March 16, 2015 6 Comments
I ran across this article, with a hattip to @. He pretty well sums up my feelings but I won’t let that shut me up! ;)
It’s worth remembering that libertarianism is a political philosophy regarding the nature of the relationship between citizens and states with whom they are in political compact; a philosophy that places a high premium on individual autonomy and the enforcement of negative rights. As such the government of the United States exists for the benefit of its citizens, not those of other countries. While foreigners have the same inherent, inalienable rights as Americans, their protection is simply outside of the responsibility of the United States government.
Got that? We, the Americans, created the US government to the benefit of us, the citizens of the United States.
Not really for the benefit of Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys everywhere. It’s OK if they benefit from our thoughts and actions but it’s not ever our primary aim. If you want to live like an American, you have two choices, come on over and be a US citizen, or change your government to be more or less like ours. Both work, both have been done successfully, and both have been tried and failed, it depends on you, mostly.
We should seek non-aggression pacts with all who will treat us honorably, and alliances with those of good reputation whose interests align closely with our own and who can carry more than their own weight militarily.
With regard to nations that lack civilization, seek conflict with us, or simply wish us harm, however, a nationalist libertarian policy should have one overarching principle: if you lay a finger on one of our citizens — or otherwise violate their rights as we understand them — it will end badly for you. The nature, degree, and timing of your punishment will be of our choosing, and we will be less concerned about inflicting collateral damage or injustice on those around you than we will be in seeing you suffer for your wrong. Indeed, the harder you make it for us to punish you, the more likely it is that we’ll have to get sloppy about it. If that concerns you, we encourage you to reconsider your actions and refer you to infographics such as this for calm reflection.
There is a Marine Corps T-shirt around that summarizes this well:
No better friend
No worse enemy
Teddy Roosevelt was a mixed bag as President. An admirable man, he had huge flaws as well. What else can you say about a man who started our slide into (misnamed) Progressivism, and almost single-handedly gave us the idiotically stubborn and freedom-hating Woodrow Wilson as President. Thanks TR.
But when Ion Perdicaris was kidnapped by a non state actor (the Raisuli) in Morocco TR sent the whole Atlantic flotilla (although nobody had a clue what to do) to make the point that we cared about that individual American. You may remember the phrase,
“This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”
When he was released Perdicaris commented while looking at the fleet gathered in Algiers harbor, “It was that flag, aye and that navy, and that nation, to which I owe my freedom.” or something like that, since I can’t find the quote right now. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Punitive campaigns against nations who harm their own citizens but do not otherwise affect the United States’ interests should, therefore, be avoided, unless cogent arguments can be made that failure to intervene will harm the United States.
He uses the example of Gaddafi, which is an excellent choice. There are plenty of other examples, which might include Iraq, and Syria (or ISIS, if you prefer).
Pointedly, I do not include Afghanistan, which allowed a state sponsored terrorist group to mount an attack, using weapons of mas destruction, against civilians, in the US homeland. As such, according to doctrine, 48 hours later Afghanistan should have been a smoking, radiating, sheet of glass, but we didn’t think it necessary.
He ends this way:
More simply, our foreign policy should be motivated solely by our interests and limited only by our morality, rather than the other way around.
I have little to add to that.