Chris Christie created a flap among Republicans the other day by attacking the libertarian wing of the party, specifically “Rand Paul and others,” for isolationism. (He also equated Obama’s terrorism policies with George W. Bush’s, which is utter hogwash, but I won’t go into that here except to say — can you imagine how Bush would have behaved after Boston compared with Obama?)
Christie, however, has a point, although I think the jury is still out on Paul and the nameless “others.” We don’t know enough individually about what they really think. This will most probably emerge.
But the issue is or should be libertarianism itself — to what degree should its policies pertain beyond the nation’s borders.
I admit to having a strong attraction to libertarianism domestically, especially in this era of monumental deficits, pervasive bureaucracy, and endless government spending, but I find it almost absurd as a basis for foreign affairs.
Part of the rationale, I suppose, in making it such a basis is that if the USA evolves into the perfect libertarian republic, others will see the errors of their ways and seek to emulate it — ironically a kind of Stalinist “socialism in one country” argument.
Oh, really? Tell that to the likes of Ayatollah Khamenei, Hassan Nasrallah, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, or even NATO member Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, who famously stated “democracy is like a train. You take it where you have to go, and then you get off.” I don’t think he meant get off at libertarianism.
Their final station isn’t Finland. It’s a global caliphate and what America does couldn’t be less material.
The somewhat more defensible rationale is that we should only intervene in foreign situations when absolutely necessary for our own safety or survival — no wars or military intervention unless we are directly attacked, etc.
This is classically naive thinking that defies common sense. In the real world the wise man or woman confronts his enemies or suffers greatly for it. Who wouldn’t want to replay the Munich Conference of 1938 and actually stand up to Hitler, rather than appease him?
Well, I guess maybe some extreme orthodox libertarians. But they would have to answer to the estimated forty-eight million who died in World War II, not to mention their families.