Thursday, March 3, 2011

U.S. Government Involvement in Libya

There is more and more talk of U.S. government intervention in Libya and other countries with protests.  There are calls for humanitarian aid and some are even saying the U.S. military should set up a no-fly zone.

Let's examine the libertarian position on this issue.  First, it is wrong for anyone to initiate violence.  It was amazing how much restraint protestors in Egypt showed.  Even in Libya, it seems that most of the violence is coming from the government or in response to it.  It gets more complicated when a third party enters the picture.  Oftentimes, it can make things worse when an outsider steps into the picture as it can just cause more conflict.

This situation gets even more complicated because it is not one individual against another individual.  It is millions of people protesting the government, while the government is trying to retain power.  It is likely that there are also millions of people who support the Libyan government, even if tacitly.

It is important to realize that the same government that runs trillion dollar deficits, wastes tons of money, lies, cheats, steals, kills, and messes up everything it touches, cannot do anything right.  I am talking about the U.S. government here, although the same could be said for most or all governments.  But the point is that the U.S. government can't magically make things better in Libya or anywhere else.  Washington D.C. is one of the most crime-ridden cities there is.  Let's see the politicians clean up that one city from poverty and crime before it tries to remake the world.

From a libertarian standpoint, any individual should be free to donate money to protestors or even go over there and help them.  But it is not for the U.S. government to decide for Americans what to do.  The most that Obama and his administration should do is encourage non-violence (which would be hypocrisy of course).  The U.S. government should not spend one dime doing anything in Libya or any other countries for that matter.

With a bad economy and price inflation becoming a bigger concern, it would not be surprising for the politicians in DC to look for a distraction.  This could mean a minor war.  Another war would be horrible, but it would certainly serve as a distraction.  It could also be used as a scapegoat for high oil prices and a down economy.  Don't rule anything out at this point.

Also, let's keep an eye on Saudi Arabia.  If things start to erupt there, look for oil prices to spike a lot more than they already have.

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