As Murray Rothbard often emphasized, the free market and a peaceful foreign policy are indispensable partners. We cannot maintain a free market if the government engages in a bellicose foreign policy. A powerful and aggressive state constantly engaged in war requires vast resources to sustain it, and “military socialism” is an all-too-present reality.
If there is any single price of any commodity that determines the growth or slowdown of our economy, it is the price of crude oil. Too many things don’t calculate today in regard to the dramatic fall in the world oil price. In June 2014 major oil traded at $103 a barrel. With some experience following the geopolitics of oil and oil markets, I smell a big skunk. Let me share some things that for me don’t add up.
In 1748, as part of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, France regained Cape Breton from Great Britain. The island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, had passed back and forth between the two countries over the years, and previous treaties had been as binding as toilet paper. But as part of the 1748 treaty, Great Britain sent several British peers to Paris as a guarantee of the British king’s good faith in the latest agreement.
For the last few decades in the Middle East, the policy of western powers — led by the United States — has been to ensure the flow of oil; maintain stable and secure allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Gulf States, Egypt, and Israel; and maintain military and economic influence when needed. Usually these ends were met through economic or military-to-military partnerships.
There may be a responsible way to fight the Islamic State, but the U.S. will have to leave its boots in the closet and the drones in the hangar.
The atrocities of ISIS become more shocking every day. In June, the Iraqis exhumed nearly 600 bodies of Shia recruits in Tikrit, an important Sunni Triangle city north of Baghdad. ISIS appears to have executed as many as 1,700 Iraqis and buried them in mass graves.
Alexis Tsipras had a choice. As the leader of the fledgling Syriza government in Greece, he could have told the European Union to stuff its austerity plan. He could have taken the risk that the EU would offer a better deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Or, failing that, he could have navigated his country into the uncharted waters of economic independence.
It seems like only yesterday that American battleships were declared obsolete (though some still exist) because they were sitting ducks, required too much personnel, and their shells were unguided. As well, aircraft carriers suffer from the first two shortcomings. The consensus was that the future of sea warfare was submarines with their stealth, mobility, and guided missiles.