The London Libertarian

The London Libertarian

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Commentary and debate on politics, economics and culture from a libertarian perspective. To Libertarian Alliance Website >

An Ethical Foreign Policy

DefencePosted by Stephen Berry Sun, February 22, 2015 19:07:13

Someone once wrote, “At the high level, the UK’s first national interest must be to promote the prosperity, peace and happiness of UK citizens.” I agree. So let’s take a scientific attitude and look at those countries whose foreign policy has been most successful in doing this for their citizens. After all, if we wanted to decide on an economic policy, we should look to emulate those countries which had been the most economically successful.

I would contend that the two most successful European countries in promoting the peace and prosperity of their citizens were Sweden and Switzerland. Over the last 100 years, when literally millions of Europeans have been slaughtered in various conflicts, I doubt if more than a handful of Swiss or Swedish citizens have lost their lives in conflict. Both these countries also enjoy a high standard of living with Switzerland probably the wealthiest country in the world.

So what is the foreign policy which performs this trick? Quite simply put, the Swiss and Swedes mind their own business as far as is humanly possible. They even managed to stay out of the two world wars. If the UK were to do this for the next 100 years, it’s a strong possibility that it and not Switzerland would be the wealthiest country in the world.

In any case, I raise a glass to 2015 as the first year for a very long time that British troops were not engaged in a conflict somewhere in the world.

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national defense

DefencePosted by Jan Lester Thu, April 03, 2014 11:39:46

national defense It is a plain *fact, but one that *statists ought to dwell upon, that *states start all wars instead of merely defending their *nations or territories (and they murder even more of their own *subjects than die in war; see *democide). States have, particularly since the start of the previous century, a tendency to bring about the mass killing of conscripts and civilians and general destruction. Yet states are also an Achilles’ heel with a single center of control that can be more easily attacked and defeated: once the capital is taken the war is usually ended (assuming that it is an uncontested seat of *power rather than a capital that barely rules antagonistic factions). *Anarchies lack this weakness and hence, famously, superpower USA-state could not defeat North Vietnam (albeit that its hands were tied by threats from China and the USSR if it invaded the North) nor superpower USSR-state defeat *Afghanistan (albeit that there was external support in both cases and that the anarchic defenses were not reflected in the official *politics). Henry Kissinger (1923- ) admitted that conventional troops have special difficulties defeating a guerilla force: “The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerilla wins if he does not lose.”

How could unaided anarchies raise enough money voluntarily (i.e., without *tax-*extortion) to pay for the expense of even defense? Public subscriptions could fund relatively cheap mercenaries and bounties (see *assassination) to deal directly with bellicose foreign statesmen themselves, hence seriously deterring them in the first place once this is realized, instead of the wholesale bloody and destructive statist approach to war. However, some *nuclear weapons might also be an investment, as a last resort; possibly small enough to be aimed at, or smuggled into, military targets of the aggressor state; hence not attacking the *country as such. Nuclear weapons are the only things that seem to stop the USA-state from invading wherever it likes. If used, these weapons will undoubtedly kill some innocent people (although the state does rely on popular support) and so will not be deontologically *libertarian. But if they are all that can restrain some *aggressive states then perhaps they are necessary and *consequentially libertarian or, better, the threat alone will deter.

*Imperialism was loss-making. Aggressive war never pays financially in the long run compared to *free trade (there can be a short-run gain if the aggressor is sufficiently ruthless, but the destructive *economic effect is eventually global). Free trade also results in global *market networks, which tends to abolish identifiable separate sides and make military attacks even more uneconomic. A world without states would have no one that could start a war. If state national defense is necessary at all, it is only while other states exist.

See *just war theory; *World War I; *World War II.

A Dictionary of Libertarianism

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Should NATO exist?

DefencePosted by David McDonagh Wed, April 02, 2014 13:27:44

Is it high time that NATO became defunct?

“The pen is mightier than the sword” says the adage but presumably it means in the long run, for clearly a pen is no match for a sword in a duel.

All states have a moral support base in authority but force will be normally stronger in the short run. However, even Stalin knew that he could command no one at all, let alone any divisions, if this moral authority suddenly collapsed, and he also knew that it could collapse at almost any time.

At one time Stalin thought that the authority he had as head of state had collapsed; or maybe more apt, evaporated. It was after Stalin had openly and publically doubted that Hitler had invaded, as they had an agreement, or a pact, not to attack each other that Stalin thought that Hitler was about as satisfied with as he was. When the invasion progressed into the USSR, Stalin made clear his belief that it had not. But he later realised that it had. He felt sure that he had made a fool of himself to the extent that he had destroyed his credit completely. It is often said that Communism and Catholicism have a great deal in common and one of them is in being creeds that eventually built up a power base by propaganda, a base that did bring divisions to the Pope in the middle ages but such power was too much at odds with the Christian creed to survive as being proper for a Pope. So the Church did shed them.

Anyway, Stalin believed he had spent his credit with the USSR in the 1940s after Hitler invaded. He was famously waiting to be arrested when they came to ask what his orders were to counter the invasion that he, earlier, had doubted. .

Russia going into Crimea is not a key moment for “the West”. Indeed, it is not a defensive problem for the West at all but no end of fools, maybe under the influence of the centenary of the 1914 Great War, tend to imagine that it is. Putin is a little Hitler, according to them. All that line of thought is clear warmongering bosh. And it is about time that NATO ceased to exist, as the Warsaw pact has long since done. NATO is a sheer waste of time and money. It no longer relates to the defence of the west, not even one iota. It is now an institution that has nothing to do. Such sinecure institutions need to have their funds cut off.

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