Foreign Policy

Foreign policy realism: Some Interventions are Just

military intervention

I recently got into a heated discussion with a fervent Ron Paul supporter about foreign policy. I’ve had similar arguments with many other libertarians many times. Those like my friend hold that military intervention in foreign countries is inherently immoral and un-libertarian. For many Ron Paul supporters*, a purely non-interventionist foreign policy is a true libertarian litmus test.

In 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in broad daylight in the presence of numerous onlookers who did nothing to assist her. She was stabbed repeatedly, attempted to escape her attacker, and then stabbed and raped until her life was gone. One person shouted, “leave her alone!” but no one helped Kitty. As onlookers watched her get murdered and raped, no one came to her aid or called the police.

The gruesome, heartbreaking attack and the horrifying apathy of onlookers outrage and sicken us today. No libertarian would have objected to someone — anyone — saving Kitty.

Lovers of liberty rightly proclaim the heroism and virtue of people like Tuvia Bielski, George Washington, Raoul Wallenberg, Francis Marion, and other heroes and heroines who fought against tyranny in their own countries and elsewhere.

Jewish Registration: Truth or Anti-Russian Propaganda?

It seems that the world is yet another step closer to World War III as reports have circulated the globe that Eastern Ukrainians loyal to Russia are now requiring Jews to register and pay a special tax. Even Secretary of State John Kerry has made pronouncements condemning these actions.

But what if this registration story isn’t true but merely anti-Russian propaganda?

According to The Times of Israel, the pro-Russian separatists are denying any such attempts to force Jews to register or pay a special tax:

Pro-Russian separatists from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine denied any involvement in the circulation of flyers calling on Jews to register with separatists and pay special taxes.

The flyers were official-looking documents that carried what was presented as Pushilin’s signature, but the news site tvrain.ru on Wednesday quoted Pushilin as denying any connection to the flyers, calling them a provocation.

[…]

On Tuesday, the news website novosti.dn.ua reported that the flyers were handed out that day by three unidentified men in balaclava masks carrying a flag of the Russian Federation.

According to the report, the men distributed the flyers next to a local synagogue. The website quoted unnamed sources from the local Jewish community as saying that the flyers were an attempt to provoke a conflict and blame the attack on the separatists.

Is this really what is going on, some sort of false flag operation on the part of those opposed to Russia so that the U.S. and others will take a harder line?

Korn Takes on Obama, the NSA, and the MSM in New Music Video

Jonathan Davis

Full disclosure: This author is a fan of the metal genre in general and has been a Korn fan since their first self-titled album released in 1994 featuring their hit songs “Blind” and “Shoots and Ladders.”

Its nothing new or surprising that most entertainers, to the extent they weigh in on political issues at all, usually come down in favor of the Left. In the world of rock music (of all varieties including metal, punk, classical, 80’s hair bands, etc.), most acts promote anti-establishment or anarchistic themes.

But even these rebels, with or without a cause, all too often favor the Left or at the very least, save their harshest criticisms for the Right. Its easy to be critical of a politician and political party the MSM already hates (often assuming the public and the MSM have the same values). Being critical of President George W. Bush at the height of the unpopularity of the undeclared wars in  Iraq and Afghanistan, the USA PATRIOT Act, the signing statements, torture, Gitmo, takes very little courage. But being critical of a President Barack Obama, who the MSM loves, even as he continues and expands upon many of the same policies of Bush? To me that takes more courage*.

While these concerns may still be present among these artists, it seems that their criticism of these policies is much more muted since Obama became president. With the raising concerns about how President Obama has abused power, it seems that at least a few bands like Megadeth** and now Korn are telling the music world that it’s okay to attack Obama through their art.

President Considers Escalating U.S. Role in Syrian War

Following the news that President Barack Obama hasn’t bombed Pakistan for almost two months, concerns related to our presence as an active agent in the Syrian conflict have began to tickle Washington again.

Most Americans have already voiced their contrary opinion regarding any “boots on the ground” type of intervention in Syria, but that doesn’t mean that the president hasn’t been considering taking part in targeted attacks on certain Islamist fighters that have been taking vulnerable areas of the war-torn country. The White House seems to think that by targeting these fighters, the U.S. might be able to avoid conflicts that would lead to attacks against what Washington still considers U.S. allies. The problem is, will Americans go along with the idea?

In spite of what critics say concerning the inefficacy of Washington’s policies concerning shipment of heavy weaponry to rebels, the White House maintains its position. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey advised Washington to avoid offering any military help to active agents in the Syrian civil war precisely because any kind of involvement would potentially place the United States in a tough spot, causing conflicts to escalate. Interference would also further our commitment to embrace an active role in the conflicts.

Venezuelans Are Fed Up With Socialist President Maduro

Nicolás Maduro

Since February 4th, students have been protesting in San Cristóbal, Venezuela. Protesters have been strongly opposed to current President Nicolas Maduro and his heavy-handed interventionist government and have decided to take it to the streets, which ended up triggering waves of violent attacks that are mostly perpetrated by paramilitary forces. At least 6 people have died so far.

Before the protests, Venezuelans were experiencing soaring crime rates, an annual inflation rate of 320 percent and shortage of basic goods, which are all mostly due to protectionist policies and Hugo Chavez’s National Bolivarian Guard’s crack down on the ‘over-pricing’ the government accuses producers and merchants of practicing.

Product shortages range from vegetables to toilet paper.

In Venezuela, food is subsidized. The government has instilled an idea among its citizens that cheap gas is every Venezuelan’s right, so oil is heavily subsidized as well. The president of the Venezuela’s national oil company is also the vice president in charge of the country’s economy, has also acted as the government’s energy minister.

Euromaidan Protests in Ukraine Turn Deadly

Halfway across the globe, a political protest known as Euromaidan continues into its twelfth week in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. As an emerging free market, Ukraine is a pivotal trade partner with the US, the EU, and Russia. As of this morning, 25 have been killed, and as the death count rises, the West tunes in.

Kiev

As a quick review, the public protest began late last November when more than 100,000 Ukrainians filled the streets of Kiev in response to President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of trade agreements with the European Union in favor of continued bailouts from Russia. As Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute, states:

“It is now apparent that Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, had no effective strategy to resist intense pressure against the EU deal from Moscow. The Kremlin promised big cash loans, a gas discount and debt forgiveness, while explicitly threatening to block Ukraine’s access to the Russian market and implicitly threatening to stoke separatism in regions of the country.”

For more on Euromaidan, click here for a more in-depth background, here for a livestream from Kiev, here for a liveblog of events, and here for photos of the riot taken yesterday.

Susan Rice defends Benghazi interviews and NSA spying

We know things are much worse than we could have ever imagined once we learn that even mainstream media is having a hard time swallowing anything National Security Advisor Susan Rice has to say about Benghazi, NSA or Edward Snowden.

Rice was interviewed for CBS’s 60 Minutes where she talked about what she thought were then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reasons for not appearing for interviews following the attacks against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of four people, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

When asked about the Sunday talk shows she appeared on following the attacks to defend the White House’s line, Rice responded by saying that she doesn’t have time to think about the “false controversy.” The line she repeated throughout that Sunday after the attacks was later confirmed as, at best, misleading.

“In the midst of all of swirl about things like talking points, the administration has been working very, very hard across the globe to review our security of our embassies and our facilities. That’s what we ought to be focused on.”

During the Sunday shows, Rice defended the White House’s original talking points by claiming that the attacks had occurred spontaneously as a response to an anti-Muslim video. At the time, Rice confirmed that the attack wasn’t aimed at the United States or its policies.

Drone strikes fuel terrorism, says Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai was returning home from school on 9 October 2012 when Taliban gunmen attempted to assassinate her. She was shot in the neck and in the head as a result of the assassination attempt. Despite the severe wounds and the time she spent in critical condition, Malala was able to recover.

Last Friday, Malala Yousafzai met with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Malia in the Oval Office. She talked about her difficulties as a young girl living under Taliban rule and the hardships girls face in Pakistan when they decide they want to obtain an education.

The White House reported that the first couple invited Malala as their guest to discuss her work as an inspiring education activist, but what President wasn’t expecting was to hear what the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize had to say about this administration’s drone use.

After the meeting, Malala issued a statement expressing her concerns regarding the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. She stated that she worries the strikes fuel terrorism by claiming the lives of innocent victims and encouraging Pakistani people to act out of resentment. The White House statement did not mention Malala’s concerns regarding the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan soil but in Yousafzai’s official statement, however, her words are clear:

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

WaPo invents Obama’s Syria coalition for him

Uncontent to stand by and watch President Obama’s Syria plan fall apart at home and abroad, the Washington Post has now created an international coalition for him.

From the G20 summit this morning, 11 of the nations present signed and released a statement condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens and urging international (mostly UN) action in response.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children. …

We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world’s rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. …

Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council’s responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognize that the Council remains paralyzed as it has been for two and a half years. …

We commit to supporting longer term international efforts, including through the United Nations, to address the enduring security challenge posed by Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. …”

Syria might be turning neocons into skeptics

John Bolton

If you watch Ed Schultz’s show or read his tweets (and let’s be honest, only schadenfreude-fueled right-wingers do), you’d think that conservatives were leading the march to war in Syria:

Neoconservatives specifically are often assumed to be most forcefully pushing for foreign intervention. In most cases, that has been true. But on Syria, even some of the most boisterous neocons in the past have been cautious or outright skeptical.

John Bolton, George W Bush’s former late-term UN Ambassador, said yesterday that if he were in Congress, he wouldn’t vote to approve a strike on the Assad regime:

“I don’t think it’s in America’s interest. I don’t think we should, in effect, take sides in the Syrian conflict. There’s very little to recommend either side to me. And I think the notion that a limited strike, which is what the president seems to be pursuing, will not create a deterrent effect with respect either to Syria’s use of chemical weapons or, more seriously, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So, all in all, since I don’t see any utility to the use of military force in Syria in this context, I would vote no.”


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.