Wayne Allyn Root now realizes that to get the LP presidential nomination (something his ego seems to want very badly), he must please the LP's majority non-interventionist faction.
Root's problem is that, while his core belief seems to be self-promotion, he does seem to be a sincere interventionist. His early statements were extensive and consistent on that point; a worldwide "war on terror" sounded close to his heart.
Before running in the LP, Root endorsed
McCain/Lieberman for 2008. Even in 2007, after announcing his LP bid, Root was a supporter of war. ("Iraq was the wrong war, Iran is the right war," he'd said in 2007. (In February 2008 he told me that what he'd really said was that "Iran might be the right war," but that he no longer supported that position.)
Root's "official" positions keep "evolving" ever closer to classic libertarian non-interventionism. But is he sincere? His evolution is suspiciously quick and convenient.
And even now, he can't let go of his support for foreign aid.
I checked his website a few weeks ago, and found: "Drastically reduced foreign aid -- stop funding countries that aren't our friends -- utilize the carrot vs. stick."
So he still wants to fund "our friends." (Why don't our friends ever fund us?) Root still doesn't get it. "Carrot vs. stick" is intervention. Demopublicans have used carrots and sticks for over a century. They only disagree on who's currently a friend, who's an enemy.
And in an April 28 press release, Root wrote: We must rapidly and dramatically reduce foreign aid and U.S. military bases around the world. In particular, it is time to end our defense of wealthy countries such as Japan, South Korea and the nations of Western Europe.
Again, he wants to "drastically reduce" foreign aid, but not eliminate it.
He also writes: "Let’s start by eliminating financial support to dictators, with the ultimate goal of cutting foreign aid to a bare minimum everywhere and only if absolutely required for national defense.
Why "start" anywhere? Why an "ultimate goal"? Foreign aid is not something that can only be achieved in increments. One can eliminate all of it, with one stroke of the legislative, or presidential veto, pen.
Why does Root not support an immediate end of all foreign aid, to all nations, rich and poor, "friend" and foe?
Not only is foreign aid an aggression on U.S. taxpayers (who are forced to pay it), but a true libertarian understands that welfare is crippling and corrupting. Thus, foreign aid is crippling and corrupting to nations -- all nations -- friends and foes alike.
Does Root wish to cripple and corrupt "our friends"? Or does Root not believe in the libertarian principle that welfare is crippling in corrupting?
Furthermore, if a foreign nation is truly our friend, surely they'll continue to be so if we stop paying them? What sort of friend is it that always demands a handout every time you see him?
Certainly Japan and South Korea, Western Europe and Israel (not on Root's list), are all wealthy nations. All have money to burn -- as evidenced by their socialist economies. (More so in Western Europe and Israel, but even Japan and South Korea have domestic government spending -- who doesn't?)
Military foreign aid is a form of foreign economic subsidy, since U.S. military aid allows foreign nations to divert their own "defense money" to "social services." Thus, eliminating military foreign aid would not endanger any of "our friends." It would simply require them to divert their domestic spending to their own militaries.
A foreign nation that's a true friend would understand that the U.S. has its own serious economic problems, and would stop demanding handouts. A foreign nation with integrity would want to stand on its own feet, and pay its own way. A foreign nation that was wise would understand that it was in their own interests to do so. And a true libertarian would understand all of the above. And say so. And mean it.
I suggest that all Libertarian presidential candidates be required to sign a pledge: I support the immediate and complete elimination of all foreign aid, to all nations, no exceptions.
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