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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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Conservative Blind Eye on Empire


One of the things that has long fascinated me about conservatives is how eager they always are to criticize foreign regimes while, at the same time, steadfastly maintaining a blind eye to wrongful policies and practices of the U.S. government. For example, a conservative will rail against the evils of socialism but then use the educational and health care systems in Cuba and Venezuela as his example rather than the educational and health care systems of the United States.

A good example of this conservative phenomenon occurs in today’s Washington Times, which is a paragon of conservatism. In an article entitled “China’s Paths to Hegemony,” writer Richard Halloran describes the growing threat from China’s foreign policy. He points out that China is building up its stock of warships, fighter planes, and missiles and is also conducting war games.

But that’s not all that concerns Halloran. He says that there is another side that should concern people — the “soft power” in which China is engaging — or what Halloran calls, ominously, a “charm offensive.” What he’s referring to is the “application of China’s expanding economy trade, aid and investment to achieve political ends.”

Here’s the crux of the “soft power” threat that has Halloran so concerned:

“In a wider context, China’s soft power seems integral to what may be a campaign to revive the Middle Kingdom, the China of yesteryear that dominated Asia. Chinese armies won’t march across international borders but rather Beijing seeks to acquire such political, economic and diplomatic clout that major decisions in every Asian capital will require Chinese approval.”

What Halloran fails to point out, is that all that China is doing is simply copying the foreign policy of the U.S. government. After all, isn’t the U.S. government on a never-ending quest to acquire more military armaments than the entire world combined? Isn’t the U.S. government forever engaged in war games, which unlike China’s war games, extend to all parts of the globe, including the Middle East?

Moreover, while it’s true that the U.S. government goes much further than the Chinese government in expanding its overseas empire, such as with assassinations, murders, kidnappings, coups, invasions, and occupations, a core element of U.S. foreign policy has long been the installation or purchase of puppets in charge of foreign regimes.

In fact, that was what Iraq has been all about. Do you recall when the U.S. government was in partnership with Saddam Hussein, when U.S. officials were delivering those infamous WMDS to Saddam and even helping him to use themagainst the Iranian people?

That was when U.S. officials thought that Saddam was part of the U.S. Empire team, a puppet who would do their bidding when called upon to do so. As long as there was that understanding, what Saddam Hussein did to his own people was totally irrelevant to U.S. officials. But once U.S. officials realized that Saddam could not be controlled, it became necessary to oust him from office, either through a brutal system of sanctions, assassination, coup, or ultimately an invasion.

It’s also what Iran has been all about. Recall that U.S. officials, operating through the CIA, ousted the democratically elected prime minister of Iran because he refused to become a team player in the U.S. Empire. They replaced him with one of the world’s most brutal dictators, the Shah of Iran, a man who proceeded to torture and tyrannize his own people for the next 25 years. When the Iranian people ultimately revolted against the Shah’s (and the U.S. government’s) tyranny, they installed a regime that refused to become a puppet of the U.S. Empire, which is what has earned Iran the ever-lasting enmity of the U.S. Empire.

It’s been the same with Pakistan, where the U.S. government has flooded millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into the coffers of one of the world’s most brutal dictators, one that was even a close friend of the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the 9/11 attacks. The dictator, who is a former military general, recently fired the country’s “independent” Supreme Court and jailed lawyers and judges for opposing his dictatorship. All that doesn’t matter to U.S. offciials, however, as long as the dictator, Pervez Musharraf, continues to be part of the U.S. Empire. If he were to go independent, there is no doubt that he would suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein.

Is any of this in Halloran’s article? Of course not. In the conservative mind, the U.S. government, with its pro-empire, interventionist foreign policy, is sancrosanct and sacred. It’s only foreign regimes that are subject to criticism, even when they are doing nothing more than copying the policies and practicies of the U.S. Empire.

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.