Libertarian Foreign Policy: A Dialogue on Imperialism

Now I got you right where I want you. Let’s start with your assertion that you are not anti-Muslim. I wholly agree with you, and reading back on our first exchange (Peace At All Costs…) it is clear to me that you were making exactly the points that you mention above. Here is what you said:

Jihadism does not mean “re-conquest” of what was once Muslim but conquest or domination of the whole world. (See the Hamas Charter on this blog). The only acceptable outcomes are conversion or living as dhimmis, second class citizens, for Christians and Jews. Pagans – that would include Santa Cruz Buddhists, as well as Hindus – can be slaughtered freely or reduced to slavery under Islamic law. In fact, any Muslims man can seize any “pagan” and make him or her a slave. Female slaves are called “concubines.”The Muslims scriptures thus clearly condone rape. The rational Muslims I know will say, “ That was a long time ago. We would not do it now.” In the meantime, the permission to act in this manner remains on the book. It can be invoked at any time and is. I don’t know for sure but I would bet that there is not a single fatwa condemning any of these outrageous acts.

I can see now that you were really attacking the notion of Political Correctness that is so prevalent in the minds of most young people these days. I don’t care what everybody else says, you are a very, very good teacher.

Moving on, let’s go over the case of Rwanda really quickly, so that misunderstandings over the doctrine of nonintervention can be cleared up. You said:

The most useful thing you did recently to help this cause is to affirm clearly that we, as a nation, have no responsibility toward the victims of mass massacres in which we could intervene at little cost and at little risk to ourselves. I refer to Rwanda, of course and not to Iraq where there was always much risk.

We have radically different moral compasses. There is an impassable gulf there.

This is not really an instance of morality. The horrors of massacres and genocide make me sick to my stomach to think about, but that by itself is no reason to send a military into an area that is suffering.

We have to think things through. For example, should we have intervened in Rwanda on behalf of the Hutus or the Tutsis? That in itself presents a great problem. You may reply with an emphatic “who cares, they are all slaughtering each other!“, of course, but then this begs the question as to what our military should do upon arrival. Showing up to a state, no matter how divided, uninvited and with the intent to make everybody play nice together doesn’t sound like my idea of a solid plan to prevent violence and bring about democracy.

On top of this, how would the rest of the region perceive this “humanitarian mission” undertaken by the West? Is it not true that most of the states in Rwanda’s region of the world are governed by former guerrilla leaders who won their power under the guise of anti-imperialism? You will no doubt respond with another “who cares, they are slaughtering each other, and if we can take a few dictators with us, then it’s all the more reason to do it!” Yet now we have created a situation that involves not just the failures of one post-colonial state, but we have drawn in regional players to boot. Instead of a civil war with minimal interference from neighbors, we have a regional problem and one that gives those ex-guerrillas more reasons to justify their brutal regimes.

In essence, instead of a small intervention with little or no costs, what we would probably get is a protracted regional war in which the republic’s safety is in no danger at all. And just think about the image of the United States around the world in a situation like this. I’m sure other states would be very understanding of our position that we are only using our military there to bring about peace, even as all-out war descends across the entire region and it becomes apparent that Washington never really had a plan in the first place, save to prevent genocide among the Hutus and Tutsis without taking sides.

I hate Ron Paul! I hate Ron Paul! I hate Ron Paul!

Ron Paul was using this statement by a former Brigadier General in regards to the air conditioning costs. Is a highly-ranked logistician and West Point graduate’s rough estimate not good enough for you? I’d be willing to condemn Ron Paul as a demagogue if you could provide me with some exact budget numbers from the DoD. Otherwise, I see no reason not to believe a former General’s lamentations regarding Washington’s profligate spending on our “nation-building” exercises.

This argument is also absurd when we remember that Ron Paul said this during a live televised debate. Even if this number turns out to be false – and we have absolutely no reason or evidence to suggest that it is – such a statement should be pretty well-ignored when we consider some of the whoppers that the other candidates have come up with. I am thinking specifically of your pets Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

The Constitution vs. “Congressional authority”

This is what I mean by tinkering with words. I thought it was something that only liberals do, but apparently I am wrong.

All name-calling and poo-pooing aside, I think that something important is at stake here: namely The Rule of Law. If we continue to let elites define the letter of the law as they go, then we will continue to see our liberties slip from our grasp.

Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution clearly, explicitly, and plainly states that “The Congress shall have the Power To […] declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

We already know what letters of marque and reprisal means because you have mocked David Theroux for it in the recent past. Yet, if you think about it, turning bin Laden over to bounty hunters seems like a mighty smart thing to do after ten years of hindsight. Perhaps Mr. Theroux is just a cowardly pacifist, but then again maybe he is concerned that Washington’s policies abroad are eroding The Rule of Law.

The Joint Resolution did indeed give the President the authority to wage war against the perpetrators of 9/11. Ooops. Here we are ten years later, and Osama bin Laden is dead. He was killed in Pakistan. Our military is now working with al-Qaeda (in Afghanistan), and that’s actually a generous way of putting it.

More “congressional authorization”: The Use of Military Force Against Iraq. Ooops. Here I think it would be pertinent to ask “what does ‘military force’ mean?” Evidently it meant removing a dictator from power within 3 weeks, and then implementing policies meant to transform Iraq into a multi-party democracy in the middle of the Islamic world. Eight years later, we are still there, and 700,000 innocent people have been murdered in the ensuing chaos caused by “congressional authority”.

I guess I’ll ask the question again: what part of “only Congress can declare war” don’t you understand?

Declaring war gives a nation and its policymakers a clear-cut goal. It eliminates the ambiguities associated with “congressional authorization” for something or other regarding foreign affairs. Declaring war is a precise and serious way of telling citizens and enemies alike that all options to come to an understanding have been exhausted. Declaring war is the most honest and straightforward way of dealing with hostile polities in the diplomatic arena, and as such, it is the most fitting way for a republic composed of free citizens to go about engaging in international squabbles.

It also eliminates the loopholes created by congressional authorization techniques, techniques that have been used for centuries by power-hungry tyrants to get around The Rule of Law.

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