Libertarian Foreign Policy: A Dialogue on Imperialism

I can’t afford ganja.

I am not sloppy. The problem is that you and I are bumping against basic value preferences. I think you and yours love peace too much, at any cost.

I have finally vanquished you. Your argument for military intervention around the world has been reduced, it would seem, to one of stubborn resistance to reality.

Here is what an old fart once wrote on the topic of faith and facts:

I think facts matter and the people whose influence I fight every hour of the day […] think only beliefs and intentions matter. They are further sure that beautiful beliefs are more real than facts and that they trump facts (if any).

Keep this in mind and I take you and your readers on a little trip down memory lane. In your introductory volley against a libertarian foreign policy based on constitutional adherence and national interests – Peace At All Costs: Growing Isolationism Among Libertarians – you painted a crude picture of libertarian foreign policy as one that placed too much faith in clandestine operations and technology to do the job of eliminating terrorism. This was prior to the killing of Osama bin Laden by our clandestine and special forces operatives, of course. Also prevalent was the argument that Islam is by and large an oppressive and intolerant force for evil in the world. You also failed to address the argument that terrorist actions largely occur against governments because of an unwanted occupation.

Your second volley, Unconditional Peace: A Continuing Debate Part 4, is a largely failed attempt to break down the argument that military occupation plays no role in Jihadism and an attempt to link libertarianism with pacifism. Both were flatly rebutted. Yet that did not deter you or change your mind in the least. It is not enough for you to have an adequate defense force that protects the territory and integrity of the Republic. We must bomb, maim, and bully other peoples in the name of peace as well.

Your pleas for peace throughout the globe were well on display in your next tract – Tripoli, Libya: What’s Not Discussed in the Media; Augmented: Looting – where you celebrated the removal of a petty dictator by the U.S. and its allies on the borders of Europe. You seemed to be saying that what you wanted more than anything else was a Republic that was dedicated to keeping the peace in other societies by removing dictators from power. That seems, to me anyway, like a way of using government to bring about peaceful means. Notice how national security has become a non-issue for Dr Delacroix. You also seemed to be saying that Libyans were looking towards Iraq as an example of what their societies could like in the future. 700,000 dead, mostly from sectarian violence, and neoconservatives continue to laud the efforts of Washington there and compare them to some mass murdering sprees perpetrated by the very individuals that Washington installed in the first place. Incredible!

You saved your most venomous assaults on the foreign policy doctrines of most libertarians for last, though. In your essay entitled Libertarian Military Isolationism: Forward All, With Eyes Tightly Shut you direct your attention to the achievements of the American military over the course of the 20th century. At this point in time it would be pertinent to remind readers that Delacroix’s arguments no longer center around the dangers of Jihadism or Islam in general, as he did in his first volley. No longer is he talking about the role of military occupation in terrorist activities, as he did in the second volley. No longer is he pleading a moral case for bombing another state, as he did in his third volley. No, Delacroix is, in this essay, content to compare libertarian society to that of Somalia – as so many Leftists do – and list a number of achievements that the U.S. had purportedly accomplished in the past century. He calls for a Republic to be armed to the teeth, and appeals to the fear of some conservatives (mostly those who reside in all-white states in the middle of the Republic) that small, despotic and irrelevant states are watching our every move, and waiting to strike at the first chance they get. Never mind that these despotic states only have to look to their neighbors – whom are occupied by the U.S. military – to see what mistakes Washington is committing.

In his final volley before this one, Delacroix, in The Libertarian Project and Military Power, continues to hover on the moral. It is our burden, he asserts, to bring the world peace through military power. If the Republic does not step in and “do something”, then all hell will break loose. He again appeals to our successes in the 20th century against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan as proof that the American people can bring democracy to anywhere in the world.

In the ‘comments’ section of  these essays you will find my rebuttals to each of the myths that Delacroix has continued to build his foundation of an interventionist foreign policy upon. I hope that his readers will now see just which doctrine is clear-eyed and sober and which is based upon ignorance and fear.

Delacroix asserts at the end of the ‘comments’ section here that libertarians love peace at all costs, but given the arguments that we have both presented, I would urge his readers to ponder which of us has faith in an unknown power to mold a peaceful world through guns and bombs, and which of us sees reality as it is: based upon facts, sometimes ugly, nasty, smelly, disgusting facts, but facts nonetheless

I think facts matter and the people whose influence I fight every hour of the day […] think only beliefs and intentions matter. They are further sure that beautiful beliefs are more real than facts and that they trump facts (if any).

3 thoughts on “Libertarian Foreign Policy: A Dialogue on Imperialism

  1. Do you have a blog entry outling what you see as the Libertarian approach to foreign policy?

    • Hey Dr Amburgey!

      Great question. The best one I can think of is rather long (“…Towards A New Internationalism“) and convoluted.

      There is also a much more recent post discussing what a libertarian military would look like here that might be worth checking out.

      My views are actually a little less orthodox than what might be considered a “standard” Libertarian position (more libertarian than Libertarian, if you will). My co-blogger Warren Gibson has a concise definition of Libertarian foreign policy here, though I don’t necessarily disagree with his argument either.

      Another co-blogger, Michael Adamson, has a good post on why foreign aid sucks.

      Here are two more from me: one on Syria and one on humanitarian imperialism in general. Dr J was, of course, instrumental in sparking most of these discussions.

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