Conservatives Challenge Obama Over Libya
The antiwar right vs the neocon-neoliberal alliance
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
...The conservatives who are speaking out against the Libyan action are not just angry because the administration went to the UN Security Council instead of the US Congress to seek authorization, they are also attacking the underlying policy, the dangerous "responsibility to protect" doctrine. This is explicitly rejected by Barlett and other conservatives, who note Libya "has not attacked US territory, the US military, or US citizens."
If this is now the standard, then the War Party has lost the tea partiers, a group that includes Bartlett, Lee, Chaffetz, and Justin Amash – who is introducing legislation to defund the Libyan war. In the absence of a similar protest on the left, these tea partiers are the most vocal and visible opponents of the Libyan war. Together with Ron and Rand Paul, they are leading a new generation of conservative Republicans to do battle with the interventionist consensus that dominates Washington.
A couple of weeks ago, Glenn Greenwald – another writer, like Larison, with whom I share certain ideological sympathies – wrote a piece on the Tea Party and US foreign policy that was somewhat sympathetic to the idea that their less government philosophy leads logically to support for civil liberties on the home front and anti-interventionism in the foreign policy realm. Yet there was, to be sure, a certain condescending air that permeated Glenn’s piece, and in the course of it he remarked that the libertarians and paleoconservatives constitute small factions "without much political influence." Today, as the main voices of protest against an unconstitutional and potentially very dangerous war come from these very elements, while the Democratic "left" (pathetically represented by the likes of Nancy Pelosi) mindlessly cheerleads this latest empire-building excursion, there are ample grounds to challenge Greenwald’s appraisal – and Larison’s.
Indeed, the freshmen tea partiers and Ron Paul supporters aren’t the only ones questioning the Libya "rescue" operation. Haley Barbour, a pillar of the Republican establishment of some considerable girth and weight, is not only asking "What are we doing in Libya?" but is also questioning our ten-year Afghan crusade, and wondering aloud why we can’t cut our bloated military budget. Indeed, Tim Pawlenty, the neocons’ favorite GOP presidential candidate (to date), was quick to attack Barbour for entertaining such heresy.
The "isolationist" (i.e. pro-peace, anti-internationalist) sentiment represented – albeit unevenly, and inconsistently — by the populist tea party movement is trickling up to the higher tiers of the Republican party leadership, so that even House Speaker John Boehner felt compelled to issue a statement questioning the process if not the policy that led to US involvement in Libya’s civil war.
This "trickle up" process is working slowly, but surely. As the Obama administration embarks on a course determined in advance by its ideological premises — a crass self-declared "pragmatism" which amounts to supporting the status quo unless and until it becomes untenable, and then pursuing whatever policy will satisfy the dominant factions within his own administration – Republican opposition is crystallizing. That many Republicans are reacting to this in a purely partisan manner is irrelevant: some opposition to Obama’s Libyan adventure may start out as a partisan ploy, but political necessity is quick to harden into ideological conviction.
Ever since the Kosovo war – indeed, since this web site’s very inception – Antiwar.com has been plugging away at the conservative pro-war consensus as an ideological distortion, and pointing to an alternative view which holds that limited government has to mean limited involvement in the affairs of other nations. You can’t have a Republic and have an Empire at the same time. You can’t hope to cut back the power of government if that government must have the funding and the executive flexibility to send US troops anywhere in the world without a by your leave either to Congress or to the long-oppressed taxpayers who are footing the bill.
That message is finally beginning to sink in. No, we aren’t taking exclusive credit for this sudden awakening: it’s the result of years of work by many people on many different levels, but Antiwar.com has, indeed, been a major factor in this remarkable shift, and I don’t mind saying so.
Let David Weigel, the turncoat former Kochtopus employee who smeared Ron Paul as a "racist," cite the irrelevant Alan West all he wants: he and his newfound "progressive" buddies have an interest in denying the reality of a new movement on the right that opposes foreign meddling by the US government as well as Washington’s meddling with our healthcare. Having defected from Team Red to Team Blue, Weigel makes a living off the discredited and archaic "left-right" paradigm, which insists that everyone on the right is a Neanderthalish rube just itching to get him some Muslim scalps: citing him hardly helps Larison’s case.
The constitutionalist-libertarian movement initially energized by Ron Paul’s heroic efforts has grown well beyond the organizational confines of Paul’s Campaign for Liberty and its growing and very active youth section, Young Americans for Liberty. A broad, grassroots movement has arisen that not only embraces the economics of freedom long championed by Rep. Paul, but also insists on the Paulian insight that our foreign policy of global intervention is an obstacle placed in the path of taking back our old Republic. Their horror at the presidential supremacism exhibited by President Obama as he goes to war without a vote in Congress is rooted in a principled opposition to Big Government per se, and in a recognition that imperialism is inherently hostile to their vision of a free America...MORE...LINK