The Republican establishment has been taking a shellacking in the past few months, as Donald Trump continues his march to the GOP nomination.
Trump’s supporters are angry about a great many things, and his opponents don’t have a clue how to calm down them down. Their most recent ideas have included wheeling out failed former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and issuing an open letter from the Republican national security community. Both have had little effect.
Trump’s key narrative is that he will stop the United States from being taken advantage of on the world stage. Usually this takes the form of ridiculous attacks on free trade, but Trump does have a point that the United States is being fleeced when it comes to foreign policy.
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The Libertarian Party had their first-ever nationally televised presidential debate on Friday. It was a unique opportunity the third-party to raise it’s profile and show how libertarian policies can solve America’s problems. But when it came to foreign policy, debate only showed why no one takes libertarian ideas seriously — a regrettable circumstance for us liberty folk.
One candidate in particular, Austin Petersen, wasted his airtime with a ridiculous proposal to combat ISIS.
Petersen proposed granting letters of marque and reprisal to private military forces, so they can seek and kill ISIS’s leadership. Letters of marque, which permit private persons to legally engage in hostilities against a foreign power, were commonly used for privateering (legalized piracy) until the 19th Century.
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Tragedies lead to emotions running high. The terrorists that murdered 130 people in Paris are not to be taken lightly. Those 130 lives deserve much more than passive apathy in response to this brutality. But they also deserve more than hasty recklessness.
A foreign policy that rationally assesses its prior successes and failures, looks at the long-term consequences of its actions, and prioritizes the safety of people against terrorism is the answer to the recent barbaric Paris attacks. The temptation to immediately retaliate by bombing ISIS targets in Syria should not be pursued without careful consideration of the costs. Reason must temper our anger.
Public policy, guided by politicians focused on short-term public opinion, is often shortsighted and brash, especially in the wake of tragedies. Responding to pressure that we “must do something,” and motivated by anger and hate, people pursue thoughtless vengeance, rather than deciding on a course of action through rational deliberation.
Yes, justice should be swift, but we must figure out what justice is before acting.
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