There was an article run by the Guardian (also linked via LewRockwell.com) that describes an American shift on foreign policy. When I say “American”, I actually mean the American people and not the government. However, perhaps the government is also starting to shift a little, partially because of public opinion and partially because it is running out of money.
The article cites a study that says a majority of Americans now believe that the U.S. plays a less important and powerful role in the world than it did 10 years ago.
The poll cited also indicates that more Americans than before now believe that the government is going too far in providing protection from terrorism.
While it is overall good news, there were still some rather disappointing figures, showing that there is much work still to be done on the libertarian front. For example, 55% of those polled said Edward Snowden had harmed the public interest when he blew the whistle on the NSA’s spying program.
Also, rather surprising to me is that only 14% said that drones strikes in Pakistan make the U.S. less safe, while half say that drone strikes make the U.S. safer.
I can perhaps see the angle of some of the 36% or so who didn’t have an opinion one way or the other, or thought drone strikes make no difference. I am completely baffled that half of those surveyed still believe that drone strikes somehow make us safer. I am hoping that it is just ignorance and that these people just don’t understand the damage these drone strikes do and the fact that they typically kill innocent people. Even the so-called terrorists who are killed probably never would have been motivated to do any harm to any Americans if the American empire were not occupying and drone bombing their country in the first place.
As libertarians, we just have to keep preaching peace. We have to point out that wars and drone strikes result in innocent people dying. It isn’t the fault of those people for living in a relatively poor country and they don’t deserve to die. It is a collectivist notion to paint everyone in one country with a broad brush. Just the same, I wouldn’t want someone living in Pakistan to think I am evil just because the U.S. government has done bad things to their country.
I think it is also important to show conservatives the contradiction of their beliefs (in a friendly way). Many conservatives will go on about freedom and about how we need smaller government. They will talk about how corrupt and incompetent the government is at running almost anything. But then, as soon as it comes to the military, it is the greatest force of good on earth. It can do no wrong and it has great people and it is completely competent. Maybe I am exaggerating a little, but really not that much.
Conservatives must realize that putting on a military uniform doesn’t all of a sudden make government competent and great. It is still inept. It is still corrupt. At times, it is still evil.
In conclusion, I am glad there seems to be a little bit of a shift in public opinion, at least in wanting less intervention overseas. I had already detected this shift when the war that seemed inevitable in Syria was stopped. Let’s hope that this shift towards more peace will continue.