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).

Libertarian Foreign Policy: A Dialogue on Imperialism

Pretty much the same story as that of the first years of the American Revolution including the foreign intervention and under enormously favorable circumstances than the poor Libyans encountered. After all, King Georges was no Kadafi.

Tsk tsk. You’re getting sloppy Dr Delacroix. I suspect you have re-ignited your passion for smoking ganja. Santa Cruz has a wonderful variety from around the world to choose from.

As I have previously noted, the angle we should be looking at (from a national security perspective) is the one of France during the Anglo-American War. They are the ones who intervened on behalf of a rebellious segment of the British Empire, just as we are intervening on behalf of a rebellious segment within the Libyan state.

Nevertheless, you keep repeating this tired mantra so I figure I’ll try to kill it. Right here and right now.

Let’s start with your keen observation that King George was no Ghaddafi. Aside from being totally correct, I think it would also be pertinent to point out that King George was also at the helm of a worldwide empire that was in constant rivalry with not only France for global hegemony, but also with aspirant regional hegemons throughout the world. Now contrast this position with that of Libya at the time of Ghaddafi’s offing.

King George also wielded a lot less power than did Ghaddafi. Indeed, he wielded a lot less power than most monarchs of his time period. As we both know, the British parliament held immense power, and King George was in constant conflict with them. The Rule of Law was alive and well in Britain during King George’s reign. Contrast KG’s position with that of Ghaddafi, a brutal tyrant who exercised a near-supreme will over his subjects.

Let’s review the circumstances of the positions of the two tyrants of Dr. J’s choosing before we continue any further: one of them was at the helm of a global empire and constantly held in check by his own parliament and the Rule of Law. The other was a tyrant of a mid-sized post-colonial state in North Africa who ruled with an iron fist and was spurned by most of the global community.

Can we continue?

France (whose position, remember, during the Anglo-American War is the one that most resembles our own today in regards to the Libyan excursion) was in constant conflict with Great Britain. They were fighting for global supremacy. French support, then, came not from benevolence or fear of mass migration from the U.S. to France, but from a calculated decision to strike deeply at a hated enemy, one that had recently acquired all of France’s colonies in India and North America.

The U.S., in contrast, has become involved in the Libyan civil war because of cries from weak and decadent allies to come to their aid for fear of a mass influx of Muslims into their welfare states.

Not exactly a struggle for global supremacy. I suspect you will warn your readers that China (GDP PPP per capita Intl$7,000) is watching us, of course.

The 13 colonies that fought for independence were independent polities, too. They all had their own ideas and thoughts and interests to look after when coming to an agreement with each other. Libya – one state – has merely one resource that is apple of everybody’s eye. While the American experience was one based on compromise and sectional interests, the Libyan experience is one that will be based off of the redistribution of wealth. Not a good start, if you ask me.

An observation and a question: the transitory government of Libya has recently asked NATO to continue its no-fly zone to at least the end of the year. It has recently welcomed foreign troops from Qatar to help shore up its defense forces. My question to you, Dr. J, is this: did the transitory government of the U.S. ask foreign powers to patrol their streets for them? To continue to keep their navies nearby to help dispense of any lingering British presence?

I find it suspicious that the Libyan rebels have relied so heavily upon foreign support. What is their motive for this? Most rebellions hearken calls for independence and liberty. Why do they beg the West for help? In my mind, a government – even a transitory one – that is incapable of standing on its own two feet without the support of foreign influence and power, is not a government that will long be trusted by the people it purports to govern.

Is the Libyan experience similar to that of the American one? Sure, but only a very superficial level. It would be best to leave Libya to the Libyans – warts and all.