Libertarian Foreign Policy: A Dialogue on Imperialism

Brandon: I share many of your suspicions and even your fears though not especially about Libya, I think it’s going to be OK. But supposing you turn out to be completely right elsewhere. What’s the implication for action? Leave butchers in peace? Hope their victims don’t succeed in overthrowing them? Forever?

No, I think that the people who live under dictatorships should overthrow their overlords, if they can. This doesn’t mean I support the U.S. government helping them out. Too many questions arise out of such policies. It’s easier to blame a foreign influence for troubles in our society than it is to blame ourselves.

My quick policy proposal for foreign relations:

  1. stop hurting people through economic sanctions. Those only hurt the people we are trying to help and help the people we are trying to hurt.
  2. stop supporting regimes for strategic purposes. Doing so often causes us to turn a blind eye towards the some of the worst aspects of these strategic partners.
  3. stop condemning states for doing things that we do ourselves. It’s hard to condemn the prison states of China and Cuba when we have the highest rate of incarceration in the Western world, for example.

I think Egypt and Libya are going to be just as bad as they have been, if not worse. Only Tunisia, which did not rely on foreign support AND recently elected Islamist parties to their new government, will come out of this for the better. I hope I’m wrong, of course, but libertarians rarely are!

The Islamist parties in Tunisia, by the way, don’t have the same “anti-imperialist” sentiments as the Islamists in Egypt and Libya do. I wonder why…

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