But for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Republican Party presidential aspirants for 2016 are all alike in celebrating a military-industrial-counterterrorism-surveillance complex far beyond the fears of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
They are all alike in Pollyanishly believing that the United States can spread democracy and the rule of law throughout the world in lands that have witnessed nothing but despotism and strife for thousands of years.
They are all counterfeit conservatives.
They revel in Big Brother government and extravagant national security spending.
They believe in limitless presidential authority to play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to exterminate any U.S. citizen the president decrees based on secret evidence unreviewable by Congress or the Supreme Court is an imminent danger to the national security.
They include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
All champion perpetual global warfare and increases in unaudited Pentagon spending exceeding the current $600 billion annual base. They would squander trillions of dollars and risk the lives of American soldiers to gratify an adolescent thrill of planet-wide domination and a pointless and narcissistic No. 1 ranking on the world stage.
They would challenge Russia over Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Eastern Europe. They would challenge China over the South and East China Seas on behalf of Japan and Vietnam. They would challenge the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
They would maintain troops in Afghanistan until it could withstand the Taliban insurgency, i.e., for a century or more.
They would maintain the United States on a war footing forever throughout the world forever in a utopian endeavor to diminish the risk of international terrorism to zero.
They would initiate war against Iran over its nuclear program.
They would attack North Korea over its nuclear weapons and chronic belligerency.
They would commence war in Yemen to defeat Shiite rebels.
They would expand the size of the Army.
They would enlarge the Navy with more multibillion dollar aircraft carriers.
They would enhance the Air Force, including a staggering $400 billion for the F-35 aircraft.
They would build anti-missile systems as worthless as the French Maginot Line.
They would spend $100 billion or more annually to support a surveillance state that collects data or the contents of phone calls or emails on the entire U.S. population without probable cause to believe that any are implicated in international terrorism.
Their warfare state and surveillance state would cost more than $1 trillion annually and support millions of government and government contractor employees-the opposite of limited, frugal government.
The warfare state is an economic deadweight. Military contractors are notoriously inefficient and government procurement officials notoriously inept. Cost overruns are commonplaces. Competition is the exception and monopoly or oligopoly is the norm among military contractors.
The counterfeit conservatives repudiate Eisenhower’s prescient warning of the military-industrial complex:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes … Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
With the exception of Mr. Paul, none of the Republican presidential hopefuls would be recognized as conservative by the father of conservatism, Edmund Burke.
They could best be characterized as delusional monarchists who aspire to be king of the world rather than president.
Republican President Benjamin Harrison was a true conservative in his understanding that America’s most dangerous enemies were not abroad but were at home in the deterioration of constitutional duty and devotion to liberty.
The United States would adequately influence events elsewhere by “sympathy and emulation,” and would risk self-ruination by attempting to extend our institutions by force.
The conservative Harrison never wavered from his conviction: “We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.”
For more information about Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.