Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Rothbard on Today’s Progressive War Jingoism | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 18, 2022

Today, as always, the real antiwar movement finds its traction far outside the Beltway and the commentariat. Average people, less affluent and war weary after our two decades in the Middle East, dare to worry more about gas prices and rent than Ukraine. Trump listened to those people. Will Joe Biden? Or will he succumb to the modern-day Walter Lippmanns?

Jeff Deist

Readers of Murray Rothbard’s articles and speeches on war collectivism will immediately recognize the progressive pietist fervor surrounding today’s progressive war jingoism: everywhere is Ukraine! The atavistic need to analogize today’s situation to 1938, with Vladimir Putin as Adolf Hitler and war skeptics as Neville Chamberlain at Munich, is proof of this. The lessons of 1914, where a series of tragic blunders turned a regional conflict into a conflagration across Europe, are far more apposite.

The obvious interest for the US is containment of the war as a terrible but internecine (and ongoing) fight between Russians and Ukrainians. Absent what ought to be defunct obligations to nearby NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries, absolutely no US role should be remotely contemplated.

The war chorus, however, is not to be underestimated. It sings loudest from the neoconservative Left.

Outlets like The BulwarkThe Atlantic, the Washington Post, Fox News, and MSNBC are all natural habitats for the war promoters seeking to sit on Joe Biden’s shoulder and yell in his ear. Will the president, reeling from bad poll numbers and bad economic news at home, succumb to the voices urging escalation and promising the glory to a strong commander in chief?

To date, Biden’s public statements have been reasonably reassuring. He earlier insisted no US troops would be sent into the country and has repeated this since. A proposed three-way deal—sending American F-16 fighters to the Poles, freeing up their Soviet MiGs for Ukrainian pilots—appears to have been scuttled over fears of escalation. The establishment of a no-fly zone in Ukraine, which would compel NATO (including US) pilots to intercept and destroy Russian fighters and bombers, is off the table for now.

But Biden’s disastrous trip to address NATO in Brussels last week resulted in several gaffes that raise questions as to his real thinking. Is regime change the real but unstated US policy for Russia? Did he misspeak when telling members of the Eighty-Second Airborne what they might “see” in Ukraine? Getting rid of Putin is no easy task, and an old-fashioned land war in Eastern Europe with a nuclear foe is an unbelievably daunting notion. Does he face the same kinds of active insubordination from war hawks in his own cabinet, Pentagon, Joint Chiefs, and CIA that plagued JFK and Donald Trump? Is he falling prey to the Victoria Nuland wing of the State Department?

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