By Bradley Harrington
“A dictatorship is a gang devoted to looting the effort of the productive citizens of its own country. When a statist ruler exhausts his own country’s economy, he attacks his neighbors … Statism NEEDS war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production.” — Ayn Rand, “The Roots of War,” 1966 —
Last week, I discussed the means by which our military has become “an often-aggressive vehicle for interference in international affairs,” and said that it’s time we “return to a policy of strict self-defense as needed” instead (“Self-defense is the only valid motive for military operations,” WTE, Dec. 3).
What would such policies amount to, in practice?
■ Foreign Aid: Today, we spend billions of dollars yearly on military and economic foreign aid to other countries, and for what purpose? To have a “good” guy in power? As we’ve seen, that hasn’t worked out well for us, as our geopolitical engineering has always been rife with unintended consequences.
No, in addition to draining our treasury, foreign aid merely props up the reign of the thugs instead, who use our money to entrench their own rule; the poor peasants certainly never see any of it. We need to end it all, and the faster the better … For why would an allegedly “free” nation seek to plunder the wealth of its own citizens in order to fund the operations of sundry collectivist despots abroad?
■ Treaties and Alliances: All such international agreements need to be reviewed — and, where proper, discarded. It’s not our job to maintain a division of Marines in support of Japan at Okinawa, for instance, nor is it our job to “protect” Western Europe, through NATO, from communist attack.
If we determine that there IS an actual war that needs to be fought against an enemy somewhere in order to guarantee our national interests, then we need to prosecute that war as rapidly as possible, obliterate the enemy completely, and cease military operations in that theatre. Why would a supposedly “friendly” nation seek to station its troops in most of the countries around the world?
■ The United Nations: And if it’s the prosperity of the international collective we are seeking to obtain, why would we ever think we could achieve it through joining the United Nations? Here we have an institution, allegedly devoted to the ideals of peace, liberty and individualism, that includes Red China — responsible for the execution of more than 70 million people — as one of its Security Council members. Isn’t that a bit like putting the town’s leading criminals in charge of the local jail? And what would you expect to happen to crime rates, should such a policy be followed?
If it’s communism or terrorism we’re after, perhaps we should be looking at the ways we both legitimize them politically and fund them internationally — and not just through foreign aid but through such vehicles as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund as well.
Then, we can ask ourselves: Why would a purportedly “peaceful” nation ever spend its time or money in funding its own enemies? How would such a policy ever ensure our own interests, or make us safe from attack? We need to drop out of the U.N. and kick its headquarters off our soil as soon as possible.
So, in summary: In the last 50 years, we’ve blown trillions of dollars, ineffectively fought dozens of wars and wasted hundreds of thousands of lives in global machinations that have blown up in our faces every time we’ve tried them.
None of it, furthermore, has resulted in any kind of operational “good” that could ever possibly justify such actions. Through our own collectivist blundering, we’ve created most of this mess ourselves — and then we wonder why enemies confront us everywhere we turn?
In the midst of such “practical” attempts at currying favor, we’ve forgotten the lessons of our own Revolution: That it was our ideas, not our military might or foreign aid, that has always functioned as the source of American Exceptionalism.
So: Were we truly interested in spreading liberty and individualism, instead of merely just talking about it, what could the United States do to achieve such ends?
Duplicate the policies of our youth: Get out of the “entangling alliances,” quit funding our enemies, and once again function as a beacon of hope to oppressed people everywhere. Get rid of our crushing economic controls here at home, and watch the world’s thinkers and dollars flow here to realize their greatest rates of return.
After all, that’s exactly how it worked the first time we tried it.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on December 10, 2017.