“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – Margaret Thatcher
The situation in the Middle East, to the Western eye, feels sad and exhausting – innumerate lives are being lost and the fighting appears perpetual. Many take the view that intervention or ‘meddling’ in the affairs of other nations, is not only exacerbating the issue, but self-serving and based on selfish, resource driven greed.
As Libertarians, the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is a primary tenant of our ideology – so questioning war and intervention in foreign lands is a natural reflex. Coupling this with the fact that intervention arguably has caused a refugee crisis and a subsequent culture clash within many of our home nations, war, on the surface, appears a net negative. I would argue however that both military intervention and control of natural resources is imperative to protecting our way of life whilst simultaneously liberating millions of human lives from theocratic, dictatorial and murderous regimes that blockade liberty as an ideological ‘rule of thumb’.
When it comes to oil people in the Western world view the drive to control oil and gas reserves within the Middle East in a cynical way. We shame ourselves into the belief that we are stealing these precious resources from desperately poor people to serve our own decadent desires -but this belief is naïve and quite frankly incorrect on many levels.
Indeed, U.S policy on the reliance of foreign oil imports, has since the 1970’s been to reduce dependence. From the second Gulf War onwards (while embroiled in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) U.S dependence on imports has plummeted to some of the lowest levels ever seen, and domestic and Western production of oil and gas is on the up, while consumption slowly peters down.
The reason for this is because of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when the ‘Oil Weapon’ was first utilised. Anti-Israel Arab nations that produced and sold oil, enforced an embargo where the price was boosted over 40%, crippling the American people at ‘the pump’, and punishing the West for their protection and support of the Israeli people within that war. For the first time, the ideological enemies of the West gained supremacy and wielded power over us, and our allies in the region.
Allowing such regimes to have unbridled power and influence is a genuine danger to freedom and liberty, and in my opinion, is enough of a reason to get ‘elbow deep’ into fighting against these powers as ferociously as possible; not because of the oil, but because of principle and in the name of liberty. If this was purely about resources we could look to other nations to pillage, closer to home. Fundamentally this is a fight for sovereignty of our value system; and to boil that down further, net good over net evil.
The Judeo-Christian values that the Western world and the Anglosphere are built upon are about the tolerance, equality (of opportunity) and freedom of will, for all people. The nations who we are at war, or should be at war with, are embodiments of oppression, corruption and despotism.
In Iran free speech is non-existent, journalists are routinely jailed, and all women are mandated by law to wear the veil. Protesters are shot and killed in the streets, terrorism is financed and what is done to homosexuals is too depressing and stomach churning to relay. Similarly, in Russia homosexuals are persecuted rampantly; they are labelled as child abusers, laws are in place to impede their safety and freedom, while in Chechnya reports of gay people being rounded up and brutally murdered or tortured have surfaced.
Turkey is also a serial human-rights-abuser and rapidly rising tyrannical regime. Freedoms of the press and the principles of academic independence are being rapidly eroded and in some cases are arguably non-existent. Turkey also has a proclivity towards the vicious oppression and subjugation of the Kurdish people living in the south-eastern Turkish/Kurdish provinces. It is even arguable that the aggressive invasion of Afrin, in Kurdish-Syria, could see Turkey accused of war crimes and potentially genocide; which isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, considering the Turkish history with violence, and the genocide of Armenians. The same can be said of Syria under Assad. His regime is accused of torture, firebombing and the use of chemical weapons against civilians.
We as libertarian minded individuals are outraged when the hard-Left in our own nations try to impose censorship, regulation and the curtailment of free speech. Surely if we are willing to fight for the most basic freedoms and libertarian values at home, we should be willing to fight for them across the world.
Some of you may argue that yes, while the crimes committed by these nations are abhorrent, it is still not our place to intervene as these nations aren’t necessarily violating the NAP towards the West. This would be untrue. Many of these regimes call for “Death to America”, “Death to the West” or advocate the invasion of Western nations. Many would wish to see the Black Flag of Jihad flown above the White House and Number 10. The likes of Boko Haram and the Taliban believe secular or Western thoughts and ideals should be destroyed. Radical schools, terror and fake news is propagated and funded by nations like Iran and Russia, with the intention to destroy, undermine and extinguish every freedom and ounce of libertarian thought within our world. At the very least we should be fighting back with a counter narrative.
Allowing these tyrannical nations and organisations to have the means to crush liberty, persecute their people and damage our own, is simply reckless and turns a blind eye to this criminal suffering. Each day we ignore the plight of the Jews, Kurds and Syrian or Iranian rebels, is another nail in the coffin for liberty, justice and Western Civilisation. For the protection of freedom, of liberty and of justice, there must be war.