LP.org: ‘As Trump’s warfare threats rise, Libertarians call for U.S. to withdraw from NATO’

Libertarian Party press release:

In response to the escalation of threats of warfare by the Donald Trump administration, the Libertarian National Committee adopted the following resolution at its quarterly meeting last weekend: “Resolved, the Libertarian National Committee calls for the immediate U.S. government withdrawal from NATO.”

President Trump’s foreign policy seems to depend on which advisor he talked to last … or whatever his Twitter muse may be in the early morning hours. Clearly, the last people he listened to before addressing the nation on Afghanistan last Monday night were his generals. He raised the specter of terrorism to justify killing Taliban, Al Qaida, and ISIS terrorists, saying that he would give the military a free hand. He vowed to maximize economic sanctions, accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists, and demanded more money from our NATO allies. According to the Cato Institute, the chances of dying in a terrorist attack are around 1 in 3 million. The odds of being hit by lightning are 1 in 700,000.

Spanning nearly 16 years, the war in Afghanistan is already the longest war in U.S. history. When our opponents are fighting a guerilla war on their home turf, we will not win. The Soviets lost, and so will we. The only winners will be the military/industrial/security/intelligence complex and their lobbyists on K Street.

“Monday evening, President Trump had the gall to ask America to trust him as he increases U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to unspecified levels,” said LNC Chair Nicholas Sarwark.

President Trump’s plans to ramp up military action in Afghanistan stand in stark contrast to his campaign rhetoric, when he said things such as, “We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan. Their government has zero appreciation. Let’s get out.” His announcement yesterday shows Trump is breaking yet another campaign promise.

In the last few days, Trump has leveled veiled “fire and fury” threats of nuclear war with North Korea. Kim Jong-un has responded with not-so-veiled threats to return any nuclear attack. Trump says he has not ruled out a “military option” to respond to the Maduro regime in Venezuela, a country that poses no threat whatsoever to the United States. Defense Secretary James Mattis is scheduled to visit Jordan, Turkey, and Ukraine to deliver the message that Washington will not tolerate a Russian annexation of Ukraine.

The threat of war looms on four separate fronts, without counting Iraq, Iran, Syria, and many other global hot spots that have little strategic importance for the United States. The U.S. military, as powerful as it is, cannot successfully wage war on more than one and a half fronts, particularly when our would-be foes will use asymmetric and guerilla warfare tactics.

Unfortunately, the Democrats offer no viable alternative. Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama presided over eight years of continuous warfare, including starting a disastrous new war in Libya.

Libertarians seek a United States at peace with the world. Our military should not engage in nation-building or otherwise interfering in other nations’ business. We should concentrate on defending our country from the real threats of the 21st century, like cyberattacks and biological warfare.

Only Libertarians offer the common-sense solution presented at Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” The perfect symbolic first step is immediate withdrawal from NATO.

37 thoughts on “LP.org: ‘As Trump’s warfare threats rise, Libertarians call for U.S. to withdraw from NATO’

  1. robert capozzi

    NATO is a relic, although I’m confused by the timing here.

    This was an opportunity to point out that Trump is going in the wrong direction on Afghanistan, and that his previous position is actually one of the few of his that made sense.

    The part that just seems so ridiculous is that if the US were to FINALLY leave Afghanistan that it will revert to its former status as the place with terrorist training camps. Terrorists can be trained in any number of ways in any number of places, including Afghanistan. This looks motivated by extreme levels of pre-emption to a problem that is profoundly remote (i.e., terrorists attacking the US again at some point in the future). When Trump and the talking heads talk about this, their logic leaps feel farcical to me. What am I missing?

    If I’m in the neighborhood of correct, then exiting Afghanistan strikes me as the more germane subject.

    Or, perhaps, sending signals to NK that the US will exit SK if NK ends its nuclear testing, or something. That would address current news cycles.

    Exiting NATO seems way off message and ill timed to me.

  2. JT

    The departure of the great genius strategist Steve Bannon is already having a tremendously negative effect on white house policy.

  3. Anthony Dlugos

    “Exiting NATO seems way off message and ill timed to me.”

    Amen, RCapozzi.

    Yet another example of an LP position statement/press release with good, tasty red meat that millions of voters/potential voters could sink their teeth into, undone by a pie-in-the-sky proposal that…if voters are paying attention, would turn them off full stop.

    I think you may have previously posted video of Invictus with some decent comments about how the NAP marks us as a cultish organization, but here is even the bigger problem with our reliance on that axiom: it short-circuits the policy proposal process. Every problem has a neat, clean, and totally unworkable (currently) solution.

    We’re the debt counselors who’s response to the indebted family is: stop spending more money than you have.

  4. Chuck Moulton

    What happened here was the LNC passed a resolution about NATO, then Trump unexpectedly escalated in Afghanistan. The resolution isn’t wrong per se… it just seems misplaced in the news cycle.

  5. robert capozzi

    ad,

    Thanks.

    If someone wants to be IN the conversation, it makes sense to start where the conversation is. If you want to reframe the conversation, you still have to start where the conversationalists currently are.

    RoW: P Diddy or Jay Z, who’s your favorite?

    LP: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

  6. robert capozzi

    cm,

    Yes, but the release came after Trump’s escalation speech.

    The release needed an entire re-think.

    The LNC seems to think that an “immediate” withdrawal from NATO is somehow relevant in the public discourse. Why not SEATO? Why not complete exit from the Middle East quagmire?

    This feels entirely tin-eared to me.

  7. Anthony Dlugos

    “The LNC seems to think that an “immediate” withdrawal from NATO is somehow relevant in the public discourse.”

    Make the frame of reference the average voter: the only thing they’ll get out of the proposal is: the LP has no plan for how we defend ourselves until ISIS shows up in New York harbor.

  8. robert capozzi

    ad: until ISIS shows up in New York harbor.

    me: Personally, this idea feels pretty ludicrous. It’s the sort of scare tactics that — somehow — neocons have been able to exploit.

    I would, however, say that I’m open to supporting reasonable measures to defend the US from terrorism. Resending troops to Afghanistan seems to fail on its face.

    I would not expect the LNC to have a plan, but I do think they should call out ridiculous, counter-productive foreign interventionism, while making clear that the US can and should defend itself from foreign invasion and terrorism. That might entail certain line items in the federal budget to increase, which is a NAP violation.

  9. Anthony Dlugos

    RC,

    Just to clarify, I do agree its ludicrous, I just think its how “withdrawing from NATO” will come across to the average voter.

  10. robert capozzi

    ad,

    Great. We don’t always have to agree, but it sounded to me like we didn’t on this, but it sounds as if we do.

  11. Anthony Dlugos

    RC,

    As I may have mentioned to you before, I’m in sales. I always view such LP press releases from the perspective of how they would look to the average less-informed (customer) voter, not the average libertarian.

  12. robert capozzi

    ad,

    101 for those of us with sales and marketing backgrounds, along with basic understandings of communications and psychology. These seem in short supply in the LP.

    Sad.

  13. dL

    “Exiting NATO seems way off message and ill timed to me.”

    Amen, RCapozzi.

    Given that military operations in Afghanistan are carried out under the umbrella of NATO, not really. The only quibble I would have be in the use of the language “withdraw” in lieu of the more accurate term, “disband.” NATO is a US military instrument. If the thing would have been disbanded at the time of the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the world today would be a much different place.

  14. Paul Grad

    NATO is just an American sop to the Euro-Commies, so they can continue to have all kinds of cushy socialist welfare schemes which don’t exist in America by sucking off the American taxpayer. Let the Socialist Racists pay for their own damn defense instead of leaching off American Capitalists. Get US out of NATO and the UN post haste.

  15. dL

    As I may have mentioned to you before, I’m in sales. I always view such LP press releases from the perspective of how they would look to the average less-informed (customer) voter, not the average libertarian.

    Bastiat, in Economic Sophisms, laid out the prescription for libertarian education. Hope for the best when it came to the elites(the privileged classes), persist w/ the unrelenting straight dope(“you are being duped!”) to the common man. People aren’t stupid. They may be sheep, but they are not stupid.

  16. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Paul Grad: NATO is just an American sop to the Euro-Commies … Let the Socialist Racists pay for their own damn defense …

    How are European socialists and communists racist?

    I don’t see how all your dots connect.

  17. robert capozzi

    dL: Given that military operations in Afghanistan are carried out under the umbrella of NATO, not really.

    me: True, but then that case should have been made in the release. If NATO were to be disbanded, that would not necessarily end the US military presence in Afghanistan.

    Similarly, ending US military presence in Afghanistan does not require a disbanding of NATO. It’s a very muddled message.

    dL: persist w/ the unrelenting straight dope(“you are being duped!”) to the common man. People aren’t stupid.

    me: I agree, in a sense. I think the common person rejects the abolitionist NAPsterist message because it is, for lack of a better word, unrealistic. A very large percentage of the population is living either paycheck to paycheck or SS benefits check to SS benefits check. The job market for decent jobs is rather slim and the few decent jobs available require specialized skills and/or education.

    Given the precariousness of so many’s lot, the idea of an extreme shift in public policy is highly risky for those on the edge. The shifts that Trump suggested in 16 appealled to people’s immediate fears more than abstract principles.

    He made the sale, overcoming many objections about his qualifications and fitness for office. Now he appears to be the dog who caught the car. He got what he wished for through extreme pandering.

    And, he looks increasingly like a fool, a buffoon.

  18. Anthony Dlugos

    dL,

    Just to reiterate something I’ve mentioned before at this site, I have no problem at all with people in the libertarian movement making the argument that the US should withdraw from, or disband, NATO. My issue is the arena within which the argument is made, and the arena of electoral politics, where the Libertarian Party exists, is a poor venue for proposing radical change.

    As RCapozzi points out in his 7:00 post today, people…in their capacity as voters…are not inclined to extreme shifts in public policy. Its too risky. Robert points out the fear those on the edge would have with regard to radical change, I have tried repeatedly to point out that those with skin in the game, people with jobs, pensions, mortgages, kids that they want to leave a better future for, are also predisposed to eschew radical change. Even if some typical middle class family with a typical amount of assets to protect thinks withdrawal from NATO is a good idea, they are unlikely to actually VOTE for, donate to, or hear more from, a politician who proposes such a radical change, simply because the implicit argument is…”You’re gonna get A LOT of radical change from me!!!” Once elected, there is generally no recall as you know. Given that, the average voter is likely to think…stop me if you’ve heard this before…”The Libertarians have good ideas, but they are really extreme.”

    The LP is not meeting voters where they are at. They’re gonna choose…and have chosen…the devil they know if we suggest to them radical change in a particular policy area. What else do they have to worry about if they throw their lot in with us?

    I implore you…take on the gargantuan and worthwhile task, the long, hard slog, of moving the Overton Window with regard to withdrawal from NATO, or any number of excellent libertarian proposals. But a political party in the arena of electoral politics is an ill-suited vehicle in the wrong venue to try and do that. The politicians get the glory of moving the football the last 2 feet after the cultural re-setters do the hard work of getting the public to consider more radical change. The LP will start being successful when it as a party realizes its relatively limited task at hand.

    While the “true” libertarians, perhaps such as yourself, can shout with righteous indignation that the US needs to withdraw from NATO, the LP and its candidates for office in the electoral arena, need to go to where the voters are at and say “Can you at least agree with me that NATO needs to stop expanding and take on a more limited role of say, offshore balancing?” (or some more humble use of power.)

  19. robert capozzi

    dL,

    My sense is the “skin in the gamers” are even MORE risk averse as a group than the living-on-the-edgers. The skins have more to lose, and they are more likely to fall to the edge as so many of their contemporaries have. The skins may have some savings and perhaps a positive net worth due to the housing market’s recovery, but for so many of them (especially those employed in the private sector) got a taste of what the edge would be like in 08.

    Living on the edgers have less to lose than the skins, but for them survival feels precarious. Homelessness is a very real risk.

    Of course, many in the comfortable classes — with net worths that assure their continued comfort, barring major catastrophe — are probably LEAST prone to wanting extreme change. They are living large, baby, why fuck this cool sitch up?!

    Does this mean that appeals to the better angels of our nature is foolish? Absolutely not! In fact it’s probably MORE important than offering practical, incremental steps toward a more perfect union. Aspiration is what gets us out of the funk of mundane, daily life.

    Politics (as opposed to political theory) is an art that mixes aspiration with practical remedies in the short to medium term.

    The NAPster tries to counter by saying, “There’s no inherent reason why we cannot disband NATO,” which is true. But they seem somehow not get that disbanding NATO requires that a lot of spadework needs to be done before such an idea is ripe.

    Simply declaring “disband NATO, disband NATO, disband NATO,” does nothing to disband NATO, if we’re paying attention.

  20. Anthony Dlugos

    RC,

    amen, especially this:

    “My sense is the “skin in the gamers” are even MORE risk averse as a group than the living-on-the-edgers.”
    You know, this is not the only place where I’ve had Libertarians suggest to me that we could have nominated any of the other candidates in Orlando because, heck, they were constitutionally eligible! As if people with skin in the game would turn ANYTHING in their lives over to any of the other candidates, with the possible exception of turning over a medical issue to Dr. Feldman.

    Why would a “Skinner” turn the presidency over to a 35-year old blogger or a Belizean murder suspect? They wouldn’t even trust their homeowners’ policy to such a person. They’re gonna vote for or listen to the policy proposals of such a person, knowing they are turning over the reigns to a 2.7 million, $4 trillion behemoth. What?

    They expect qualifications from the professionals they deal with, not an I-9 form, and here is access to my six or seven figure 401K.

  21. Tony From Long Island

    We’re learning every single day what happens when you turn over the presidency to someone with no political qualifications. AD is always pretty spot-on with his assessment of the 2016 LP decisions.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    As for the actual topic of this thread, the LP has created clickbait. How many conflicts has NATO been involved in? It took 45 years for the first to even occur. Being in NATO makes it LESS likely for more armed conflicts to occur.

    You all generally know that I am opposed to pretty much all military intervention. However, I am not opposed to military alliances. They often act as a check.

  22. Anthony Dlugos

    “You all generally know that I am opposed to pretty much all military intervention. However, I am not opposed to military alliances. They often act as a check.”

    Agreed.

    “We’re learning every single day what happens when you turn over the presidency to someone with no political qualifications.”

    Yep. Looks like we as a nation aren’t electing a dictator who gets to wipe the slate clean once every 4 years and create from scratch whatever he or she wants.

    Probably, then, political skill and leadership qualities are much more important than dogmatic libertarians imply, especially in executive positions. There was a Washington Post article during the 2016 campaign that described Johnson’s Laissez-faire management style while Governor, how he kept meetings short and on point, and how he weeded out programs he felt were too expensive or aimless for the state of New Mexico. Guess what? Those skills had nothing to do with standing at a podium and lecturing the gospel of the NAP. Guess what else? No amount of understanding of libertarian principles gives you those skills. You actually need experience in a “buck-stops-here” position.

    “AD is always pretty spot-on with his assessment of the 2016 LP decisions.”

    Thanks, I appreciate that. I doubt I am the smartest or Libertarian out there, or even at this site. On the other hand, spot-on assessments of LP decisions isn’t hard…just kick philosophy down to the bottom of the list of important attributes to run for or hold office. Its the least important thing once someone has actually joined the part.

  23. paulie

    Withdrawing from NATO is not that extreme. Trump floated the idea before the election.

    http://www.newsweek.com/trump-will-withdraw-nato-world-455272

    The problem with a military alliance is that it can draw a country into wars when it is not itself attacked. NATO was created to help Europe get on its feet after WW2 and to protect Europe from the USSR. The USSR is gone and Europe is back on its feet. They can pay for their own defense now.

    NATO is also drawing Europe into the US’s wars, which makes member nations targets of terrorism, which also increases the risk of larger war. Europe does not need that either. Aside from its involvement in NATO, Europe has no more colonies in the middle east and no need to involve itself in Mideast or Central Asian wars even if the US is foolish enough to do so. If Europe did not involve itself in wars in the Islamic world there would be much less incentive for Muslim terrorists to attack anyone or anything in Europe.

    Europe has an economy and population that is larger than the US and has no need to be protected by the US, even against a reconstituted Eurasian Union. The UK and France have nukes, and Europe has easily enough resources to field a conventional military to take on anyone.

    It’s time for NATO to go.

    It’s the historic and proper role of alt parties to push ideas which are outside the mainstream. I know that some here have grandiose dreams about a watered down LP becoming a major party. That could theoretically happen but it’s far more likely that it would turn into the Reform Party 2000, and soon after that into the Reform Party post-2000. If the LP offers ideas that are already being offered by Republicans and Democrats, there’s not much incentive for anyone to support the LP. Voting for someone other than a DnR is already a radical step in itself, and not one that many people will take if there is not a significant difference from the DnR candidates. Besides, if we don’t push the idea of withdrawing from NATO, who in the electoral arena will?

  24. paulie

    Of course, many in the comfortable classes — with net worths that assure their continued comfort, barring major catastrophe — are probably LEAST prone to wanting extreme change. They are living large, baby, why fuck this cool sitch up?!

    Yes, which is why they are the least likely people to support another party. They are already being well served by the big two now, and even if they aren’t, they don’t see the risk-cost-benefit equation as being in favor of voting for anyone else, although there are certainly exceptions to this.

  25. paulie

    But they seem somehow not get that disbanding NATO requires that a lot of spadework needs to be done before such an idea is ripe.

    I get that it does, and I see the LP now doing some of that work. That certainly is better than saying nothing about it, which is exactly the opposite of doing a lot of work to spread the idea.

  26. Tony From Long Isnald

    RC

    T, maybe. You are forgetting about Bosnia.

    Bosnia was exactly what I was referring to. Bosnia was 45 years after NATO’s formation and it was their first military action.

    I don’t approve of that action, but the US seems to have some sort of annual military excursion. One every 45 years is better.

  27. dL

    Bosnia was 45 years after NATO’s formation and it was their first military action.

    Incorrect. NATO played a prominent role in the 1st Gulf War vis a vis “The Southern Guard.”
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00396339108442593?journalCode=tsur20

    List of NATO operations since 1992
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NATO_Operations
    http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_52060.htm

    You know it takes about 3 minutes to look this stuff up…the internet should make you smarter.

  28. Tony From Long Island

    It takes less than 3 minutes to realize that helping with a naval blockade really isn’t the same thing as a full-on military action.

    So by your condescending correction, I was off by 3 years. I sincerely apologize!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. robert capozzi

    pf: Trump floated the idea before the election.

    me: True. And that caught my attention at the time, thinking that maybe he might not be half bad. I of course remained highly skeptical, given that his biggest issues were hate-tinged, which crosses my plumbline. 😉

    I definitely like to vote for Ls that question the US’s far-flung alliances, military bases, and wars. It’s one of the reasons I voted for GJ.

    It’s WAY within bounds to say that we as a country need to rethink government on many levels and in many areas. To me, this release was poorly executed, as it meanders from an out-of-left-field (in this news cycle) LNC resolution to a more appropriate discussion of Trump’s foolish reversal on Afghanistan.

    I’m highly skeptical the LP has the bandwidth to do the spadework necessary to get the country rethinking NATO. To the I view the LP as useful, I see it mostly as a means to sell sellable L ideas during election cycles. I don’t see the LP as a think tank, and if it fancies itself as one, I submit it’s ill equipped to fulfill that role.

    I still hold out hope that some L could get elected to Congress, and that an articulate, non-dogmatic, charismatic L could accelerate a sorely needed national re-think on a range of issues.

  30. paulie

    And that caught my attention at the time, thinking that maybe he might not be half bad. I of course remained highly skeptical, given that his biggest issues were hate-tinged, which crosses my plumbline.

    My instincts and predictions were always that the Cheeto Benito would stick with the hate agenda in office and dump any antiwar noises he was making overboard, and I believe I am being proved correct. Nevertheless, the fact that he made those noises proves that talking about getting out of US military alliances is not necessarily a barrier to being elected.

    I’m highly skeptical the LP has the bandwidth to do the spadework necessary to get the country rethinking NATO.

    By itself, of course you are correct. But it should add its voice and unique electoral niche to that push.

    I don’t see the LP as a think tank, and if it fancies itself as one, I submit it’s ill equipped to fulfill that role.

    I don’t think the LP can or should be a think tank, either. I don’t think that is what we are doing here.

    I still hold out hope that some L could get elected to Congress, and that an articulate, non-dogmatic, charismatic L could accelerate a sorely needed national re-think on a range of issues.

    It could well happen. The Socialist, Populist and Progressive parties elected a few people to congress in the early 20th century. I’m not sure, but I think the Prohibition Party did as well. The level of organization that those parties achieved during that era is not out of reach for the LP, but it would take working hard and working smart to get there. I remain optimistic that we can do it, if of course we survive the Mad Emperor’s naked reign of (t)error.

  31. Starchild

    For anyone who thinks the LNC should have passed a resolution advocating the withdrawal of U.S. government military forces from Afghanistan instead, this can still be done. Feel free to write up your proposed resolution language and send it to us. All else being equal, I think committee members are more likely to support a motion that members are requesting.

    Love & Liberty,

    ((( starchild )))
    At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee
    RealReform[at]earthlink.net
    @StarchildSF

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    “disbanding NATO requires that a lot of spadework needs to be done before such an idea is ripe.”

    The word you were looking for was “required,” not “requires.”

    The alleged purpose of NATO was to defend western Europe from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations.

    That purpose was fulfilled 25 years ago. The issue has been “ripe” ever since.

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