March 17, 2014

Buildup to War-making

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

Michael S. Rozeff writes in response to Obama’s declaration of a “national emergency” in the President’s Executive Order last week:

What national emergency? There isn’t any. I defy anyone to prove that there is an actual national emergency because of relations between Crimea and Ukraine. Obama finds “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States…” What threat? I defy anyone to prove that there is a threat to the security of Americans arising from Crimea’s relations with Ukraine.

What danger is there to Americans if Crimea holds a referendum? What danger if it decides to alter its political relations with Ukraine and Russia? What actually is the “Government of Ukraine” of which Obama speaks? What are its democratic processes being undermined? How can a vote in Crimea cause an emergency to Americans? How can such a vote cause an emergency to Americans while riots in the streets, snipers and thugs can cause a change in government in Ukraine and that is no cause for Obama to declare an emergency, indeed that becomes a cause for approval?

In Obama’s dictionary, if he thinks something has happened in Crimea having to do with its government that another government (in Ukraine) has not authorized, then this constitutes “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States…” This constitutes an “emergency”.

If the foreign policy of the United States is unlawful to begin with and if it is thwarted by Crimeans or a Crimean vote to separate from Ukraine, does that give rise to a threat to the foreign policy of the U.S.? Even if it does, which it doesn’t in this case, is it so serious as to declare that the U.S. foreign policy faces an emergency?

This is very good.  In a similar theme, Chris Rossini calls out John “we are all Ukrainians” McCain for his recent statement of support for Ukraine.  McCain tweeted: “I will never stop fighting for a free and independent #Ukraine, which includes #Crimea.”  Rossini pointed out:

Those words sound like something a candidate for the Ukrainian Parliament would say. And yet, they’re from a Senator from Arizona, located on the other side of the Earth.

It is under the guise of “security” that Obama vocalizes his desire to intervene around the world.  And it is under the guise of “freedom and independence” that McCain too wants a foreign policy of interventionism.  Right now, it seems that every politician wants intervention in one way or another.  Even those who are very conservative, like Rand Paul (who the media constantly and inaccurately refers to as libertarian), seem to be missing the bigger picture.  Here is the Guardian revealing a major difference between Rand and Ron Paul on this issue:

[Ron Paul’s] remarks in an interview with the Guardian are almost diametrically opposed to those of his son, the Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul, who has called for stiff penalties against Russia and declared: “If I were president, I wouldn’t let [Russian president] Vladimir Putin get away with it.”

Ron Paul, who retired from his Texas congressional seat in 2012, has always adopted a sceptical view of US foreign interventions. He said that although the US had not been involved in any military overthrow of the government in Kiev, it had facilitated a coup in the sense of “agitating” elements who wanted to usurp Ukraine’s former president, Victor Yanukovych.

“The evidence is pretty clear that the NGOs [non-governmental organisations] financed by our government have been agitating with billions of dollars, trying to get that government changed,” he said. “Our hands are not clean.”

Further in the article we read:

This week, [Rand] used an op-ed piece in Time magazine to exhibit his foreign policy credentials, adopting a tough stance against Moscow.

“Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty and an affront to the international community,” he wrote. “His continuing occupation of Ukraine is completely unacceptable, and Russia’s president should be isolated for his actions.”

He added: “Economic sanctions and visa bans should be imposed and enforced without delay.”

Now, Rand is most certainly the most (or perhaps tied with Justin Amash) conservative, pro-liberty member of the Legislature.  But if conservative means constitutionalist, anti-empire, and a humble foreign policy, perhaps Rand is not conservative enough.  If conservative does not mean those things, then what good is it?  Rand is not a libertarian, and even says he is not.  But he does claim to be a constitutional conservative and I do not think it should be too much to ask of him that he oppose the warmongering desires of Obama and McCain.

I don’t mind Rand that much at all, I just don’t want people to force the term “libertarian” onto him.  Especially because the war issue is the most important issue for the libertarians.  For, in the words of Randolph Bourne, “war is the health of the state.”  The war momentum us building and we need decent conservatives like Rand Paul to stand opposed to it, regardless of the fact that he is attempting to set himself up for 2016.

Agreeing with McCain and Obama on the war issue is a terrible method .

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com
  • Patrick T. McWilliams

    I wish Ron would run in the next election. I’d vote for him again.