Katie Kieffer
How would a free market entrepreneur approach Afghan foreign policy?

After all, our politicians seem incompetent on foreign policy given the soaring suicide rate among active duty U.S. military personnel, increasing insider attacks against NATO troops by our Afghan “allies” and numerous civilian casualties.

Capitalists have historically opposed war and embraced production as a means to freedom, prosperity and national security. So, it surprises me when self-described fiscal conservatives embrace a foreign policy of military interventionism.

Indeed, George W. Bush opposed nation-building when he ran for president in 2001; he maintained that military interventionism neither fosters freedom abroad nor protects it at home. Unfortunately, apprehension of terrorism has helped convince many fiscal conservatives that ongoing war and nation-building will safeguard and promote freedom.

Let us consider war from a capitalist’s perspective to see why history tells us that free market businesspeople tend to be doves.

Wealth allows for freedom

Philosopher Ayn Rand says, “…the question is: what breeds poverty? If you look at the world of today and you look back at history, you will see the answer: the degree of a country’s freedom is the degree of its prosperity.”

Rand says that a free country maintains its security and freedom through free market production (which creates national wealth) whereas a statist government maintains its weak hold by looting, first from its own people and, then, from other nations (via war).

Look at the parts of the world, like the Middle East, in unrest. The people are poor. Gangs, rape and pilfering are rampant because individuals do not have rights and “might makes right.”

The war in Afghanistan started in October of 2001. You would think that the U.S. would have taught Afghans the value of freedom by now. But Afghans are still poor and we have not succeeded in making Afghanistan a wealthy, free market economy.

Over the past two years, Afghan forces are increasingly turning on each other. 53 Afghans have died and 22 have suffered injuries at the hands of their Afghan brothers (not the Taliban). Increasing Afghan-on-Afghan attacks indicate that U.S. nation-building will not transform the Arab world. Ongoing war seems to have merely increased the internal animosity among the various Afghan cultures, tribes and families, Afghan National Police recruitment center commander Maj. Bashir Ishaqzia tells the New York Times.

Losing our assets

Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is a columnist and political commentator. She runs KatieKieffer.com. Kieffer is the author of the forthcoming book "LET ME BE CLEAR."