About a year ago, I took part in a heated debate over U.S. foreign policy on a historians’ e-mail list to which I belong. One side, whom I unkindly dubbed "the militarists," took the Goldwater/Buckley/etc. position that Presidents can pretty much do whatever they want and "we" have to support them once the bombs are … Continue reading ““WAR POWERS “: VAGUE, UNDEFINED, AND POST-CONSTITUTIONAL?”


The war in Kashmir between India and Pakistan seems to have calmed down for the moment, but it could still present rich opportunities for the United States to do the wrong thing. President Clinton casually – almost cavalierly? – meddled at an early stage of the conflict without creating serious problems or making new commitments. … Continue reading “KASHMIR: WILL BILL AND MADDIE INTERVENE?”


It has been said that "there are no lost causes because there are no gained causes." Whether this is true or not will not detain us here. Matthew Arnold called Oxford University "the home of lost causes," referring in particular, one assumes, to Oxford’s support for the ill-fated Charles I during the Puritan Revolution. Richard … Continue reading “CAUSES – LOST AND OTHERWISE”


Many of the Kosovo war’s most active cheerleaders are having second thoughts now that the bombing phase of the war has ended, the “rebuilding” phase has begun and the general uselessness of the campaign has become increasingly apparent. Some of the second thoughts are thoroughly reprehensible, of the “we didn’t do enough damage” ilk. But … Continue reading “KOSOVO: LEARNING THE WRONG LESSONS (MOSTLY)”

George Dubya and “American Leadership”

One shouldn’t read too much into deviations from prepared texts, and in fact the prepared text of Texas Gov. George W. Bush’s remarks distributed to newsies during his California fundraising swing this week carried a warning right at the top "[Note: Governor Bush frequently deviates from prepared text]." He did so fairly often in minor … Continue reading “George Dubya and “American Leadership””

Serbs Out . . . KLA In

Brit Secretary of State for Defense George Robertson summed up his country’s war aims succinctly and, as it turned out, all-too-accurately: "Serbs out, NATO in, refugees back." Tens of thousands of Serbs are fleeing "liberated" Kosovo, as the KLA sweeps in ahead of NATO and the film of ethnic cleansing rolls in reverse. One of … Continue reading “Serbs Out . . . KLA In”

Murray Rothbard On War

These edited extracts, from an interview in the February 1973 issue of Reason magazine, first ran in the June 1999 issue of The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, published by the Center for Libertarian Studies. The introduction is taken from "Murray N. Rothbard: A Legacy of Liberty," by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. and is reprinted with the permission … Continue reading “Murray Rothbard On War”

A Report on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence

Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence, a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia” (1888-1935), British soldier and author, whose works include The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, achieved world renown for his exploits as Britain’s military liaison to the Arabs during the rebellion against the Ottomans. Sent to Mecca on a fact-finding mission when the Arabs rose in revolt, in 1916, … Continue reading “A Report on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence”

War Is the Health of the State

To most Americans of the classes which consider themselves significant the war [World War I] brought a sense of the sanctity of the State which, if they had had time to think about it, would have seemed a sudden and surprising alteration in their habits of thought. In times of peace, we usually ignore the … Continue reading “War Is the Health of the State”