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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Home-Made Crises

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Yesterday, I wrote about how U.S. foreign policy ignites and engenders a variety of crises, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Such crises are then used to get the citizenry all worked up and panic-stricken, which then enables the government to increase its power over the citizenry. The current crises dealing with the resurgence of the “communist” threat from Russia and the “terrorist” threat from the Muslims, along with the potential threat from the international drug dealers as a result of the war on drugs, provide good examples of how government policies produce the crises which are then used as the excuse to expand the power of the government.

For example, consider the new “crisis” concerning Russia that America is now facing and over which the neo-con community is now going ballistic. An article in last Sunday’s New York Times details recent events in the rise of that crisis.

A few weeks after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili asked Bush to admit Georgia into NATO, Bush met with Russian President Putin. Putin confronted Bush directly with an admonition: admitting Georgia (and Ukraine) into NATO would cross Russia’s “red lines.”

Now, everyone knows what the color red means, right? For example, the reason that red is used in the U.S. government’s highest ranking of color codes in its “war on terrorism” is because red denotes one thing: danger. Or recall the famous Cold War direct telephone line between the American and Soviet presidents — it was red, again denoting danger.

Thus, when Putin used the term “red lines” in his admonition to Bush, how could Bush have mistaken the import of the message? Putin was obviously telling Bush — this is a line you should not cross because it means danger, as in crisis.

The Times’ article puts an innocent spin on the matter: “It is also a story of how both Democrats and Republicans have misread Russia’s determination to dominate its traditional sphere of influence.”

Or maybe not. Maybe U.S. officials instead saw it as an excellent opportunity to poke the Russian bear in the nose, much as they had poked hornets’ nests in the Middle East, knowing that ultimately such pokes produce an angry and violent reaction, which then produces crises that “confirm” the need for an enormous military and military-industrial complex, along with more military spending, taxation, and infringements on civil liberties.

According to the Times article, Vice President Cheney and his aides and allies “saw Georgia as a role model for their democracy promotion campaign, pushed to sell Georgia more arms, including Stinger antiaircraft missiles, so that it could defend itself against possible Russian aggression.”

For his part, Bush wanted to reward Georgia for its contribution of troops to his Iraq intervention, which was nothing more than a war of aggression waged against a country that had never attacked the United States. The reward was “NATO membership and its accompanying umbrella of American military might.”

Meanwhile, Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at the Washington Post writes as if NATO were some sort of nice, benign organization and that Russia is behaving irrationally by opposing Georgia’s membership in the organization.

Even though NATO’s mission was to protect Europe against an attack against the Soviet Union, according to Hiatt it was perfectly acceptable for NATO to have remained in existence after the Soviet Union disbanded. Hiatt’s rationale? To protect against a Russia that might later change its mind and “seek hegemony” over neighboring countries.

Never mind that NATO is effectively run by the U.S. government, whose foreign policy is based on regime change, assassination, foreign aid, intimidation, meddling, invasions, wars of aggression, and occupations. Russia is apparently supposed to ignore all that and instead believe that the U.S. government’s placement of missiles in Poland and its drive to include Georgia in NATO are part of a benign attempt to bring love, peace, and harmony to the world.

The idea that the entire world, including the United States, Eastern Europe, and Russia, would have been better off with the dismantling of NATO when the Soviet Union dismantled apparently never even occurs to Hiatt. But that’s exactly what should have happened.

Instead, with its interventionist foreign policy the U.S. government has succeeded in stirring up anger and hatred everywhere — in the Middle East, in Russia, and with its drug war in Latin America. Americans would be wise to bring about a radical change in direction before it’s too late.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.