Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Defending Isolationism

Messrs. Logan and Preble parrot a few of the more credible assertions made by critics of the war in Iraq, but they should not pretend to come to these matters with an open mind. The Cato Institute is dogmatically laissez-faire in foreign policy just as it is on every other policy question. Fearful of statism at home, libertarians have reflexively resisted virtually every assertion of American power and influence since the cold war: no to the National Endowment for Democracy, no to NATO expansion, no to the first Persian Gulf war, no to engagement in the Middle East, no to American intervention in Haiti and the Balkans. [...]
Despite the upheavals and changed circumstances in America's international situation in recent years, this continues to be Cato's basic outlook. It leaves little guesswork in predicting the foreign-policy views of the institute's staffers, which is why, in my article, I called them ideologues.
Let’s play a little game – list all of the US interventions after World War II and separate them into three categories; Improved Conditions, Made Life Worse, and Roughly No Impact.

There are countless examples of how American interventionism has made matter worse; Afghanistan (Soviet era), the Middle East, Iran, Iraq (back when we were supporting Hussein), Panama, and the list goes on.

The best analysis of Vietnam and Korea are they were a wash.

Off the top of my head the only conflicts that could even remotely be considered a net positive would be the Balkans – though I would consider it is a bit too early to tell.   The current conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq certainly look good so far, but it is way too early to offer a definitive assessment.

So that is billions (if not trillions) of dollars spent, hundreds of thousands of direct deaths, many more indirect deaths through despots of one kind or another that we have propped up, and what have we gained through all of this?  I would say not a whole heck of a lot.  I think that isolationist libertarians have ample evidence to justify their position.

HatTip: Hit and Run

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