A Classic: 'Let's Invade the World'
Jude Wanniski
November 26, 2003

 

Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Happy Thanksgiving?

Once you read this 1994 essay by the late Murray Rothbard, it will be clear to you why he still has such a wide following years after his death in 1995. An author and essayist on political economics, Rothbard taught at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in the tradition of the Austrians Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. When he penned this essay, there was no one else I know of at the time who could see where we would be on Thanksgiving Day, 2003, as clearly as Rothbard did in this classic. I will leave it posted here through the weekend -- with my best wishes for the year ahead. Please forward it to friends and associates if you find it as impressive as I have. If you would like to read more Rothbard, some of his best work is readily available online.

 
INVADE THE WORLD
By Murray N. Rothbard

When 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 mangoes.

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 of meaning."

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 money. Eventually.

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.

September 1994

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch34.html