In the last post I mentioned a list of issues to use with the “average man on the street” towards the end of the post. I would like to look a little closer at the first two in that list as they really go together in my mind. Recall that the point of all of this is to find a broad alliance to stop the tyranny that the state has become all over the West, and especially in the US Empire.
The first two issues from my list that might drive a populist campaign of unity with libertarians and perhaps even anarchists are listed here:
1) America First. A key point, and one that is being used in the present election cycle by Donald Trump with great effectiveness. The American economy is stagnating. Many cities are dying and the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, all while we give money away to other countries and police the world at a cost of unimaginable amounts of money. Plus our foreign policy tends to make people hate us.
2) Bring all troops home. We are killing innocent men, women, and children overseas in countries that have never threatened us and have no ability to invade this country; other than by us allowing emigration of their people who would attack us via terrorism.
Number one and number two hold a lot in common, but number two probably speaks, at first at least, to the left as much as the right at this time. The anti-war left was always for bringing the troops home, but that left appears to have almost died out. However, properly explained I think the common man, perhaps even a modern progressive, can be made to see the wisdom of the “old right” and their foreign policy of non-interventionism. The ancient wisdom of “live and let live” was at the heart of the old right.
Consider the issue “America First”. Some think that is some sort of newly manufactured campaign slogan that Trump thought up or had some paid experts think up. But the “America First” crowd was originally the “old right” of the 30s to the 50s. They believed that we should keep our armies inside our own boarders are be ready to fight a defense war if need be. They believed that with an ocean on both sides of us that we really did not need to worry about an invasion but should be ready for one.
The cost of stationing fighting men and materials rises exponentially as the distance from the homeland grows. This is known by military experts and was once the topic of a long lecture hosted on C-SPAN on cable in the 80s.
How many troops do we have stationed abroad? In a story in The Nation in early 2015 it was reported that there were approximately 800 bases in foreign countries around the world. These troops cost tons of money to station overseas even when they are not actively engaged in creating new enemies by murdering innocent men, women, and children in countries that have never threatened to invade the US — and have not the least bit of ability to do so. Just having the bases costs tons of money that the state takes from all of us and that could certainly be put to better use.
How much does this overseas projection of power cost? Military spending is said to have accounted for 54% of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion in 2015. Then there is the “off budget” spending on wars and intelligence agencies which are all part of the US Empire and its determination to rule the world.The actual total amount spent on policing the world is hard to pin down exactly due to the secret nature of the more shadowy agencies.
If the USA would adopt a defensive posture for the military, bring the troops home to defend this country, and stop invading countries around the world we could fund much of item number one — fixing America itself with the savings. We could put people to work fixing the infrastructure that is in a sad, crumbing state. Saving approximately one half of all discretionary spending in a multi Trillion dollar budget would fix a lot of infrastructure and put a lot of people to work.
If we adopted a policy of non-interventionism and neutrality, we could practice the free-market capitalism that made the country rich. Instead of managing trade to benefit the well connected corporations and the ultra rich, we could let laissez-faire capitalism bring us the blessings of a really free market and not the crony-capitalism that we have practiced for decades on end. Truly free trade with other nations builds friendship and reduces the odds of any war greatly. But first we must bring home the troops and stop threatening anyone who disagrees with us on various issues.
But can we sell non-interventionism to the right wing? Certainly we can. Consider these words from Paul Gottfried:
Only a Neanderthal cave dweller would not notice that self-identified conservatives have been raging against the neoconservative foreign policy for decades, that is, the policy that Thiessen was paid richly to defend. For starters, there are numerous websites, such as this one, that have defended a more restrained engagement with the world than the one advocated by the last Republican administration and it’s unmistakably neoconservative “advisers.” Moreover, the entire Old Right, most notably Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, has been declaiming against neoconservative warmongers for generations, and before them we had George F. Kennan, Robert A. Taft, libertarians of all kinds, and the later Herbert Hoover, warning us to avoid foreign entanglement. Yesterday I walked into my local post office in South Central Pennsylvania and listened to die-in-the-wool right-wingers, including two army veterans, screaming against further military commitments. None of my fellow residents at the post office could ever be mistaken for a leftist. In fact, they were ardent Trump-supporters, who were worried “about what’s going on in this country.” And they were most definitely immigration restrictionists, although decency prevents me from repeating their opinions on this subject.
Warmongering by the neo-cons has done more damage to this country, and the world in general, than anything I can think of. If you wonder where the hoard of Muslims flooding the western countries came from, just remember it was the neo-cons who lobbied for the destruction of every country in the middle east other than Saudi Arabia.
There are two different concepts, patriotism and liberal internationalism, at issue here.It is fine to be “patriotic” in the sense of cherishing the nation, that is, the people, land and society. It is another entirely to send American armies all over the globe to invade and array of enemies, each one said to be the most recent incarnation of Nazi Germany.
It is time to dismantle the world wide empire and stop interventions all around the globe. It is time to put America first and let peace, prosperity, and mutual cooperation be the motto of our nation once again — just as it was in the beginning.