September 13, 2004

A Curious Case for Interventionism

Tom Palmer demolishes Max Borders' case for military interventionism and a "libertarian" hawkish foreign policy:

Borders does not deal with the core classical liberal position that there is a general presumption against waging war. There is a very large and impressive tradition governing the waging of war ("just war theory") and one of the important pillars on which it rests is that unless a war meets various criteria, it is unjustified. The burden of proof is always on the person justifying a war. War is not a good thing in and of itself. It may be a necessary evil, but it requires justification. Borders doesn’t address whether that burden was discharged in the Iraq war. I and others do not think that it was. Where is the argument that it was justified? Purple prose about an unfleshed-out theory that "rests neither on the foundational axioms associated with traditional moral theories, nor on the nihilism and disorderly assertions of the so-called Postmoderns" does not do the job. Arguments and evidence about threats to the U.S., evidence of WMD, evidence of collusion with Al Qaeda in the 9-11 attacks, and so forth are the stuff of such a justification, not irrelevant claims about Rawlsian constructivism and natural rights.