I try to be optimistic, and while sometimes it’s hard, I usually succeed in taking the long view that the case for peace and liberty will ultimately triumph simply because war and tyranny are incompatible with the requirements of an industrial civilization. That’s why the Soviet Union fell, and why, in my view, the Nazis’ “thousand year Reich” was doomed from the start. Yet I have to say that my natural inclination to look on the bright side has taken more than a few hits recently: the case for optimism, which my old friend and mentor Murray Rothbard made tirelessly, no longer looks so convincing.
Why has this dark shadow eclipsed my naturally sunny outlook? Because war clouds are looming every which way one looks:
- The US military is preparing another invasion of Libya – Yes, they want to go back to the scene of their crime. Because more violence is going to “fix” the problems they created in the first place! Without congressional authorization, and without debate, US troops are getting ready to occupy Libya and put us in the middle of yet another war.
- More US troops are pouring into Iraq – So you thought the Iraq war was over? Think again! They’re not only sending as many as 800 more American soldiers on to Iraq, but they’re just now admitting that there are 4,000 already there – a lot more than they led us to believe. So much for President Obama’s pledge of “no boots on the ground”! This is just the first step toward Iraq War III.
- The cold war with Russia is ramping up, and the threat of a nuclear confrontation has never been greater. The US is embarking on a nuclear “modernization” plan that will cost $1 trillion – yes, you read that right: trillion! – and the real nightmare is that it will make actually using these monstrous weapons “thinkable.” “Precision” miniaturized nukes are on their way into the US arsenal – to be used to threaten and blackmail “rogue” nations into submission. Of course, the real “rogue nation” is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
To make matters worse – much worse – every single credible US presidential candidate is an unabashed warmonger. From Ted “nuke ‘em ‘til they glow” Cruz to Marco “shoot down Russian planes” Rubio to bloviating blowhard Chris Christie to The Donald (“I’m the most militaristic person ever!”) to Hillary Rodham Clinton – author of the Libyan disaster and unapologetic Iraq war supporter — they’re all crazy!
Yes, I’ve maintained that Trump is appealing to the “isolationist” instincts of the American people: in particular, his unwillingness to go along with the launching of a new cold war against Russia, a project that has enthralled the “mainstream” candidates of both parties. Yet this is coupled with calls to send yet more US troops to the Middle East, confront China, and declarations that he is the “most militaristic” candidate ever. So to say that Trump is relatively anti-interventionist compared to his rivals is merely to underscore how dangerously unhinged is the whole pack of them.
As Bonnie Kristian points out in this excellent op ed piece, in judging a presidential candidate foreign policy is key: that’s because a President has a largely free hand in this area and –thanks to the abdication by Congress of its constitutional responsibilities –can single-handedly take us to war. Given the choices we are presented with this election year, we are headed straight for disaster.
On the civil liberties front, the situation is even worse. When Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the US government’s domestic surveillance program, there was a surge of outrage, and legislative efforts to curb and roll back this brazen violation of our constitutional rights seemed to have a good chance. Yet the Surveillance State has basically withstood most attempts to dismantle it, and today it looks like the Snowden revelations, instead of dealing a death blow to government spying, have instead normalized it. There was a time when this kind of intrusion into our lives would have been automatically rejected: these days, it is accepted and defended even by ostensible “liberals.”
I’ve been critical of Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign for waffling on the libertarian anti-interventionist position on foreign policy: however, he never gave an inch on the surveillance issue. With him out of the race, we hear only the Orwellian nonsense emanating from people like Ted Cruz, who now says he supported Rand’s legislation to roll back Big Brother because he wants more surveillance. And of course the others, including Hillary Clinton, are just as bad. Bernie Sanders stands alone in opposing the National Security Agency’s spying on the American people, but he has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination, let alone the White House, and will eventually be endorsing Mrs. Clinton – whose record on civil liberties and Internet freedom is appalling.
These two issues – war and civil liberties – are inextricably linked: the more we invade the world, the more our rulers will demand the authority to police the home front, in the name of “defending” the country. It’s a dynamic that will continue to roll on, and that signals danger ahead.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We can stop the War Party’s forward march – but we can’t do it without your help.
Back in 2013, when Obama decided it was time to bomb Syria and overthrow yet another Middle Eastern regime, a massive campaign in opposition to this scheme was launched – with Antiwar.com playing a leading role – and the American people rose up and said “No!” We roused the public – and succeeded in defeating the War Party.
We can do it again. But we need your assistance.
The War Party has unlimited funding. They have the complicity of the “mainstream” media. They have all the resources of the US government – and several foreign governments – behind them. They have the Washington “thinktanks,” funded by the military-industrial complex and foreign lobbyists
But we just have … you.
Antiwar.com depends on tax-deductible donations from our readers and supporters: the average contribution is somewhere around $50. We’ll never be able to match the huge war chests of the interventionists: compared to the War Party, our budget is laughable.
But that’s okay! Because we don’t need millions to convince the American people that peace is better than war. We don’t’ need huge donations from war-crazed billionaires to remind Americans that they’ve been lied to and manipulated. We just need enough to keep going, as we have since 1995 – because we have truth on our side.
So please: help us expose the War Party’s lies. Help us to keep America out of the Middle East snake pit. Help us build a better tomorrow by keeping the warmongers at bay. Make your tax-deductible donation to Antiwar.com – before it’s too late.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.