. Starting a war of aggression makes you the bad guy. "Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" is the excuse of a bully. If you really want to believe libertarians are "anti-war" see what happens if you send troops to our neighborhoods. I have no qualms about "fighting them" here. At least there is no mistaking who the guilty party is in that case.

How does it promote "national defense" to create enemies through meddling, destroying, and killing in other countries? Might the reality possibly be that such acts raise up new generations of individuals who (mistakenly) blame the people of America for the actions of the rogue US government? Doesn't that undermine "national security"? Doesn't that put us all in danger?

If the alternatives to the supposed "isolationist" and "anti-war" views of libertarians are the policy of meddling in everyone's business and the "invade and kill them all before they do something to America" dogma that is chanted in place of intelligent debate, then no thank you. I'll laugh while you call me names.

Careful, Waldo--when you drop those old-style typewriter ribbons into the soapsuds they become awfully difficult to use.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is interesting as Obama doubles down, on the advice of the ole warmonger Brezinski, Obama cannot claim this was Bush's war. This is Obama's war. I am sickened by the neo-liberals who refuse to act or discuss what this means. No country has ever won in Afganistan. My question is who "were the democrats and republicans" who voted to send $785 BILLION dollars for the NEW war?

Unless you are brain dead, you know that BinLaden is dead. Bhutto made the statement on David Frost show in London one month before she was assassinated. His obit was in the Pakistani Times, Dec. 1994. Bin Laden suffered from kidney disease and needed dialysis every two days. Which is why he was in Tora Bora when the Bushites tried to get him. Remember his name was taken off the FBI roles for a couple of years until some newspaper made mention of it. He makes for a good bogeyman by the foreign policy war mongers which include Joe Biden and most of the top demorats.

This will blow up in Obamas face. They want to go after the Pastuns in Pakistan (another civil war) divide and conquer the people. There is no way the Pakistanis who hate any occupying force are going to sit by as the american military machine destroys Afganistan and areas within Pakistan. Of course, they are using "new unmanned war machines", to keep american death tolls down....we will not prevail, nobody has, and will deplete whatever is left of the Treasury in trying.'

Its an outrage! The neo liberals are sticking with Obama keeping lips tightly shut, while the progressives and left are in full mode protests.