I write while waiting — waiting to find out whether the President of the United States is going to attack Syria (Syria!) and perhaps initiate another war in the Middle East.
The president. Not Congress. Not a political party. Not a movement among voters. Not necessity. Not even advisability. And certainly not the Constitution, which makes the president commander in chief but gives the power to declare war to Congress.
So we wait to discover what the decisions of one man may do to our lives and liberties. How is this republican government?
Readers of Liberty know that I am not an isolationist, if by that word you mean someone who is morally opposed to the use of military force outside our borders. To me, the borders of such a “nation” as Syria have no sanctity at all. And I can conceive of circumstances in which America’s safety would depend on our attacking some other country.
Barack Obama and John Kerry were formerly pacifists of the silliest kind. Both are now interventionists of the silliest kind.
But I am an isolationist in the sense in which the founding generation of the United States and the founding generation of libertarian thinkers were isolationists. These people believed that it is almost always best to mind our own business.
That’s just common sense, you say. Indeed it is. And how can people possibly be guided in their military decisions by anything other than sense and logic?
About military and diplomatic affairs, the president is even less good at thinking than he is about other things. He intervened in Libya, thereby dispensing arms to America’s worst enemies, Islamic radicals. He helped to destabilize the government of Egypt, thereby bringing to power an Islamist regime. He fecklessly “stood up to” Russia. In every case, there were disastrous geopolitical results. As for Syria, the common sense of both the Left and the Right, Democrats and Republicans, pacifists and military experts has pronounced the idea of an American military attack dangerous and ridiculous.
In his statement of August 30, and in an earlier interview, Obama claimed that the presence of chemical weapons in Syria imperiled the security of the United States, thereby justifying military action against that country. By this logic, the presence of serious weapons anywhere imperils our security and mandates war.
If you say no, that’s not what he means, please tell me what he does mean. By what principles is the foreign policy of Barack Obama and John Kerry governed? Both were formerly pacifists of the silliest kind. Both are now interventionists of the silliest kind.
Obama also claimed that the Syrians had killed many innocent people, and that no one on earth should be allowed (by us?) to do so. Kerry shouted in the same vein. Does this mean that we are obliged to intervene in half the countries of the world? Again, if that isn’t what they mean, what do they mean?
So now, we wait in fear for the decision of these men, because their decision is all that matters — in this, the greatest of all constitutional nations.