Yesterday, the New York Times carried a news analysis entitled “On U.S. Foreign Policy, the New Boss Acts a Lot Like the Old One.” The article made a very simple point: When it comes to foreign policy, there isn’t much difference between President Biden and former President Trump.
Well, duh! As we libertarians have been pointing out for decades, there isn’t any difference between Democrats and Republicans, at least not in principle.
Oh sure, we all know that there are two major political parties. But that’s just the appearance of things. Actually, it’s one big monopolistic political party — we can call it the Welfare-Warfare Party — that is divided into two wings — Republicans and Democrats.
Think of the NFL. It’s one league that is divided into two conferences. That’s the way the Welfare-Warfare Party is set up. The two wings of the party compete against each other for who gets to receive the benefits that come with being in charge of the trillions of dollars of tax-funded welfare-warfare largess. Sometimes the Republicans win. Sometimes the Democrats win. It’s nothing more than a process of political musical chairs.
The losers in this sordid game are, of course, the American people. They are the ones who are getting fleeced by the welfare-warfare racket, either directly through income taxation or indirectly through monetary debasement in the form of inflation. The problem, of course, is that all too many Americans love the racket and love getting fleeced. They call it “the price of freedom” and they devote much time, money, and effort to supporting the Republican wing of the racket or the Democratic wing of the racket.
There is something else to consider regarding the lack of difference between Biden’s foreign policy and Trump’s foreign policy — the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — that is, the national-security establishment.
Longtime readers of my blog know that I have long recommended a book entitled Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, who is a professor of law at Tufts University and who has served as counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Glennon’s thesis is an ominous one: He makes a convincing case that it is the national-security establishment that is actually in charge of the federal government , especially when it comes to foreign policy.
I believe that Glennon is absolutely right. Given such, that would explain why there is no difference between Biden and Trump when it comes to foreign policy. It is the Pentagon and the CIA, not any particular president, that are setting foreign policy. The president is permitted some free rein of action but only within a prescribed range.
Consider, for example, Biden’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia, where he engaged in his now-famous “fist bump” with Saudi prince Mohammad bin Salman, who has been accused of orchestrating the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. When he was running for president, Biden vowed to make what he called this “pariah” regime pay the price.
And yet, as president, Biden travels to Saudi Arabia to make nice with that “pariah” regime and engage in his friendly fist bump with bin Salman. What up with that? Well, one possible answer lies with the Pentagon, whose war machine is constantly in need of oil. If the Pentagon told Biden that he needed to swallow his pride and go hat in hand to the Saudis in the hope that he could induce them to unload more oil onto the market, there is no question but that Biden would do so. So would Trump, who immediately upon becoming president surrounded himself with generals and rightwing warmongers and made a special trip to CIA headquarters, where he dutifully bent the knee and kissed the ring.
Unfortunately for both Biden and the Pentagon, the regime that Biden had described as “pariah” didn’t given him a drop of extra oil in response to his groveling.
Consider the recent tax-funded military largess that both Republican and Democratic members of Congress heaped on the Pentagon. Biden asked for $802 billion for his military bosses. Congress readily gave him that but then voted to give the Pentagon an extra bonus of $37 billion. Imagine that! Never mind that the federal government is spending far more than what it is bringing in with taxes. Never mind that the federal government now has a debt of over $30 trillion. Never mind that prices are soaring owing to monetary debasement by the Federal Reserve. None of that matters. All that matters in the minds of both Republicans and Democrats is pleasing their military masters with more tax-funded financial largess.
There really isn’t any difference between Republicans and Democrats — or, if you will, conservatives and progressives — in domestic policy either. Oh sure, there is constant acrimony regarding abortion, but that issue usually just turns on when a person believes that a human being comes into existence. When it comes to socialism, economic control, and economic interventionism, Republicans and Democrats are on the same page.
Consider the socialist, regulatory, and interventionist programs and agencies to which Republicans and Democrats are jointly wedded: Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, public housing, Federal Reserve, paper money, foreign aid, trade wars, sanctions, embargoes, farm subsidies, education grants, FDIC, SBA, SEC, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, minimum-wage laws, price controls, income taxation and the IRS, and much more.
But hey, at least the mainstream press seems to be catching on, at least to a certain extent.