I know that I am in the minority among the contributors to UL in that I will cast my vote on Election Day for Mitt Romney. I laid out my reasons for switching my vote from Gary Johnson to Mitt Romney in The Blaze a couple of weeks ago.
I was no fan of attempts to bully or shame libertarians into voting for Romney before I made my endorsement and I am no fan of those tactics now. I tried in my piece in The Blaze to lay out reasons why a libertarian should consider a vote for Romney – reasons that are obviously compelling enough for me personally to cast that vote.
If Romney wants to win over libertarians he doesn’t need his supporters trying to bully or shame libertarians who plan on voting for Gary Johnson. Instead, to win the votes of libertarians, Romney needs to actually take positions advocated by libertarians. I know this isn’t rocket science, but considering some of the pieces I have seen written by Romney supporters with the supposed objective of winning over Johnson voters, this actually needs to be said.
Tonight, Governor Romney has an opportunity to win over libertarians in the foreign policy debate.
First, let me say that I am realistic about what Romney could do to win over libertarians tonight. I know, unfortunately, that he will not repudiate the failed nation-building and interventionism that has been the hallmark of the Bush and Obama foreign policies.
That having been said, here is what Romney could say that would set his approach apart from the disastrous Obama foreign policy and win over libertarians:
Earlier this week, Mitt Romney visited Israel, and in a speech praised the Israeli healthcare system for keeping down costs. This sounds like an utterly uncontroversial statement (Republican politician praising Israel), until one realizes that Israel has a single-payer, universal health care system.
Yet, oddly, there was very little mention of this in conservative spots. I checked The Weekly Standard, Hot Air, the Washington Times, even The Blaze, but none of them talked about Romney’s statement. Not even Fox News seemed to have an article about it. Instead, places like the Boston Globe, the Washington Post (in particular, Ezra Klein), Matt Yglesias at Slate, and Steven L. Taylor at Outside the Beltway were the ones who seemed to actually notice what Romney said.
Yesterday, Rep. Ron Paul gave a speech on the House floor in regards to situation in Syria. Syria has descended into bloody civil war with rebel groups trying to oust Syrian dictator Bashir Assad. There have been reports of massacres and atrocities being committed by forces to loyal to the Assad government. In response, there have been increasing calls for intervention by United States and NATO forces, in the mold of the recent Libyan adventure, to remove the Assad government from power.
Rep. Paul spoke out against the proposed intervention and will file legislation to stop President Obama from launching a war against the Assad regime without Congressional authorization. This is legislation I would strongly support because only Congress has the constitutional duty to declare and authorize war. Plus, I believe intervention in Syria would be a huge mistake because it would likely ignite a larger Middle Eastern war involving Israel and Iran. However, the Paul speech unfortunately I believe did harm to supporters of non-interventionism and confirmed many negative stereotypes about them.
The speech included a few troubling passages, such as:
We are already too much involved in supporting the forces within Syria anxious to overthrow the current government. Without outside interference, the strife—now characterized as a civil war—would likely be non-existent.
What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.
During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.
Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.
Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
You may have heard about that Greece will be receiving $146 billion from the International Monetary Fund and European countries to help bring the country back to financial solvency, provided the country make cuts in spending and increase taxes.
The cuts in spending and new taxes have led to mass riots and protests, including a strike by government workers, who have been hit with cuts in pension and pay due to the agreement with the IMF (overly generous government benefits are a problem that we’ll eventually have here in the United States).
American Taxpayers have endured much since the fall of 2008, from endless bailouts to private sector companies (financial institutions and automakers) that now know they are “too big, too fail” and can run to the federal government for a bailout, the passage of ObamaCare, plans to pass cap-and-trade and budget deficits as far as the eye can see. It has seemed like an endless assault.
It’s bad enough that our tax dollars are being used so irresponsibly, but what many taxpayers may not know is that they are on the hook to bailout Greece.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) explains:
G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, for a whopping $108 billion to rescue bankers around the world and the Obama Administration quickly obliged.
President Obama’s recruitment of Presidents Clinton and Bush to help in the process of raising funds for relief in Haiti brought to mind memories of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Back then, President Bush recruited his father and President Clinton to take up a similar task.
At the time, the US response was certainly adequate, at least. Criticism was present, as President Bush couldn’t do much of anything without inciting outrage from someone, but the US response was robust and focussed just as the response to Haiti’s earthquake is.
However, when Hurricane Katrina hit, the US government seemed as if it didn’t care. For some reason, the undeniably horrible, delayed response by the Bush administration to Katrina has been compared to Obama’s Haiti. A more appropriate comparison would be comparing Katrina to the recent Ft. Hood and attempted Detroit attacks, in which the government which is there primarily to protect us seemed as bumbling and disconnected as it did under President Bush after Katrina.
That comparison leads to an important point, which is that the United States government and military seems better able to respond to disasters overseas than it is in its own country. This is undeniably a result of countless foreign wars and of being the world’s foremost superpower. We have military personnel at the ready to respond in Port au Prince, Kabul, Baghdad and Okinawa, but not on our very own shores.
I’d like to echo the comments of my fellow contributors here at United Liberty in a call for a non-interventionist foreign policy on the part of the United States when it comes to the situation in Gaza. This conflict is complicated and poses no real threat to our national security. The U.S. should discontinue its foreign aid to Israel as well as Egypt, Jordan and all other countries receiving the largesse of the American taxpayer.
Independent of any opinion regarding who is “right” and who is “wrong” in this conflict (I think there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides), I do have to stand up and give Israel a small moment of applause for standing up to the United Nations. Israel is a sovereign nation and has the right to make its own military decisions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently reacted to the UN Security Council’s recent resolution on the situation in Gaza:
Usually, when people bleat about spending money on other countries, it’s about humanitarian aid. But we spend far more money on other nations than just humanitarian aid; we also spend billions and billions of dollars subsidizing other nations’ military defense.
So when you file your tax return today to your overlords at the IRS, just remember, you’re paying not only for our military, but for the military of NATO, of South Korea, of Japan, and many other countries, and letting them freeload off of you. Every time a liberal points to European socialism and says we should be more like that, just know a lot of that socialism comes because they don’t have to spend on their military—we do it for them.
Here’s the infographic and the blog post from the Cato Institute to prove it:
A curious thing happened to my Twitter feed late last week: the official Twitter account of the Israeli Defense Forces started appearing with greater and greater frequency. This baffled me, as I don’t subscribe to the IDF (indeed, I had no clue they even had Twitter) until I realized that it was all being retweeted by many, many conservative (and even some libertarian) friends.
By now we are well aware of the conflict going on between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli government in Jerusalem. I say this, and not between the Palestinian and Israeli people, because I think this is a conflict mostly driven by political ideologies and politicians’ stupidity, and that the vast bulk of the people living in either territory would just want it to stop. They want the rockets to stop falling, the bombs to stop falling, the bulldozing to stop wrecking, the dead to stop dying.
Yet amazingly, Americans all across the right-wing spectrum are chanting for more death, more violence, more destruction, more chaos, in an area that really has nothing to do with anything American and which a victory for either side will mean absolutely nothing for our national interests (aside from, perhaps, whether or not we’ll bring on the Eschaton this year.) Meanwhile, the United States gives over $3 billion a year to Israel in military aid, a cost that—in these dire straits, facing a fiscal cliff—we can and must cut.
Nevermind the budgetary impact—I feel what we’re doing here is deeply immoral.
In my previous posts, I’ve been writing about the problems libertarianism has today, the difficulties it has trying to work with the American public. First, I talked about rhetoric. Then, I wrote about intellectual property rights. Third, I devoted some time to anarcho-capitalism. Now, in what I plan on being my last post in this series (until and unless a new topic arises that warrants my attention; feel free to send suggestions) I want to focus on foreign policy, and how libertarianism, so far, has been fairly inadequate.
There seem to be two chief positions in the libertarian movement on foreign policy. The first is the view taken by Robert Higgs, who wrote in The Independent Review (from the Independent Institute) last fall that “Warmongering libertarians are ipso facto not libertarians.” In the other corner lies neolibertarians like Jon Henke and* people like Eric Dondero, who wrote on our blog, in a comment, that:
When you say “less aggressive foreign policy,” what you really mean to say is “more girly-manish foreign policy,” or cowardness, or just downright surrendertarianism.
These two extremes, honestly, do not have any place in the libertarian movement. While I agree with Higgs that “war is the health of the state,” and the half-century has shown that this government is largely incompetent when it comes to defending us abroad and we shouldn’t be involved in these expeditions, we cannot completely pull back and have a pacificst foreign policy. War is inevitable; it happens, sometimes by people who don’t like us. And sometimes, there are justifications for executing operations in foreign countries.