Brad Miller

Syrian Sanctions: Prudent Foreign Policy or Act of War?

In True nature of the State on August 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I agree with the French Economist Frederic Bastiat who believed that Peace is Preferable to War and the best way to ensure that Peace is through Free Trade.

The Treasury Department has declared that Syrian Petroleum products are off-limits for U.S. companies to buy. Also the Treasury Dept is seizing  Syrian assets in this country. They are doing this to spur the regime change in Syria. How can this not be construed as an act of war? And by the way when did Syria attack us?

I used to believe that  America was the good guy and “We” should keep the rest of the evil doers in the world under control, whether that was by direct military action or through economic sanctions. But I’ve come to believe that the State is the problem no matter what country it controls. So it doesn’t matter if our form of the state intervenes somewhere and limits the freedom of others or if their own version does, it is the same result: Individual’s Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property are violated.

The goal of the current Economic Sanctions against the Syrian Regime is to limit their ability to fund the crackdown against protesters. But these dictatorial regimes are well insulated by their very nature and Economic Sanctions always fall hardest upon the individual citizens.

The true purpose of Economic Sanctions is to inflict economic pain upon a nation. But this like every action of the State is ultimately directed not at the leaders but at the people themselves. They are designed to make individuals so miserable in the target country that they will overthrow their current government. But all too often that rage at the decreasing standard of living brought about by Economic Sanctions is directed not at their leader but at the United States.

How would the citizens of the United States appreciate it if Europe decided to slap Economic Sanctions upon us to encourage the ousting of ” problem” members of Congress?  What if they targeted the Economic Sanctions at certain businesses inside of specific districts to accomplish that? What if you worked at one of those businesses?

It is tantamount to extortion. If you do what “We” (The Federal Government) want then we will stop the pain. A better description of Economic Sanctions is Economic Torture or Economic Terrorism.

I don’t believe any government has the right to limit trade between individuals. It doesn’t matter if it is in a Suburb of Chicago where a little girl has set up a lemonade stand to sell to thirsty customers or if an oil company in Houston wants to buy crude from an oil well in Syria. If you own your Property you should be able to sell it to anyone who is willing to buy it.

What if the United States allowed businesses to trade openly with North Korea or Iran today? How would that hurt the individual interests of those living in the United States? The living standard of folks in North Korea and Iran would rise and so would ours. It is a win-win. If individuals are engaged in trade they are much less likely to go to war. Why go to war if your freedom to choose how you dispose of your time and money is increasing?  Free Trade leads to more Individual Liberty.

“By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.” Frederic Bastiat

By ending its Economic Sanctions against countries around the world the U.S. Federal Government would be taking a step to return Individual Liberty not only to those individuals  in those countries targeted but also here at home. This would lead to more employment because entrepreneurs would employ capital to produce goods and services to meet the need of the consumers previously deemed off-limits by the government. In order to do this they would need to hire employees and that would create jobs. 

Mutually Assured Prosperity through Free Trade is more likely to prevent countries from attacking each other than the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction.

 Etienne de La Boetie explained in “Politics of Obedience : Discourse of Voluntary Servitude” that a regime will not last long if a majority of individuals withdraw their consent. The only individuals who can do this are those individuals in Syria. We should allow the individuals in Syria to decide if they want to withdraw their consent or not.

Now if individuals around the world would like to spend their blood and treasure helping the resistance in Syria or Libya or wherever, they should have the right to do so. But they do not have the right to use the Force of the  United States Federal Government funded through the plundered property of productive citizens to accomplish their goals. Those individuals who condemn the leader of Syria and want him gone should personally support the resistance, either with their own money or with their own hands fighting alongside the rebels. But how many individuals do you see cashing in their 401ks, flying to Syria and picking up an AK-74?  

All events are preceded by ideas. The best way to enjoy Peace as an individual is for governments of the world to stop interfering with Free Trade between individuals regardless of their location.  Free Trade is predicated on the concepts of Natural Rights and the more individuals around the world enjoy their God-given right to Life, Liberty and Property without interference from any government; the more everyone in the world will enjoy prosperity.

If you want others to be free then first you must be free. Once you are free all  you can do is to become an example of what the enjoyment of freedom looks like.  You can not force someone to want to be free.

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.” H.L. Mencken

The U.S. served as an example or an alternative to the communist system when the USSR collapsed. What example do we show the world today? The United States Federal Government was instituted to protect individuals Natural Rights but on a daily basis it violates them. Whether it does this at home through taxation and regulation  or abroad  by the dropping of bombs or by Imposing Economic Sanctions it is no defender of our God-given inalienable rights. No wonder folks around the world don’t demand that their own government stop violating their Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Hapiness.

If you want others in the world to be free the first step is to look out your own life and ask how free are you? Our first and only task is to secure our own Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property and the Pursuit of Happiness. In order to secure our rights we must limit the size and scope of the government in general and especially the Federal Government in this country so it is not able to violate the Natural Rights of individuals no matter where they live, whether they live in Boise or Baghdad, Denver or Damascus, Marietta or Mogadishu. The less government there is the more Liberty all individuals enjoy.

“The state tends to expand in proportion to its means of existence and to live beyond its means, and these are, in the last analysis, nothing but the substance of the people. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state! Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity, all vanish.” Frederic Bastiat

Economic Sanctions against any country for whatever reason should be only done defensively and as part of a declaration of war. Denying life through economic means or through physical means makes no difference both are aggressive actions that lead to the violation of individual’s Natural Right to Life, Liberty, Property, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And That’s My Take




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