I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The ultimate loser?

Will the two party system in the US be the ultimate loser of the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq? While a majority of Americans want the occupation of Iraq to end the Republicans in Congress are unwilling to turn on Bush's policies and the Democrats seem unable or unwilling to end it. And here of course is the talk of a Michael Bloomberg-Chuck Hagel third party run.

Over at Antiwar.com Libertarian Justin Raimando sees The Season of Hope for the Libertarians. In 1998 he predicted that the Libertarians would be the party of peace.
"As the U.S. stumbles, or is pushed, into another unwinnable land war in Asia, the anti-war protestors of the future will come from the ranks of the Right. Buchanan, and the editors of this magazine, in alliance with other conservatives and libertarians, stood firm against the war hysteria that preceded Gulf War I. This time around, with the stakes even higher, that same alliance has the potential to expand its ranks to include the overwhelming majority of Americans. Let our rulers unleash the dogs of war to mask their own corruption: they will ignite a social and political explosion that will make the sixties seem relatively tranquil."

I wrote that in the June 1998 issue of Chronicles magazine, at the end of a piece entitled "Wagging the Dog," wherein I pointed out that the evidence of Saddam’s aggressive intent was nil, that the U.S. was starving and sickening many thousands by imposing sanctions, and that an invasion would lead to a civil war, the break-up of Iraq, the rise of Iran, and significant political turmoil in the U.S.:

"Some Republicans… bravely spoke out. Representative Steven E. Bayer, of Indiana, dared ask: ‘Why are emotions running so high at the White House? Why are the tom-toms of war sounding?’ Representative Ron Paul, of Texas, excoriated his jingoist colleagues for ‘trying to appease the military industrial complex and appear tough for campaign ads.’ He complained that ‘once hostilities begin, debating the policy which created the mess is off-limits; the thinking goes that everybody must support the troops by blindly and dumbly supporting irrational and irresponsible policies.’ The only solution, he concludes, "is a pro-American constitutional policy of nonintervention.’ But ‘unfortunately, we cannot expect such common sense to prevail in the current political climate.’" Those were the Clinton years, when it was neither unusual nor even treasonous for a Republican to question the administration’s war moves against Iraq: as Ron Paul pointed out in the South Carolina GOP presidential debate the other day, we bombed Iraq for years before launching the present disastrous enterprise, all the while tightening deadly sanctions like a noose around the necks of ordinary Iraqis. What kind of hatred this produced was brought home to us on September 11, 2001, in a highly dramatic occurrence of a concept popularized by Chalmers Johnson in Blowback, his classic study of the socio-cultural, political and military costs of interventionism.
Democrats, Republicans and foreign policy
When it comes to foreign policy, the differences between the two parties have rarely given the voters much of a choice. In the "debate" over this vital issue, our options are limited to the varieties of interventionism – the unilateralist, macho-style preemptive imperialism of the Republicans, or the touchy-feely "humanitarian"-yet-just-as-deadly interventionism of the Democrats, with Iraq and Kosovo being the operative examples, respectively.

On the other hand, there has always been a populist "isolationist" anti-Washington sentiment out there, centered largely in the West and the Midwest, which at one point found a home in the Republican party, not only in the wing represented by Robert A. Taft, but also among the Midwestern progressives, such as William Borah and Gerald P. Nye. Ron Paul is the proud legatee of an "Old Right" tradition that included both libertarian and progressive aspects.
Yes both the Democrats and the Republicans have tried to silence the critics of US foreign policy, Ron Paul being the latest example. While Republicans criticized Clinton's wars and Democrats have criticized Bush's war few in either party have been critical of US foreign policy.

Raimando concludes with this:
Ron Paul’s guerrilla campaign to take back the GOP from the neocons, the Bloomberg-Hagel insurgency that might or might not rise up from the wheat fields of Nebraska and Manhattan’s concrete canyons – these are just the beginnings of the resistance, the first acts of the new radicals in American politics who are neither "right" nor "left" but merely intent on subverting the neoconservative project of authoritarianism on the home front and perpetual war abroad.

Contrary to some of my critics, I don’t agree that these movements are contradictory or in any kind of competition: Ron Paul would certainly have been helped, not hurt, by the entrance of Hagel in the race for the GOP’s nod, and even at this point Hagel launching an independent bid would do much to legitimize Paul’s position in the eyes of the media. (As for Hagel, he could always point to Paul and say – at least I don’t go as far as that guy! Not that I would recommend he do any such thing …)

We’re in for some stormy weather, this political season, that much is nearly certain. The Republic is being buffeted about by some pretty strong winds, and the hull is filling up with water. Yet I have hope that the ship of state won’t sink: in the end, the storm will have some clearly beneficial effects, starting with clearing the air of noxious clouds and other detritus that have long been poisoning the political atmosphere. When push comes to shove, in spite of the damage to this or that political institution or grouping, it will all be to the good, because a fresh breeze will blow through Washington, a sign of spring – and hope.
As a progressive I have many problems with the Libertarian philosophy but the greatest threat to the United States right now is tyranny and dangerous misguided foreign policy. These are two subjects where progressives and Libertarians have common ground and unless these threats are addressed the rest is irrelevant.

Ron Paul must be scaring the hell out of the wingnuts. Sully has an example of a smear campaign the likes of which are usually reserved for Democrats.

More on Ron Paul can be found here.

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