Dr. Armentano is not taking a libertarian position, in my view. How could he claim the radicals are a great enough threat to advocate for Trumpian nuclear strikes, but then say about belligerency in foreign policy, “If that radicalizes them even more, so be it.” Is the goal to reduce radicalization or not? In light of Armentano’s advocacy for Trump, I recommend a lecture by Dr. Robert Pape: “Dying to Win”
In this presentation, Dr. Pape analyzes the motivation for suicide terrorism, and concludes that such radicalization is a symptom of occupation. He advocates for a policy called Off-Shore Balancing (OSB), which he believes would allow the US to protect its “strategic interests and obligations” without prompting radicalization and suicide terrorism. The key to preventing radicalization, according to Pape, is avoiding occupation, although Pape does argue for the US government to use other means to protect its interests.
Trump, on the other hand, advocates the following, “Any place where they have oil, I would knock the hell out of ‘em, and I would put boots on the ground in those areas; I would take the oil.” However, as we have experienced since 9/11, sending the troops leads inexorably to occupation. Is this really something Armantano is in favor of? In addition, Dr. Pape’s conclusion that occupation is the impetus for radicalization means Trump’s policy of “boots on the ground” is certain to exacerbate the problem.
We can be assured that no matter who is elected to the presidency, the person is going to be an interventionist. However, Hillaryhas criticized Trump and Cruz for their belligerence and seems to be leaving the boots on the ground camp regarding ISIS. She is instead advocating air strikes and other measures, which is more akin to Pape’s OSB. AND- she never used the “N- word” like Dom and Block’s man Trump has.
If we are to make a judgement as to who is, at least rhetorically speaking, closer to the libertarian position in this case we would have to say it is Hillary because she is not advocating for nuclear strikes or boots on the ground. This is not to say either one of them are anywhere near a libertarian position, but Trump is further away in this case.
Ron Paul was recently discussing radicalism in an interview with Chris Rossini who asked, “Are we supposed to believe that someone (an Islamic radical) wants to blow himself up because Americans are able to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?” Paul answered:
“I think that is a big myth, and one of the most serious myths that has floated around since 9/11- that disgruntled, violent jihadists want to come and kill us. They do- but, the fraud in this…is that they want to do it because we are free and we are prosperous and they resent us. Well, I don’t believe that for a minute that that is the reason…they have to think about the reflection of the foreign policy that we have and that, of course, is the major reason.”
I agree with Paul that a belligerent foreign policy is a major reason cause of radicalization. Why would a libertarian want to follow such a course, or encourage anyone else to do so? Paul’s advice follows: