As the second day of the extradition hearing for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange continues in London, the lines of argumentation of both sides are taking shape. While the US tries to argue that Wikileaks publishing harmed individuals who aided the US government, there is little evidence to back the claim. Will the UK courts roll over for a Washington that would like to see, as former FBI Director Comey suggested, “Assange’s head on a pike”? Watch today’s Liberty Report:
Samuel Moyn reviews Samantha Power’s memoir to devastating effect. He begins his essay with a withering observation and never lets up:
At her first dinner with future president Barack Obama, a forty-five-minute meet and greet that turned into a four-hour mindmeld, the then senator from Illinois told Samantha Power he admired her first book, “A Problem from Hell”, an already classic study of genocide prevention. But, he added, it “seemed like malpractice to judge one’s prospects by one’s intentions, rather than making a strenuous effort to anticipate and weigh potential consequences.”
Power went on to serve as a National Security Council staffer for multilateral affairs and human rights during Obama’s first term. During his second, she became America’s ambassador to the United Nations. But her recently released memoir, The Education of an Idealist, reveals that she never learned her boss’s first lesson.
Interventionists rarely anticipate and weigh potential consequences, because if they did that it would be much harder for them to get the interventions they want. Advocates for military action routinely minimize the risks and costs of war in order to reduce opposition to it, but “humanitarian” interventionists have another incentive to downplay negative consequences and preferably to ignore consequences in their entirety. If a “humanitarian” intervention creates worse conditions than existed prior to the intervention, it has to be declared a failure on its own terms. That is why “humanitarian” interventionists go to such lengths to turn a blind eye to the destructive effects of their interference. After all, they see themselves as defending the legitimacy of “humanitarian” intervention and preserving the possibility of future interventions. To admit that one of their interventions failed and made things worse, especially when it was one that they sold so aggressively as “good” and successful, would be to bring discredit on the entire project.
As Rod Dreher has already observed, Warren destroyed Bloomberg in the debate last night with her attacks on him. She has shown would-be Bloomberg voters what a terrible candidate he is, and that does everyone a great service. I have no idea if Warren’s passion and energy will be rewarded by voters, but it was refreshing to see some genuine righteous indignation from her instead of her making corny appeals to “unity.” That passion is what she built her political reputation on, and it is why many people respect her. Virtually everyone seems to think this was her best debate, and I agree with that.
Bloomberg wasn’t just out of practice at debating. He was unprepared to defend his record despite all the negative coverage it has received in the last few weeks, and he gave Democratic voters little reason to trust him or believe that he had learned anything from his past errors. Bloomberg was stiff and clumsy in his delivery, and he was so disengaged for long stretches of the debate that one could be forgiven for forgetting that he was there. Where Warren was bursting with energy and passion, he had none. It was a lifeless performance that was also light on substance.
Nine years after a US-led attack on Libya and murder of its leader, the democracy and liberation promised by Hillary Clinton and her band of “humanitarian interventionists” has never arrived. Instead, the once-wealthiest African country is mired in civil war and the standard of living has plummeted. There are several warring factions and militias vying for control, none of which seems strong enough to rule the country. This is a valuable cautionary tale about the disasters of US interventionism – which is precisely why no one wants to talk about it. Watch today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
The US and Taliban have reportedly arrived at a deal to begin drawing US troops down from the current 13,000 to 8,600 and then…well no one knows. The initial reduction of hostilities will begin on 22 February and if successful the drawdown will follow. Already neocons in Washington are warning Trump not to be “too hasty” about ending the 18 year war. Will the US finally come home from Afghanistan? Don’t count on it! Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: