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Sen. Rand Paul on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer – 2/6/13

February 6, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL  

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Sen. Rand Paul on Fox's the O'Reilly Factor – 2/5/13

February 6, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, Movies & Entertainment, Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL  

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Rand Paul’s Foreign Policy Speech

February 6, 2013 in Foreign Policy, Politics & Elections

By Tim Shoemaker

I know many C4L members are interested in reading or watching Senator Paul’s speech from earlier today at Heritage.

 

The full text of Senator Paul’s speech is below:

Foreign policy is uniquely an arena where we should base decisions on the landscape of the world as it is . . . not as we wish it to be.   I see the world as it is.   I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.

When candidate John McCain argued in 2007 that we should remain in Iraq for 100 years, I blanched and wondered what the unintended consequences of prolonged occupation would be.  But McCain’s call for a hundred year occupation does capture some truth:  that the West is in for a long, irregular confrontation not with terrorism, which is simply a tactic, but with Radical Islam.

As many are quick to note, the war is not with Islam but with a radical element of Islam  — the problem is that this element is no small minority but a vibrant, often mainstream, vocal and numerous minority.  Whole countries, such as Saudi Arabia, adhere to at least certain radical concepts such as the death penalty for blasphemy, conversion, or apostasy.  A survey in Britain after the subway bombings showed 20% of the Muslim population in Britain approved of the violence.[1]

Some libertarians argue that western occupation fans the flames of radical Islam – I agree.  But I don’t agree that absent western occupation that radical Islam “goes quietly into that good night.”  I don’t agree with FDR’s VP Henry Wallace that the Soviets (or Radical Islam in today’s case) can be discouraged by “the glad hand and the winning smile.”

Americans need to understand that Islam has a long and perseverant memory. As Bernard Lewis writes, “despite an immense investment in the teaching and writing of history, the general level of historical knowledge in American society is abysmally low.  The Muslim peoples, like everyone else in the world, are shaped by their history, but unlike some others, they are keenly aware of it.”[2]

Radical Islam is no fleeting fad but a relentless force. Though at times stateless, Radical Islam is also supported by radicalized nations such as Iran.   Though often militarily weak, Radical Islam makes up for its lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal.

For Americans to grasp the mindset of Radical Islam we need to understand that they are still …read more
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY  

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Drone Policy Must Include Checks and Balances

February 6, 2013 in Politics & Elections, Uncategorized

By Benjamin H. Friedman

Benjamin H. Friedman

The question—whether Obama has gone too far in his drone
policy—has the wrong subject. By assuming that the policy is
Obama’s, we endorse the imperial presidency so bolstered lately by
fear of terrorists. In a democracy where presidents administer laws
passed by Congress, drone policies are ours. And Obama has gone too
far in exercising war powers because Congress let him.

Asking if Obama has gone too far in his drone policy is sort of
like asking if eternity is too long or hell too hot. The president,
as we see in the summary Justice Department memo published this
week by NBC News, claims unchecked power to kill anyone,
even U.S. citizens, that he says is a leader of al Qaeda or an
associated group.

Reporting on the memo has focused on the standard the president
uses to decide whom to kill. This concern misses the real danger:
the absence of checks and balances.

Obama has gone too
far in exercising war powers because Congress let
him.”

Courts, the memo argues, should not interfere in the president’s
evaluation of due process rights, which he extinguishes by labeling
you a terrorist. The memo rejects temporal and geographic limits on
strikes (except its claim, inconsistent with its overall logic,
that the United States is off limits). Though the memo cites
Congress’s 2001 authorization of Military Force as authority for
strikes, it follows the Bush administration in offering the
presidency’s “inherent power” to defend the nation as additional
authority. The implication is that congressional say-so for war
isn’t necessary for the president to use drones at will. Nor does
the administration want to debate this reasoning—they are
litigating to block those documents’ release.

So a president, consulting with officials he can fire, is using
a secret process that he can change to kill whomever he wants,
wherever he wants, whether or not there is a war on, by saying the
words al Qaeda. The only real restraint on this power is
democratic: If the president uses the power against too many
Americans, political resistance will mount. The main problem with
this set-up is it makes for bad policies. The constitution divides
war powers not just to protect liberties but also to force debate
and compromise. At best, open debate between branches can threaten
myths and reveal faulty reasoning about war. At worst, it does
little harm besides slowing war, a problem here only if U.S. drone
wars are too hard to start.

Benjamin
H. Friedman
is a Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland
Security Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.

…read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Sen. Paul Delivers Foreign Policy Speech

February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

TRANSCRIPT:
Foreign policy is uniquely an arena where we should base decisions on the landscape of the world as it is . . . not as we wish it to be. I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist. When candidate John McCain argued in 2007 that we should remain in Iraq for 100 years, I blanched and wondered what the unintended consequences of prolonged occupation would be. But McCain’s call for a hundred year occupation does capture some truth: that the West is in for a long, irregular confrontation not with terrorism, which is simply a tactic, but with Radical Islam.As many are quick to note, the war is not with Islam but with a radical element of Islam — the problem is that this element is no small minority but a vibrant, often mainstream, vocal and numerous minority. In Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even Afghanistan, where we presided over a constitution written by ‘moderates,’ radical concepts such as the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy are the law of the land. A survey in Britain after the subway bombings showed 20% of the Muslim population in Britain approved of the violence.Some libertarians argue that western occupation and intervention fans the flames of radical Islam – I agree. But I don’t agree that absent western occupation that radical Islam ‘goes quietly into that good night.’ I don’t agree with FDR’s vice-president Henry Wallace that the Soviets (or Radical Islam in today’s case) can be discouraged by ‘the glad hand and the winning smile.’Americans need to understand that Islam has a long and perseverent memory. As Bernard Lewis writes, ‘ the general level of historical knowledge in American society is abysmally low. The Muslim peoples, like everyone else in the world, are shaped by their history, but unlike some others, they are keenly aware of it.’ Radical Islam is no fleeting fad but rather a relentless force. Though at times stateless, Radical Islam is also supported by radicalized nations such as Iran. Though often militarily weak, Radical Islam makes up for its lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal. For Americans to grasp the mindset of Radical Islam we need to understand that they are still hopping mad about the massacre at Karbala some thirteen hundred years ago. Meanwhile, many Americans are often more concerned with who is winning ‘Dancing with …read more
Source: RAND PAUL  

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Don’t Fear the Sequester

February 6, 2013 in Economics, Politics & Elections

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

On March 1, we are told, the world will end. No, that’s
not a new Mayan prophecy; it’s the date on which the spending
sequester goes into effect, after being postponed for two months as
part of the fiscal-cliff deal. As we move closer to this $965
billion reduction in projected federal spending over the next ten
years, voices on both the left and the right are warning that the
result will be a disaster of near Biblical proportions.

President Obama says that the sequester will mean “workers
being laid off, kids kicked off Head Start, and food safety
inspections cut.” Congressional Democrats are no less
apocalyptic. Representative Linda Sanchez is typical, claiming that
“draconian cuts to critical domestic programs could devastate
our current economic recovery.” The first news stories have
already appeared warning that the sequester would be
“devastating to national parks.” Meanwhile, on the
right, Senator Lindsey Graham claims that the sequester would
“dismantle the military,” while Senate minority leader
Mitch McConnell warns of the “crippling effect these
reductions will have on our nation’s security.”

There is no doubt that the sequester is a blunt instrument.
Across-the-board budget cuts preclude prioritization, cutting the
occasional worthwhile program as much as wasteful ones. It is in
many ways a lazy alternative to actually doing the hard work of
budgeting. But devastating? Crippling? Hardly.

Far from being an
apocalypse, its cuts don’t do nearly enough.”

Start with the fact that the sequester is a “cut” to
federal spending only in the Washington sense of “any
reduction from baseline increases is a cut.” In reality, even
if the sequester goes through, the federal government will spend
$2.14 trillion more in 2022 than it does today.

The sequester would reduce the growth in domestic discretionary
spending by $309 billion over ten years. But annual spending on
these programs will still increase by $90 billion over that period.
If we are actually spending more in 2022 on domestic programs than
we are today, it is hard to see too many children starving in the
street. Moreover, entitlement spending, the fastest-growing portion
of the domestic budget, will hardly be touched by sequestration. It
will continue to increase at the same astronomical rate as
before.

What about defense spending? Defense spending will indeed
decline initially in real terms, but on an inflation-adjusted
basis, will never fall below 2007 levels. By 2015 it will begin
rising again, surpassing 2012 levels ($554 billion) by 2019 and
reaching $589 billion by 2021. Overall, annual defense spending
will average $540 billion over the next ten years. By comparison,
the United States spent, in 2013 dollars, an average of just …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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New Cato Journal Looks at the Role of China in the U.S. Debt Crisis

February 6, 2013 in Economics, Politics & Elections

In the latest issue of Cato Journal, Cato scholar James A. Dorn examines financial repression in China and its impact on the U.S. debt crisis, the rebalancing that needs to occur in China to advance the role of the market and limit the power of government, and the reforms that need to occur in China and the United States to achieve lasting peace and prosperity. Also in this issue, Thomas Grennes looks at the diminishing quality of fiscal institutions in the U.S. and Europe, and Melissa Yeoh and Dean Stansel offer the first examination of the relationship between public expenditures and labor productivity that focuses on municipalities, rather than states or nations.

…read more
Source: CATO HEADLINES  

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Leon Panetta's Conventional Wisdom

February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Despite a rough confirmation hearing, former Republican senator
Chuck Hagel is likely to be confirmed as secretary of defense. Thus
will end the public career of Leon Panetta, who also served as CIA
director, White House chief of staff, director of the Office of
Management and Budget and member of Congress.

His experience at OMB led some to hope that he would lead the
Pentagon into a new world of limited resources. But he turned out
to be a reincarnation of Ronald Reagan’s first Defense
Secretary, Caspar Weinberger. Known as “Cap the Knife”
from when he headed OMB, Weinberger turned into “Cap the
Shovel,” promoting a large-scale military build-up even as
deficits rose dramatically.

Unfortunately, Secretary Panetta has similarly used his
influence and bully pulpit for ill. The most important issue facing
the Pentagon today is how to operate with less money. September 11
sparked a global campaign against al-Qaeda and other terrorist
groups, two lengthy wars and several more limited operations.
Military outlays exploded.

The wars are winding down and al-Qaeda is much weakened. We have
seen how an aggressive, interventionist military policy creates
more enemies than it kills. And Washington’s fiscal position
has collapsed. Even Panetta acknowledged that “We’re
facing a huge budget crisis in the country.” Military outlays
must be reduced.

The most important
issue facing the Pentagon today is how to operate with less
money.”

Yet rather than propose reasonable cuts, he engaged in
scare-mongering, proclaiming that we “cannot maintain a
strong defense for this country if sequester is allowed to
happen.” Even though America would retain the world’s
most advanced and powerful military and remain allied with every
major industrialized state other than China and Russia, Panetta
warned that reductions would “decimate defense” and
“totally hollow out the force.”

He also told Congress that the cuts would “undermine our
ability to meet our national security objectives and require a
significant revision to our defense strategy.” Yet such a
revision is long overdue. He worried that the cuts would reduce
America’s “ability to be … engaged around the
world” and “ability to support the Afghan war.”
However, the collapse of hegemonic Communism and rise of allied
states should reduce America’s role and U.S. participation in
the Afghan war should cease. Military spending is the price of our
foreign policy, and the price today is far too high.

Panetta also publicly opposed accelerating America’s exit
from one of its longest and least-justified wars, Afghanistan. The
shift from counterterrorism to nation-building in Afghanistan came
very early under President George W. Bush and failed to deliver
honest and competent governance in Kabul.

Yet last year Panetta declared: “I do not believe that
there is …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Japan's Strategic Re-Awakening

February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

A key development in East Asia has been Japan’s surprising
assertiveness regarding its territorial dispute with China over the
Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands in the East China Sea. But that is merely
the latest sign that Tokyo is beginning to act as a normal great
power. That trend has been building for more than a decade, and the
manifestations have ranged from adopting a hardline stance toward
North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs to a more insistent
quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. After a long
slumber as a quasi-pacifist nation, Japan appears to be
experiencing a strategic re-awakening. Only time will tell how far
that re-awakening progresses, but it already has important
implications for its neighbors in East Asia, especially China, and
for the United States.

US policymakers have long been ambivalent about Japan’s
strategic role in East Asia. Washington’s initial enthusiasm after
World War II for disarming Japan and pushing for a pacifist
orientation, symbolized by the adoption of article nine in the
country’s new constitution, gradually gave way to a more pragmatic
stance as the Cold War with the Soviet Union deepened and the US
needed military allies. American officials quietly backed a
reinterpretation of article nine to allow Japan to build “self
defense forces” and to conclude a mutual defense treaty with the
United States.

As the years went on, Washington prodded Tokyo to contribute
more to the collective defense effort — even to some extent
to provide financial support for US military initiatives outside
East Asia, most notably in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But the quest
for greater burden sharing was always in the context of Japan
playing the role of an obedient junior security partner.

Washington needs
to reassess the scope and implications of its alliance with
Japan.”

Most members of the US political and foreign policy elite were
deeply suspicious of any signs that Tokyo might want to adopt an
independent military role. Lt. General Henry Stackpole, the
commander of Marine forces stationed on Okinawa in the early 1990s,
infamously described the US role in East Asia as being “the cap in
the bottle” preventing a revival of Japanese militarism and the
regional instability that would ensue. The Pentagon’s 1995 planning
guidance document for East Asia contained language that expressed
the fear that “another country” — possibly China, but more
likely Japan — might seek to displace the United States as
the region’s leading security actor.

US uneasiness about a more robust Japanese military role eased
slightly during the administration of George W. Bush, as Washington
sought to broaden its bilateral alliances with both Japan and South
Korea …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Enlisting China to Transform North Korea

February 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

After flaunting its contempt for neighboring countries as well
as the U.S. by launching a rocket last month, North Korea announced
plans for another nuclear test. Kim Jong-il is dead, but his system
lives.

Nations far and wide have urged Pyongyang to back down, but
expressions of international concern only reinforce the North’s
determination to proceed. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
may be the globe’s most malign actor.

Unfortunately, so far the U.S. and its allies, most notably the
Republic of Korea and Japan, have failed in their attempts to end
Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

Military strikes likely would trigger a general war. Sanctions
have done little to hurt North Korea’s elite. Negotiations have
generated endless frustration. Through it all China has urged a
diplomatic solution but refused to apply significant pressure on
the North.

The Bush and Obama administrations often chided the People’s
Republic of China about the DPRK’s misbehavior. However,
Washington’s complaining has had no effect.

China does not
control events in Pyongyang, but greater involvement by the PRC
offers the best hope for peaceful denuclearization of the Korean
peninsula.”

Although there is growing academic and public dissent from
Beijing’s continuing commitment to the North, China has increased
investment and trade while maintaining aid. Tensions between the
two governments are obvious—Pyongyang routinely ignores
Beijing’s cautious counsels—but so far China has opted for
stability. The Xi Jinping government did vote to tighten sanctions
against the DPRK after the latter’s more recent rocket launch and
there are reports of increased customs inspections of cross-border
traffic after the North’s nuclear announcement. However, Beijing
has yet to indicate that it is willing to challenge the Kim
regime’s hold on power.

Washington should encourage a rethink in Beijing. The PRC will
not do America’s bidding because that’s what the U.S. government
wants. Nor can Washington force China to go along.

Washington must convince Beijing to act. The residents of
Zhongnanhai likely would be a tough audience, but the U.S. needs to
relearn the art of diplomacy.

The PRC believes the Korean status quo to be in its interest.
The Kim dynasty offers stability—miserable and brutish, but
stability nonetheless. For all of the blood curdling threats which
regularly emanate from the DPRK, that regime does not desire war,
which it would lose.

The existence of the North offers obvious benefits to China.
There are historic political ties. In practice the two states may
not be as close as “teeth-to-lips,” as has been said, but the PRC
has few other friends in the region. Moreover, China has been
pursuing economic interests in its neighbor, winning advantages
that would not be possible if America and especially the ROK were
more …read more
Source: OP-EDS