The United States has struck a Faustian bargain for the childish thrill of global leadership.
It has traded away the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers, individual liberty and limited government in exchange for limitless executive power, national bankruptcy, and the projection and use of the military everywhere on the planet seeking global domination.
As Dr. Faustus came to a ruinous end, so will the United States unless it renounces the bargain.
According to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the extraterritorial ambitions the United States are beyond Napoleonic. The Review elaborates that the “United States underwrites global security by exercising leadership” to support “the security of U.S. allies and its partners; [a] strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity; [r]espect for universal values at home and around the world; and, [a]n international order advanced by U.S. leadership that promotes peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges.”
World conquest is a prerequisite for these utopian objectives. At present, 64 nations and 588 non-state actors are engulfed in conflict. According to Freedom House, at least 107 countries fall short of the universal values of democracy and human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declarations of Human Rights, including China and Russia. The Heritage Foundation identifies approximately 151 nations that do not subscribe to open economic systems. We thus must bring all of these nations under our belt to “promote peace,” “respect for universal values,” and “an open international economic system.”
Even defending the United States and its citizens from attack is an extraterritorial exercise under the Orwellan doctrine of “anticipatory self-defense.” The Review explains: “The surest way to stop potential attacks is to prevent threats from developing …The Department of Defense’s activities to protect the homeland do not stop at our nation’s borders. We will collaborate with interagency and international partners to tackle root drivers of conflict …” If poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and misgovernment are root drivers of conflict, then the Defense Department will go abroad with Great Society programs to cure these ills and build nations from scratch. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria are challenging starting points.
The Review describes a pillar of the department’s defense strategy as “Build Security Globally,” a truly boundless endeavor requiring control over events everywhere, including elections or military coups abroad that might bring an adversary to power. It boldly maintains that, “Continuing a strong U.S. commitment to shaping world events is essential to deter and prevent conflict and to assure our allies and partners of our commitment to our shared security.”
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, lists 12 military missions that include everything except searching for terrorists on the North Pole: nuclear deterrence; defense of the homeland; defeating an adversary; providing a stabilizing global presence; combating terrorism; countering weapons of mass destruction; thwarting an adversary’s objectives; responding to crisis and conducting limited contingency operations; conducting military engagement and security cooperation; conducting stability and counterinsurgency operations; providing support to civil authorities; and, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
Is it any surprise that the Defense Department sports a fresh fruits and vegetable program for schools in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam?
The costs of global leadership have been steep. Limitless power is wielded by the president at the expense of the legislature and the federal judiciary. Congress has de facto abandoned its power to impeach and remove the President for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” That dereliction has emboldened President Obama to wage war at will, kill and detain citizens without due process, spy on the entire population and Congress without warrants or probable cause, conclude international agreements, pick and choose which laws to enforce, spend money that has not been duly appropriated, operate secret government, chronically lie to Congress, and rule through executive edicts.
Limited government celebrated by the Constitution is a joke. The Defense budget alone exceeds $526 billion. We have 4,855 military bases, including 4,169 in the United States, 110 in U.S. territories, and 576 abroad. Defense civilian employees number 718,000, supplemented by countless contractors who operate in a monopolistic or oligopolistic environment. The national debt is $17 trillion and growing.
The glory of America should be liberty at home and the influence of example abroad.
Our motto should be, “Billions for self-defense, but not one cent for global leadership.”
The sacrifices at Valley Forge demand no less.
But it will not happen unless the American people repudiate the Faustian bargain that gave us global leadership.
For more information on Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.