Before I discuss U.S. foreign policy, I think it is important to define “war”. In practice, “war” is a conflict between to nation-states for profit, belief, or power. In post-war eras, the hostile country and their individuals will be forced to live under new laws and regulations, as enforced by the occupying nation-state. This does not necessarily mean the occupied nation is better off, but rather the product and resources are now subject to the occupying nation-state’s will. I think we should have a real conversation about whether or not that justifies war. Do we really know what is best for them, and can we accomplish that with an entity pursuant to its own interests? I don’t think so.
The U.S. cannot be a beacon of liberty for the world by attempting to engineer global relations through military might. There may be no other act of aggression as destructive as war. Often, nationalist or religious conviction appear to be the foundation of war. It always starts with a few different narratives: “We need to bring stability to the region” or “There are innocent people dying” or “They hate us for our freedom”. If these sound simplistic or propagandist to you, then you have already come to realize that war is a for-profit racket. Just as much as that might be, so goes the same for the continuation of war or occupation. Individual citizens acting freely within a free market do not wish war upon one another. Only governments wish to fight one another, usually for power and profit. However justified it may seem, it is almost never the case. The decades of interventionist meddling by the United States has compounded to give us what we have today: various nation-state militant groups who want to kill other people and Americans. Our self-proclaimed title of “world police” is neither fiscally sustainable nor strategically effective.
Strategically, the US certainly plays a role in global security, although quite limited. I support the maintaining of one or two military bases per continent. We currently have 900 bases in 150 countries. Not only is this imperialist policy costly to an already debt-soaked nation, but it creates more enemies than it prevents. Furthermore, the US military has no place at all protecting private enterprise overseas. Some might call this crazy, but it was the protectionist guise of “economic interests” (oil) that dragged us into Iraq and will likely drag us into more. If a private business is so fearful of attack, there are plenty of enterprises willing to contract out that protection and provide insurance coverage against losses. The US government is not for-hire muscle to be used as an insurance policy. In my opinion, that sounds more like externalizing the cost of risk, or, in laymen terms, corporate welfare.
What role does the US military play? There’s a reason we call it the US military and not “Global military”, contrary to Navy propaganda. The military is meant for the sole purpose of protecting the homeland. How can we possibly do that if we are always entangled with some Middle Eastern terror group (who we also fund) or trying to overthrow some dictator (and have him replaced by terrorists)? You might think that we fight “over there” so we don’t have to fight “here”, but “over there” is seldom defined with any clarity. We say the “war on terror”, but what does that even mean? Are we to crusade the world in hope of finding every person that does not like us, then proceed to either convert or hill him (I said it)? Or is it limited to just the Middle East? I am not sure how anyone can make the argument that “dropping bombs over there makes us safer here” when those bombs are constantly killing innocent people. Whether you like it or not, that makes for great recruiting propaganda used by ISIS and al Qaeda. It is a never-ending, ideological conquest to parade around the world in an effort to extinguish anti-American sentiment – especially after causing much of those hateful feelings.
Symbolic as it may sound, the sign of the Libertarian Party, a porcupine, perfectly illustrates the role of US military. A porcupine is a docile creature, but, if aggressed upon, can exact precise and painful damage to an aggressor. Neocons will call this “isolationist” as a means to ridicule those who disagree. However, this policy is non-interventionist. The former is exemplified by North Korea, while the latter is more like Switzerland. Conflicts between other nations or groups are not the financial responsibility of the tax payer to settle.
Assuming the US government did not thrust itself into every foreign conflict, the likelihood of a hostile nation-state or militant group invading our shores is slim to none. The economic interest in the US is on a global scale. Most, if not all, of the countries capable of invading America, even after a huge military spending cut, are our closest allies. A Chinese “invasion” is a propagandist idea; as if they would invade their biggest customer. The Russians, even at the height of the Cold War, are smart enough not to invade America. As you all know, America has a long and strong tradition of gun ownership. Invading America would mean a rifle around every corner and a 300 million strong guerilla force. History shows us that occupying forces are never permanent, particularly over larger territories. Russia, for example, has been invaded countless times without any success. The British and Romans both failed at occupying large amounts of land at once. The Nazis occupation, once they engaged in a two front war, quickly dissolved as resources became stretched thin. These historic failures were a result of a hostile guerilla force and/or a financial collapse of the occupier. Thus, there is enough evidence to conclude invading and occupying a country is virtually impossible and unsustainable.
If it were not for our own government’s actions over the last century, the threat of a homeland invasion or attack would be virtually nonexistent. This proves that only nation-states and their governments desire war. The people who call for it are either profiting from it or are too blind to see the truth. On many occasions the U.S. government has been friendly with the very organizations who are now our supposed enemies. Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban were long allies of the CIA. Actually, the CIA has now been ousted as the arms dealer for various Syrian rebel groups connected to al Qaeda and ISIS. Foreign policy is subject to bureaucratic incompetence and corruption, as we see in all forms of government. War is a for-profit racket and means of power that the state will always advocate for, and not coincidentally maintains a monopoly over. It is time to bring all our troops from around the world so they can do their job protecting the homeland and the Constitution.