Ep. 82 Is Krugman Right About Syria?

13 April 2017     |     Tom Woods     |     10

Krugman says Trump’s recent strike on Syria is typical of the man: a one-shot action masquerading as policy. He also says that Obama was right to stay out, since there was no clear way through the morass there. Special guest Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-host of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, joins us for this episode.

Krugman Column

Publicity Stunts Aren’t Policy” (April 10, 2017)

Article Mentioned

Five Top Papers Run 18 Opinion Pieces Praising Syria Strikes–Zero Are Critical,” by Adam Johnson

Study Mentioned

A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report” (PDF)

Special Guest

Daniel McAdams is executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, and co-hosts the Ron Paul Liberty Report.

Related Episodes (Tom Woods Show)

Ep. 888 Trump New Jersey Campaign Chair Says Neocons Got to Him (Michael Doherty)
Ep. 886 Trump Launches Strike on Syria (Scott Horton)
Ep. 799 Trump’s Carrier Policy: How Should Libertarians React? (Bob Murphy)

Join Us Aboard the Contra Cruise!

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  • Amplikov

    If only the American press would hold every government in the Middle East to the ethical standards they apply to Assad’s Syria. But I guess there are too many Christians in Syria. They must be destroyed!

  • Amplikov

    Dr. Woods, please don’t bring up the subject of music. We don’t want to hear about “Big, Big Train” anymore. Bring Robin Trower on your podcast and we’ll praise your taste. Or a great violinist. But please no more mention of “Progressive” Rock! Please!

  • Amplikov

    Those “hard-nosed realists” that Dr. Woods refers to are also known as Chickenhawks, Keyboard Commandos, Armchair Generals, Belligerent Noncombatants, and Neoconservatives. I think they should all enlist immediately. The Army can form create a new brigade that specializes in, for example, interior design, or something like that.

  • https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt David_Rogers_Hunt

    Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.
    ~ Mark Twain

    Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
    ~ Mark Twain, “The Mysterious Stranger”

  • Jarek Steliga

    How about Trump is meekly following his puppet masters because he is in fear of his and/or his family’s lives? How about someone is actually putting a gun to his head. I can’t think of any other reasonable explanation for his recent u turns left, right and centre. This man is behaving like someone chaotically clutching at straws, to save his hide. As long as the general public fails to recognize what’s what and act upon it, the cabal is never going to end, no matter who the next President is. The US is long past the stage at which President are even relavant and capable of carrying out any reforms. Revolution seems to be the only option left on the table.

    • https://www.facebook.com/david.rogers.hunt David_Rogers_Hunt

      But who dies first and who dies last in such revolutions? Better find a better option. I still believe that…

      [Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
      ~ Mark Twain

    • Tyler Folger

      I think a pretty reasonable alternative explanation is that a political candidate lied. Trump was inconsistent throughout his campaign, had no discernible principles, and is a salesman and actor by trade. There was no real telling what he was going to do, based on anything he said.

  • The NAPster

    “Doing what, you ask? Well, that’s the big question — and the lack of
    good answers to that question is the reason President Barack Obama
    decided not to start something nobody knew how to finish.”

    In response to the above comment from Krugman, I’m surprised that none of Daniel, Tom or Bob brought up Obama’s participation in the Libya debacle (I know Krugman was referring to Obama’s decision about Syria, but that conveniently dodges his decision on Libya).

  • Gartol

    If all interventions are bad then should US not have joined WW2? Even if Japanese didn’t attack Pearl Harbor? And should UN and US not have intervened in Korea? It would have been more likely that Hitler would have won, and North Korea would surely rule all Korea now. But it’s hard to imagine that that would have been better. Even Vietnam seems to be much more grey area to me. It’s weird that it’s wrong that US intervened in Vietnam but it’s completely fine that the North Vietnamese conquered the south and imposed brutal authoritarian regime where thousands were sent to “reeducation camps”.

    People argue that the US or anyone else has no moral reason to intervene in other country’s affairs. But if that logic works for countries then why not for individuals too? That’s like arguing that you should not intervene if you see a guy punched to the face in the in the street. I mean you could just make things worse, or not, but why take the risk? It’s not your business anyway. Better just close your eyes and pretend it’s not happening. Or at most, condemn it with empty gestures while doing nothing that actually helps.

    But I think doing nothing is hardly better. Thousands have died in Syria and the whole region is a mess. Other countries can not pretend anymore that this isn’t happening. The resulting refugee crisis have had large impact in the world. And the Syrian civil war has been ongoing since, what, 2011? This non-interventionist policy doesn’t seem to be that impressive.

    True, interventions have their own risks and they don’t always work out. I’m not saying that Trump’s strike was good, but if western nations didn’t intervene in Libya, the civil war in there would most likely have continued for longer. Sure, there are another civil war now but that is another matter and not because of intervention. You show examples of Vietnam and Iraq that interventions are bad. But are all interventions bad? Does it have to be black and white? What about WW2 and Korean war like I mentioned? If the police fail and it can’t protect the peace should we get rid of police? Maybe we have no use for the UN either. I mean if the US has no business in intervening in wars, even if they feel it’s the right thing to do, then the United Nations shouldn’t either.

    Lastly I think pacifism is not only unrealistic but immoral. It’s like putting your head in a bush and doing nothing while tyrants and dictators are busy killing their own people and conquering other countries. As the saying goes “only thing required for the victory of evil is that good guys do nothing”. (I’m not sure who said that.)

    • Greg Strebel

      Gartol, it is way more complicated than ‘good guy, bad guy’ scenario intervention. One has to be very aware that there are entities very proficient in the manipulation and control of public perception. This is done by all effective means, from grade school curricula, to main steam news media, to Hollywood and broadcast entertainment.
      NATO propaganda prepared the Western public for the illegal interventions in the former Yugoslavia and in Libya, and the current illegal involvement in Syria, against legitimate, albeit imperfect, governments. This was and is being done under the guise of ‘Responsibility to Protect’, a concept which has superficial moral justification but is cynically twisted to achieve geopolitical ends rather than the purported humanitarian ends trumpeted. Just as the Iraqi possession of WMD was a lie, as reported by U.N. Weapons Inspector (and former U.S. marine) Scott Ritter in advance of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, and the outrageous allegations against Colonel Gaddafi (feeding his troops Viagra to aid in the subjugation of Libyan through rape) by President Obama, and the attribution of a succession of Sarin gas attacks against Syrian civilians by President Assad. The latter were investigated and denied by inspector Carla del Ponte, by M.I.T. Professor Theodore Postel & U.N. Weapons Inspector Richard Lloyd, and by Seymour Hersh who reported that Hillary Clinton (then Secretary of State) approved sending Sarin gas to Libyan ‘rebels’, who are connected to the Syrian ‘rebels’. All fail the logic test (cui bono) especially considering the international condemnation and indeed, explicit warnings that such outrages would trigger retributive attack.
      The use of pretext to justify military actions has a very long history, and we should familiarize ourselves with multiple examples in order to cultivate a level of cynicism that protects us from emotional responses to the claims of officials who call us to arms. Here is a link to one listing of U.S. interventions which are not what you may have read in history books: http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-to-start-a-war-the-american-use-of-pretext-incidents/28554 (Of course, many other countries have used the same techniques and Hermann Goering at Nuremberg has a famous quotation about how easy it is to manipulate popular sentiment in support of war by claiming attack, and labeling skeptics and peaceniks as traitors who would leave the country vulnerable. A method GW Bush illustrated with his references to having to fight ‘them over there or we’ll have to fight them over here’ and ‘you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists’. These statements fail even modest scrutiny, but they were very effective when used on an uninformed and frightened populace.