By José Niño *
The Biden administration ad In mid-April, the withdrawal of American troops appears to be a positive first step in the right direction to end the longest American military conflict to date. Undoubtedly, questions remain about the sincerity of such a withdrawal, and whether there will still be a residual military presence under the cloak of “counter-terrorism”Or some type of arrangement with the private defense contractors maintain order in the cemetery of empires.
Looking back, it was rather amusing of all the stops the corporate press pulled back to derail former President Donald Trump’s previous attempts to withdraw his troops from Afghanistan. Russian premium program took the cake as the most important news item used to thwart Trump’s sensible withdrawal proposal from Afghanistan. On this occasion, the media began to broadcast stories about Russian military intelligence paying militants linked to Taliban bounties for killing Americans and Allied armed forces in the Afghan conflict. In its predictable salvo against the Trump administration, the corporate press made a big stench about this program throughout the 2020 election, adding another chapter to the ridiculous anti-Russian saga.
Ridiculously enough, once Biden was safely installed in office, the U.S. intelligence community began to go back allegations regarding the bounty program noting that there was insufficient evidence from US military intelligence to corroborate its existence. Whether or not Biden’s withdrawal was politically motivated is subject to speculation.
Beyond the partisan implications of the Afghan withdrawal, one has to wonder whether the previous Trump administration wasted a real opportunity to break with the liberal hegemonic order that the US government has presided over since the end of World War II.
Naive as some observers are about the Trump administration functioning as a wrecking ball on this international order, including myself, many have underestimated the level of institutional inertia present in the foreign policy bureaucracy as well as the propaganda. constant media designed to foment tensions with the country in power class sees it as an adversary.
The election of Donald Trump has offered a tantalizing illusion of hope for non-interventionists and moderators who have questioned the nation-building agendas that DC has embarked on for the past decades. In the election campaign, Trump made the noise about the failures of the excursions in Iraq. He even questioned the continued viability of interlocking alliance agreements such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which the United States has since been a member. 1949.
In Trump’s view, the United States was the primary country bearing the bulk of the defense burden under this alliance. Trump’s constant complaints have brought about changes in the way countries contribute to NATO. For example, Germany ended up increasing its defense spending in order to comply with NATO requirements.
While Trump’s attempt to get NATO member countries to put more weight on their weight has been solid, it has yet to address the underlying issue of US involvement in what amounts to to a tangled alliance that no longer serves any utility after the dissolution of the Soviet Union three. decades ago. Let us not forget that even Dwight Eisenhower, when he assumed the role of Supreme Commander of NATO in 1951, declared this “[i]If in 10 years all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.
NATO was originally conceived as a temporary alliance to balance the Soviet Union that would eventually collapse, not as a permanent security deal that policymakers could tinker with to satisfy their desires to disseminate democratic “values”. universal of America. The former president did not realize that NATO would continue to exist into the 21st century and serve as a tool for the expansion of the interests of the national security state.
Defense is not exempt from the very “ratchet effect” present in domestic politics, whereby crises provoke increased government activity that becomes difficult to reverse once bureaucratic organizations have cemented themselves. Milton friedman confessed this “[n]nothing is as permanent as a temporary government program, ”a dynamic present in the modern national security state. What began as a temporary program later becomes an irreplaceable pillar of public policy. This is the nature of government growth, and no matter what government agency it is, it apparently operates consistently.
Defense affairs cannot be separated so easily from economic affairs, since the common denominator of these activities is the pessimistic giant that is the state. The state dominates both areas, with all the attendant flaws. For example, the government waste that the average Conservative usually complains about is also present in the defense sector. Indeed, there is nothing special about the government’s defense spending efforts. They are not immune to waste and corruption.
Most advocates of defense spending overlook one of the iron laws of any serious analysis of political economy – Frédéric Bastiat’s concept seen and invisible. What you see are the fancy military toys – the fiscal boondoggle of the F-35 fighter jets comes to mind. According to some estimates, this weapon system has a lifetime price of $ 1.5 trillion. Gargantuan costs aside, such a weapon system will undoubtedly make great recruiting announcements in the Air Force. Plus, it will give politicians another agenda they can brag about by arguing that spending huge sums of money is the key to keeping America “safe.”
But what is not factored into this whole orgy of spending are the many productive goods and services that would have been created under normal economic circumstances. In a world of tight defense spending, taxpayer money would remain in the hands of individuals, after which it would be saved and invested in productive businesses. In Human action, Ludwig von Mises understood how excessive defense spending hinders economic development:
All the materials necessary for the conduct of a war must be provided by restricting civilian consumption, using part of the available capital and working more. The whole burden of war falls on the living generation.
A less militaristic economic policy would improve overall living standards, while excessive defense spending would be concentrated interest groups at the expense of ordinary Americans. Ending the current state of perpetual war will be a daunting challenge. It’s far too easy to say, “Just vote for the right people. The question asked is deeper. It goes beyond anyone in political office at any given time. It is ultimately ideological in nature.
The Trump administration, which was ostensibly against endless wars, struggled to effect even the most basic troop withdrawals. Much of this can be attributed to the institutional inertia present in the American regime. The rise of the deep state– an irresponsible bureaucracy that has evolved into a permanent shadow government – is not an aberration, but rather an indispensable feature of the current administrative state which is underpinned by an interventionist ideology.
The state of war and the welfare state have grown together. Many of the same social engineering precepts on which domestic policy is based ultimately apply to foreign policy, in which interventionist fanatics are firmly committed to keeping the regime’s imperialist project intact.
Although Mises was not a pacifist, he understood that Western values such as free speech, free markets, could not be propagated through the barrel of a gun. In fact, for Mises, constant warfare was one of the catalysts of despotism. Instead, countries could set a strong moral example to follow by practicing limited government and encouraging peaceful trade between nations. In Human action, Mises also observed:
Defeating the aggressors is not enough to sustain peace. The main thing is to reject the ideology that generates war.
A measured withdrawal from foreign affairs would obviously do a lot to reverse many of the lingering side effects of the misguided foreign adventures of the past century and allow America to focus on its internal affairs, which seem to be tearing it apart right now. To get there, however, interventionist ideologies must be completely discredited.
Too many innocent lives have perished, and trillions of dollars have been spent to continue indulging in the pipe dreams of foreign policy lunatics who will shirk any form of responsibility for their wrongdoing.
Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute