Archive for the ‘American Empire’ Category

Ron Paul: Responses to Piracy

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Ron Paul’s latest Straight Talk Express column:

The recent episode with the Somali pirates has brought to the forefront many questions about maritime security. What is the best way to deal with a gang of criminals, not acting on behalf of any country, when they attack private vessels? Under whose jurisdiction are these types of criminals to be prosecuted? Most importantly, how do we deter such attacks in the future?

Already the administration is saber-rattling with typical big government so-called solutions, like “diplomatically” threatening the weak Somalian government, or any government of any country where pirates are thought to live, with military action if they fail to control the situation. There are calls to increase the size of the navy until it is nearly omnipresent on the seas. I was pleased to see they got one thing partially right in stating that the government should work with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in their self-defense, if by “work with” they mean “get out of the way”. But I fear this will be soon be brushed aside in favor of the more elaborate, interventionist and expensive measures. Self-defense is the most obvious, most effective and least expensive solution, but that has never stopped the government from spending money they don’t have to make problems worse.

The situation is not unlike the situation with the non-state thugs that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11. We were not attacked by any country, and yet our response was to start wars with countries out of a need for misguided retaliation. This destroyed most of the goodwill our nation had in the world, and helped terrorists recruit and grow even more powerful. The worst thing we could possibly do is react to this incident with the same misguided fervor, producing equally damaging results.

First and foremost, the people and entities closest to the situation need to be empowered to defend themselves. In the case of private shipping companies, the owners and operators need to be allowed to carry weapons to deter and defend from attacks. But because many governments, including ours, have anti-gun laws in place in ports and territorial waters, ironically to discourage piracy, it is nearly impossible to legally carry weapons at sea for peaceful and defensive purposes. This sets up the predictable situation that only criminals and military vessels remain armed, making legitimate shipping operations ridiculously easy prey. I strongly believe that standing behind the basic human right to self-defense is the best deterrent to both terrorism and piracy, which is why I also argued for allowing pilots to be armed after 9/11. What governments call a gun-free zone is in reality a target rich environment to a criminal.

The second line of defense would be for Congress to act within the Constitution and issue letters of marque and reprisal, deputizing private organizations to act within the law to disable and capture those engaged in piracy. This approach to keeping ships safe at sea would minimize the effect on international relations by keeping our Navy out of it, as well as keeping costs to a minimum.

These criminal gangs should not have free reign to rob, terrorize and murder as they please in the world. But we need to be thoughtful and strategic in our reaction to incidents like these, and not knee-jerk our way into bigger, more encroaching government and military solutions.

Battle for the GOP

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

With the results of the election in, there has been much soul searching in the Republican party.  Not surprisingly, much of the attention has been paid to George Bush’s horrendous record on fiscal policy, where he has overseen the largest increase in domestic spending since at least LBJ (if not FDR), and has brought on the nationalization of the banking sector.

But not enough attention has been paid to Bush’s disastrous foreign policy.  Fortunately, Doug Bandow is all over it.

Here are two of Doug’s must reads:

The American People Render Their Electoral Judgment: Time to Finish Off the Neoconservatives

Learning from John McCain’s Mistakes: Supporting Aggression in the Caucasus

Maybe now that they are out of power the GOP establishment will take heed. Just don’t hold your breath.

Iran’s Missile Test

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

I woke up this morning, turned on the TV and saw an assortment of talking heads decrying Iran’s missile test. But why should this shock anyone?

Iran was labeled by Bush as amember of the “Axis of Evil” and so the government there has two examples to learn from: Iraq and North Korea.

In response to American aggression, one country saber rattled, one generally complied. One was invaded, one got negotiations.

Add in Israel’s recent millitary exercise (widely seen as a dry run of a strike on Iran), and why wouldn’t Iran act the way it did?

Declaration of Independence

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

On Friday, most Americans “celebrated” America’s Indepence by taking the day off wor, BBQ-ing and watching fireworks.  What was missed is that so much of the Declaration of independence seems to have been voided in the over two hundred years since it was signed.

Most obvious is that the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that succession (or political separation) is perfectly legitimate - in fact is a duty - when rights are sufficiently abused:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Next look at the some of the abuses sighted by the signers of the Declaration.  There can be no doubt that many are abused by the current government, and particularly the current Administration:

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.