So far I’ve yet to mention much on foreign policy. Not the least of which is that on some issues I have disagreements with pure Austrian or pure libertarian ideology. I attribute this to my study of history and the fact that sometimes human nature is as Thucydides observed, unchanging. I am well aware that there are peoples and nations that will set their goal to cause us harm, and we cannot wait until they strike first. Sometimes the right to self defense, a given in all libertarian thought, is offensive.
I know that puts me at odds with many great intellectuals in the Austrian school, and I’ve no desire to challenge, only to politely agree to disagree.
One of my favorite historians is Victor Davis Hanson. His magnificent book Carnage and Culture only helped to underscore the differences between a free, and free market West, versus the authoritarian non-West. For instance, it was the relatively free Spain (yes, even in a monarchy, there was much trade and market forces. They certainly understood how much wealth trade generated and they sent the galleons out to expand and protect trade routes. No fools they.) whose western philosophical/intellectual view of rational inquiry, scientific thought, and individualism (yes, even in staunchly Catholic Spain. Don’t believe all the high school history texts!!) that promoted entrepreneurialism and innovation.
As Hanson pointed out, it was Iberian ships that sailed West. Given the Aztec rigid social structure, authoritarian centrally planned economy, and fierce warrior caste mentality, no such cultural progress was possible. Given the vast natural resources at their disposal, there would never be Mesoamerican vessels in the Mediterranean.
Lest anyone think that there was scant materials available, Cortes’ ships were burnt in Veracruz and he had to build a new fleet from scratch to sail into Tenochtitlan.
The reason I make discuss that is that Professor Hanson has so astutely written of Obama’s historical ignorance.
We are already aware of his gross (in all meanings of the word) ignorance of economics. But it is his lack of any understanding of the past that truly frightens me.
His recent foreign policy dalliances have been a blight and an embarrassment to this country. Early on he bowed to a Saudi King. He returned the bust of Churchill (yes, I know, he’s not perfect by any stretch. But, he was almost alone opposing Hitler in the 30’s) insulting a true friend and ally. He goes to Europe on a whirlwind tour and wants more troops from NATO for help in Afghanistan. They decline. So much for restoring old alliances!!
However, his coup de grace came recently when he sat idly by and watched as the mullahs in Iranian stole an election and protests erupted in the streets. No, we didn’t need to send in the Marines, nor did we need to even send any kind of aid. All we had to do was offer moral leadership that we stood with those who want democratic reforms and liberty. He made nice with the thugs running that country.
When the Honduran president decided he’d rather stay on in spite of the constitutional limits (gee, you don’t think the O is getting any ideas???) and the army removed him from office, he had the “audacity” to call that illegal. The army was acting within the bounds of a judicial ruling, and were simply working to maintain constitutional government. And the O chose to side, once again, with tyrants.
On his recent trip to Russia, he praises Putin. Here’s a guy who not only jails, tortures, and kills journalists who criticize him, he rigs elections in his country, then puts his people in place. Yet, he retains power behind the scenes. He’s re-socializing the country, strengthening the new secret police, in the mode of his former employer the KGB, and driving the Russian economy to the brink of collapse. Putin has also blatantly invaded a neighbor (Georgia), threatened another (Ukraine), interfered with the elections in Ukraine and Belarus, and is pressuring Europe to cede to his wishes by cutting off natural gas supplies. All this and he sells nuclear parts to the Iranians. Gee, now I can see why O admires Putin.
He’s a disgrace, pure and simple. He cozies up to dictators and throws our friends under the bus. I won’t even begin to discuss his Israel policy, suffice to say, he’s even more anti-Israel than Carter. And that’s hard to do.
I do know that some of my historical and international beliefs won’t sit in good stead with some in the Austrian school. Like I said, I will politely agree to disagree. I do believe that we are a unique nation, that we have a profound responsibility to at least be a moral beacon for the world. That doesn’t mean aggressive war, but it certainly means we don’t make nice with dictators and turn our backs on those seeking freedom.