Before I begin this article, I should state that I am a fan of Reason Magazine. I read them regularly and find them to be one of the greatest libertarian news websites of our time.
Reason has strongly been against various United States interventions, as such I would assume even if they were to go after Tulsi Gabbard it would be for her economic policies, which even as a supporter I admit worry me. However, when I saw a column called “Tulsi Gabbard Is Anti-War But Not Pro-Peace,” I got this gut feeling it would be garbage.
Sadly, I was right.
First appearing in The Week as “Tulsi Gabbard Is No Peacenik,” and written by Shikha Dalmia this column can best be described as the points your liberal interventionist friend has been making on Twitter for years. The book The Liberal Defence of Murder —written by Marxist Richard Seymour — came to mind many times while reading this article.
When even a Marxist can debunk you, you’re doing something wrong.
I’ll also note that I have nothing against Shikha. In fact, one of her most recent articles for Reason titled “Conservative Nationalists, Not Immigrants, Are Having Trouble Assimilating in America,” is one of the best articles I’ve read all year. However, this article is so incorrect that it nearly spoils any good previous article she has written.
I’ll just go through this article point by point, quite frankly, so much in it is wrong that any other way would quickly become nonsensical rambling. If I wanted you guys to read that, I’d recommend this column. Okay, I’ll stop with the potshots now.
If America is going to be a force for peace in the world, it needs to stop invading other countries for their benefit and it also needs to stop cultivating nasty regimes for its benefit.
In Hindsight, this should have been my first hint this article was not written as an anti-interventionist. If Ms. Dalmia was an anti-interventionist, she would know that we don’t want the United States “to be a force for peace in the world.” What we want is neutrality from the United States on issues that do not effect them or there allies.
The easiest way to explain it is we’re against assault on the part of the United States in various middle eastern countries. We also support diplomacy over war even if doing so would mean negotiating with various evil people.
Did I mention we’re only one sentence in?
But ironically, the very politicos who are anti-war often become pro-dictator.
This is the smear we here from liberals all the time. As if an issue like foreign policy can be boiled down to the childish view they have. Yes, sometimes to avoid war people need to do agreements with morally bad people. We all understand that.
May I ask, how is backing dictators any different than what the US does now? Since the Truman Doctrine, the United States has installed many dictators themselves. We’ve also sold weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq under Saddam Hussein (including chemical weapons, which are classified as WMD’s).
So the thing this author is most worried about if Tulsi Gabbard is President, is that we’ll just be under the status-quo.
Unfortunately, Democratic presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard, the congresswoman from Hawaii, is no different.
Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, has made opposition to war her signature issue. During the second round of the Democratic debates, she was the only candidate who promised to “end wasteful regime change wars” and “take the trillions of dollars that we’ve been wasting on these wars and…redirect those resources into serving the needs of our people right here at home.” But that doesn’t make her a peacenik; it makes her an America Firster, like President Donald Trump.
Okay, so what?
Foreign intervention was one of the things Donald Trump was right on during the Presidential Campaign. Now you’re worried that Gabbard is supporting on of the things Donald Trump was right on? That doesn’t make any sense.
Should I also support socialism because Donald Trump is against it? Of course not. This is another childish view that the author of this article seems to have.
Indeed, although she went out of her way to condemn Trump as a “warmonger,” there isn’t much daylight between her position and his — which is no doubt why the former White House aide Stephen Bannon, the notorious architect of Trump’s America First campaign, interviewed her for a position in the administration.
Her source for this is an article by Jacobin. For those who don’t know, they’re a self-described Democratic Socialist/Socialist/Marxist news website with a name based off of C. L. R. James, a friend of Leon Trotsky.
Gabbard purports to be a dove when it comes to wars of regime change. But like Trump, she is a self-avowed hawk on Islamic terrorism.
It’s as if they’ve actually attacked us or something.
She repeatedly slammed President Barack Obama for shying away from referring to Al Qaeda and ISIS as “Islamic terrorists.”
That’s what they were though. ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They’re also sometimes called ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Before all of this, they were called simply ISI, the Islamic State of Iraq. You notice any similarities of these names?
But the more striking similarity between her and Trump is that she too has no qualms about courting dictators if they advance her cause, no matter the consequences for others.
Coming from someone who has been a critic of the Trump foreign policy, including his support for the North Korean dictator, I feel this comparison doesn’t make any sense. But, I’ll be nice and allow her to continue.
Gabbard was the first U.S. official in 2017 to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after he used chemical weapons against his own people; she aimed to enlist him in America’s struggle against ISIS.
Hey, what do you know, there’s a difference right there. Since the Syrian Civil War started, the Assad government has killed over 30,000 members of ISIS. This is also compared to less than 13,000 Kurdish civilians.
Two years before that, she stood next to Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after he’d orchestrated the worst mass killings in modern history of Arab Spring protesters.
As compared to every other politician since World War 2.
Also, el-Sisi has done many things that would make him a US ally in any other time. He has improved relations with Israel, a stanch ally of the United States, while still advocating for a two state solution. He also severed ties to Turkey after they have committed many human rights violations.
Oh, and he’s already an ally of the United States. He was even at the meeting between Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia back in 2017. And he has never once attacked the United States.
But perhaps her most disturbing transgression was her outreach to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi’s militant brand of Hindu nationalism is fundamentally transforming a liberal country into an illiberal one where violent attacks on the minority Muslim population have become a daily occurrence — not because Indian Muslims are terrorists or radical extremists, but simply because they consume beef or refuse to chant the names of Hindu gods.
First off, the libertarian state of India.
Also, 93% of Indians support what Modi has done in Prime Minister. Maybe that’s why in 2014 the Bharatiya Janata Party won 428 seats out of 543! And, if you want to play this game, Modi has lowered the amount of GDP the Indian government spends on military once adjusted for inflation.
Oh, and there’s the fact he’s a long standing ally of the United States and has met with both Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Yet Gabbard, who, like me, was raised in the Hindu faith, has become close to Modi, presenting him with her personal copy of the Bhagavad Gita (a Hindu holy book) when she visited him in 2014, 12 years after one of the worst massacres of Muslims was committed by thugs from his own party in the state of Gujarat, where he was chief minister at that time.
No citation, by the way.
All of this has fueled suspicion that Gabbard’s foreign policy is driven by Islamophobia.
Hence why she trusts the Muslim majority government of Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, is against going to war with Iran, and — according to this very article — is friends with Assad who is a member of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party!
There may be some truth to that, given that she supported the SAFE Act, which would have subjected Syrian and Iraqi Muslim refugees fleeing ISIS to extreme vetting, even before Trump got elected and implemented it. At the same time, she pushed a resolution to make it easier for Christians and Yazidis who were ISIS victims to come to the United States.
Per capita Christians are more likely to be victims of Islamic terrorism per capita than other Muslims.
But even if she isn’t motivated by anti-Muslim animus, the fact is that a foreign policy that elevates America’s narrow national interest above any broader concerns will inevitably lead to unsavory realpolitik alliances, regardless of whether it is pro- or anti-war.
BROKE: Realpolitik is a term people in political office make up as a reason to do whatever they want.
WOKE: Realpolitik is real and bad.
If “The Blob” — as the bipartisan interventionist foreign policy establishment is sarcastically called — has a tendency to exaggerate the threat posed to the international order by regimes that don’t play by America’s rules in order to justify overthrowing them, Gabbard-style anti-interventionist nationalists have a tendency to downplay the threat that odious regimes who play ball with America pose for their own people in order to enlist them.
It is not a coincidence that Gabbard has questioned whether Assad actually deployed chemical weapons against innocent Syrians at all.
As have many government officials including Senator Rand Paul and Sectary of State Mike Pompeo. Yes, the man who was CIA Director during Trump’s Syria Strike also published documents showing evidence that the gas attacks did not happen as the US government claimed.
Oh, also, Gabbard never said that:
There is evidence that both the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad as well as the armed opposition groups aligned against him have used chemical weapons (CW) during the Syrian war.-Tulsi Gabbard
Or that she refused to support a House resolution that offered the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom — which occurred on Modi’s watch — as an example of India’s persecution of its religious minorities, insistingthat “there was a lot of misinformation surrounding that event.”
Turning a blind eye to such atrocities removes an important external check on these regimes.
Well, good to see you’re an interventionist. That’s the only thing you could mean by “external check.” You want military intervention in these countries, it’s that simple. And if you do, fine, argue from that perspective. But please, whatever you do, openly state such a thing in your article. Don’t do this where you weasel around it.