Time to reverse course: America is being corrupted by its own power

On April 15, the US, in conjunction with the UK and France, deployed 105 weapons against targets within Syria that the US government claims were part of the Syrian government's chemical weapons program. The stated objective of these strikes was to impede future Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and send a signal to the Syrian regime that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Even though this strike is practically ancient history now, thanks to the warp speed of our news cycles, the way in which an act of war has been so quickly replaced in the news reflects on the unserious and frivolous attitude with which Americans approach our wars.

Despite the shock and awe of the missile strikes, the entire premise of the US involvement in the Syrian Civil is rather unclear. The Syrian government is widely recognized as winning the war, and even if it were to somehow be defeated it would be inevitable that the myriad of rebel groups would simply continue the war amongst themselves. This leaves few if any options for constructive US intervention into the conflict, a reality recognized by even hardcore advocates of US intervention abroad. After the airstrikes, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Obama State Department official and well-known interventionist tweeted, “I believe that the US, UK, & France did the right thing by striking Syria over chemical weapons. It will not stop the war nor save the Syrian people from many other horrors. It is illegal under international law. But it at least draws a line somewhere & says enough."

The United States is able to engage in frivolous bombing that its own supporters say is symbolic and meaningless on a practical level because it is so secure and powerful. Our military might and power projection capabilities exceeded by several orders of magnitude any other power on earth. Our neighbors in the Western hemisphere are all weak, and to the east and the west, we are protected by vast moats in the form of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that no other state has the power projection capability to cross in force. Combined with our large population and productive economy, the United States does not face any external existential threats.

While such security is obviously beneficial, it is both a blessing and a curse as it effectively removes many of the practical effects that check the exercise of American military might. America can go and wreak chaos and destruction in its wake across the Middle East in places like Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria, and not suffer many large immediate consequences in return. There is, of course, the danger of terrorist blowback, but the risk of dying from a terror attack in the US is astronomically low (Cato's Alex Nawrasteh reports that there is only a .00003 percent chance of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist in the US). Millions of refugees and displaced people fleeing from chaos are not crossing the Atlantic Ocean, they are crossing the Mediterranean and disrupting Europe, not America. Aside from tangling with Russia and China in a serious way, the US is pretty much free to do what it wishes around the world and need not fear much in the way of immediate consequences.

Attempts to remake the rest of the world by force of arms have unfortunately not dampened the enthusiasm for trying again and again.

Unchecked power corrupts, and unfortunately, America has fallen into this trap on numerous occasions due to the moralizing and crusading nature that has taken hold of both our domestic and foreign affairs over the course of the past century. In his 1988 book The Present Age, sociologist Robert Nisbet captures this attitude well, saying that “ever since Wilson, with only the rarest exceptions, American foreign policy has been tuned not to national interest, but to national morality."

If one starts with the premise that the United States is a “shining city upon a hill," it is not a huge leap to the idea that the US should sally forth to bring enlightenment to the benighted peoples of the world. What changed around the turn of the 20th century was the realization that, unlike before, America now had the might to undertake such a crusade, the first such foray being the entrance into the First World War --- with the lofty goal of ending war altogether! The abject failure of that goal and all other attempts to remake the rest of the world by force of arms have unfortunately not dampened the enthusiasm for trying again and again.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien gives us a clear exposition of the mind affected by power in the form of Saruman of Many Colors. Saruman began with good intentions, as nearly everyone in the world does, but along the way fell prey to what Eric Voegelin calls the libido dominandi, or the will to power. “We must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see," Saruman tells Gandalf. The advocates of intervention who favor perpetual US meddling abroad clearly consider themselves to be ordering all things for the good that only we here in the US can see. In the words of Madeline Albright “if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future."

Americans must develop internal checks in the form of restraint and self-discipline.

Unfortunately, the exercise of such unchecked power will inevitably lead the US down the path of its own destruction. We may not face any external existential threats, but we face an enormous existential threat in the form of ourselves. Our national debt is through the roof, thanks in no small part to the price tag on our crusading ventures, and even higher than that when factoring in the unfunded liabilities stemming from the welfare state. The Watson Institute at Brown University calculates that America has spent over $5.6 trillion on its wars since 2001. By 2056 they estimate this spending will have accumulated an additional $7.9 trillion in costs via interest on the debt accumulated to fund these wars. Such a fiscal situation is not sustainable forever.

Beyond the bleak monetary situation, America is plagued by a fraying and weak social fabric comprised of atomized individuals and an absolutist strain in our politics which incentivizes more and more heated conflict over control of the federal government --- both conditions which Nisbet considers to be consequences of American militarism. As Nisbet and many others have explained, war leads to a centralization of state power and control that does not decrease when the war is over. Now that our wars are seemingly never-ending, the slightest role back of the surveillance state and other war-time measures seems out of sight. With this wartime centralization comes the decay of the rest of society, as more and more of social life becomes centered around the government, as opposed to the historical situation in which various non-state institutions, most notably family and religion, were separate poles of power within society. In Nisbet's words “threads are loosened by the tightening of power at the center." If such centralization does not stop, our social fabric may eventually simply tear asunder.

Facing no external checks, Americans must develop internal checks in the form of restraint and self-discipline, if we are to steward our power wisely and prevent our indiscretions from bringing about our own downfall.

Zachary Yost is a Young Voices advocate and a freelance writer and researcher. Follow him on Twitter @ZacharyYost.

When Bevan Cooney — the former "junior" business partner to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer — went to jail in 2019, investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author Peter Schweizer thought he'd never gain access to the damning emails Cooney had promised. That all changed three weeks ago when Schweizer was given complete access to Cooney's gmail account.

Schweizer joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to describe just some of the business deals revealed within these emails — like Hunter working with an alleged Russian criminal and with Chinese communists to secure their assets, or to secure one-on-one time with his dad, then-Vice President Joe Biden. And all of this new information is completely separate from the emails allegedly discovered on Hunter Biden's laptop recently reported by the New York Post.

"So, I want to make this clear. This [Cooney's emails] has nothing to do with what's on the laptop … It didn't come from [Rudy] Giuliani. It didn't come from anybody else, right?" Glenn asked Schweizer.

"That's absolutely correct," Schweizer confirmed.

He briefly explained how Cooney, a former Los Angeles nightclub owner, is currently serving a prison sentence for his involvement in a fraudulent business bond scheme with Biden and Archer. From prison, Cooney gave Schweizer written permission to access his Gmail account.

"This is really important," he noted. "We're not looking at printouts. Not looking at PDFs. We're actually in his Gmail accounts themselves, sifting through these emails. And there's a shocking amount of information about deals involving China, involving Russia, involving all sorts of things they were trying to pull off."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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The king of "No Spin" and bestselling author of "Killing Crazy Horse," Bill O'Reilly joined Glenn Beck on this week's podcast to talk about the latest developments in Joe Biden's Ukraine and China corruption scandal. Now that some of the details are finally coming out in the open, does the average Democrat care? Maybe, but the Left doesn't seem to.

O'Reilly argued there's more hatred for President Donald Trump now than in 2016, and that some people hate President Trump so much that they'd rather vote for the "senile, corrupt" Joe Biden.

"Hunter got tens of millions of dollars from Ukraine, from Russia, from China because his father was vice president. I have no doubt in my mind," O'Reilly said. "But the hatred for Donald Trump overrides that in the minds of millions of viewers. They're saying, 'You know, we'd rather have the senile corrupt guy than Trump.'"

Asked by Glenn if any other Republican running for president would be met with the same level of vitriol, O'Reilly answered, "The Left is the Left. They don't like America. The want to redo the Constitution. They want to take some of our freedoms, like the Second Amendment and the First Amendment, and change them. And they want to destroy capitalism and replace it with a big centralized government in Washington that controls the economy … but I'm talking about the folks. I have liberal friends and I say to them, 'Do you not understand that when you vote for Biden, you're voting against your own self interest?'"

Watch the video clip from the full podcast below, or find the full episode HERE:

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In a phone call with his constituents, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb) unleashed a torrent of criticisms about President Donald Trump, saying he "flirted with white supremacists," "kisses dictators' butts," and "spends like a drunken sailor."

On the radio program Friday, Glenn said he was disappointed in Sen. Sasse for apparently forgetting all of President Trump's accomplishments. Because, in reality, Trump has accomplished a lot more than many presidents before him.

Then, for anyone who may have forgotten President Trump's achievements — or who simply hate the man so much they've ignored them — Glenn listed just some of the many things this president has achieved during his three and a half years in the White House.

Watch the video below to hear Glenn's message for all the Trump-haters who have forgotten Trump's accomplishments, or you can read Glenn's list HERE:

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President Trump has given us great judges on the lower court, 3 judges far superior than Roberts and other bogus constitutionalists as SCOTUS and one just may turn out to be another Clarence Thomas. He kicked the ass of ISIS and came home.

He got us out of the disastrous Iran deal, killed their head of terror, boxed them in and is currently collapsing their economy while also brokering a Mid East peace deal that everyone said could never happen. He moved our embassy to Jerusalem despite the state department, something no president has done even though they all promised.

Yes, he met with the North Korean Dictator. I hated that, but I also hated the fact that no other president did anything and North Korea kept gaining power. He has gotten Europe to pay their share of NATO, brought the Arabs and the Jews together, while smashing the choke hold of the PLO, and stood up to the Chinese instead of selling them supercomputers (Clinton), accepting lead poison in dog food (Bush), or loving the CCP and taking millions in dirty money (Obama/Biden).

He also has defended religious liberty unlike any other president at least in the last 100 years, and is a true pro-life advocate that unlike most republicans backs it up with action instead of just talk.

President Trump has also opened doors that the GOP was too wussy to even try to open with Hispanics and Blacks. He again didn't pander. He instead cleared the dead wood and opened pathways up so they could get higher education, create jobs, and not get lost in the prison system.

He also has defended religious liberty... and is a true pro-life advocate.

President Trump also took on an economy that had been beaten down, a people who had been told "you didn't build that" and, in fact, Obama and Biden claimed that the economy was "as good as it would ever get," that we would never create jobs in sectors ever again.

President Trump gave us the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 (the year I celebrated my 5th birthday,) the lowest unemployment for Hispanics & Blacks ever, and the first real growth in pay that I can remember.

President Trump then responded to the largest pandemic in 100 years by doing a couple of things I have never seen a president do:

  1. America's biggest capitalist shuts down the entire economy and knowingly puts his re-election at risk in order to save people.
  2. Closes travel with China and Europe, only to be called “racist," "xenophobic" and accused of stirring hatred. Now everyone says they were for it, but he stood alone and took the heat.

When everyone bashed him because they thought he would seize control and become an authoritarian by telling states what to do, or taking control of companies and telling them what to produce, he simply asked the free market to step to the plate, because he trusts the people of this country to do the right thing. By not taking control, he was called a dictator and a Nazi. Meanwhile he has been blamed for the blood bath created by Gov. Cuomo's nursing home policies. They said 2 million would die, best case scenario 200,000 — if we did everything right. Gee, seems that we are now in the time period they told us would be phase two, it seems as though we seem to have hit that "best case scenario" at this point.

While all of this has gone on, President Trump has fought the lies that were started by Hillary Clinton's team to smear him as a Russian operative. It was enabled by the Obama White House and included the DOJ, CIA, Dept of State, FBI, and DNI. Did I leave anyone out? Oh, yeah we are now getting evidence that members of the Pentagon may have been involved as well. Not to mention the so-called "press" and Congress who did things that would embarrass not only "Frank Underwood" but also Kevin Spacey. He has single handedly exposed the press for who they are and have always been. Because of his tweets, personal style and frankly balls of steel, he has exposed those who truly are: "Enemies of the people." I hated that when he first said it, but it is true. Any person or group that knowingly lies to destroy our president, our Constitution and the free market, are not just enemies of the people, they are enemies of the freedom of all mankind.

As someone who didn't support President Trump at first (and that is putting it mildly) I remain honest enough to judge him on his entire record. He is perhaps the only man in America that can and has stood entirely alone, surrounded by enemies, surrounded by those who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, who are now actively engaged in destroying it and any elected president who stands in their way.

Personally, I have grown sick and tired of spineless, do nothing, old, corrupt GOP politicians who are either part of the problem or too frightened to stand alone and speak up. The vast majority are all "Sunshine Patriots." History will condemn those who did nothing but complain and whine, while others not only rang the bell, but stood and took the hits, who risked it all and lost money, reputation and perhaps, God forbid, some who gave the ultimate sacrifice to fight the evil that rages so clearly against the light.

100 years from now history will judge all of us. So will our children's children. Most will be forgotten. Those who failed to show up on the battlefield or cower in the trees, will be remembered with shame and disdain. Others like President Trump, I believe will be seen as indispensable.