Monday, December 23, 2019

Donald Trump: Peace Candidate, Presidential Warmonger

By Walter E. Block - December 23, 2019 at 10:26AM


Mr. Trump ran in 2016 almost on a peace platform in terms of foreign policy. He said things such as this:
I share the American people’s frustration… I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money — and, most importantly, lives — trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations.
I supported him vis a vis Mrs. Hillary Clinton mainly because she seemed, at least in comparison, to be a pro-war belligerent. From her support for the US invasion of Iraq, in Afghanistan and Western Sahara, she has long established herself as a foreign policy hawk. For example, as emblematic of her deeply held views, she favored a: “tough-minded, muscular foreign and defense policy…”

I along with Ralph Raico and Donald Miller started up the group called “Libertarians for Trump.” Some 5000 people signed on. It was widely bruited about that no one but hicks, red-necks, morons in flyover country could support this ignoramus. To counter this, Paul Gottfried, Boyd Cathy and I initiated a separate support group for our present president called “Scholars for Trump.” Signatories were limited to people with advanced degrees such as the Ph.D. We attracted signatures from about 150 people.

But what about Gary Johnson? He also ran for president, on the Libertarian Party ticket. Should not I as a libertarian (lower case “l” indicates a backer of this philosophy; upper case “L” refers to a member of the Libertarian Party – I am both) have supported the former governor of New Mexico instead of Trump?

My attempt to square the circle was the following: If you lived in a red or blue state, the Donald did not need your vote. He would either win or lose big to Hillary. Therefore vote for Gary. But if you are in one of the few purple states, the pull the lever for Donald, since he more nearly favored peace.

But we are now at the end of 2019. The US military is still fighting active battles in Afghanistan (18 years and counting!) and Syria, and we have troops in over 100 other countries.

Those in the DMZ between North and South Korea are particularly vulnerable. This is defense? It reeks of offense! Trump may have been the peace candidate, but this certainly is no description of his presidency.

What to do now? One option is to impeach Number 45; not for “abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.” That is just plain silly. Rather he deserves this rebuke for violating the Constitution which specifies that only congress can declare war, and this august body has done no such thing (I realize of course that the Donald is not the first president to deserve impeachment for this reason, but that is entirely a different matter. Impeach ‘em all, say I.) The difficulty with impeachment is that Vice President Pence will then take his place, and my reading of the tea leaves is that he will be at one fell swoop even more belligerent and also far less susceptible to a subsequent impeachment that he too will richly deserve were he to also flout the constitution in this manner. My fear is that in impeaching Trump we would be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Is there no hope? Happily, John Bolton, the war monger’s war monger no longer has the ear of the president. He never in his entire life thought of a place the US could invade without having an orgasm. Perhaps the Donald, after he beats this specious impeachment, will come to his senses, and channel the relative peacemaker he was when he first ran for office in 2015. Hey, it’s Christmas! Who knows what can happen.

A word about Mr. Kim. He saw what happened to Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. Not unreasonably, he does not want to suffer the same fate. All the more reason, then, to have no more such Libyas, lest the next dictator to come down the pike emulate this one. There is one other reason to be optimistic. Ok, ok, less pessimistic. Thank goodness say I for the recent rapprochement between North and South Korea. (Or am I just hoping for a thaw?) If the two Germanys could accomplish a reduction in hostilities, so, then, maybe, possibly, hopefully, can the two occupants of the Korean peninsula. As we peaceniks used to say in the 1960s, a nuclear war can ruin your entire day.

Reprinted with permission from

from Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles


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