September 10, 2014

Must Read: Daniel Sanchez on ISIS and Russia

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

For those interested in foreign policy matters from a non-interventionist perspective, please read Mises Academy Director Daniel Sanchez’s latest essay entitled “Our Enemy-Maker, the State.”  It’s a marvelous essay in which he gives a theoretical set of statements on the State’s interest in foreign policy and expresses how it drags along the public into its war-expansions.  He quotes the “Nazi Hermann Göring stated at the Nuremburg Trials that:

“…it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.(…) …voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked…”

A perpetually frightened people, always concerned about a foreign threat, are easily manipulated.

Sanchez then discusses the role of war and specifically US-driven war efforts in the rise of radical Islam:

Tyranny and war both breed fanaticism; of course arming and training fanatics does too. The U.S. and its regional allies have been the biggest supporters of fanaticism in the Muslim world in all three regards.

Whether or not Islam inherently produces such radicalism is a debate among many people, including Christian analysts.  But what is pertinent here is the role that US militarism has had in sparking the anger of these so-called Muslim fundamentalists.  For more on this, I recommend Eric Margolis’ American Raj.  The narrative held by the neoconservative (radical Muslim aggression drives US militarism) is almost the opposite of that held by the non-interventionist (US militarism drives radical Muslim aggression).  Importantly, the non-interventionist looks back to the end of World War II to understand the roots of Middle Eastern tension.

Following an overview of ISIS, Sanchez takes a short look at recent tensions with Russia.  He points to NATO expansion as a precedent to the recent flare up and stupid set of sanctions against Russia. This was also recently explained in depth by John J. Mearsheimer in a lengthy essay for Foreign Affairs.  Mearsheimer explains:

The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West. At the same time, the EU’s expansion eastward and the West’s backing of the pro-democracy movement in Ukraine — beginning with the Orange Revolution in 2004 — were critical elements, too. Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion. For Putin, the illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president — which he rightly labeled a “coup” — was the final straw. He responded by taking Crimea, a peninsula he feared would host a NATO naval base, and working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.

Many Conservatives unfortunately are very good at assuming that Russia must always be equated with Communism, and therefore are always and everywhere an inherent threat.  What seems inconsistent, however, is both their willingness to talk about Russia’s aggression in lockstep with the “mainstream media” narrative which they purport to despise, as well as their stunning defense of an organization which in earlier years they would have opposed as “globalist:” NATO.  Conservatives claim to have a distrust of international unions of governments, seeing it as a “socialist conspiracy.”  They are right to think this way about these organizations, but suddenly, when the tension is between NATO and Russia, they choose to side with NATO, apparently ignoring that the most dangerous government to one’s liberties is always the one that immediately lords over you.  That would be a more consistent conservative reaction of skepticism and distrust. As a conservative libertarian, it is important to me that my fellow conservatives find their roots in the antiwar right.

I digress. Go read Sanchez’s piece here.

 

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