Tom Woods vs. Mark Levin

(I’ve linked to this page from two separate videos now, so you may encounter more here than the video you watched led you to expect. If you’re here for the controversy over nullification, click here.)

First, my exchange with Levin on presidential war powers. He refused to link to my replies. I’m happy to link to his. Here’s the whole exchange:

Levin’s original comments on radio, transcribed;
My blog post in response;
His reply;
My challenge;
His alleged reply to my challenge;
My summary and conclusion (“How I Sent Mark Levin Home Crying”).

See also my lengthy Q&A-style essay “The Phony Case for Presidential War Powers.”

For a great deal more on presidential war powers and the Constitution, see the website of Louis Fisher, among the country’s foremost experts on the subject.

Second, foreign policy. Levin and his friend Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator claim Ron Paul’s noninterventionist foreign policy makes him a left-liberal [!]. This is completely false.

Here’s my refutation of this claim:

Lord tried responding to this. That was a mistake. I came back with this article.

Here are some other relevant pieces of mine:

Do Conservatives Hate Their Own Founder? Russell Kirk on Militarism
Come Home, Conservatives — To the Antiwar Conservative Movement
The Conservative Case Against the War: A Review
No Patronizing, No Sloganeering

I also recommend Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle American Anti-Imperialism.

Daniel P. McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative magazine, gives a good overview of the correct conservative foreign policy in this extended interview (part one deals primarily with domestic issues):

Here’s my interview with Iowa conservative Steve Deace, who asked me about Ron Paul’s foreign policy:

On Israel, Dr. Paul writes in his #1 New York Times bestseller The Revolution: A Manifesto:

“How does Israel, with which the United States has long enjoyed a special relationship, fit into this picture? I see no reason that our friendship with Israel cannot continue. I favor extending to Israel the same honest friendship that Jefferson and the Founding Fathers urged us to offer to all nations. But that also means no special privileges like foreign aid — a position I maintain vis-a-vis all other countries as well. That means I also favor discontinuing foreign aid to governments that are actual or potential enemies of Israel, which taken together receive much more American aid than Israel does. Giving aid to both sides has understandably made many average Israelis and American Jews conclude that the American government is hypocritically hedging its bets.

“I oppose all foreign aid on principle, for reasons I detail in a later chapter. Foreign aid is not only immoral, since it involves the forced transfer of wealth, but it is also counterproductive, as a ceaseless stream of scholarship continues to show. Foreign aid has been a disaster in Africa, delaying sound economic reforms and encouraging wastefulness and statism. We should not wish it on our worst enemy, much less a friend. Moreover, since the aid has to be spent on products made by American corporations, it is really just a form of corporate welfare, which I can never support.

“Only those with a very superficial attachment to Israel can really be happy that she continues to rely on over $2 billion in American aid every year. In the absence of such grants, Israel would at last be under pressure to adopt a freer economy, thereby bringing about greater prosperity for her people and making it easier for her to be self-reliant. Foreign aid only inhibits salutary reforms like this, reforms that any true friend of Israel is eager to see. As a matter of fact, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Jerusalem argues that ‘foreign aid is the greatest obstacle to economic freedom in Israel.’ It is an open secret that Israel’s military industry is inefficient and top-heavy with bureaucracy, shortcomings that consistent American aid obviously encourages. Why make difficult adjustments when billions in aid can be counted on regardless of what you do?

“Our government has also done Israel a disservice by effectively infringing on her sovereignty. Israel seeks American approval for military action she deems necessary, she consults with America on matters pertaining to her own borders, and she even seeks American approval for peace talks with her neighbors…. This needs to stop. And with an arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons, Israel is more than capable of deterring or repelling any enemy. She should once again be in charge of her own destiny.”

Note also this article in Arutz Sheva, the media voice of the “settler” movement, in favor of Ron Paul.

And note this article about all the Israeli voices who favor an end to foreign aid.

I myself supported the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and other military interventions in the Middle East at one time. Here’s a little bit about what changed my mind, from a speech I gave in Los Angeles in May 2011. (The whole speech, which has had over 40,000 views, is here; below is the last — and most relevant — part of the speech that someone made into a separate video.)