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The Realpolitik of International Peace

I have long been opposed to American militaristic interventionism and the warfare state. We have good reason to fear the military-industrial complex and oppose the interests of defense contractors when their vested interest conflicts with the wellbeing of our society as a whole. This is why presidential candidates like Ron Paul and Tulsi Gabbard have always excited me. It’s refreshing to hear a staunch critic of the warfare state on the presidential debate stage. However, I’m not quite satisfied with the foreign policy of such populist figures. My politics is hard to classify, being an odd blend of Hayekian libertarianism, Pettitian republicanism, Rawlsian liberalism, Burkean conservatism, Giddensian social democracy, and several varieties of neoliberalism. A core component of my though is realism, and I’ve especially been influenced by the notion of realpolitik.

Classical Realpolitik

History, of course, has given realpolitik a bad name and this is somewhat rightfully so. Many of the people who advocated realpolitik were pushing terrible policies. However, the bad actors in the history of realpolitik were guilty of distorting the noble principles behind the idea itself. When Ludwig von Rochau coined the term realpolitik, he was engaging in political realism in an “attempt at answering the conundrum of how to achieve liberal enlightened goals in a world that does not follow liberal enlightened rules.”(Wikipedia) Realpolitik, in the classical sense, goes hand-in-hand with liberalism and republicanism in politics. It is a political realism that advocates democracy, liberty, and peace in international relations, while being cognizant of the fact that foreign nations don’t always share our liberal-republican values and often act upon selfish, violent, and authoritarian impulses. Realpolitik also involves a recognition that the relationships between nations are anarchical in the negative sense — there is no strong global governance to make various countries cooperate and play fairly on a democratic basis. It recognizes the reality of the existence of totalitarian anti-democratic regimes, terrorist groups, and megalomaniacal dictators. It is not realistic for liberal democracies to stand by and watch as fascist dictators send their armies to invade neighboring countries and commit genocide; for this aggression will likely not stop at the edge of their neighbor’s territory.

Originally, the term realpolitik was coined by Ludwig von Rochau. Rochau was a republican and a liberal and the formulation of his realpolitik was a direct response to the failure of 1848. Rochau had supported those revolutions, but he came to recognize that the failure of the revolutions of 1848 was a result of “naïve liberalism.” The radical republican and liberal revolutionaries behaved as if simply discussing philosophical ideas and deliberating upon them in democratic assemblies would somehow transfer sovereignty to the people. Classical realpolitik, in the tradition of Rochau, had several core insights with regard to domestic policy that are worth listing here:

  • (1) While might is right is wrong and the rule of the strong doesn’t morally justify their rule, the reality is that sovereignty resides in those who have power. Sovereignty is not, and cannot be, based on any divine right of kings or social contract. Whoever has power will rule.
  • (2) Effective government entails incorporating powerful social forces into the state and bringing them into balance. A practical example of this can be seen in the Nordic countries, where collective bargaining between labor and capital is done at the national level and directly mediated by government. Another example would be universal suffrage whereby the working class and middle class are given a role in government. The government creates stability and maintains its own sovereignty by incorporating new social forces into itself.
  • (3) Ideas shape politics but the truth or coherence of those ideas is mostly irrelevant. The only thing that matters is how widespread those ideas are held. Public opinion is the most important factor in determining in which direction a nation’s politics will go.
  • (4) Aristocratic and monarchical states are now weak because the religious hierarchies and noble aristocrats no longer hold real power and the attempt to continue a lifeless tradition ignores where real power now lies, in the hands of the workers and the capitalists. A strong state must take into consideration the various interests of the social forces at play in the real world and unifying them within the national polity.
  • (5) As a liberal and a republican, Rochau held that the spreading of wealth and education to the masses, which came alongside social progress, entailed the transfer of power. This meant that as workers rose into the middle class and universal education became the norm, it would be necessary to incorporate the masses into the state on a democratic basis. Social progress naturally leads to the people having more power, and it would be unethical for a ruler to attempt to arrest social progress in order to maintain exclusive power.

Realpolitik, however, is more commonly known in the context of foreign policy, which Rochau also addressed. Louis Napoleon had just risen to power in France and the fear in Germany was that this would be a repeat of Bonaparte. What was to prevent Napoleon III from sending his troops marching through the streets of Germany as Napoleon I had? The obvious solution, Rochau had argued, was to unify the thirty-nine weak German states of the Confederacy into one strong national state and form a defensive alliance with neighboring Austria. The only way to counter the power structure of France was to create an equally strong power structure that could oppose French aggressions. The disunity of the decentralized Confederation made it too difficult to coordinate defensive action. The German Confederation would need to centralize control of its military and foreign policy under the leadership of a single head. The confederal structure meant that Germany could only fight defensive wars, guaranteeing that the theatre of war would always be on German soil. Germany needed to unite as a single nation-state so that it could act pre-emptively by taking the war to France if necessary. When France started to show signs of imperialistic aggression, indicating that it might be bringing a war to Germany, Germany would need to pre-emptively attack so that the war could be waged on French soil rather than German soil. In the interest of defending the German people, Germany had an obligation to keep the war from taking place on German soil. In the meantime, this unified Germany would need to ban the sale of horses and weaponry to the French as a precaution, as such items could potentially be used to carry out aggression against Austria and eventually the German states.

A core insight of Rochau’s realpolitik was that the existence of strong nation-states and powerful actors in the international sphere made the formation of some countervailing power necessary. As a liberal and a republican, Rochau valued democracy and peace, but he recognized that liberal democratic values are not shared by everyone. If you want to keep large powerful nations run by sociopaths with illiberal ideologies from invading your lands, you have to create large powerful nations and defensive alliances that ensure that it is not in their interest to do so. If you want to keep France and Napoleon from taking over Europe, you need to make sure that countervailing powers on the international stage make it unfeasible for them to be able to do so successfully.

This message of realpolitik that Rochau put forth was taken up by conservatives, such as Bismarck, who wished to create and preserve a strong and stable state:

Arguably, it was a message that Otto von Bismarck took on board in his domestic statecraft as much as his foreign policy — by co-opting emerging social forces ((bourgeois and proletarian) and by pre-empting the demands of liberals and then socialists, thus unifying the nation and building a welfare state. — John Bew, Realpolitik: A History

Realpolitiks has so often been the justification for an aggressively interventionist foreign policy. Neoliberal and neoconservative realpolitikers actually had many valuable insights in the realm of diplomacy and foreign relations, but the implications and conclusions that they drew were extremely problematic. They were right that reality requires us to be somewhat interventionist. They were wrong in their assumption that all intervention in foreign affairs must be aggressive and self-interested. Libertarian-democrats and liberal-republicans that want to be realistic on foreign policy need to be pushing a mostly non-aggressive interventionism. America is now the most powerful nation-state in the world. We don’t usually need to intervene aggressively. We can often simply lend assistance and stand behind one group, forming defensive alliances with them, in order to discourage others from attacking them.

Neoconservatism’s Useful Insights

Neoconservatism, in spite of all its flaws, does have some valuable insights. I will just outline some key insights from Irving Kristol’s essay The Neoconservative Persuasion:

  • (1) that traditional fiscal conservatism is unwise and that budget deficits are necessary for economic growth (an insight also substantiated by Modern Money Theory),
  • (2) that a property-owning democracy — where ownership of wealth and resources is widely distributed rather than monopolized by the few, where all citizens are both owners and tax-payers and extreme excesses of wealth are reined in — is conducive to the economic and social stability that conservatives desire,
  • (3) the recognition that the growth of the state is a historical inevitability and not necessarily a bad thing — a strong government is a good thing and should be preferred to a weak government, while an “overly intrusive government” should be opposed,
  • (4) that, regardless of whether one likes it or not, the United States is the world’s largest superpower and “[w]ith power come responsibilities, whether sought or not, whether welcome or not. And it is a fact that if you have the kind of power we now have, either you will find opportunities to use it, or the world will discover them for you,”
  • (5) that the national interest extends beyond the borders of the nation — it is in our own interest that our neighboring countries have stable governments and are not inviting war or conflict to the region; that it is also in our interest that other strong states that have the capacity to attack us do not have leaders with the inclination to do so; that it is in our interest to come to the defense of our allies, and
  • (6) that “statesmen should, above all, have the ability to distinguish friends from enemies.”

These are all valuable insights, even though neoconservatives have drawn the wrong conclusions from them and so frequently advocated interventions that were not actually in the national interest.

Violence and Self-Interest Lead to Blowback

The first thing that a libertarian-democrat or liberal-republican realpolitiker must notice is that our friends are not who the neocons tell us they are, and neither are our enemies! If we truly value liberal democracy and republicanism, we must see truly democratic groups as our allies and authoritarian regimes as our enemies. So frequently, however, the pseudo-realpolitik of neoliberals and neoconservatives has misidentified our friends and our enemies and attacked people we should have supported while supporting people we should have cut all ties to. The United States backed and helped orchestrate coup d’états against democratically-elected leaders in Chile and Iran, creating countless enemies in those regions.

The U.S. helped overthrow the popular and democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvador Allende, and helped place the fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet in power instead. Pinochet executed, imprisoned, tortured, and disappeared countless of his own people. Why did American neoliberals make these blunders? Because they valued free-trade more than democracy and individual liberty — they would rather Chile’s people be politically unfree than allow them to refuse to embrace American-style capitalism.

The United States and the United Kingdom worked together to orchestrate a coup d’état to remove the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, from power. Why did the neoliberals want him removed from power? Well, because Mosaddegh held that oil and the other natural resources of Iran ought to belong to the Iranian people and refused to allow foreign countries and corporations to monopolize Iranian oil. British Petroleum (BP), the oil company of the United Kingdom, wanted to monopolize Iranian oil and use it for its own benefit at the expense of the Iranian people — the British and American governments wanted to control the wealth and resources of Iran. So, America and Britain worked together to remove Mosaddegh from power. Iranian people were originally largely pro-America, but the overthrow of the popular, democratically elected leader permanently altered the sentiment of Iranians. The United States ended up backing Mohammad Reza Shah, the Shah/King of Iran, which led to the Shah becoming extremely unpopular, causing him to ultimately be overthrown by the people and replaced with Ayatollah Khomeini, the man who — as leader of Iran — called for the assassination of Salman Rushdie, a British writer, for publishing a novel that represented Islam in a negative light. The end result of these American foreign policy blunders was the growth of Islamic extremism in the region.

After the Iranian revolution, groups of Islamic extremist “mujahideen” had formed in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union was attempting to take over Afghanistan and these mujahideen waged a guerrilla war against the Soviet invaders. The United States, operating on the assumption that the enemy of our enemy is our friend, backed a number of mujahideen, including Osama bin Laden. The United States provided the mujahideen with money, weapons, and training, encouraging them to use terrorist tactics against the Russians. This group of mujahideen were known as al-Qaeda (“the database” or “the base”), which is apparently a dual reference to the database which listed the names of mujahideen fighters on the CIA payroll and also to the base where the CIA trained the mujahideen in the art of warfare. When the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, the Russians withdrew their troops from Afghanistan. The United States, at that point, also withdrew from Afghanistan and allowed a Pakistan-based totalitarian group, the Taliban, to take over the country. Upset about being totally forsaken by the Americans and left to be potentially massacred by the new totalitarian regime, al-Qaeda turned against the United States and declared America to be its greatest enemy. Ultimately, al-Qaeda retaliated by knocking down the Twin Towers, and America has been in an all-out war against Islamic terrorism ever since.

You may notice here that these policies all ended up having negative unintended consequences — this is what the Intelligence community calls “blowback.” Thus far we have only mentioned the most obvious blunders created by aggressive interventions in the name of pseudo-realpolitik, but countless other examples could be given, such as our blunders in Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and elsewhere. We are currently experiencing a refugee crisis as a direct result of such American interventionism in Central America. For more information on how the United States destabilized Central America and created the chaos that led to the current refugee crisis, check out Mark Tseng-Putterman’s article A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigration Crisis. It is worth noting that there is also a refugee crisis going on in Europe, which is the direct result of American intervention in the Middle East. The fake realpolitiking of neoliberals and neoconservatives is actually destabilizing the entire world. Their realpolitik of violence, therefore, was not really based in political realism. If it were, it wouldn’t have had the unintended consequence of leading to global instability and crisis. The realpolitik of America thus far has been a fake realpolitik that ignores political reality.

A New World Order

The term new world order has been shrouded by conspiracy theory for quite a while, and the term generally has a negative connotation today, but the notion itself is not a bad idea. Contrary to popular belief, the “new world order” does not refer to a unified global government or conspiracy of any sort. The term was coined after World War I, and reintroduced during Word War II, to refer to the possibility of an international order of peace wherein nations could coexist without making constant war. The idea of a new world order was quite vague and referred to some system of international law and world governance designed to keep nations from going to war against one another.

The advocates of a new world order generally recognized that lasting world peace could only be established in one of three ways: (1) by creating a world federation, rebuilding nations on a democratic basis and federating them into a global alliance or (2) by world dominion in which one nation comes to dominate the whole planet or (3) by the rise of an international policeman, one nation or group of nations that polices the rest of the world. The general consensus among advocates of a new world order was that a world federation of democratic nations was preferable to the alternative options. Contrary to popular belief, the proponents of the new world order have never supported a global government. They have always wanted a world confederation. The international policeman model, however, is far closer to the current reality than the world federation advocated by the proponents of the new world order. There is some semblance of a world federation starting to form, but it is still in its infancy and not full-grown. During the Cold War, there was a bipolar world order in which two superpowers — the U.S.S.R and the U.S. — balanced each other out. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States became the dominant world power and took upon itself the role of international policeman. The advocates of a new world order would see this situation as precarious and worrisome. They would suggest that lasting peace requires a world federation since the international policeman scenario leaves the rest of the world no feasible means for standing up to police brutality on the international stage.

The gist of the idea behind the new world order, as espoused by Samuel Zane Batten and H. G. Wells, was that a world federation should be formed in which each nation is required to sign on to a universal declaration of human rights as a prerequisite for joining. The member nations would collectively hold other member nations accountable and take action against human rights violations. Additionally, the federated nations would agree to not go to war against one another. If one nation did wage war against another federation member, the other member nations would unite against the aggressing party. And all the member nations would cooperate and trade freely together in a liberal and peaceful manner.

Why don’t Virginia and Connecticut ever go to war against each other? Because they belong to the federation of the United States. Why doesn’t Germany invade France or Norway make war on Switzerland? Because they belong to the federation of the European Union. The U.S. and E.U. keep their member states from getting into conflicts with one another. This federalism should be extended further, to unite all the liberal democracies, social democracies, and social market countries under one confederation. Wells was adamant that failure to recognize human rights ought to be grounds for expulsion from the world federation. Therefore, nations like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey would not be eligible to join the confederation until they signed on to the declaration of human rights and took action to correct their failures to uphold said human rights.

Two Republican Models

There were several visions of republicanism espoused by the American Founding Fathers. As a liberal-republican, the two models that most interest me are Thomas Jefferson’s and Thomas Paine’s. The Jeffersonian republic was essentially a form of radical federalism, involving decentralization, direct democracy, and distributism or property-owning democracy. The closest modern equivalents would be G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc’s distributism, Fred Foldvary’s cellular democracy, Murray Bookchin’s libertarian municipalism, and Abdullah Öcalan’s democratic confederalism which has been adopted by the Syrian Democratic Forces. The Painean republic, on the other hand, would be less decentralized in order to be more generous, entailing universal social programs and focusing more on welfare. The closest modern equivalents would be Samuel Hammond’s free-market welfare state, the Nordic model of social democracy, and the German social market economy. Both the Jeffersonian model and the Painean model are beautiful in my estimation. I think we ought to value the political legacy left to us by our Founding Fathers, and so we ought to regard countries and movements that share such republican models and values as our allies and friends.

The Jeffersonian model works best for small countries and regions torn apart by conflict, but it requires the backing of foreign nation-states to be sustainable. The Painean model seems to be the only possible model of republicanism for long-established and industrialized states. It is unfeasible today to attempt to decentralize the United States and implement direct face-to-face assembly democracy. However, other countries that have had their governments collapse might more easily be able to organize on the basis of assembly democracy and the principles of democratic confederalism. But, the success of democratic confederalism in the longterm requires backing by strong nation-states.

Libertarian-Democratic Realpolitik in the Middle East

The realpolitik of peace that I am calling for is antithetical to the destabilizing and blowback-inducing pseudo-realpolitik of neoliberalism and neoconservatism. A true realpolitik ought to be conservative in the Burkean sense. Burkean conservatism values peace and stability and opposes revolutionary violence and insurrection. The neoconservatives and neoliberals explicitly rejected traditional conservative values and, therefore, saw no problem in supporting coup d’états that lead to chaos, instability, and insurrectionary violence. The true realpolitik of peace is in contrast to this conventional realpolitik of violence. It knows that peace and stability is a good thing. It is in the national interest for peace and stability to prevail in all other countries. When instability arises, we see refugee crises. When we intervene in ways that cause instability, it makes America unpopular and leads to blowback in the form of terrorist attacks against American citizens.

The peacemaking realpolitiker sets himself apart from the violence-inducing realpolitiking of the neoliberals and neoconservatives. The peacemaking realpolitiker does not support any intervention designed to create instability or lead to a revolution. Instead, he absolutely opposes regime-change interventions and opposes the backing of unpopular and non-democratic leaders. But, the realpolitik of peace is not isolationist. If a revolution or civil war is underway in another country, this new realpolitik calls for us to support the most democratic and republican faction. Although the advocate of liberal-republican realpolitik will be extremely critical of neoliberal and neoconservative interventionist policies in general, they will be able to see one point where the conventional realpolitikers made the right choice. Amidst the instability and chaos of the Syrian Civil War, the Department of Defense has backed the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), recognizing that these two groups hold democratic values and can serve as a valuable ally against ISIS and Islamic terrorism. The Department of Defense offered training, weapons, supplies, and financial aid to the YPG/YPJ in their struggle against ISIS. The YPG and YPJ are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has been the most successful group waging war against ISIS.

John Bolton got it right when he asserted that Donald Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria was unwise. The United States cannot just leave the Syrian Democratic Forces — the YPG and YPJ — to be slaughtered by Turkey and ISIS. This is the sort of foreign policy blunder that led to blowback from Afghanistan. We can’t just look at these movements as tools that can be cast aside when no longer useful. These are allies that we must support even when it does not immediately seem to be the case that we benefit from the exchange anymore. They fought for democracy and liberty in Syria, so the United States can’t just back out of the theater and allow Turkey to wipe out the democratic forces. The democratic forces are predominantly Kurdish, and Turkey has long had a genocidal policy towards the Kurds. If we allow him to, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will wipe out the Kurds and destroy the democratic confederation in Syria. This will create instability and allow ISIS to quickly make a resurgence and regain control of the region.

The Democratic Federation of Rojava, to which the SDF, YPG, and YPJ belong, is a radical experiment in direct democracy and federalism, aligning closely to the vision of Thomas Jefferson in many ways. The democratic confederalist model of governance that it has adopted is one that America ought to support on principle. As liberal-republicans, we can sympathize with radically decentralized and confederal forms of democracy, even though we realize that such things are unrealistic for America and other nation-states today. Nevertheless, we can use our power structure in order to make such models realistic for others. It is impossible for an experiment like democratic confederalism in Rojava to last long in a world where powerful nation-states are eager to invade and take over. However, the United States can lend itself as a countervailing power to create security for decentralized democratic confederations. And this is precisely what we ought to do. We ought to support such democratic confederations and encourage the model of direct democracy and confederation throughout the Middle East. We ought to offer protection and assistance to such groups in order to discourage other nation-states from attempting to suppress them.

As liberal-republicans, this makes sense on principle, since the same radical republican values inform their politics as inform ours, but it makes even more sense from a purely self-interested and pragmatic perspective. Most nation-states in the Middle East are either unstable or sympathetic to terrorist causes, which creates a problem for Western liberal democracies. The democratic confederalist model of the Syrian Democratic Forces creates stability in the region, which can be rendered permanently stable with the backing of Western nation-states, and discourages polarization whilst fostering diversity. This is a model that allows Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis to peacefully coexist and smooths over conflicts through a participatory democratic process. It is in our best interest to create a stable and democratic order in the Middle East that discourages extremism and terrorist sympathies. At the same time, the democratic confederalist model is a “non-state political administration or a democracy without a state,” which means that it entails the creation of no centralized power structure that can be taken over by megalomaniacal dictators for nefarious purposes. (Cf. Abdullah Öcalan, Democratic Confederalism) This means that democratic confederalism can never be a real threat to America, since it has no real power structure and — like the old German Confederation — only has the capacity to act militarily for defensive purposes.

Thus, I conclude that the United States ought to support real democratic and confederalist movements in the Middle East and ought to actively support the development of such movements by providing propaganda and literature by thinkers such as Murray Bookchin, Peter Kropotkin, and Abdullah Öcalan in order to help spread the ideas and values of such utopian thinking. The United States should withdraw support from terroristic states like Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia and redirect — towards the building of democratic confederations — all the aid and resources that are currently going to such countries. In addition to helping spread libertarian confederalist propaganda, we ought also to provide weapons and money to libertarian confederalist causes. We should seek to help the democratic confederalists replace nation-states like Syria and Iraq with more anarchical non-state forms of democracy.

Numerous American allies divert American aid towards terrorist activities and promote terrorist causes and ideologies. If America is serious about the War on Terror — and it should be! — it ought to cut all ties to Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Every dollar that currently goes towards such allies ought to be redirected towards the project of promoting and defending democratic confederalism as the model for peace in the Middle East. Realistically, a secular libertarian democratic confederation is the best option in the Middle East. It’s the only option that will create security, peace, and stability. If we could get them to embrace market systems and free trade, it would be even better, but I would not make that a central issue.

Such interventionism in support of popular democratic movements and liberation movements — in contrast to the arbitrary intervention in favor of unpopular fascist leaders that has dominated American foreign policy heretofore —leaves very little chance of our involvement and actions resulting in blowback. The people will see us as allies and friends rather than as a foreign interest trying to institute puppet-dictators. If our interests truly align with the interests of the people whose affairs we are interfering with, we will be seen as liberators and allies. Thus, we must be cautious never to intervene in any way that does not directly support the interest of the people’s whose affairs we are intervening in.

Problems with Isolationist Libertarians

Libertarian-minded individuals may be inclined towards a more isolationist approach and suppose that we ought to just leave the Middle East alone. I am not convinced that this would be a wise policy. There is something to Irving Kristol’s argument that America is the most powerful nation in the history of the world and that great power comes with great responsibility. We are the only power in the world strong enough to stand up against terrorism and fascist power structures. It is not in anyone’s best interest for ISIS to take over and establish its own nation-state so that it can begin manufacturing rockets and nuclear weapons. That is precisely what would happen if we were to totally back out of the Middle East. It is also simply impossible to just “turn back the clock” and go back to the good old days of Medieval Europe when matters were simpler and isolationism was a more feasible approach as long as you had the capacity to defend yourself when necessary. In the absence of a global confederation of nations for purposes of international law and governance, it seems necessary for America — as the worlds greatest superpower — to take on the role of the world’s policeman. It’s unfortunate that America has always been a bad cop — as so many cops usually are — but this doesn’t change the fact that the existence of a cop is necessary. What we need is to set a standard for use of force and set up a set of rules to govern the policeman’s behavior in a rational and predictable way. In the longterm, we need to create a world federation that renders the role of the United States as an international policeman unnecessary.

I’d really prefer a more libertarian hands-off approach, something far less interventionist, but the realities of the modern world have taken that option away from us. We should not meddle in local politics and decision-making in order to encourage countries to embrace free trade policies that benefit us at their own expense, but we should help prevent other nation-states from conquering neighbor states, committing genocide, and annihilating libertarian democratic movements in regions outside their own territories. And, if a civil war erupts spontaneously, we ought to help the most libertarian and democratic faction because liberty and democracy are in the interest of everyone. We ought to say, “Okay, these democratic forces are under our protection against weaponized states. We won’t necessarily fight their battles and get involved in their affairs, but if any nation-state attacks them we will treat it as if they directly attacked us!” And we should also lend money, weapons, and other resources to assist the building of libertarian democratic movements when doing such things does not undermine existing stable governments. The alternative to such interventionism is simply to stand aside and do nothing as terrorist-sympathizing states commit genocide and wipe out liberation movements.

Here are the key principles of our libertarian-democratic realpolitik:

  • (1) That we ought to form defensive alliances, systems of international law, and a world federation in order to create international power structures that prevent or deter nation-states from going to war against one another.
  • (2) That, while we are not isolationists in foreign policy, our interventions in foreign affairs must focus on maintaining peace, stability, and security in the regions in which we do intervene. This is necessary to prevent blowback and to keep from creating more refugee crises in the future.
  • (3) That any intervention we engage in must be in the best interest of the people whose affairs we are interfering in. Our interventions cannot be motivated purely by our own national self-interest. This will help prevent blowback and ensure that the people whose affairs we interfere with will see us as friends and allies.
  • (4) That if we lend assistance to a group or nation, we must not arbitrarily withdraw support when it no longer seems necessary. We must not withdraw our support so as to allow their objectives to fail, as this will lead to blowback and make those whom we have forsaken into enemies.
  • (5) That we ought to favor and support libertarian-democratic movements that embrace either democratic confederalism or liberal democracy. We ought to give precedence to non-state forms of democracy when conditions are conducive to such forms of social order insofar as they can create stability without creating power structures that can be co-opted for nefarious purposes. When stable liberal democracies already exist, we ought to support them as allies but remain cautious, recognizing that a liberal democracy can potentially give way to despotism and become a fascist aggressor on the international stage.

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