BC’s weekend reads

  1. Saudi-Iran Conflict Is Not America’s Fault
  2. Gains from trade: China and the United States
  3. How Bad Is Trump’s Brand of Authoritarianism?
  4. How Hiroshima Became A War Crime
  5. Art and Porn in Edo Period Japan
  6. The [True?] Meaning of Marxism

Which countries are of US interest?

I was reading my news stream when I noted a blog post from the Cato Institute discussing the silliness of adding Montenegro to NATO. I don’t disagree per se. I certainly don’t see the value of adding Montenegro to NATO, if the purpose of NATO is to protect the US. Nor do I disagree with the general US-libertarian belief that the US has over extended itself in terms of military alliances.

I do wonder though what countries US-libertarians should desire to maintain a military alliance with. A North American military alliance, ranging from Canada to Panama and including the Caribbean, makes sense to me. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are our greatest defenses, but I welcome military cooperation from our geographical neighbors.

Beyond there though it gets tricky. Western Europe is certainly rich enough to protect itself. The main reason I am hesitant to leave NATO altogether is the nuclear question. France and the UK are the only European powers with nuclear weapons, but several others are part of NATO’s nuclear sharing program. Should the US leave NATO would these countries seek nuclear weapons for themselves? Would the UK/France provide substitute weapons? Ending military ties with Europe would likely be the easiest option in terms of cutting down on allies.

Japan and South Korea are likewise rich countries, but here too the nuclear question arises. Japan has a cultural aversion to nuclear weapons that I do not see it overcoming in the foreseeable future. South Korea may be willing to use nuclear weapons, but its strained historical relationship with Japan leaves me concerned about the future possibility of a Korean-Japanese alliance to counterweight China PRC. I believe that Japan should be encouraged to modify its constitution to allow its military greater freedom in action and to consider acquiring nuclear weapons of its own. Other nations in the region, such as the Philippines, are outmatched in conventional weaponry or, in the case of Australia, too far away geographically to be of much use in restraining China PRC’s influence in east Asia.

I am hopeful that within my lifetime China PRC will transition to a liberal democracy, but till then I am skeptical about allowing it free reign in east Asia. For the foreseeable future it is hard for me to consider an east Asia without a significant role for the US. Nor would I be particularly against offering South Korea and/or Japan statehood in a United States of the Pacific.

Thoughts? I admit that international politics is not my area of expertise and I more than welcome other’s thoughts on the matter. I also admit that I am not viewing these issues from a pure libertarian perspective but with a splash of nationalism.

As readers may know our own Brandon is playing around with creating a NOL foreign policy quiz similar to the Nolan libertarian quiz.

North Korea’s “Artificial Earthquake”: What is to be Done?

Foreign policy has been awfully quiet these days. President Obama has been murdering people left and right on a whim, and nobody in Washington seems to care. You can imagine what the reaction would be in Washington if a Republican had been the one flaunting the rule of law. The Economist has a good article on this development if anyone is interested.

One newsworthy item that concerns American foreign policy has been centered on the Korean peninsula, a place that the United States first became involved militarily during the 1950’s. Given that our government is currently mired in two foreign occupations at the peripheries of the Islamic world (Afghanistan and the Balkans) as well as being embroiled in conflicts along the Sahel (thanks to President Obama’s attacks on the Libyan state), one should naturally be curious as to why the current affairs of the Korean peninsula are of interest to the United States government.

To make a long story short, the US government currently has some 50,000 troops stationed along the border of the North-South divide (drawn up in the 1950’s after a devastating war was fought between communist and conservative factions within Korea, China, and the United States), and has an alliance with the South that guarantees military help in case of a war with the communist North. The later state is actively attempting to build a nuclear weapon.

As a rule, I think it is appropriate that when citizens of a republic hear about other nations and events, the subject matter ought to revolve around how beautiful the geography of a said nation is, or how beautiful the women are, or how bad the food is, or which team won the national championship, and in which sport. That American citizens are hearing about a possible escalation of military tension in the region is, by itself, not a bad thing nor a surprising thing, but when our military and our tax dollars are suddenly involved in the escalation itself, then American citizens have ample cause to be worried, angry, and tense. These are not qualities that are often sought out by individuals on a daily basis, and when a government that claims to be republican in nature begins to cause these said psychological factors within it’s borders, then citizens ought to question the supposed republicanism of their government. Continue reading