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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Can a Libertarian Foreign Policy Exist?

At a conference last week, I heard a speaker say that all Americans are a little bit libertarian; left or right, they just want to be "left alone."  

These days, the Republican party seems most enthralled to the libertarian ideology.  The former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul was the most salient example, but many other GOPers fall along the libertarian spectrum.  The pendulum with many of them has swung away from support of Bush's exercise of American power abroad.

In the link below, Philip Giraldi of the American Conservative, no defender of Bush, says a libertarian foreign policy would essentially be a contradiction in terms because, for one thing, libertarians hold the state in such low regard.  http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/recovering-the-founders-foreign-policy/

This was clear when I used to hear Paul discuss foreign affairs.   He assumed that if we left the rest of the world alone, the world would leave us alone.   His views seemed indistinguishable from those of George McGovern or, if you remember him, Henry Wallace. 

Not sure Giraldi is right about the founders' views on foreign policy.  I seem them as wanting to assertively defend American rights abroad. (See Jefferson's stance against the Barbary pirates.)  But his article is worth reading as it lays out how we are often trapped in the "tyranny of labels."
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