Michael Badnarik: Between Scylla and Charybdis

By Michael Badnarik (2004 Libertarian Party presidential nominee)

Published June 26, 2013 on LibertyForAll.net


Do you remember the cartoons you watched as a child? Occasionally the characters would get into a fight, symbolized by a small tornado whirling madly. Frequently an innocent bystander would get unwillingly sucked into the fight. As if we don’t already have enough problems, it appears that the United States may get sucked into World War III. Unfortunately, if that happens, there is no way we can claim to be innocent bystanders.

I don’t recall what I was researching when I stumbled onto a Wall Street Journal article explaining that China and Japan are rattling sabers, and threatening each other with war talk. Really?! Oddly enough, the bone of their contention seems to be a small group of islands that have no intrinsic value whatsoever. Each country seems to consider it a matter of national pride, and thinks they should be the ones who claim ownership of the islands – not unlike two dogs fighting over the same chew toy. Utterly ridiculous if you ask me.

But here is where the United States is likely to get caught in this political vortex. Near the end of World War II President Truman gave approval for dropping the newly designed atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombs instantly killed 80,000 and 70,000 respectively, with many thousands more dying later because of radiation.

When Japan surrendered we made it clear they were not allowed to reestablish any military forces, because the United States promised to defend them with our military. China, on the other hand, has purchased nearly four trillion dollars of American debt, which is perhaps the only reason that Federal Reserve Notes (aka “U.S. dollars”) have any value anywhere in the world. If these two countries eventually go to war, we may try to defend Japan, but we will be unable to do so when China tries to call in its debt. We would refuse to pay, of course, but that would drag the United States into a war with China. Did I mention that the Chinese population is five times larger than our American population? And I’m pretty sure that if push comes to shove, Russia will end up siding with China.

Now I know how Odysseus felt during his epic voyage, stuck between Scylla and Charybdis. From Wikipedia:

“Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer; later Greek tradition sited them on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and the Italian mainland. Scylla was rationalized as a rock shoal (described as a six-headed sea monster) on the Italian side of the strait and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. They were regarded as a sea hazard located close enough to each other that they posed an inescapable threat to passing sailors; avoiding Charybdis meant passing too close to Scylla and vice versa. According to Homer, Odysseus was forced to choose which monster to confront while passing through the strait; he opted to pass by Scylla and lose only a few sailors, rather than risk the loss of his entire ship in the whirlpool.”

The only peaceful solution to this problem seems to be to negotiate a truce between two angry countries concerned only with their nationalist pride. That would be a difficult proposition even without a pending global economic collapse. NOW do you see why the Founding Fathers discouraged us from “entangling alliances”?

Michael Badnarik was the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. Learn more about Michael and his continuing work at ConstitutionPreservation.org [http://www.constitutionpreservation.org/content/home-page-headline].

20 thoughts on “Michael Badnarik: Between Scylla and Charybdis

  1. George Phillies

    Point 1) American bonds are not callable. They Chinese cannot call their debt, because American Federal bonds are not callable. The Chinese could sell their bonds, to the enormous profit of other people, namely they would put their bonds on the market, the price would crash, and there would be huge bargains for everyone including the treasury to pick up vast assets at a very low price.

    Point 2) The islands may well be enormously valuable, namely the division of ocean bottom between neighboring countries is determined by whoever does or does not own the nearest point of land. There are indications that there are extensive mineral resources under that ocean bottom.

    Point 3) Under current military conditions, in a difference between nuclear powers, population is irrelevant to military potential; it just determines what the casualties will be.

  2. Dave Terry

    @#1; “Under current military conditions, in a difference between nuclear powers, population is irrelevant to military potential; it just determines what the casualties will be.

    I see! So the U.S. Kills 1 billion Chinese and China only kills 300 million Americans. Gee that only leaves 300+ million Chinese to colonize North America and it’s remaining 15 million Americans

    That’s about the same odd as your ancestors had when they virtually annihilated MY ancestors, some 200 to 300 years ago.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    Some people, I ask them whether they were born stupid or whether they’ve experienced traumatic brain injury.

    I don’t ask Dave Terry that. If he had been born as goddamn dumb as he is now, he’d never have learned to feed himself, let alone read and write.

  4. Dave Terry

    I will admit to calling people ignorant et al but I, at lease have the balls to state my reasons for doing so.

    Clearly, Mr. Knapp has neither the nads OR the mentality to attempt such an undertaking. He seems to believe that insults are an rational alternative to reasoned discourse. He MUST come from a VERY small school yard.

    I don’t think his problem is congenital, it seems to be the effect of following Alice down that rabbit hole looking for the perfect ‘stateless society’ clearly becoming disoriented, confusing up from down and not knowing WHAT state he is in.

    He really deserves our pity, not our enmity. He is sadly incapable of responding rationally when his sacred theories are challenged.

  5. Daddyfatsax

    Dave, use “nor” not “or” when using “Neither”. TLK, I didn’t see anything wrong with your statement. Dave, you like evidence when arguing…explain to my simple brain how China’s nuclear capacity can kill over 90% of Americans, and how China would repopulate a continent that had enough fallout to kill 300 million people? Regarding your ancestors…for the same reason I don’t owe black people reparations for actions taken by people not specifically “me”…I invoke the same indemnity from blame because your ancestors didn’t have the ability to fight off infections and virus’ that millions of Europeans learned/earned by living in civilized and organized communities. I’m sorry your great great grandmother got the flu, but how the hell is that the fault of my great great grandfather?

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    @5,

    Where is it that you lease those balls from? Do you have to return them full and in good condition, or can you just drop them off worse for wear after that there repopulation scenario?

  7. Deran

    Daddyfarsax is incorrect when he implies that pre-Columbian people in the Americas were not organized into civilizations. They lived in highly organized societies. The fact that they lived in organized, large-scale civilizations is irrelevant to them not having developed (“earned”?) immunities to diseases that were prevalent in Europe/Asia and Africa. That is a matter of separation of human groups over 10,000 – 15,000 + years.

    A book that was eye-opening to me is Charles Mann’s “1491”, and to a lesser extent the follow-up book, “1493”.

    One advantage I do see in libertarian capitalism is that with the emphasis on the individual in the present, and the pretense that humans are not a social species, then it is easier to cherry pick what aspects of human evolution and history you want to acknowledge.

  8. Daddyfatsax

    I am not implying, nor am I incorrect. When civilizations from Europe brought domestication of animals as well as farmed, instead of gathered, agriculture techniques, populations soared in the Americas…with that increased social interaction and proximity to raised livestock, many diseases flourished. If you want to assert that a handful of nomadic hunter/gatherers have the same/similar enough dwelling/habitat and social interactions as established and quickly growing population centers with sewage and sanitation concerns, go ahead…but if you don’t crap in the same hole day after day, and live near it…you probably don’t have the same diseases/immunities as someone who digs a new one depending on where the buffalo led you.

  9. Dave Terry

    @6;”Dave, use “nor” not “or” when using “Neither”.

    You may also note that I misspelled “least”, as well.
    Both typos. BFD!

    “explain to my simple brain how China’s nuclear capacity can kill over 90% of Americans, and how China would repopulate a continent that had enough fallout to kill 300 million people?”

    I did not SAY or imply that the American deaths would necessarily be the result of Chinese Nukes.
    NOR did I state that most of those deaths would be from radiation.

    Your concentration on numbers avoids the basic principal. Even if the Chinese managed to kill only 100 million Americans, the infrastructure would be “toasted” The Chinese would no doubt have to compete with the surviving Mexican, Central and South Americans.

    The simple fact, that Americans can’t deal with is that the United States is FAR from invincible and will not survive the 21st century without extreme changes.

    As far as my ancestors are concerned, it is dishonest to imply that they expired primarily from disease. I might also mention that a lot of that disease was deliberated conveyed to them by white men (such as small pox infected blankets,
    given as gifts to the defeated tribes by the Army)

    My tribe (the Cherokee) were already practicing agriculture when the white-eyes arrived, along with other Appalachian and southern tribes.

    In fact in the early 1800’s they were explaining the concept of “crop rotation” to white colonists.
    This was 50 years BEFORE the Irish nearly starved to death because of total dependence on the potato and soil degradation due to a one crop economy (not to mention British exploitation of their land) – seems to be a inbred tendency of A/S’s.

    “I’m sorry your great great grandmother got the flu, but how the hell is that the fault of my great great grandfather?

    See above, (maybe) BTW my grand mother DID die during the Epidemic of 1917-19. It was brought back by the doughboys during WWI.
    I don’t blame you, I blame Woodrow Wilson!

  10. Dave Terry

    P.S. The Asian Flu was introduced to the U.S by returning GI’s from Korea. You can thank HST for that. How about them “peace loving Democrats”?

  11. Alan Pyeatt

    Apparently, some people know as little about smallpox blankets and 18th Century biological warfare, and as little about the indigenous societies of Turtle Island, as they know about diplomacy.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t keep them from talking about those subjects.

  12. Steve M

    To correct a couple of facts… China Hold about 1.3 trillion in us treasury securities and Japan hold about 1.1 trillion. Total foreign holdings are about 5.7 trillion.

    http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/tic/Documents/mfh.txt

    Securities tend to be payable only after specific dates. So not all at once. China could try to sell them all on the open market at any time which would not only drive down their value but would also likely hurt the demand for new ones being issued.

  13. paulie

    a handful of nomadic hunter/gatherers

    Hardly an accurate descriptions of all Indians before the European invasion. There were, most likely, at least ten million, and only some were hunter-gatherers.

  14. paulie

    Apparently, some people know as little about smallpox blankets and 18th Century biological warfare, and as little about the indigenous societies of Turtle Island, as they know about diplomacy.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t keep them from talking about those subjects.

    Exactly!

  15. paulie

    Dave, you like evidence when arguing

    Nope, he just likes arguing for the sake of arguing and endless misdirection. Total waste of time.

  16. Deran

    A few nomadic hunter gatherers? You are so inaccurate with this assertion that all I can do is again recommend “1491” by Charles Mann.

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