Liberty won't be achieved by expanding this big, failed government program

Refugee crises, US-armed terrorists and funding state sponsors of terrorism. These are just some of the ramifications of President Obama’s schizophrenic foreign policy that caused the American people to turn to Donald Trump in a moment of stupendous blowback.

No, not everything about Trump pleased conservatives. But many viewed him as the Batman to Obama’s Joker; replacing a foreign policy marked by chaos and anarchy with the drive and firepower needed to decisively defeat America's enemies.

Part of making America great again was about empowering the military that Obama weakened. Surely this was the best way to put a stop to the international mayhem, right?

Well, not so fast...

It's important to remember Obama’s foreign policy woes were a result of too much intervention, not too little. If you think Detroit is suffering from excessive government meddling, then it’s no surprise what’s left the Middle East in such shambles.

By the end of Obama’s second term, US special operators were in 70 percent of the world’s nations, a 130 percent jump since the days of George W. Bush, with over half of 2016’s deployment heading to the Middle East. Obama also expanded the drone program ten-fold. He used his executive might to engage in undeclared wars in Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and dropped over 100,000 bombs across seven countries, with over 26,000 in 2016 alone.

Trump's strong-willed, tough-minded rhetoric on foreign policy and vow to reverse the backward eight years that preceded him made for an acceptable trade-off after the embarrassment of Obama.

Unfortunately, Trump has merely doubled down on the big-government mistakes of his predecessors. Americans should eye their executive’s job performance as any boss would examine an employee. With that in mind, let’s review Trump’s first year of foreign policy.

During his first year in office, Trump dropped almost 33,000 bombs on Iraq and Syria and 2,400 on Afghanistan. He almost tripled the number of strikes in Yemen to over 100. He greatly expanded each major overseas conflict America is engaged in. He also increased the government contracts needed to supply these bombs and the federal bureaucracy needed to drop them.

Trump called it a strategy to “bomb the sh*t” out of ISIS. Defense Secretary Mattis called it “annihilation tactics.” Voters looking to drain the swamp called it a satisfying delivery on one of Trump’s most important campaign promises. Weapons manufacturers probably called it a stimulus package.

Now, Trump calls on Congress to eliminate a seven-year old spending cap in order to increase military spending by $700 billion. Even though the military already takes up over half of federal discretionary spending and outranks the next seven largest military budgets in the world combined, Trump believes the department still lacks sufficient taxpayer funds.

Just like the war on poverty led to more poverty instead of less, the war on terror has led to more terror, not less. The same knowledge and incentive problems that plague the progressive regulatory apparatus also plague the military.

If life, liberty and property are the benchmarks by which to judge government action, US foreign policy is starting to look like one big, failed government program. Let's look at these point by point.

Is our foreign policy protecting life? While Trump promised to bomb “the sh*t out of” ISIS --- a murderous organization if there ever was one --- he has also bombed the sh*t out of innocent bystanders, providing ISIS more ideological fuel in the form of American resentment and grieving family members. According to Airwars, a group that tracks airstrikes, Trump is breaking records for killing civilians with his fast and loose approach.

If civilian casualties are unavoidable, shouldn’t we be sure Pentagon bureaucrats are working diligently to minimize them? Just like the post office and the public school system, however, military failures are rewarded with more funding and naive optimism, instead of less.

How about protecting liberty? The Iraqis or Syrians certainly don’t have the resources to show up and destroy our political and economic liberty. The US government is a bigger threat to the average person’s Constitutional rights than impoverished people on the other side of the globe. These campaigns haven’t protected the liberty of those abroad either. They have destabilized already-shaky political institutions and empowered extremists.

What about property? Certainly no Yemeni thieves are going to show up in America and rob the taxpayers to the tune of $700 billion if we stopped helping the Saudis. After all, the military has no resources of its own, only those it receives from the private sector. Not to mention the property destroyed abroad, like schools and apartments.

There’s a more accurate description for massive expansion of war abroad: socialism.

It looks like “bomb[ing] the sh*t out of” them has become a mainstay of US foreign policy. But there’s a more accurate description for massive expansion of war abroad: socialism.

What are America’s 700-plus military bases abroad, endless domestic weapons manufacturing, and engagement in reckless (usually undeclared) wars if not state socialism writ large? The constant insistence on using our bloated military to “just do something” is an enormous drain on taxpayers and promotes a sense of entitlement for arms makers and Pentagon busybodies. How many future Platos or Teslas instead become nameless cogs employed --- or worse, murdered --- by the military?

This state-sponsored squandering of human and social capital, here and abroad, must end.

There is no more fatal a conceit than America's attempt to centrally plan the entire Middle East geopolitical landscape. Ultimately, neither the Obama nor Trump foreign policies serve to protect life, liberty or property. The longer Americans worry about the creeping socialism of the welfare state but not the warfare state, the true nature and danger of socialism will be obscured.

Socialism isn’t always wearing a Che t-shirt and calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat. Sometimes it’s in a suit swearing to us that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction (or that Kim Jong-un is on the verge of using his).

There is no government activity more destructive to rule of law, property rights and free trade than military adventurism. There is no more powerful and devastating a socialist apparatus than the US military and there is nothing more destructive to liberty here and around the globe.

To provide a real alternative to the neoconservative establishment, Trump must, like Batman, find the wisdom to realize how similar he is to his enemies and adopt a less aggressive posture.

We should be trimming our bloated military, not enlarging another federal department.

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Cory Massimino is the Senior Academic Programs Chair at Students For Liberty, the Mutual Exchange Coordinator at the Center for a Stateless Society and a Young Voices Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @corymassimino.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below:

Fellow BlazeTV host, Mark Levin, joined Glenn Beck on his exclusive Friday episode of "GlennTV" to discuss why the declassified list of Obama administration officials who were aware of the details of Gen. Michael Flynn's wiretapped phone calls are so significant.

Glenn argued that Obama built a covert bureaucracy to "transform America" for a long time to come, and Gen. Flynn was targeted because he happened to know "where the bodies were buried", making him a threat to Obama's "secret legacy."

Levin agreed, noting the "shocking extent of the police state tactics" by the Obama administration. He recalled several scandalous happenings during Obama's "scandal free presidency," which nobody seems to remember.

Watch the video below for more:


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Colleges and universities should be home to a lively and open debate about questions both current and timeless, independent from a political bias or rules that stifle speech. Unfortunately for students, speaking out about personal beliefs or challenging political dogma can be a dangerous undertaking. I experienced this firsthand as an undergraduate, and I'm fighting that trend now as an adjunct professor.

In 2013, Glenn Beck was one of the most listened to radio personalities in the world. For a college senior with hopes of working on policy and media, a job working for Glenn was a ticket to big things. I needed a foot in the door and hoped to tap into the alumni network at the small liberal arts school where I was an undergrad. When I met with a career services specialist in early March 2013 about possible alumni connections to Glenn Beck, she disdainfully told me: "Why would you want to work for someone like him?" That was the beginning and end of our conversation.

I was floored by her response, and sent an email to the school complaining that her behavior was inappropriate. Her personal opinions, political or otherwise, I argued, shouldn't play a role in the decision to help students.

That isn't the kind of response a student should hear when seeking guidance and help in kick starting their career. Regardless of the position, a career specialist or professors' opinion or belief shouldn't be a factor in whether the student deserves access to the alumni network and schools' resources.

Now, seven years later, I work full time for a law firm and part time as an adjunct teaching business to undergraduate students. The culture at colleges and universities seems to have gotten even worse, unfortunately, since I was an undergrad.

College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions.

I never want to see a student told they shouldn't pursue their goals, regardless of their personal or political beliefs. College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions. I never got access to the alumni network or schools' resources from the career services office.

Lucky for students in 2020, there are several legal organizations that help students protect their rights when an issue goes beyond what can be handled by an undergraduate facing tremendous pressure from a powerful academic institution. Organizations like Speech First and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for instance, are resources I wish I knew about at the time.

When I experienced mistreatment from my college, I spoke up and challenged the behavior by emailing the administration and explaining what happened. I received a letter from the career services specialist apologizing for the "unprofessional comment."

What she described in that apology as a "momentary lapse of good judgement" was anything but momentary. It was indicative of the larger battle for ideas that has been happening on college campuses across the country. In the past seven years, the pressure, mistreatment and oppression of free expression have only increased. Even right now, some are raising concerns that campus administrations are using the COVID-19 pandemic to limit free speech even further. Social distancing guidelines and crowd size may both be used to limit or refuse controversial speakers.

Students often feel pressure to conform to a college or university's wishes. If they don't, they could be expelled, fail a class or experience other retribution. The college holds all the cards. On most campuses, the burden of proof for guilt in student conduct hearings is "more likely than not," making it very difficult for students to stand up for their rights without legal help.

As an adjunct professor, every student who comes to me for help in finding purpose gets my full support and my active help — even if the students' goals run counter to mine. But I have learned something crucial in my time in this role: It's not the job of an educator to dictate a student's purpose in life. I'm meant to help them achieve their dreams, no matter what.

Conner Drigotas is the Director of Communications and Development at a national law firm and is a Young Voices contributor.