Libertarian has it wrong.


May 14, 2003, 01:34 PM
from the WSJ

riven to Distraction
Libertarians have some interesting ideas when it comes to social and economic policy, but when it comes to foreign policy, they're often just plain goofy. Here's a quote from Charles Peña, the Cato Institute's director of defense policy studies, on last night's bombings in Saudi Arabia:

"If this latest attack is the work of al Qaeda, it should serve as notice that the United States needs to clear the decks and focus the war on terrorism against al Qaeda. It is absolutely imperative that the United States jettison obsolete or unnecessary commitments, such as 100,000 troops stationed in Western Europe to defend NATO against a non-existent threat, and missions, such as nation-building in the Balkans. Even the U.S. presence in Iraq is a distraction. It is also likely to become, if it has not already, a source for motivating terrorism against the United States and U.S. targets in the region."

Seems to us there were some terrorist attacks against America before we liberated Iraq. The most risible thing about the Cato statement is the complaint about the troops stationed in Western Europe. Now, there is a case to be made for moving some, or even most, of those troops. But they have to be stationed somewhere, and if America followed Cato's advice to "jettison" that commitment immediately, it would face the massive undertaking of moving 100,000 troops all at once. Talk about distractions.

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May 14, 2003, 01:40 PM
i have to say that i'm libertarian in almost every way... with a BIG exception of foreign policy.

May 14, 2003, 01:59 PM
So...are we defending Germany because they can't defend themselves, or because we can't handle the immense task of moving our troops? Didn't we just move two or three times that many troops into the middle east...?

And who are we defending Germany aginst, anyway?

Art Eatman
May 14, 2003, 02:26 PM
Well, I'm of the Independent Terlingua party, of which I'm the only member. :)

I'm all for getting out of Yurrop and the Balkans. Let those folks take care of their own affairs.

Where I differ with Catoman is making a connection with the WOT and Al Quaida. We should have gotten out of Germany by 1991 or at any rate after Desert Storm, and should never have gone into the Bakans at all.

CMichael, you said, "But they have to be stationed somewhere..." Okay. How about in the U.S.? What's the big deal about the time frame, given that we moved some quarter-million in a few weeks for this recent adventure in Iraq?

Where is it written that we gotta be GloboRoboCop, making the world safe for International Trade?

:), Art

May 14, 2003, 02:40 PM
What's the big deal about the time frame, given that we moved some quarter-million in a few weeks for this recent adventure in Iraq? C'mon Art, being disingenuous doesn't become you. Are you trying to say that we can move troops, at the speed that we do, without bases set at strategic points around the globe?

Please don't blow smoke up my :cuss:. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

May 14, 2003, 02:58 PM
Once again libertarians (both capital L and small L) demonstrate they are not ready for the major leagues.

mons meg
May 14, 2003, 03:16 PM
Just curious, Art, did you agree with our invasion of Iraq? I would think the Balkan action a few years ago was a better example of waging war for the sake of "good" than Iraq was.

May 14, 2003, 03:26 PM
And who are we defending Germany aginst, anyway?

France, maybe ....?


May 14, 2003, 03:39 PM
LOL...yeah the tactical team in Godzilla (with Jean Reno) might raid the HK factory and smuggle them to California! I'm all for it!

May 14, 2003, 03:50 PM
I think there are benefits to having US forces positioned strategically around the world. Let's say a problem occurs in Iran, I think it would be beneficial to have troops based in Iraq.

David Roberson
May 14, 2003, 04:01 PM
CMichael, the article you quote did not advocate moving these troops "immediately" or "all at once." Those are things you added yourself. Pena says nothing to indicate that he would object to a carefully considered repositioning of troops over a period of many months -- he just wants us to move our troops out of Western Europe, where they a) serve little or no strategic purpose to the U.S. now that the Cold War is over; and b) aren't appreciated or wanted by the host countries. Yes, the troops have to be stationed somewhere. It's just that there's no reason for them to be in Western Europe.

There are Democrats are Republicans also saying we should move our troops out of Western Europe, so how come the idea is "goofy" when Libertarians say it?

May 14, 2003, 04:29 PM
I know a couple of borders that could really use 100,000 troops on 'em close to home. Help stop the flow of Oreos. Do it for the children (that always works!)

May 14, 2003, 04:53 PM
i have to say that i'm libertarian in almost every way... with a BIG exception of foreign policy.

That's like saying your pro-gun in every way with a BIG exception of "non-sporting" guns. :rolleyes: :barf:

May 14, 2003, 05:00 PM
I think they should station them in Syria, Iran and Saudi and do some serious house cleaning.

May 14, 2003, 09:00 PM
Sure, why not guarentee future terrorism? Then, when more Americans are killed, you can justify any actions you take then.

May 14, 2003, 09:25 PM
Bring HK, Anschutz, Sako, Glock to America from Yurrop.

Art Eatman
May 14, 2003, 09:39 PM
I'm not necessarily against having bases in such strategic locations that they could be used in cases of specific national interest. Since the USSR came apart, our primary interest areas seem to be the Mideast and the Asian rim.

(And if ya wanna get into that can of worms, we really need another thread. :) )

Comparing the Balkans and Iraq as to "justified attacks", it has always been my opinion we have no national interest in the Balkans; we do in Iraq and the mideast.

The primary strategic importance (again, IMO) of the Balkans is for an oil pipeline route from the Caspian Sea area into western Yurrop. So, let the French and Germans worry about who kills whom in the ongoing three--er--four--er--five (?) way struggle there.

It has been my belief that S. Hussein was allied with Al Quaida as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. I believe he maintained control over the WMD he had at the end of Desert Storm and did not destroy them; and that he continued efforts at WMD manufacture. Last, he knowingly killed thousands of his own citizens for the crime of not liking him--Kurds and non-Baathists. He was (depending on one's time frame) either an active or a potential source of great harm to the U.S. and its interests.

I guess my primary gripe is that too many countries (IMO :) ) have been getting a free ride, budgetwise, on the backs of our military structure. When the USSR was in existence, it was not unreasonable. That was then; this is now. If I can live my life with the attitude that I am the one responsible for the results of my decisions and actions, why can I not ask this of governments?

:), Art

May 14, 2003, 09:50 PM
Didn't some famous dead guy warn us about foreign entanglements? He must have been one of those goofy "not-ready-for-the-big-leagues" small-"L" libertarians or something... ;)

Art Eatman
May 14, 2003, 10:20 PM
Tam, in principle First Jawrge wuz right. Howsomever, he didn't foresee such things as the USSR--which really got us bigtime into the foreign entanglement bidness. It has long seemed to me that we have been less than wise as to the choices for some of our dancing partners.

I often wonder just what would be the world situation, now, if we had done nothing when Iraq captured Kuwait. Talk about a "what if"! But what if, then, had Iraq quit expanding and just went on selling oil? Time for Harry Turtledove, I guess...


May 14, 2003, 11:43 PM
Our pre-20th Century isolationist foreign policy was not a bad thing. We engaged in commerce like the Founders intended, but stayed out of everybody's internal politics. May not have won us many friends, but it sure as :fire: didn't win us any enemies either. Our "World Tour" started with Spain in Cuba (evidence points to coalbunker KaB not enemy action) and proliferated after that. Our interventionist policies brought us WW I, WW II, Korea (which still isn't resolved), 10 years of Vietnam with nothing but a black wall to show for it, Grenada, Panama (a criminal we created), Persian Gulf I (ball dropped at the moment of victory), Somolia (fumbled again), Haiti (put wrong regime back in power), Bosnia (unresolved, indefinite commitment), Kosovo, PG II.
I think I'll deliberate a little longer on the benefit of PG II. Afghanistan was justified.
Uhmmm............What exactly has been the benefit to the USA??? :rolleyes:
I wasn't for the war in Iraq either, but I also believed that once we committed ourselves we better finish the job and end any further committment of occupying troops.

mons meg
May 14, 2003, 11:53 PM
Art: No interest in the Balkans? What about stopping possible genocide?

May 15, 2003, 12:05 AM
If American citizens want to go stop genocides, they are more than welcome to do so, but the document from which this government derives its powers grants the government no right to spend public monies or lives on such projects.

It is a noble cause, but that don't make it a proper project for the Which genocides do we stop? All of them? Some? How do we decide?

May 15, 2003, 12:10 AM
We sure did a grand job stopping the Rwandan genocide. "Hi, we're friendly troops, and we're going to be here just long enough for you to concentrate yourselves around our outposts. Then we're going to leave and you'll all get slaughtered."

May 15, 2003, 05:58 AM
Art: No interest in the Balkans? What about stopping possible genocide?

you know a lot of people throw that word around and use it for justification of our latest greatest war. Except when it happens in Africa. Why is that?

Sergeant Bob
May 15, 2003, 06:16 AM
Art: No interest in the Balkans? What about stopping possible genocide?

Exactly what genocide was that?

Art Eatman
May 15, 2003, 08:39 AM
Re genocide in the Balkans: I don't claim that I have the facts exactly right but it is my understanding that the largest event of killing occurred in Bosnia in 1994 or 1995; 7,500 people.

Our troops had gone into Bosnia in 1991, when GHW Bush was president. Serious problem, somehow, those three or four years later, with our efficiency in protecting and securing and suchlike.

There were allegations of genocide, used to justify our bombing of Serbia--including civilian targets. Trouble is, the numbers ever found in mass graves were relatively small; much, much smaller than would factually fit the accusations of Milosevic's policy of genocide.

At any rate, we've ignored mass murder in dozens of countries, insofar as our national policy and national interest. I suggest that when we do get involved, there should be a pretty obvious national interest as to the financial or physical security of this country.

David Roberson
May 15, 2003, 08:53 AM
Tamara's right -- just checked my handy desktop copy of the Constitution, and there's not a word in it about stopping genocide.

But if we were to take it upon ourselves to intervene in genocide, it would seem most reasonable to do it when there was no once else to undertake the job. The Balkans -- located across the Atlantic from us and with plenty of neighboring European countries with easier access and enough military capability to handle it themselves -- wouldn't qualify.

As long as we're willing to play world policeman, other countries will let us shoulder the trouble and expense. And look how much it's appreciated....

May 15, 2003, 09:03 AM
Bosnia? Their own internal problems. They don't merit intervention from abroad since the threat is to themselves.

mons meg
May 15, 2003, 05:14 PM
It is a noble cause, but that don't make it a proper project for the Which genocides do we stop? All of them? Some? How do we decide?

Hey, don't answer a question with a question. ;) And, to answer your question...I don't know. My next question would be, if we are to consider ourselves a moral and just nation, then how do we *not* stop them? (just playing devil's advocate here) Could there be a link between America's national interest and that of justice outside our borders?

David R: the Constitution doesn't say a lot of things, but I take your point. What frustrates me about the Yugoslavia issue that that Europe wasn't doing anything about it.

Also, haven't we tried the isolationist policy before? Did that really work?

May 15, 2003, 05:20 PM
If we're going to intervene solely on moral grounds, then why just Bosnia? Why not Chechnya?


mons meg
May 15, 2003, 05:31 PM
I would think that would be obvious...we might lose more than 10 or 20 people. ;)

I think Mr. Mackey would say it best.

Genocide is bad, mmkay? Terrorism is bad, mmkay?

May 15, 2003, 07:29 PM
...ensure domestic tranquility... ;)

Chris Rhines
May 15, 2003, 10:44 PM
Is the United States, as a collective entity, obligated to intervene when anything 'bad' happens abroad?

How about just me? Am I inclined to intervene under the same circumstances?

Who defines 'bad,' and by what objective measurement? Or are we just going by whim?

I really wish you guys would save the interesting topics for my days off...

- Chris

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