“Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things.” Mises
The Biden administration’s new National Security Strategy is a declaration for intervention everywhere in the world, with the justification to assure the progress of democracy. The policy actually claims that the US has the unlimited ability to, in effect, remake the world; the absurdity of such a statement is childish as it ignores the fundamental essence of economics as the science of scarcity, which is all about trade-offs as everything is constrained by the reality that the demand for all goods and services is greater than the availability, thereby limiting choices. Embracing a policy based on an unlimited ability means you believe there are no constraints, similar to a spoiled child’s demands for endless gratification.
It stinks of the hubris of a new “Manifest Destiny”, only this time not limited to North America. It’s hard to imagine after all that the world has suffered through a century of endless wars that an American President would propose a stratagem to impose a new world order in its own image and likeness. The elitist messaging that this sends to both allies and enemies alike is that no part of the world is safe from US meddling and interventionism; the justification for such a policy is cloaked in that age old and tired mantra of our national security interests.
While not literally, or honestly, admitting to the weaponizing of sectors of the economy like finance, energy, food and trade, what this policy makes clear to both friend and enemy alike is a manifesto to rule the world. While this is not actually something new as the US has essentially behaved in this manner since the end of WWII, exporting democracy via proxy wars and regime change is reminiscent of a Soviet like strategy during the Cold War. The twisted ideology that the US has a moral duty to police the world is pure war mongering propaganda, making US intentions blatantly obvious and therefore critically alarming to all that value peace.
We have in fact already witnessed elements of this policy with how the Biden administration has meddled in the Russian-Ukrainian War; through its dominance in NATO it uses sanctions and the subsidization of Ukraine’s military. Sanctions and proxy wars are not diplomacy, they are the path to direct and expanded conflicts, or at the least a way to make enemies even of those who could otherwise be friends; they are also a drain on our economic health, one already burdened by a crushing debt. The Biden administration’s sale of arms and military supplies to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Yemen war, facilitating horrific death and destruction, is another example of this malignant policy.
Curiously, a generation ago it was the Democrats who criticized Republicans and Neocons for such war mongering; now we have a reversal, although partial as many Republicans support the Administration’s policies. There’s an old joke how Republicans are actually big government liberals too, but they do it cheaper than Democrats; unfortunately the results are not very humorous. The original idea for US policy was an American tradition of foreign non-intervention, a tradition now dismissed and long forgotten.
Historically sanctions, tariffs and other such trade policies have led to violent conflicts. Conversely, free trade produces an environment where countries that trade with each other are reluctant to go to war for fear of the economic losses and a desire for the benefits of peace; a sense of tolerance and of living and letting live grows with the economic progress that results. However, the state is essentially a concept of power, of competition, and gives rise to nationalism. Policies such as those espoused by the Biden Administration seek to confuse the wellbeing of society with that of the state. “What if the American people woke up and understood that the official reasons for going to war are almost always based on lies and promoted by war propaganda in order to serve special interests?” asked then Congressman Ron Paul in his 02/12/09 speech before the US House of Representatives; great question, one that appears lately to be making some impression nearly 14 years later.
In my 09/08/20 post entitled “The Warfare State”, I mentioned the 1952 article “The Rise of Empire” by the famous American journalist Garet Garrett, who outlined what he called the “Hallmarks of Empire”, summarized as the dominance of executive power, subordination of domestic policy to foreign policy, ascendancy of the military, development of foreign satellite or proxy regimes, and last, but in relation to this current policy, is the frightening sense of “What we will to do, that we can do.”, what Garret called “vaunting”, and its corollary of “fear”, that we will ultimately standalone against all the evils of the world unless we aggressively act.
If this all sounds familiar to anyone, it should; this was the theme of many of the worlds past war mongering regimes, and they all led their people to disaster. In all cases these policies were linked to the state’s dominance in society’s economic life. As Mises so insightfully observed it is axiomatic that such policies can’t succeed without socialism; as Ron Paul noted “It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.” Such policies are extremely expensive, so in order to implement them, you need money, more than what can be obtained with a sound currency, so corrupt it, control it, and you have your war chest.
It is clear that Biden’s foreign policy statement is informed by those that understand that statism needs war because it can only survive with power, and to get power it needs the wealth of the nation, and to get the wealth of the nation, it will perpetuate war. Notice how the Defense Department, while still unable to account for all the money it has spent, again got an increase in its budget. It is a policy that, as George Orwell observed, “The object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war.”