Rebirth of Reason


Why Foreign Interventionism is Moral
by John Armaos

Why Foreign Interventionism is moral.

When we trade with one another, when we do business with our fellow citizens, or when we enter into a common defense by establishing a police force and an army to protect us, we are in essence entering into an alliance with each other man qua man. And just as this convergence of interests between rational men exists within a nation, sometimes there exists a convergence of interests between nations, where one nation may share common interests with other nations, or other factions within a nation. Common interests like entering into a military alliance to work towards a common goal of defeating a common enemy is the kind of cooperation towards mutually beneficial goals that Thomas Jefferson during his Presidential inaugural speech called an "entangling alliance", the very phrase that contemporary non-interventionists like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are so fond of using. The fact is it was nothing short of moral hypocrisy for Thomas Jefferson to decry the folly of alliances with other nations while having had solicited the military support of France during the American Revolution. The founding fathers it seems, had no qualms with an entangling alliance when it served their interests. To denounce our alliances with nations around the world as "interventionism" when the founding fathers are guilty of the very same thing, is to undermine the legitimate birth of our great nation. The fact is there is nothing immoral with an alliance if it servers our rational self-interests, especially when it accomplished the birth of a new nation that for the first time in human history created a government document that was adopted and consented to by the populace that was a written code of their rights and their protections.

Today isolationists like to make their grievances over the current Iraq war as their proof of the folly of interventionism while framing their arguments with tin-foil hat conspiracy theories. Getting into a hopeless conspiracy theory laden debate with interventionists over what they think the ulterior motives of going to war in Iraq were are pointless. Conspiracy theories such as we went into Iraq to line the pockets of Halliburton, or we did it because America is a bloodthirsty empire bent on seeking more power, or it was done because Bush wanted to enrich himself with oil revenues are all easily falsified with just a cursory examination of the facts. America has weakened herself economically, no question about that, which is the exact reason why it is absurd to think the war was for exploitative means which are arguments not surprisingly different than what many Marxists love to use. It would have been far more economically advantageous to avoid a costly and immensely unpopular war that many of our fellow citizens and allies abroad were unhappy with, and instead it would have made much more economic sense, if enriching ourselves was the goal, to just enter into a peace agreement with Saddam Hussein and simply trade with him as the de facto oil executive of Iraq. That would have lined the pockets of Haliburton far more efficiently than toppling Saddam Hussein with billions of tax dollars and subsequently dealing with a new sovereign government of Iraq that will keep their oil fields nationalized anyways as an oligarchy of de facto oil executives of Iraq. In fact, it would have been economically more efficient to deal with a single dictator as caliphate of the Iraqi oil fields than it is to deal with a new bureaucratic, slow moving Maliki republic of politicians as custodians of the Iraqi oil fields. It's na´ve to think Haliburton has just simply walked in and has started to pump oil out of Iraqi soil to transport back to the U.S. for consumption while keeping all the revenues. These oil fields are still nationalized, and will continue to be so, which is why going to war in Iraq for oil while ignoring the rest of the salient facts surrounding this conflict is nothing short of cherry picking data in an effort to morally steamroll over proponents of the Iraq war.

And the salient fact remains Saddam Hussein funded Islamic terrorists who were responsible for killing Americans, Israelis, and Europeans. Saddam had as a matter of established international consensus a history of trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction as was agreed by the United Nations and even foreign intelligence agencies of France. The Middle East is the breeding ground for all of Islamic fundamentalism. The only hope of changing this vile and disgusting culture is to rid some or all of the tyrants that breed this hatred. Since we are not an omnipotent power we can't rationally get rid of all of these tyrants, so a choice had to be made, and Iraq considering its history of flagrant violations of their armistice with the U.S., their support for Islamic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and their past efforts of trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction was the choice that was made. I don't for a second think this war is some kind of Platonic ideal of a war. I'm not happy with everything about it, and perhaps it was not the most prudent target for attack in this greater war against Islamo-fascism, but the fact remains abandoning it now means abandoning it to Islamic radicals who have sworn to kill Americans. Leaving Iraq doesn't mean they will stay there like what the communists in Indochina did after we abandoned South Vietnam to wholesale slaughter, leaving Iraq means they will not only slaughter millions of Iraqis, they will follow us home. There's nothing more than these thugs and tyrants would hate to see than a democratic republic with at least a partial recognition of rights smack dab in the middle of a sea of Islamic theocracies, because this is a threat to their very existence. Non-interventionists, and politically opportunistic liberals do their best to try to see to it we fail in that endeavor, dooming our nation to look like weak cowards in front of our terrorist enemies who would be emboldened by an American defeat.

Another tactic used by interventionists of cherry picking historical data is the context-less comparison of past and current alliances and enemies. For example nations such as Pakistan funded al-Qaeda before 9/11, but under an implied threat of invasion from the United States, Pakistani President Musharaff quickly sided with the United States in routing out Islamic extremists. The comparison then between past and present allies and enemies as proof of an irrational and hypocritical interventionist foreign policy is absurd. It's like complaining over having been once an enemy of Great Britain in 1776 to now having them as one of our staunchest allies in 2008. Things changes, motives change, governments change from hostile to friendly, and it is completely disingenuous and intellectually dishonest to ignore the context of why someone or some nation took an action. Doing so implies our actions are static throughout eternity, and that we can't change and adapt according to how foreign actors and regimes change their behavior, or not taking into consideration our rational self-interests may change. Take for example the Mujahadeen, the United States government once supported them in the 1980's, but did so in the context of the cold war with the Soviet Union and during a time where Islamo-fascism was not a threat, or at least one not as grave as the ever expanding Soviet empire. When the cold war ended, 20 years past before al-Qaeda on the invitation of the Taliban government as their guests attacked the United States. To say US involvement in fighting communists in Afghanistan in the 80's is what lead to al-Qaeda killing 3,000 Americans 20 years after the fact is nothing more than fallacious post hoc reasoning. The Taliban was at the receiving end of our tomahawk missiles and F-16 bombing runs during the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 because times changed, and our enemies changed. To disregard whether a nation's government changed regimes or not or whether the regional geopolitics has changed or not is fallacious. The Mujahadeen which included the Northern Afghan alliance who was fighting the Taliban was used as an ally against the Soviet Union, an empire that was expanding and gobbling up nations left and right with the explicit stated goal of spreading communism worldwide. In the book and subsequent movie "Charlie Wilson's war", the historical record showed that the USSR, as a result of American efforts, was quickly bankrupting themselves trying to fight a losing war against a well-armed and well funded insurgency while trying to compete in an arms race with the United States that it could simply no longer afford. Today the Soviet Union is gone and long defeated, and today the enemy is Islamo-fascism. And more recently it appears a new form of Russian Imperialism, has reared its ugly head in the form of an oligarchy of Oil facist dictators intimidating and bullying its peaceful neighbors.

China too was once our enemy, now they are our biggest trading partner because so too did China change as it moved away from its past Marxist principles of a centrally planned economy to a more free market capitalist economy. We were also allies with the Soviet Union during WW2, and then after their enemy. Why? Because during WW2 there was a convergence of interests, there was a bigger threat, Nazi Germany, and the United States and her allies were not omnipotent, they needed help from what was at the time a lesser threat to take on a bigger enemy. It is unfortunate we don't live in a world where we don't have to prioritize threats and just go after everyone who maliciously assaults freedom, but we must take into consideration limited resources and not fall into the fallacy we are omnipotent. Alliances can change and adapt according to how the world changes and whether regimes come and go. A nation not taking a changing world into consideration would be utter folly, we must take the time to reassess where we stand in the world and make changes as needed, because the rest of the world changes around us. And we must use alliances to serve our national interests, because without them our limited resources would not be enough to insure our safety and well being and the safety and well being of our international trading partners whom we economically depend on for our continued wealth and prosperity.

So it is rather pointless to argue against interventionists who routinely use faulty reasoning like citing complicated historical examples and cherry-picking the facts suitable to support their tacit moral premises. So too are the comparisons of events that transpired over a period of centuries without regard to then current historical cultural attitudes, pointless arguments wrought with post hoc reasoning.

When interventionists such as myself cry foul when we see our enemies of freedom carry out heinous and vile acts against humanity, there is a different breed of non-interventionist that seeks to morally equivocate by pointing out past atrocities committed by the United States as proof we have no moral high ground to take action, such as pointing out American history of southern plantation slavery and the brutal wars against the indigenous tribes of America. But the atrocities carried out by western nations in the 18th and 19th century while indeed were inexcusable, they were done in a time when every nation on this planet in these centuries were engaging in similar if not even vastly more horrific practices. The fact is the formation of the United States was one giant leap forward in the recognition of man's rights, where for the first time in history a government was created with the recognized concept that "all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights", a phrase never applied to a form of government before the founding of this republic. And this during a time when almost every nation on our planet was ruled by a tyrant King. The Marxist revolutions of the 20th century in contrast was one giant leap backwards in the recognition of man's rights during a time where half of the world lived with liberty and democracy, where slavery in the United States had ended 50 years before the Bolshevik revolution and where wars with indigenous American tribes had ended 40 years prior to the rise of Lenin to power. While progress was made, and was continuing to be made in the western world during the 20th century, the Marxist revolutions were a completely opposite phenomenon. Marxist revolutionaries were brutal tyrants that confiscated people's private property, sent millions of innocent souls to concentration camps for the crime of political dissidence, and were responsible for millions of premature deaths due to coercive central economic planning and summary executions. Just as the Marxists of the 20th century took a huge swath of the human population into an age of darkness and terror while the western world was, still is, in its intellectual height of enlightenment, Islamo-fascists of the world in the 21st century seek to take the world back to an age of darkness and regression, to murder innocent people, to send underage girls to death for the crime of having been in the company of a non-familial male, to beat and murder an individual for the crime of converting to Christianity, to sever an infidel's head from his body in the most brutal fashion in front of a video camera for public viewing simply because he is a Jew, to subjugate women and force them to undergo brutal genital mutilation, to fly American jets their culture could have never invented into skyscrapers their religion would have never produced.

This methodology of using tacit moral premises, context-less selective historical data, and post hoc reasoning, is nothing less than intellectually evading the basic philosophical premises that should be used to evaluate what is a just and proper foreign policy.

This is why interventionism is moral. Because if we don't we face the brutality of thugs and criminals who seek to destroy us and our international trading partners, for without them the things that make our lives worth living would cease to exist. And without these alliances that have been formed for decades, even centuries, we would have quickly succumbed to tyrants like King George, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. And if we do not take heed to growing threats from tyrants like Vladamir Putin, or Osama Bin Laden and his Islamo-fascist ilk, we too will succumb to their tyranny if we choose to surrender our will to fight them.
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