Foreign Policy: Less is More

Good news seldom comes from the CIA. Whether it’s secret missions hidden from U.S. taxpayers and citizens or funding secret wars without congressional approval.

The Telegraph reports “[m]illions of dollars worth of weapons sent by the CIA to Jordan for Syrian rebels was stolen by Jordanian intelligence chiefs and sold on the black market.” To add insult to injury, the weapons were stolen by Jordanian military officers — supposedly allies of the U.S.

Unfortunately, this type of incident is not unique and happens quite often. It’s easy to blame the CIA’s incompetence or greedy Jordanian officers for this recurring blunder, but, in reality, the problem is U.S. foreign policy.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a close ally to the United States. But, when close allies steal military supplies from you—maybe it is time to cut back.

The Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2015 was $495.6 billion in discretionary funding. The U.S. spends more than the next seven countries combined. With approximately half a trillion dollars being spent every year on defense, is the U.S. safer? Is the world safer? I would posit that it is not. A brief look at the Middle East shows a region which seems to have imploded, from Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, to Afghanistan.  

Syria is a great example. The U.S. recently sent soldiers into the region and is supporting rebels fighting the Syrian regime. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is fighting the both Syrian rebels and government itself. Meanwhile, the Syrian regime is fighting both the rebels and ISIS and is backed by Russian airstrikes and Iranian funded militias. The Syrian situation is an obvious no-win situation, yet there are calls from for U.S. foreign policy to do more.

The U.S. cannot be the world’s policeman, and it should not spend like it. Half a trillion dollars is an outrageous bill to pay, and it does not make the American people or the world safer. If members of Congress were serious about cutting spending, they would start with defense. Every dollar needlessly spent on defense is a dollar less in the taxpayer’s pocket.  

The stolen shipment of weapons signifies the recklessness and wastefulness of war. The American people should demand more from their foreign policy—or, in this case, demand less of it.


Young Voices Monthly Newsletter — June 2016

This is the first issue of Young Voices’ monthly newsletter. You can subscribe here to receive future issues via email.

Introducing the new Young Voices

Greetings! You are receiving this email because you’ve either signed up for updates from Young Voices on our website or downloaded our e-book, A Future for Millennials. This is the first issue of Young Voices’ monthly newsletter.

Where to begin? There’s been so much happening in the world of Young Voices (YV) recently, it’s a struggle to sum it up in a few paragraphs. Since its founding in 2013, YV has operated as a department of Students For Liberty (SFL) aimed at empowering the next generation of libertarian writers. That changed last month, when SFL offered YV the opportunity to become an independent nonprofit with a little seed funding. Since then, we’ve been in a flurry of activity —tax filings, staffing hires, grant applications, and so much more.

The bottom line is that YV is now a certified nonprofit in the District of Columbia awaiting tax-exempt status from the IRS. That means that we’re legally operating as an independent nonprofit!

Best of all, we’ve been able to maintain our daily operations during the transition, editing and pitching our Advocates’ op-eds to media outlets. Learn more about our activities below, and stay tuned for additional updates next month.

Casey Given
Executive Director
Young Voices

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Nigeria Is Strangling Technological Growth At Birth

Last month, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) banned the use of unauthorized drones, disregarding great potential for technological advancement in a country that direly needs it.

It is critical that developing economies like Nigeria have the freedom to explore innovative methods of using drone technology. Before the ban, many Nigerian companies had ambitions to utilize drone technology in their operations and had begun to test its use in large mass. University students, too, had started to assemble drones and experiment with their potential applications. Thus, a number of Nigerian tech enthusiasts were disappointed with the NCAA’s action.

The government justified its preliminary ban in the name of national security and public safety, arguing that that widespread use of drones by aviation-ignorant citizens was a recipe for disaster. While there are certainly legitimate safety concerns surrounding drone technology, a unilateral ban on unregulated use is much too harsh a remedy.

“Unregulated” is an operative word; the NCAA did not completely prohibit drone technology. Companies who wish to be drone operators must have a minimum capital share of 20 million naira (about $100,000 USD) and pay a non-refundable processing fee of 500,000 naira (about $2,500 USD). Those two steps are just the beginning. After a company’s application is submitted, it must await security clearance – a process which takes at least six months. If a business is so lucky to receive a three-year permit, it will still be required to pay an annual utilization fee of 100,000 naira ($500 USD). By contrast, it costs a mere $5 USD (about 1,000 naira) to register a drone in the United States. Continue Reading

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Young Voices Podcast – YV Update

Today’s Young Voices Podcast features Sergio Monreal and YV Director Casey Given discussing updates and changes within Young Voices Advocates. The Young Voices donate page is now up and running, and be sure to follow Young Voices on Facebook and Twitter.

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Sotomayor and the Fourth Amendment

Recently, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor came to the defense of the Fourth Amendment in the Supreme Court case Utah v. Strieff. In her dissent, Sotomayor thundered, “The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights…This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong.”

The case dealt with whether a warrant discovered after an illegal stop makes the stop legitimate. Additionally, if a warrant is found, anything discovered after the stop, like drugs, can be used against an individual in court.

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect citizens against unreasonable search and seizures from the government. Additionally, anything discovered after an illegal search is not admissible in court as evidence. The ruling is not only bad for the Fourth Amendment, but also for minority communities.

For example, data compiled by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) found that, in 2015, New Yorkers were “stopped and frisked” by the police 22,939 times. Of those searched, 18,353 (80%) were totally innocent,12,223 (54%) were black, and 6,598 (29%) were Latino.

Sotomayor, a Latina-American born and raised in New York, offers a personal perspective on the effect of unreasonable searches on minority communities: “For generations, black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk’— instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.”

Over criminalization disproportionately affects the colored community, and Sotomayor takes it head on. Ceding more of the Fourth Amendment to the police is not good for police or citizens of any color. It will make both police and citizens suspicious of each other, which will only further divide them.