The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
INVADE THE WORLD
Communism and the Soviet Union collapsed several years ago, it seemed
evident that a massive reevaluation of American foreign policy had
to get under way. For the duration of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy
was simply a bipartisan interventionist crusade against the Soviet
Union, and the only differences were precisely how far the global
intervention should go.
But when the Soviet Union fell apart, a rethinking seemed absolutely
necessary, since what could form the basis of U.S. policy now? But
among the intellectual pundits and elites, the molders of U.S. and
even world opinion, virtually no rethinking has occurred at all.
Except for Pat Buchanan and us paleos, U.S. foreign policy had proceeded
as usual, as if the Cold War collapse never happened. How? Buchanan
and the "neo-isolationists" urged that American intervention be
guided strictly by American national interest. But the liberal/neocon
alliance, now tighter than ever before (now that Soviet Communism,
which the neocons were harder on, has disappeared), pretended to
agree, and then simply and cunningly redefined "national interest"
to cover every ill, every grievance, under the sun. Is someone starving
somewhere, however remote from our borders? That's a problem
for our national interest. Is someone or some group killing some
other group anywhere in the world? That's our national interest.
Is some government not a "democracy" as defined by our liberal-neocon
elites? That challenges our national interest. Is someone
committing Hate Thought anywhere on the globe? That has to
be solved in our national interest.
And so every grievance everywhere constitutes our national interest,
and it becomes the obligation of good old Uncle Sam, as the Only
Remaining Superpower and the world's designated Mr. Fixit, to solve
each and every one of these problems. For "we cannot stand idly
by" while anyone anywhere starves, hits someone over the head, is
undemocratic, or commits a Hate Crime.
It should be clear that there is now virtually no foreign policy
distinction between the liberals and the neocons, the Tony Lewises
and Bill Safires, Commentary and the Washington Post.
Wherever the problem is, the liberal-neocon pundits and laptop bombardiers
are all invariably whooping it up for U.S. intervention, for outright
war, or for the slippery-slope favorite of "sanctions." Sanctions,
the step-by-step escalation of intervention, is a favorite policy
of the warmongers. Calling for immediate bombing or invading of
Country X as soon as a grievance starts would seem excessive and
even nutty to most Americans, who don't feel the same sense of deep
commitment to the U.S.A. as Global Problem-Solver as do the pundits
and elites. And sanctions can temporarily slake the thirst for belligerence.
And so it's sanctions: starving the villains, cutting off transportation,
trade, confiscating their property in terms of financial assets,
and finally, when that doesn't work, bombing, sending troops, etc.
Troops are usually sent first as purely "humanitarian" missionaries,
to safeguard the "humane" aid of the UN "peacekeepers." But in short
order, the benighted natives, irrationally turning against all this
help and altruism, begin shooting at their beloved helpers, and
the fat is in the fire, and the U.S. must face the prospects of
sending troops who are ordered to shoot to kill.
In recent weeks, in addition to humanitarian troops, there had
been escalating talk of American "sanctions": against North Korea
of course, but also against Japan (for not buying more U.S. exports),
against Haiti, against the Bosnian Serbs (always referred to as
the "self-styled" Republic of Srpska, this in contrast to
all other governments "styled" by others?). Jesse Jackson wants
the U.S. to invade Nigeria pronto, and now we have Senators Kerry
(D., Mass.) calling for sanctions against our ancient foe, Canada,
for not welcoming New England fishermen in its waters.
OK, the time has come to get tough and to get consistent. Sanctions
are simply the coward's and the babbler's halfway house to war.
We must face the fact that there is not a single country in the
world that measures up to the lofty moral and social standards that
are the hallmark of the U.S.A.: even Canada is delinquent and deserves
a whiff of grape. There is not a single country in the world which,
like the U.S., reeks of democracy and "human rights," and is free
of crime and murder and hate thoughts and undemocratic deeds. Very
few other countries are as Politically Correct as the U.S., or have
the wit to impose a massively statist program in the name of "freedom,"
"free trade," "multiculturalism," and "expanding democracy."
And so, since no other countries shape up to U.S. standards in
a world of Sole Superpower they must be severely chastised by the
U.S., I make a Modest Proposal for the only possible consistent
and coherent foreign policy: the U.S. must, very soon, Invade the
Entire World! Sanctions are peanuts; we must invade every country
in the world, perhaps softening them up beforehand with a wonderful
high-tech missile bombing show courtesy of CNN.
But how will we Look in the Eyes of World Opinion if we invade
the world? Not to worry; we can always get the cover of our kept
stooges in the UN, NATO, or whatever. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who
is already reneging on his agreement to run for only one term as
UN secretary-general, is perfect for the job; no more power-hungry
UN official has ever existed. But what about the Security Council?
That's OK, because we can always buy off the abstention of China
or whoever for a few billion. No problem.
And then the whole world will subsist under the U.S. and UN flags,
happy, protected, free of crime and poverty and hate. What could
be more inspiring?
A few isolationist, narrow-minded, selfish, callous, and probably
anti-Semitic gripers, however, are bound to complain. They like
to talk about various "lessons," for example, Somalia. They like
to say: well sure we can get in and "win" easily, but how do we
get out? In order to fix up democracy, genocide, poverty, hate,
etc., we the United States, must create the country's infrastructure,
set up and train its entire army and police (preferably in the U.S.).
We must teach the benighted country about freedom and free elections,
create its two Respectable political parties, and begin with a massive
multi-billion dollar aid program to make everyone healthy, wealthy,
and wise, provide an educational program (replete with dropping
huge bags of food by plane so CNN can do handsprings even
if some of the "helped" are killed by the bags), outlaw smoking
and junk food, and feed them all with tofu and organically grown
But what about the Getting Out Party? What about our universal
experience that when U.S. troops get out, the whole aid, infrastructure,
etc. go down the drain? The solution is simple, though it has been
far overlooked because some narrow-minded selfish fascist stick-in-the-muds
will raise a fuss. The solution: We Don't Get Out! Ever. So we don't
have to worry about preparing the natives for transition. We should
stay in there and cheerfully Run the World. Permanently for the
good of all. A Paradise on Earth. We can call it, the "politics
But how will we have the manpower to do the job of occupying? Don't
worry about it. In the first place, we can have a 20-million man
and woman army, suitably gayized and feminized and Politically Corrected,
marching in there with food packages, medicines and hypodermics
in one hand, and guns and condoms clutched in the other. We've got
plenty of manpower options; we could bring back the draft, we could
restore the Peace Corps, and/or we can set up a huge Buckley-Clinton
type National Service program, where kids "pay back society" by
spending two healthful, fun-filled maturing years setting up infrastructure
in Zaire or Haiti or North Korea. With this program, the kids could
"pay back" the Earth. What? You say that some of our kids might
pick up diseases or get shot along the way? Well, that's OK, because,
as they say these days, every failure is a "learning experience."
And then, of course, the U.S.A. will only provide the backbone
of the permanent forces of World Occupiers. The rest of the slots
will be filled by troops from every other world country, headed
by the UN, NATO, etc., providing equally healthful and joyful experiences
for other occupiers: Zairians, Ukrainians, Vietnamese, etc. To see
Vietnamese troops, for example, occupying Holland, would provide
instructive and globally democratic lessons in multiculturalism
and mutual love of all peoples. The hardcore narrow-minded will
of course have to be dealt with severely, but I am confident that
massive educational programs, orientation courses, teachers, books
and pamphlets, etc. will change the common climate of ethnic hate
to love and understanding. In addition to teachers, hateful and
undemocratic attitudes will be stamped out by a legion of shrinks,
therapists counselors, etc.
How will all this be financed? Every nation will, of course, contribute
its "fair share" of expenses, but since the U.S.A. is the world's
Only Superpower, we must face the fact that the U.S. will have to
be paying the lion's share maybe 80 or 90 percent
of the program.
And of course there are always narrow-minded, backward, selfish
dogmatists, who will balk at this program, and claim that it is
too "costly." There are always a few rotters who know the price
of everything and the value of nothing. But again: not to worry.
There will be a massive transpartisan educational effort, from all
parts of the spectrum, from the Clintonian or Jacksonian left to
the dozens of self-proclaimed "free-market" think-tanks, who, suitably
financed by government and by corporate elites, will pour forth
tomes instructing us that the program will "pay for itself," that
it is in the best tradition of the Free Market and Democracy; that
these expenses are not really costly because they constitute "investment
in human capital" and will therefore save the taxpayers money
in the long run, etc. Thus, clearing up all the hookworm in the
world will so reduce medical costs that we will all be paying less
Any residue of complaint, any who survive this educational effort
and let's face it, there are a few rotten apples in every
barrel will be sent to "educational retraining centers,"
where their objections will be put to rest, and, after a few healthful
years in these camps, chopping logs and reading the collected works
of left, liberal, neocon and Pragmatic Libertarian pundits, I am
sure that they will emerge, happily adjusted to the Brave New Global
Democracy of tomorrow.
The above presents the consistent implications of our persistent
policy of intervention, and it outlines the system toward which
this country has been tending.
The question is: How do we derail this trend? How do we Take it
Out? How do we prevent "1984"? Unfortunately, the Republican Party,
while significantly better than the Democrats on domestic policy,
has been, if anything, worse and more interventionist on foreign
affairs. Note the Republican take on Slick Willie: they accuse him
of bumbling, evasion, continual changes of line (all true), but
except on Haiti, they don't really oppose intervention per se.
Sure, it would be nice to have a clear-cut, consistent foreign policy,
but clear-cut in what direction? A clear-cut Enemy is not
exactly an unmixed blessing.
Meanwhile, things are far from hopeless. There is both an anti-war
and paleo-grassroots ferment in this country that is heartwarming.
There are all sorts of manifestations: Conservative Citizens Councils,
county militia movements, sheriffs who refuse to enforce the Brady
Bill, rightist radio talk show hosts, lack of enthusiasm for American
troops getting killed in Somalia or Haiti, a Buchananite movement,
and increasingly good sense on this question from syndicated columnist
Robert Novak. Meantime, the least we at Triple R can do is
accelerate the Climate of Hate in America, and hope for the best.