Friday, May 04, 2018

Michael Shindler: "John Bolton: In Search Of Carthage"

...Two peculiar characteristics set Bolton apart from most folks in D.C.: an unabashedly luxurious mustache and an unmatched penchant for unjustified preemptive violence....   
A comparatively irenic vision pervades the philosophy of the founders. James Wilson, in his Lectures on Law, wrote that when a nation “is under an obligation to preserve itself and its members; it has…a right to do everything” that it can “without injuring others.” In Federalist 4, John Jay advised that the American people ought to support steps that would “put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it.” And in his Farewell Address, George Washington asserted that the United States should be “always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.”      A preemptive nuclear strike justified on the flimsy basis of “gaps in U.S. intelligence” hardly seems concordant with such military restraint and “exalted justice.” And lest it be thought these ideals were mere lofty notions, consider how, as American history proceeded, they became enshrined in American diplomacy.
   In 1837, Canadian rebels sailing aboard the Caroline fled to an island in the Niagara River with the help of a few American citizens. British forces boarded their ship, killed an American member of the crew, and then set the Caroline ablaze before forcing it over Niagara Falls. Enraged, American and Canadian raiders destroyed a British ship. Several attacks followed until the crisis was at last ended in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. In the aftermath, the Caroline test was established, which stipulates that an attack made in self-defense is justifiable only when, in the words of Daniel Webster, the necessity is “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” This principle remains the international standard, though some like Bolton think it’s outdated.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

Daniel Larison is all over this. Yeah, he's a one trick pony, but still: take Bolton and Trump together, and he is in a seriously target rich environment.

8:14 PM  

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