Libertarians say stop reckless Middle East interventions, honor freedoms of innocent Muslims

Press release via email blast and LP.org:

Syrian refugeesIt is easy to feel outrage, anger, and fear in response to the terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere. But in order to preserve life and liberty, keep America safe, and restore peace, the U.S. response must strictly honor the Bill of Rights and reverse failed policies in the Middle East.

Republican presidential candidates are drawing upon the rhetoric of hate. They call for shutting out refugees, ominous border walls, stepped-up military action, and dragnet profiling of Muslims in the United States.

Donald Trump called for creating a database of US Muslims and suggests government actions to shut down mosques — an unprecedented encroachment upon religion in the U.S. Ben Carson wants a database for all American citizens.

But such frenzied, reckless proclamations are exactly what have made Americans abroad and at home a target for Islamic extremists. They play into the ISIS strategy of recruiting more terrorists and put all Americans at greater risk.

“When your enemy wants you to do something, you may want to think twice before doing it,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

“Libertarians condemn, in the strongest of terms, terrorist acts of violence against innocent civilians,” he added. “But we will not condemn people of an entire religion based on the actions of a few. Nor will we deny them the freedom to escape from tyranny and horror.”

Libertarians call for maintaining the U.S. ethos of open borders for peaceful people. Protecting the United States from threats of terrorism should not come at the cost of the First and Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans.

“More domestic government surveillance is not the answer, especially for peaceful people who have harmed no one,” Sarwark said. “Libertarians vehemently oppose any infringement of religious liberty and of government data-gathering of citizens, Muslim or otherwise, without probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment.”

Since the Moroccan-American Friendship Treaty of 1786 through the middle of the twentieth century, America enjoyed generally friendly relations with Islamic countries across the Middle East. But after the discovery of oil in the region, the U.S. government began a string of destructive, terrorism-inciting interventions in the region:

  • The U.S. government sent the CIA to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953, setting off an escalating chain of events that reverberates to this day.
  • The CIA installed the Shah of Iran, a brutal dictator, who kept the oil supplies flowing. This outraged the Iranian people, building up to the Shah’s overthrow by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979.
  • The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein of Iraq against Iran, eventually leading to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
  • The U.S. permanently based troops on Saudi Arabian soil, a decision that Osama Bin Laden viewed as religious sacrilege and which partially motivated his 9/11 attacks of 2001 on the World Trade Center.
  • The U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 under the false pretext of Saddam’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction.” The resulting chain of events culminated in the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria today.

“Just as creative destruction in a free market replaces less desirable products with ones that work,” said Sarwark, “we must replace foreign policies that provoke war and terrorism with ones that foster peace.”

“Ending U.S. meddling in the region is the only way to unwind the centuries-old blood feuds into which lawmakers have entangled the American people,” he continued. “America and Middle Eastern countries can then, once again, have a chance at peace.”

38 thoughts on “Libertarians say stop reckless Middle East interventions, honor freedoms of innocent Muslims

  1. Robert Capozzi

    Incomplete.

    While the call here to unwind the US presence from the ME makes sense to me, there is still the fact that ISIS has threatened terror attacks in the US and has attacked US allies. To not address these attacks and threats seems to avoid the timely issues at hand.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    To “condemn” terrorism without some call for some sort of response rings hollow to me.

  3. Jill Pyeatt

    rc said: “To “condemn” terrorism without some call for some sort of response rings hollow to me.”

    It’s the “responses” that make things worse. It didn’t happen here. Expressing our condolences, and helping by taking some of refugees is an appropriate response, in my view.

    The chances of something similar happening here is slim, in my view.i

  4. Robert Capozzi

    jp, you may be correct. There may be NO response that would be just, and I have every reason to expect that the Rs and Ds will make matters worse.

    Still, I am not satisfied that there is not a way to address this terror/carnage while unwinding the failed policy.

  5. paulie Post author

    To not address these attacks and threats seems to avoid the timely issues at hand.

    From the release:

    * It is easy to feel outrage, anger, and fear in response to the terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere.

    * “Libertarians condemn, in the strongest of terms, terrorist acts of violence against innocent civilians,” – Sarwark

  6. paulie Post author

    To “condemn” terrorism without some call for some sort of response rings hollow to me.

    There’s no reason to put condemn in scare quotes, we absolutely do condemn it, and do call for action to be taken. It just isn’t the kind of action some people want.

    Actions mentioned:

    * reverse failed (interventionist) policies in the Middle East.

    * “Just as creative destruction in a free market replaces less desirable products with ones that work,” said Sarwark, “we must replace foreign policies that provoke war and terrorism with ones that foster peace.”

    “Ending U.S. meddling in the region is the only way to unwind the centuries-old blood feuds into which lawmakers have entangled the American people,” he continued. “America and Middle Eastern countries can then, once again, have a chance at peace.”

    * Don’t give the terrorists exactly what they want. See the release above as to what that would be,

    [p:] So there you have it. The actions we want are to expand, not curtail, civil liberties; end, not exacerbate, foreign interventionism that leads to terrorist blowback. Be more like the neutral, peaceful nations which experience far less terrorism than the warmongering ones. That may not be the response you are looking for but it is a response.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    pf, those don’t sound like “responses.” By way of analogy, if there was a gangland murder in Pittsburgh, a response would not be “legalize drugs,” since drug prohibition leads to crimes. It DOES lead to crime generally, I’d agree, but drug prohibition didn’t cause the murder.

    Is this release intended to persuade, I wonder? I wonder if anyone is persuaded by it, if so? If anyone was, I’d like to hear from them how it changed his or her thinking.

    Reversing interventionist policy in light of an active threat against the US from ISIS and on the heels of the Paris Terror…seems extremely tin-eared except to the most die-hard converts.

  8. paulie Post author

    By way of analogy, if there was a gangland murder in Pittsburgh, a response would not be “legalize drugs,” since drug prohibition leads to crimes. It DOES lead to crime generally, I’d agree, but drug prohibition didn’t cause the murder.

    It may or may not have been the immediate cause, but chances are it had something to do with it in one way or another, and the job of a political party is to speak out and if and when possible try to implement changes in public policy. “The criminals responsible should be apprehended and prosecuted” is not a public policy statement and not controversial in any meaningful sense. Pointing out the root causes and what can be done to address them is more along the lines of a public policy statement.

    Is this release intended to persuade, I wonder? I wonder if anyone is persuaded by it, if so? If anyone was, I’d like to hear from them how it changed his or her thinking.

    This is probably not the best place to try to find any such people.

    Reversing interventionist policy in light of an active threat against the US from ISIS and on the heels of the Paris Terror…seems extremely tin-eared except to the most die-hard converts.

    It’s exactly the time to point out that it needs to be reversed, when people are paying attention. If you try to limit your calls for non-intervention to times when there aren’t increased calls for increased intervention in response to something that just happened you

    1) Get relatively less attention for your calls
    2) Show that you don’t really mean it when the chips are down
    3) Will get less and less opportunities to do so as the cycle of violence intensifies

  9. jim

    Paley, you quoted and said:
    “”To “condemn” terrorism without some call for some sort of response rings hollow to me.””

    “There’s no reason to put condemn in scare quotes, we absolutely do condemn it, and do call for action to be taken. It just isn’t the kind of action some people want.”

    Quit it with the ‘scare quotes’ terminology. Some of us don’t use things you call ‘scare quotes’. They don’t ‘scare’ anybody! Who invented that wacky terminology?

  10. Robert Capozzi

    pf: It’s exactly the time to point out that it needs to be reversed,

    me: Completely agree. But even when in the act of exiting, it strikes me that it’s appropriate to defend oneself and, by extension, the nation and possibly its allies.

    And then there’s the matter of sequencing and framing an issue. Since France and innocent Parisians were brutally attacked, should the LP also be saying, “Oh, by the way, now would be a great time to exit NATO, too.”?

    I’ve long believed exiting NATO is a great idea, but to do so now seems callous, cowardly, and counterproductive.

  11. paulie Post author

    Completely agree. But even when in the act of exiting, it strikes me that it’s appropriate to defend oneself and, by extension, the nation and possibly its allies.

    How specifically?

    And then there’s the matter of sequencing and framing an issue. Since France and innocent Parisians were brutally attacked, should the LP also be saying, “Oh, by the way, now would be a great time to exit NATO, too.”?

    Yes, absolutely!

    I’ve long believed exiting NATO is a great idea, but to do so now seems callous, cowardly, and counterproductive.

    It’s actually the opposite of that. And if you wait any longer it will become more and more difficult. Failing to do so now will cause many more innocent people to eventually be killed, including in the US and in France. That’s what would be callous, cowardly, and counterproductive.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    pf: How specifically?

    me: Ya know, I’m no expert in such matters. While I understood GJ’s call to target oil supply trucks, that rang a bit hollow, although seemed more on point than this LNC release. It is a response, at least.

    Let’s keep in mind that no matter what any L says, the world is going to do what it’s going to do. Yes, it’s possible to catch lightening or for the Frankel Singularity to happen in the next moment, but way, way unlikely.

    I’d say RP1’s invocation of posse comitatus after 9/11 felt about right to me. Perhaps call for an escalating bounty on the heads of ISIS responsible for the Paris Terror and other terror threats, especially against the US. Couple this with a formal military alliance with Israel and an end to bombing raids in Syria and Iraq. Close bases in Saudi. Exit Afghanistan. If there are restrictions against it, remove them for allowing Saudi Arabia and others from hiring Blackwater and other mercenaries to help them protect their countries.

    Now, if the UN decided to send a peacekeeping mission into the region, for the time being I’d be open to the US participating in a truly global effort to root out a rogue proto-nation.

    The message would be: We are tired of fighting ME civil wars. It’s been counterproductive. Let’s unwind from the mess. But we will not accept terrorist acts against the US or its allies.

    We disagree about the timing of exiting NATO. Now is not the time, when the blood on the streets of Paris has barely dried. There will come such a time. As for Israel, I’m not so sure. Aside from their nukes, I don’t see how the US can plausibly disentangle from that particular alliance for the foreseeable future, given its size.

  13. Andy Craig

    “I’d say RP1’s invocation of posse comitatus after 9/11 felt about right to me.”

    I think you mean ‘letter of marque and reprisal’– posse comitatus is something totally different.

  14. Andy Craig

    So far as appropriate response. These are things that I think would be appropriate for the US to do against ISIS:

    -Intelligence sharing, both as to possible terrorist attacks but also military targeting info that might be of use
    -Cutting off the flow of funds through seized assets, frozen accounts, stopping their oil sales (which could be as simple as Turkey turning off the pipeline), etc.
    -Allowing arms sales, not at taxpayer expense but freely purchased, to the nations and groups fighting ISIS
    -Make clear that ISIS, sporadic terrorist attacks aside, is a regional security problem, and has to be dealt with primarily by the surrounding nations when it comes to any military solution. We should provide, at most, diplomatic support to encourage this coalition, but not be a member of it. Ideally, this would happen under the Arab League with UN approval.
    -Accept that Assad is not going to be overthrown by the “moderate rebels” who will then somehow defeat ISIS too. He’s a brutal dictator and a thug, but he hasn’t attacked our allies. He isn’t *our* enemy, and until some kind of settlement is reached between the Assad government and the rebels, neither will be strong enough to regain territory from ISIS along the Euphrates.
    -Perhaps a Ron Paul style letter of marque and reprisal, or more realistically just allow (as we already mostly do) volunteer Americans to join e.g. the Kurds and the Iraqi gov’t,, a la the Flying Tigers, Eagle Squadron, Lafayette Escadrille, etc.
    – More of a problem for Europe than us, but we should still arrest and prosecute any American attempting to join or support ISIS

    What we should not do:

    -Continue to wage war on both Assad and ISIS simultaneously
    -Put the American flag on airstrikes that are perfectly capable of being executed by other modern air forces in the region
    -Use this as an opportunity to confront Russia, expand NATO, etc.
    -Impose a “no fly zone” – as if we have any authority to tell a sovereign state that it can’t allow another sovereign state (Russia) to use its airspace
    -Massive ground invasion of ISIS-held territory, that will work for only as long as we commit tens if not hundreds of thousands of soldiers as an occupation force
    -Allow Obama to (again) engage in illegal military action without congressional approval
    -Presume to dictate to the various factions on the ground what is or isn’t an acceptable settlement, including such things as borders or questions of independence and secession

    I agree with everything the release said, the only *long-term* solution is to get out of the Middle East and stop generating blowback, destablization, and all the rest of the havoc the US has wreaked over its many long decades of trying to control the region. I also agree, “just ignore them, it’s not our problem” is not a realistic short-term policy answer to ISIS. Just like, to use what i feel is an appropriate metaphor, the ultimate answer to Al Capone was repealing Prohibition, but that doesn’t mean you stop arresting and prosecuting members of his gang for the murders they committed.

    As for NATO– what was once a fairly legitimate defensive alliance has, post-Cold-War, become something more, and worse. First in the Balkans, then Afghanistan, then Libya, and now possibly in Syria. On the one hand, I don’t think there’s any need to abrogate the close military cooperation and integration we have with Europe. But, they need to start picking up the tab for their own defense needs (which they are plenty capable of providing themselves), *and* if NATO is to survive at all as an acceptable thing, then it needs to re-trench its original strictly-defensive, geographically-limited role. I’m on the fence between that sort of reformed-NATO arrangement, vs. the U.S. leaving NATO altogether. But, I’d rather the U.S. leave NATO altogether, than stay in what NATO has become, which is the vehicle (and legal fig leaf) for Western military interventions that can’t get UN approval.

    And, it’s worth keeping in mind we can still have a close alliance with European nations outside of NATO, just like we do with Japan, and Australia, etc. So, it’s not like without NATO we wouldn’t still have close and friendly relations with the EU and its members.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    Craig for President! Or Congress, at least!

    ac: Make clear that ISIS, sporadic terrorist attacks aside, is a regional security problem

    me: Aside from M&R, what if any kinetic acts would you support and/or advocate by the US to blunt terror attacks?

  16. paulie Post author

    Craig for President! Or Congress, at least!

    One step at a time 🙂

    Perhaps call for an escalating bounty on the heads of ISIS responsible for the Paris Terror and other terror threats, especially against the US.

    They don’t mind dying for their cause. They view it as martyrdom and it makes them heroes in the eyes of growing numbers of followers. They see it as a ticket to heaven, fame for themselves and fortune for their families.

    Couple this with a formal military alliance with Israel and an end to bombing raids in Syria and Iraq.

    A big yes to an end to bombing raids. And a big no to formal military alliances with anyone, most especially with any country that is constantly on the verge of hostilities and surrounded by hostile neighbors. That’s just an open invitation to be drawn into a war.

    Close bases in Saudi. Exit Afghanistan. If there are restrictions against it, remove them for allowing Saudi Arabia and others from hiring Blackwater and other mercenaries to help them protect their countries.

    I agree with all of those! And the parts about ending bombing raids and exiting various nations in that region were implicit in the release. They are actually the key here, because they would be removing fuel from the flame rather than feeding it. Terrorists haven’t been targeting neutral, peaceful nations.

    Now, if the UN decided to send a peacekeeping mission into the region, for the time being I’d be open to the US participating in a truly global effort to root out a rogue proto-nation.

    No, that would just be expanding the conflict further. And even if you rooted them out all you would do is pave the way for other jihadi terrorist organizations to fill the void. Several such organizations have been rooted out and others have taken their place. So long as you are feeding the hatred by attacking them they will grow. Even if you call what you are doing peacekeeping. Suppose India, China and Russia got together to help “peacekeep” US cities when rioting breaks out as a consequence of the drug war/police racism/police-prison-industrial complex and related matters, how would Americans take it? Not so well, I would imagine. The foreign invaders may even succeed in getting the local fighting sides to temporarily make peace… but only so that they could unite to fight the foreigners.

    The message would be: We are tired of fighting ME civil wars. It’s been counterproductive. Let’s unwind from the mess. But we will not accept terrorist acts against the US or its allies.

    They have indeed been counterproductive. Trying to police the region in any way just creates more blowback which leads to more wars ad infinitum.

    We disagree about the timing of exiting NATO. Now is not the time, when the blood on the streets of Paris has barely dried.

    The time couldn’t be better, if we don’t want blood in our streets as well.

    There will come such a time.

    When and why? The more the US participates in an alliance that is fighting Daesh, the more Daesh attacks members of that alliance. Daesh is smart enough to know what their military strengths and weaknesses are, and obviously not morally constrained in using whatever tactics they can manage to pull off. They know that they don’t have enough fighters or enough weapons to prevail in a traditional military battle on their own turf. But they do have the personnel, equipment and means to keep pulling off terrorist attacks in the countries they are at war with. Attacking them just adds more motivation for them to do it. Given an escalating cycle, when does the time come to get out?

    As for Israel, I’m not so sure. Aside from their nukes, I don’t see how the US can plausibly disentangle from that particular alliance for the foreseeable future, given its size.

    I fail to see any problem with such a disentanglement that you do. In fact, I have relatives in Israel who have told me that Israel would be better off without such an alliance. US aid has now become a small fraction of the growing Israeli economy which creates weapons as advanced or more as anything imported from any other nation. They can and should take care of themselves. The US regime pouring more weapons into a volatile region and engaging in more alliances there does nothing but add fuel to the fire and invite terrorists to target the US. There is no good solution, but getting out as quickly and completely as possible is the best first step to take. Creating an open banking environment would also help make the US more immune to attack, since people all over the world would find much more value in keeping their money safe here instead. You don’t see a lot of people attacking Switzerland in the last few centuries, and they are in a much less geographically advantageous position in this regard than the US is.

  17. paulie Post author

    How about Obama personally deliver spankings, maybe with a switch, to any ISIS members caught in the USA? The cable news networks will love it.

    Sounds kinky.

  18. paulie Post author

    -Allowing arms sales, not at taxpayer expense but freely purchased, to the nations and groups fighting ISIS

    -Make clear that ISIS, sporadic terrorist attacks aside, is a regional security problem, and has to be dealt with primarily by the surrounding nations when it comes to any military solution. We should provide, at most, diplomatic support to encourage this coalition, but not be a member of it. Ideally, this would happen under the Arab League with UN approval.

    -Accept that Assad is not going to be overthrown by the “moderate rebels” who will then somehow defeat ISIS too. He’s a brutal dictator and a thug, but he hasn’t attacked our allies. He isn’t *our* enemy, and until some kind of settlement is reached between the Assad government and the rebels, neither will be strong enough to regain territory from ISIS along the Euphrates.

    -Perhaps a Ron Paul style letter of marque and reprisal, or more realistically just allow (as we already mostly do) volunteer Americans to join e.g. the Kurds and the Iraqi gov’t,, a la the Flying Tigers, Eagle Squadron, Lafayette Escadrille, etc.

    Agreed.

  19. paulie Post author

    What we should not do:

    -Continue to wage war on both Assad and ISIS simultaneously
    -Put the American flag on airstrikes that are perfectly capable of being executed by other modern air forces in the region
    -Use this as an opportunity to confront Russia, expand NATO, etc.
    -Impose a “no fly zone” – as if we have any authority to tell a sovereign state that it can’t allow another sovereign state (Russia) to use its airspace
    -Massive ground invasion of ISIS-held territory, that will work for only as long as we commit tens if not hundreds of thousands of soldiers as an occupation force
    -Allow Obama to (again) engage in illegal military action without congressional approval
    -Presume to dictate to the various factions on the ground what is or isn’t an acceptable settlement, including such things as borders or questions of independence and secession

    Exactly!

  20. Andy Craig

    “me: Aside from M&R, what if any kinetic acts would you support and/or advocate by the US to blunt terror attacks?”

    I don’t think trying to stop (or “blunt”) specific terrorist attacks is something to be done with military strikes. Getting a few guys with guns and explosives (or box-cutters) into the U.S. is not a question of whether or not territory is being won back from ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria. That’s a matter of domestic security and law enforcement (and armed self-defense in some cases), not this dangerous fantasy that if we blow up the right guy with a Predator drone in time on the other side of the world, that will somehow disrupt and prevent terrorist attacks in the West. That was always a dubious notion, and after a decade of trying it’s proven absurd.

    We don’t even know definitively if “ISIS” on the ground in Iraq/Syria, had any idea what was being planned in Paris or when it would happen, vs. simply taking credit for an attack they “inspired” but didn’t coordinate. We do know that the latter is a model al-Qaeda and now ISIS have encouraged and attempted to adopt, because it’s much harder to combat through disruption strikes.

    At the end of the day, terrorist blowback is one of the known and perfectly predictable risks of military intervention. If the United States, or any other nation, isn’t willing to accept that risk, it shouldn’t intervene. Terrorism isn’t itself a reason to go in, it’s one of the costs, alongside the direct military casualties, the civilian causalities, the monetary cost, the diplomatic consequences, and all the other horrible consequences of war.

  21. paulie Post author

    I also agree, “just ignore them, it’s not our problem” is not a realistic short-term policy answer to ISIS. Just like, to use what i feel is an appropriate metaphor, the ultimate answer to Al Capone was repealing Prohibition, but that doesn’t mean you stop arresting and prosecuting members of his gang for the murders they committed.

    Of course any terrorists who survived should be caught and tried if they are still in Europe or any cooperating nation. Attacking Islamic State territory, bombing them, or participating in any coalition that does so is a different matter. It just invites more blowback and even if you succeed you will just see more heads pop up on the hydra. Defusing the situation isn’t easy, but adding fuel to the fire is clearly the wrong direction to go in altogether.

  22. paulie Post author

    But, I’d rather the U.S. leave NATO altogether, than stay in what NATO has become, which is the vehicle (and legal fig leaf) for Western military interventions that can’t get UN approval.

    Precisely.

  23. jim

    Robert Capozzi said: “me: Ya know, I’m no expert in such matters. While I understood GJ’s call to target oil supply trucks, that rang a bit hollow, although seemed more on point than this LNC release. It is a response, at least.”

    I think the useful thing about us learning about the oil truck matter (and the fact that Obama’s military had apparently deliberately failed to bomb them over a period of well over 1.5 years) is that it exposes Obama’s great duplicity. Who was buying that cheap oil? Turkey. What did Obama say, “ISIL is contained”, or something akin to that. When they obviously weren’t contained then, and even more obviously not contained now. Obama is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into a dispute that he allowed to happen.

    I say again: in 1.2 years, Obama will do a long-awaited world tour, where he picks up after-the-fact bribes (“speaking fees”) from his supporters. Unlike prior Presidents, many of these supporters will be rich Muslim oil-exporting nations, At this point, Obama certainly doesn’t want to anger any of them. And thus weird things (like his keeping the military from bombing the oil trucks) will continue to happen, without other obvious explanations.

  24. paulie Post author

    what if any kinetic acts would you support

    Disentanglement from interventionism is also a kinetic act.

    “Do something, anything” is bad advice more often than not.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    pf, been busy with the holiday, but this dialog is of particular interest. Thank you. One of the discussions pre-Portland in the Reform Caucus was for Ls to calibrate specific policy proposals to a 5-year-plausibility test. This makes abundant sense to me. More grandiose statements should remain general, not specific. Politics is a form of sales, and if an idea won’t sell, why waste energy selling it? My comments come in that context.

    pf: They don’t mind dying for their cause. They view it as martyrdom and it makes them heroes in the eyes of growing numbers of followers. They see it as a ticket to heaven, fame for themselves and fortune for their families.

    me: I’m pretty sure you were arguing the other way recently, that jihadists DON’T have a deathwish. Which is it? (Apologies in advance if it was someone else.)

    It’s my sense that Jihadists who commit or conspire these horrific acts of terror are severely mentally ill…crazy mo’ fo’s. There is no making sense of insanity, and there is no way to anticipate their wants or needs. They are nuts! Bad actors who commit violent slaughters are not just the business of the domestic-tranquility-institutions within the borders that the bad actors reside in, based on their propensity to strike complete innocents outside their borders. Witness 9/11, Madrid, London, and Paris.

    pf: And a big no to formal military alliances with anyone, most especially with any country [Israel] that is constantly on the verge of hostilities and surrounded by hostile neighbors. That’s just an open invitation to be drawn into a war.

    me: I too see a day when entangling military alliances are no longer necessary. In my judgment, today is not that day. I know this is way off the reservation for the deontological, plumbline crowd, but here’s how I see the situation:

    The ME wars have been supremely counterproductive.
    The US has a very strong informal alliance with Israel.
    Abandoning that alliance is a non-starter, as there is still tremendous collective guilt and remorse surrounding the Holocaust, and probably centuries of pogroms by Europeans and, by extension, the US.
    If the US is to tactfully disengage from the ME, I don’t believe that stands a chance of being sold if the disengagement includes Israel.
    By strengthening the ties to Israel, this would enable the military exit from the rest of the ME. Consider this: when scaling a mountain, sometimes the fastest way up is sideways.

    pf: I agree with all of those! And the parts about ending bombing raids and exiting various nations in that region were implicit in the release. They are actually the key here, because they would be removing fuel from the flame rather than feeding it. Terrorists haven’t been targeting neutral, peaceful nations….They have indeed been counterproductive. Trying to police the region in any way just creates more blowback which leads to more wars ad infinitum.

    me: Oh? How about Mali? Many other incidents in Africa? Not sure, but is Tunisia flying drones in Syria at the moment? Yes, there probably is some inflaming, but perhaps you reject my premise that the Jihadists are simply insane people doing insane things. Do you?

    pf: The time couldn’t be better [to exit NATO], if we don’t want blood in our streets as well.

    me: You are assuming rationality on the part of jihadists. I don’t, so I guess we should agree to disagree.

    pf: When and why? The more the US participates in an alliance that is fighting Daesh, the more Daesh attacks members of that alliance. Daesh is smart enough to know what their military strengths and weaknesses are, and obviously not morally constrained in using whatever tactics they can manage to pull off. They know that they don’t have enough fighters or enough weapons to prevail in a traditional military battle on their own turf. But they do have the personnel, equipment and means to keep pulling off terrorist attacks in the countries they are at war with. Attacking them just adds more motivation for them to do it. Given an escalating cycle, when does the time come to get out?

    me: ISIS has established for me that they are insane and an international threat, just as AQN was and is. The mistake was that the US took it upon itself to address that threat unilaterally beyond US borders. I’m OK with using M&R to take out specific bad actors against Americans because they are American, like the leadership of terrorist gangs who have struck at the US specifically. For ex., the raid that took out Bin Laden, at least as it was reported. When it comes to cross-border Jihadist organizations that engage in terrorist acts, I believe the UN should take the point on containing and ultimately rooting out these organizations. This is a matter of international tranquility vs domestic tranquility.

    pf: I fail to see any problem with such a disentanglement that you do. In fact, I have relatives in Israel who have told me that Israel would be better off without such an alliance. US aid has now become a small fraction of the growing Israeli economy which creates weapons as advanced or more as anything imported from any other nation.

    me: Ya know, if the US offered to formalize the alliance with Israel and Israel declined, I’d be fine with that. I certainly wouldn’t pressure them to accept a formal alliance.

    pf: They can and should take care of themselves.

    me: This may or may not be true. I know I don’t possess enough expertise to brand this statement as true or false. From what I know of you, neither do you. I do know that there are many fold more Muslims than Jews generally and Israelis specifically. My sense is that Americans broadly believe we have a special relationship with Israel, and that that state should not be overrun and otherwise destroyed.

    You can do your best to convince them of your views, but I predict you will fail in that sale. In the process, you will poison the case for liberty. Worse, it reminds non-Ls of the disturbing incidence of anti-Semitism in the LM. https://chelm.freeyellow.com/libertarianproblem.html.

    Non-starter. Try again.

    pf: The US regime pouring more weapons into a volatile region and engaging in more alliances there does nothing but add fuel to the fire and invite terrorists to target the US.

    me: Straw man. I have not and do not advocate pouring more weapons into the region. I advocate the opposite. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

    pf: Allowing arms sales, not at taxpayer expense but freely purchased, to the nations and groups fighting ISIS

    me: Sold.

    ac: Make clear that ISIS, sporadic terrorist attacks aside, is a regional security problem, and has to be dealt with primarily by the surrounding nations when it comes to any military solution. We should provide, at most, diplomatic support to encourage this coalition, but not be a member of it. Ideally, this would happen under the Arab League with UN approval.

    me: Sure. If the UN delegates this to the Arab League, I’m OK with it.

    ac: I don’t think trying to stop (or “blunt”) specific terrorist attacks is something to be done with military strikes. Getting a few guys with guns and explosives (or box-cutters) into the U.S. is not a question of whether or not territory is being won back from ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria. That’s a matter of domestic security and law enforcement (and armed self-defense in some cases), not this dangerous fantasy that if we blow up the right guy with a Predator drone in time on the other side of the world, that will somehow disrupt and prevent terrorist attacks in the West. That was always a dubious notion, and after a decade of trying it’s proven absurd.

    me: Determining appropriate tactics is a reasonable discussion to have. I have no reason to believe that any approach will work 100%, just as murder continues despite its being illegal.

    ac: At the end of the day, terrorist blowback is one of the known and perfectly predictable risks of military intervention. If the United States, or any other nation, isn’t willing to accept that risk, it shouldn’t intervene.

    me: Yes, this one one of the many reasons that such matters should be sorted out by the UN.

    pf: Of course any terrorists who survived should be caught and tried if they are still in Europe or any cooperating nation. Attacking Islamic State territory, bombing them, or participating in any coalition that does so is a different matter. It just invites more blowback and even if you succeed you will just see more heads pop up on the hydra. Defusing the situation isn’t easy, but adding fuel to the fire is clearly the wrong direction to go in altogether.

    me: Murder will continue as well. Should we legalize murder because of this?

    pf: Disentanglement from interventionism is also a kinetic act.

    me: Clever! Yes, that’s true in the sense that removing troops and munitions involves movement. Which I support, if that’s not clear. So, what’s a better word/term for what I mean? Hmm. International peacekeeping and anti-terrorism actions that sometimes involve force….how’s that?

  26. paulie Post author

    Sorry, way too long to read, much less respond to. I am getting very busy with the petition drive management here and will hopefully stay that way. At the very least until 7 Dec evening when the EC will decide whether to behead this petition drive. If we get a stay of execution, until 1 March or we have enough signatures, whichever comes first. Allah Akhbar! 🙂

  27. Robert Capozzi

    All good, P. Sorry bout the length, but among my most important comments. It’s the beginnings of a Lessarchist approach to foreign policy. Also quite sacrilegious for plumbliners, and yet it has a feel of truth. I’d like to hear otherwise, and why, should you get a chance.

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