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Afghanistan's Challenges Show the Limits of U.S. Military Power

February 7, 2013 in Foreign Policy

By Malou Innocent

Malou Innocent

Foreign policy elites on both sides of the aisle continually
advocate America’s leadership role for the sake of spreading
democracy. In doing so, they inflate their foresight and ignore the
uncomfortable fact that despite the best efforts, America’s
military and civilian establishments have faced enormous difficulty
repairing fragile states emerging from civil conflict. Bipartisan
conventional wisdom has created a system that fails to appreciate
the limits of America’s power, as demonstrated in Afghanistan.

Most policy planners are inherently ambitious. Demanding that
they restrain those ambitions overlooks why they reached their
positions of power in the first place. But the subject of war and
peace requires honest assessments of the likelihood that foreign
policy planners can achieve what they promise. Such sober
reflection is noticeably absent in foreign policy debates,
especially when they link America’s interests and the spread of

President Barack Obama has claimed that “we
protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others.”
President George W. Bush declared in his 2002
National Military Strategy of the United States that “we will
actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free
markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.”
Neoconservative scholar Michael Ledeen went even further, saying after the disastrous invasion of Iraq that “the
best democracy program ever invented is the U.S. Army.” But in the
one region where America’s beneficence of peace would seem to
matter most, Afghanistan, foreign-policy planers have lost either
their ability or their willingness to spread it.

Elites in
Washington should question their assumptions about militarism’s
ostensibly linear connection to democracy and

The coalition, to its credit, has to some extent diminished the areas under insurgent influence
and the ability of insurgents to attack the population. But
progress remains uneven. According to the Pentagon, while enemy-initiated attacks from April
through September 2012 have decreased over the corresponding period
from the previous year in the capital, the attacks in relatively
quiet Regional Command North and Regional Command West increased by
28 percent and 44 percent respectively. Meanwhile, insider attacks
have “steadily risen since 2008” and “increased sharply in 2012,”
while Afghan Security Forces of undetermined fortitude may undo
whatever security gains have been made. Those dismal findings
should encourage elites in Washington to question their assumptions
about militarism’s ostensibly linear connection to democracy and

As a December 2012 Pentagon report to Congress stated bluntly, “The Taliban-led insurgency remains
adaptive and determined… The insurgency also retains a
significant regenerative capacity.” After decades of ruling though
fear and intimidation, as well as swift and brutal justice, …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Obama's Drone War

February 7, 2013 in Foreign Policy

A memo describing the president’s legal justifications for drone attacks against U.S. citizens was recently obtained and published by NBC. Cato legal expert Trevor Burrus looked over the memo, and calls it “a disturbing assertion of discretionary executive power that should concern and frighten all Americans.” Benjamin Friedman argues that the real danger is not the standard the president uses to decide whom to kill, but rather the complete absence of any checks and balances.

…read more

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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

…read more
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

…read more
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

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Sen. Paul Statement on Embassy Security Bill

February 5, 2013 in Foreign Policy, Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul this week issued the following statement into the Congressional Record regarding S.227, the Embassy Security Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate last night.

As a cosponsor of this important legislation, I am pleased that the Senate will pass this bill and once again provide for stronger security at our diplomatic facilities.
Numerous reports have documented the security failures that resulted in the tragic deaths of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi. Both the Administrative Review Board and the report of the Senate Homeland Security Committee found that inexcusable failures of judgment led State Department decision makers to ignore the rising threat levels in Benghazi and the repeated requests for enhanced security at the site. Marine Security Guards were not on site to protect our consulate in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world. The failures of management that led to these decisions are reprehensible; the lapses in judgment indefensible. It is beyond my comprehension why the individuals whose poor decision making directly resulted in the deaths of four Americans remain employed by the State Department, and compensated by the U.S. taxpayers.
One of the most troubling aspects of the Benghazi attack is the complete disregard that State Department leadership gave to the repeated requests for enhanced security from Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Should funding have been an issue, the State Department always has the option available to come to Congress for approval to transfer funds within accounts. In fact, this is what S.227 accomplishes – it provides the State Department transfer authority to prioritize diplomatic security in our embassies around the world. It is a sad, but necessary post script to this tragic event – and a step that, if taken earlier by the State Department, may have saved the lives lost in Benghazi.
It is my hope that the Senate takes into consideration my repeated calls for increased Marine security at our embassies in high threat areas of the world. In the two budgets I have authored during my Senate tenure, I not only called for increased funding for military protection, but also for reducing the presence of embassies in the most dangerous areas of the globe. The safety of our men and women in diplomatic service must be prioritized. This means placing more emphasis on involvement in security by …read more
Source: RAND PAUL  

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How Dictators Come to Power in a Democracy

February 5, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, History, Philosophy, Politics & Elections

By Jim Powell

Jim Powell

Dictatorships are often unexpected. They have arisen among
prosperous, educated and cultured people who seemed safe from a
dictatorship — in Europe, Asia and South America.

Consider Germany, one of the most paradoxical and dramatic

During the late 19thcentury, it was widely considered to have
the best educational system in the world. If any educational system
could inoculate people from barbarism, surely Germany would have
led the way. It had early childhood education – kindergarten.
Secondary schools emphasized cultural training. Germans developed
modern research universities. Germans were especially distinguished
for their achievements in science — just think of Karl Benz
who invented the gasoline-powered automobile, Rudolf Diesel who
invented the compression-ignition engine, Heinrich Hertz who proved
the existence of electromagnetic waves, Wilhelm Conrad Rőntgen who
invented x-rays, Friedrich August Kekulé who developed the theory
of chemical structure, Paul Ehrlich who produced the first
medicinal treatment for syphilis and, of course, theoretical
physicist Albert Einstein. It’s no wonder so many American
scholars went to German universities for their degrees during the
19th century.

After World War I, German university enrollment soared. By 1931,
it reached 120,000 versus a maximum of 73,000 before the war.
Government provided full scholarships for poor students with
ability. As one chronicler reported, a scholarship student
“pays no fees at the university, his textbooks are free, and
on most purchases which he makes, for clothing, medical treatment,
transportation and tickets to theaters and concerts, he receives
substantial reductions in price, and a student may get wholesome
food sufficient to keep body and soul together.”

While there was some German anti-Semitic agitation during the
late 19th century, Germany didn’t seem the most likely place
for it to flourish. Russia, after all, had pogroms —
anti-Jewish rioting and persecution — for decades.
Russia’s Bolshevik regime dedicated itself to hatred —
Karl Marx’s hatred for the “bourgeoisie” whom he
blamed for society’s ills. Lenin and his successor Stalin
pushed that philosophy farther, exterminating the so-called
“rich” who came to include peasants with one cow.

Why, then, did the highly educated Germans embrace a lunatic
like Adolf Hitler? The short answer is that bad policies caused
economic, military and political crises — chow time for
tyrants. German circumstances changed for the worse, and when
people become angry enough or desperate enough, sometimes
they’ll support crazies who would never attract a crowd in
normal circumstances.

Like the other belligerents, Germans had entered World War I
with the expectation that they would win and recoup their war costs
by making the losers pay. The German government led their people to
believe they were winning , so everybody was shocked when the truth
came out. Then U.S. President Woodrow Wilson gave a …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Tomatoes, Furniture, and Shrimp: Is Extortion the Main Purpose of the Antidumping Law?

February 4, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

An entrepreneurial politician is someone who, despite the
public’s demand for greater accountability and transparency,
persists in exploiting hidden channels to dole out pork and
subsidies to favored constituents. That many politicians aspire to
this status explains the enduring popularity of the U.S.
antidumping law in Washington.

Remove the
patriotic, noble-sounding rhetoric that cloaks the antidumping law
and what you see is an expensive racket that benefits the

Sold by its supporters through an unquestioning media to a
gullible public as a tool necessary to protect upstanding American
producers and their workers from the ravages of predatory
foreigners hell-bent on stealing the U.S. market, the antidumping
law escapes the scrutiny it deserves. By encouraging price fixing
and other forms of collusion among domestic suppliers and between
domestic and foreign suppliers, the antidumping law victimizes U.S.
consumers and downstream U.S. firms under the guise of promoting
“fair trade.” Moreover, certain unique features of the
U.S. antidumping regime — its retrospective assessment of
final duty liability under the direction of a biased and
discretion-wielding administering agency — gives domestic
protection-seeking industries license to extort.

Two antidumping matters recently in the news — Fresh
Tomatoes from Mexico
and Wooden Bedroom Furniture from
– make good cases in point. Fresh tomatoes from
have been subject to antidumping restrictions since
1996. But those restrictions have taken the form of
“suspension agreements,” which essentially suspend the
antidumping investigation and the imposition of antidumping duties
in exchange for an agreement from the foreign exporters to sell
their products in the United States above a certain minimum

A few months ago, I had
to say about the Mexican tomatoes case:

In an antidumping investigation, the Commerce Department
calculates a dumping “margin,” which is purported to be
the average difference between the foreign producer’s home
market prices and his U.S. prices of the same or similar
merchandise sold contemporaneously, allocated over the average
value of the producer’s U.S. sales, which yields an ad
valorem antidumping duty rate. That rate is then applied to the
value of imports, as they enter Customs, to calculate the amount of
duty “deposits” owed by the importer.

So, if a Mexican tomato producer’s rate has been
calculated to be 14.6% and the value of a container of tomatoes
from that producer is $100,000, then U.S. Customs will require the
U.S. importer of those tomatoes to post a deposit of $14,600. Why
is it called a deposit? Because the final duty
liability to the importer is still unknown at the time of
. The 14.6% is an estimate of the current rate
of dumping based on sales comparisons from the previous year. …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy

February 4, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, History, Philosophy, Politics & Elections

By C4L_Intern

By: David Heacock

As a participant in C4L’s intern program, I am privileged to be able to take part in the fight for liberty in Washington while also being able to attend some unique events. One thing I’m really looking forward to is hearing Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speak this week at the Heritage Foundation on “Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy.”

Last week, Paul spoke on the Senate floor in regards to foreign aid spending to Egypt. He stated: “I think it’s a grave mistake to send F-16’s and Abrams tanks to a country that, last year, detained American citizens on trumped-up political charges. To a country that, currently, is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges. I think it’s a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16’s and tanks, to a country that allowed a mob, chanting ‘death to America,’ to threaten our American diplomats.”

In opposition to Paul’s statement, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) argued that denying these jets and tanks would be a disfavor toward U.S. weapons manufacturers and a broken obligation to the Egyptian government. I would challenge Senator McCain to read George Washington’s Farewell Address, giving special attention to these lines:

 “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible…

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.”

The Founding Fathers would, undoubtedly, be in opposition to the United States’ current approach to foreign relations – supplying other nations with over 50 billion dollars a year.  They also would object to treating the national defense budget as a “jobs” program.  It makes no more economic sense to throw taxpayer dollars at the military-industrial complex then it does to throw those dollars at Solyndra. It is in the best interest of both Americans, and people around the world, to cease foreign aid because it keeps corrupt governments in rule, and rarely leads to mutually beneficial relationships.

I’m looking forward to hearing how Senator Paul plans to transition U.S. foreign policy toward one more in line with that of the …read more