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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17232/obamas-foreign-policy-as-terrorism/

Obama’s Foreign Policy as Terrorism

June 9, 2011 by

“My fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s actually causing the other forms of terrorism. You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists.” – Lupe Fiasco (Hip hop, alternative rock artist)


Michael J. Green June 9, 2011 at 3:42 am

The HuffPo left out one of the best parts! Lupe Fiasco comes out as a non-voter:

“If I’m going to say I stand behind this person and write on a piece of paper that says, ‘Yeah I stand for this person,’ then I have to take responsibility for everything he does cause that’s just who I am as a human being. So politicians aren’t going to do that because I don’t want you to bomb some village in the middle of nowhere.”

Martin OB June 9, 2011 at 5:38 am

And we are supposed to care about the opinions of a Muslim socialist rapper who didn’t even look up what “fiasco” meant before making it his artistic name. Since when is HuffPo a source of inspiration for Mises articles?

prettyskin June 9, 2011 at 11:01 am

Should your opinions posted here be more superior? Opinions, regardless who’s the messenger, fuel discussions that expose knowledge or dispose of mis-guided ones. Silencing someone over your opinions is un-Libertarian; a missed opportunity to enlightened.

Martin OB June 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm

That’s a non-issue. I don’t want to silence anyone. He has a right to his opinion, I have a right to my opinion on his opinion, you have a right to your opinion on my opinion on his opinion, and so on ad nauseam. I just said I don’t think there’s anything encouraging or worthy of mention for libertarians in this piece of news, given the broader context of this artist’s other views, and his intellectual relevance.

loki June 9, 2011 at 6:21 am

who cares what his religion is. lupe is a truther. if he has espoused socialist doctrine then those who are interested in his music and are also libertarian, school him! we need more artists willing to say this stuff. to be honest i wish i was more inspired to rhyme and play tunes. i have the talent for it i just don’t put any effort in. maybe i should.

Martin OB June 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

He is not for freedom, he is just against America and its values, like his father the Black Panther. He blames America of all the ills of the world. Oh, no, no-one else is guilty of anything, just America. Typical counter-cultural icons are as anti-freedom and bigoted as you can get.

Ohhh Henry June 9, 2011 at 9:02 am

There are plenty of guilty governments out there … but one protests first and most loudly against the biggest thief and murderer before devoting one’s attention to the lesser criminals.

If I yell “stop thief” at someone who has just robbed a bank, does it mean that I condone the acts of a shoplifter who has stolen a pair of shoes? Hardly.

Martin OB June 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

It’s a gross distortion of facts to call America or its government the biggest thief and murderer, and also in thinking of governments in general as the worse criminals. There’s a deep confusion at play here, the counter-cultural, Marxist tendency of always rooting for the underdog, taking social, economic and military success as the primary proof of culpability. On the contrary, the most abject governments tend to have the least power, and the worst criminals are often small gangs and lone individuals, as should be expected, given that most people, and especially most intelligent people, tend to support the more reasonable individuals, groups and governments over the lunatics and criminals.

Constructive criticism of American and Western society is always healthy, but blaming them for the acts of bloodthirsty criminals all over the world, while condoning those acts as logical reactions is shameless far-left perfidy.

In your analogy, it’s like condoning or even defending bank robbery because banks are “bigger thieves”. I’ve heard many people take this position. I think it’s dangerous folly. We should go from the condemnation of obvious crime to that of more subtle and debatable forms of crime, even if the latter involve more money, or in general cause damage to more people and their property, precisely because those subtler crimes have a broader social acceptance. The vindication of rogues is a cultural poison.

Vanmind June 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm


Daniel June 10, 2011 at 12:42 am

Not to defend Martin, but, Van, you seriously need to back up your assertions :s

matt June 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

So we are not disputing Lupe’s statement just Lupe’s credibility or worldview right? So I am okay to say “nice quote” I just have to follow it up with a message of why Lupe should feel that same way but for a different reason right?

Martin OB June 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I’m against both his statement and his other views. I pointed out that his other views put his statement in context, making it even less encouraging for libertarians. Besides that, I was wondering why the views of this artist are worth mentioning. I understand this last complaint may smack of unbecoming elitism, but my reason for it is that I suspect it may be yet another sign of a trend to advance counter-cultural and anti-establishment views as a substitute or a proxy for the defense of freedom, and I’m against that trend. I hope my comment sounds a bit less obnoxious now.

James June 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Martin OB: Frankly, I think it is you who are the odd man out on this, not Lupe. A valid and very arguable case can be made to support exactly his statement, and is routinely made on this website by an assortment of authors. Do you even read this website at all?
What matter his father’s membership to the black panthers? Positive and negative aspects of them aside, whatever truly criminal things they may have ever committed certainly amount to only a tiny fraction of the criminality perpetrated by the current pres alone. Lupe’s economic ignorance and connection to black panthers does not preclude him from being a sincere and passionate advocate for the lives and dignity of individual people.
Murray rothbard liked malcom X. I guess he should be shunned now. No more rothbard on the mises institute.

Martin OB June 10, 2011 at 7:06 am


I’ve been reading this website for a few years. I know which position most authors take on each issue. I agree with some positions, and I disagree with others. On some issues, the “official” position has been changing through time. For instance, Rothbard supported copyright law, but now the predominant view is anti-IP. Also, the promoted views on immigration, Western vs non-Western societies and related issues had a monumental turn to the Chomskyan far left a little after 9-11 (I’m re-posting the link, in case you missed it from other threads):

I know what the majority position is, but I also know I’m not “the odd man out”, since I’ve seen comments by a few others who more or less share my views. And anyway, why should I be concerned about being or not “the odd man out” to begin with. Aren’t we supposed to promote dissent, independent thought and debate? There are other commentators with minority positions in this blog, such as the pro-IP crowd. Should they leave so that the rest can celebrate in the comments section how much they agree with each other?

As for Fiasco’s comments, I must repeat that sometimes the identity of the messenger is crucially important to interpret the message. If you are really concerned about the lives and dignity of people in general, you start by criticizing the criminal acts of those you consider your own people, because you are ashamed of them. Forget about the Black Panthers, MC Fiasco is a Muslim. Of course, that’s no crime in itself, but it casts a different light on his comments. When a Western Christian or atheist condones Islamic terrorism, that’s shameful counter-cultural nonsense; but when a Muslim does, he’s just pushing the agenda of his people. I don’t believe Lupe is concerned at all with the lives and dignity of the kuffar, so I don’t think he should be a source of inspiration for anyone honestly concerned about the loss of innocent lives.

Now regarding Rothbard and Malcolm X, Murray Rothbard liked Malcolm X because he was an upright and honest black separatist, not a whiny privilege seeker and social reformer like Luther King. Rothbard was fascinated with his charisma and leadership; in Rothbard’s words, Malcolm X “acted white”. Well, I think Rothbard was spot on.

James June 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

You make an awful lot of assumptions about Lupe’s thoughts, and their scope and validity, based on contextual and other passive factors. As a Muslim, how can Lupe see outside of his own status contexts? He can’t really be for human liberty! But you, MartinOB, however, have the special insight to see through the Islamic-lens responsible for his deceitful “opinions.” You sound like a Marxist New Critic. Have you ever even considered Lupe’s own words and his music? His stated intentions? I will assume not at all. I can personally say from every single bit of words and music I have ever read or heard from Lupe Fiasco (in particular), I have only ever been impressed with the sincerity and integrity of the message (always thoughtful or positive or against injustice and cruelty in some way) of this talented, independent man.

(Everyone check out his song “Handcuffs.” Highly recommended. It is an extremely clever and, in the end, radically surprising track on the police-drug-war racket)

Martin OB June 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

What do you mean by “Marxist New Critic”? This is what a New Critic sounds like:

“We have done with the race, the time, the environment of a poet’s work as an element in Criticism” (Spingarn 22). To investigate any of these things rather than what is contained in the text itself is to treat the text as a social statement, political treatise, historical document—anything other than a work of art. The result of such an investigation is a contribution to the study of politics or of history, but not to literary criticism. The job of the poet is not to catalog what external objects are brought into or influence a particular work, but to study the elements that are in the work and discover how the artist transformed reality into art (Spingarn 22-23).

Exactly the contrary of what you are trying to portray as my position. Maybe you meant a Marxist Critical Theorist. Anyway, you are just throwing Marxist mud at me and see if sticks. There’s nothing Marxist in taking into account the identity of the messenger when you are trying to figure out the intention behind the message, and from that the intended meaning of the message, as opposed to its literal meaning, which is often ambiguous. As I said, there’s nothing Marxist here, it’s just common sense.

I didn’t say Fiasco can’t be for human liberty just because he is a Muslim. I just said that if he, calling himself a Muslim, were at the same time protesting about murder and violence in general, and defending the liberty of innocent people in general, he would never be condoning Islamic terrorism, making excuses for it.

Even if I said someone like Fiasco could never be defending the lives and freedoms of innocent people (which I didn’t), this wouldn’t be a Marxist analysis. What Marxists do is, instead of providing a refutation to someone’s statements, reply with an analysis of his motivations, as if that in itself were enough to dismiss the argument. This Marxist attitude is often described by Austrians as polylogism. I did no such thing.

James June 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

You are using precisely their tactics, based upon the assumptions you make regarding Lupe’s (or anyone’s) “true” motive (as you see it). And so the Marxist criticizes justifications for capitalism and liberalism as invalid or suspect by the very fact of, say, the author’s bourgeois status.
Coupled with the suspect nature of all the particular assumptions youve made about Lupe, with respect to his status as a Muslim and a rapper, your entire argument is just empty and pointless. I don’t know who you’re trying to convince with all of this.

Martin OB June 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

That’s something I often see in the comments. People disagree with what someone says, so they try hard to stretch some label and put it on them, no matter how simplistic, and be done with it. I just proved your label doesn’t even make sense.

And so the Marxist criticizes justifications for capitalism and liberalism as invalid or suspect by the very fact of, say, the author’s bourgeois status.

And I did nothing like that. I already explained why and how what I did is completely different. I wasn’t even trying to refute Fiasco’s absurd claims in my first post. I was explaining why I don’t think there’s anything for libertarians to celebrate about them.

Coupled with the suspect nature of all the particular assumptions youve made about Lupe, with respect to his status as a Muslim and a rapper, your entire argument is just empty and pointless. I don’t know who you’re trying to convince with all of this.

This is rich. You have just made a Marxist criticism of my position. My assumptions are of a “suspect nature”, so I must be a bigoted xenophobe, so my argument is empty and pointless. That’s textbook ad-hominem, which is what Marxist critical theory is all about.

Cécile Ptak June 10, 2011 at 3:36 am

James : Really well said !
Martin OB : all the sources of inspiration are interesting to investigate to my opinion.
And I really do not see this publication as a task on the Mises blog.

Adam Berkowicz June 10, 2011 at 8:16 am

Martin OB, there exists not a region in this world where the United States, whether it be our military or corporate arm, hasn’t engaged in fraud or murder. This shouldn’t be a controversial statement for libertarians. We’ve seen how our wars in the Middle East have added to the quagmire of poverty and destruction there. All modern western nations are at least partially responsible for the state of Africa, and the United States’ “foreign aid” has only further depressed the region. For Asia, one need look only at our incessant fight against communism to see the ramifications of our actions.

It goes on and on. The point isn’t to make you feel shameful for your government’s actions, but rather that these are the inevitable actions of the state.

Martin OB June 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm


First of all, I’m not American, so it’s not “my government”. You know, you don’t have to be American to believe that America, with all its imperfections, is at least trying to promote freedom and human dignity worldwide, especially if you compare it with its sworn enemies.

Don’t just listen to what the enemies of America say to the American public, listen to what the say among themselves when they think no-one is listening or translating. Don’t just look at what America does to them or, accidentally, to innocent human shields. Look at what its enemies do when they think they can get away with it.

Now, let’s have a look at the situation in Africa and the Middle East. Many of those countries are ruled by criminals with military and economic support from America. I can agree on that.

But there are two possible interpretations. The first one is that most people in those countries want what Americans would recognize as freedom and democracy, but the US government supports ruthless dictators because of some spurious economic interests. The second one is that in those countries most people support the ruthless dictators, their main opposition is just as criminal as they are, and the US government, trying to pick the lesser evil, does what it can to keep them in check, bribing them with foreign aid.

I think the world looks much more like the second case than the first one. If you look at the polls, if you look at the lack of reasonable opposition leaders with broad popular support, the popular endorsement of outrageous ideas and all kind of conspiracy theories in those countries, the lack of self-criticism and responsibility, it’s hard not to conclude that the problems of those countries are first and foremost internal, and there’s little the US government or anyone from outside can do about them. Foreign aid to those countries may well be a counter-productive distraction, however well-meaning. But blaming America for its foreign aid is an even bigger distraction, and deeply unfair. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with foreign aid (apart from the fact it comes from taxation; let’s just assume it’s voluntary). Decent countries often receive foreign aid, for instance when they are struck by natural disasters. They say “thank you” and go on as usual.

I agree that every state engages in aggression, in what can be called “crimes” from a libertarian point of view. But that doesn’t mean that all governments are equally bad in that respect. Some are much worse than others. Also, the state is far from being the only agent which commits aggression. Private individuals and small groups are often much, much worse, and they would be a mortal danger for humanity if they had a fraction of the resources a typical state has. I see no point for libertarians in limiting the focus to the state as such, supporting its enemies, as if something desirable could come from a weakened state in the brink of civil war. The violent destruction of a state typically leads to another state, often a worse one. Instead, I prefer constructive criticism, so that the state gradually becomes more like a private law society, until the distinction is all but erased. That’s why I see no merit in leftist anti-establishment attitudes.

James June 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Also, Martin OB, I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone did find your thoughts on all this to sound elitist: at best highly irritating, at worst positively xenophobic and insulting. You obviously speak of someone you know very little of, and with a disposition of your own which, because of your differences with Lupe, clearly muddles a fact that is obvious to us all about the threat of the US empire to practically the entire world. You have no informed clue about the “broader context” of his views except his professed Muslim faith and his occupation (and, no, that is not sufficient to make the assumptions you made).
Its fine if you don’t think the US war machine is the threat and terror that it is. But don’t waste your time trying to sell that opinion and denounce a sincere advocate for peace to a bunch of Rothbardians.

Robert June 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

Just want to point out that the whole Lupe not willing to criticizing other Muslim assumption in this discussion is just flat out wrong. His current single, “Words I Never Said” has criticisms about Jihadist in the second verse:

“Now you can say it ain’t our fault if we never heard it/But if we know better then we probably deserve it/Jihad is not holy war, where’s that in the worship?/Murdering is not Islam and you are not observant/And you are not a Muslim”

And while the next line is “Israel don’t take my side cause look how far you’ve pushed them”, he still chastises other “Muslims” for engaging in violence. (On a major label single no less.)

James June 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

Precisely. Again, Martin OB, how about you have a clue about the people you deride before you make unsupportable assumptions about them and their motives.

Martin OB June 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm

James, how about you answer to my posts instead cowering behind another poster?

Martin OB June 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm


Oh, come on. Everybody knows you have to sprinkle some taqiyya to make a good truther anti-Zionist broth, Islamic style. As you candidly admitted, the lies about terrorists not being observant Muslims and Jihad not being holy war (ha!) are just the standard preamble to bash Israel and condone Hamas. There’s also the “9/11 building seven” for good measure. As I said, nothing to see here, just pushing the Islamic agenda. Sorry to Fiasco’s fans, but I’ll take none of that.

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