Being a part of Austrian circles, you hear a lot of chatter about the bloated welfare-warfare state – a conflation of the expansionary agendas of the neocons and the lefties. And that’s exactly how I’ve always distinguished it. Two separate agendas, one state. When I heard about the recent North Korea scare, I nearly peed my pants chuckling about the irony. Two separate states, one agenda!
Am I the only laughing in the room? Let me explain why I have tears.
Here is “beggar state” North Korea (thanks Ted Carpenter, senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, for that acute title), coming off the year anniversary of their failed satellite launch, browbeating with hollow threats of “cutting edge” nuclear weapons, and now the hawks want the United States to strut their stuff and show some muscle. Senator James Inhofe recently proclaimed that the United States needed to have in place “right now” a plan for preemptive strike on North Korea if the mess went south.
Japan and South Korea certainly have reason to be apprehensive, but why all the buzz here when a North Korean assault on the United States would be unlikely and suicidal? Where is the significance to Americans?
The United States, years after World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War absurdly upkeeps military bases within South Korean borders. Let the free riding on United States tax payers keep on rolling! The consequence? United States entanglement in an irrelevant North Korean chest pounding party, leaving Americans afraid and turning to Uncle Sam for further involvement and intervention. Support for the United States police state lives another day. The bells of imperialism resound evermore!
So here’s what’s a hoot to me: the U.S. welfare state has swelled to the far reaches of South Korea with transfer payments in the form of a big, fat warfare-state. Two separate states, one agenda (big gov), and all of the unintended consequences.
Trevor Polk, University of Iowa