The Mises Institute monthly, free with membership
Volume 17, Number 7
Thomas J. DiLorenzo
The international socialist movement, led by Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
and German Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder, is attempting to revive the disastrous policy of war socialism with which the
current century began.
Four recent events make clear their intentions: the Nato war on Yugoslavia; the resignation
of all twenty members of the
European Union's executive body due to massive corruption; the announcement of a "new
Marshall Plan" for southern
Europe; and Nato's announcement at its 50th anniversary celebration in April of a "new strategic
concept" of intervening
militarily in any country around the globe whose policies Nato dislikes.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called this concept "a new doctrine of international
community." Professor Michael
Mandelbaum of The Johns Hopkins University, who has scrutinized the new "doctrines" that
were spelled out at Nato's
anniversary celebration, explains that this will require Nato to "engage regularly in the kind of
war it's now fighting in
Yugoslavia, and not just in Europe but elsewhere."
The Europeans are said to be especially excited about this policy of creating a "new
international community" at the barrel
of a gun. The reason is clear: the most wide-ranging military adventurism in the history of the
world (paid for mostly with
US blood and treasure) would also provide the politicians of Nato countries with almost
unimaginable prospects for
patronage, bribery, and power. The corruption that led recently to the resignation of all the top
European Union officials
would be peanuts compared to what would result from the Blair-Clinton- Schroeder "new
The big majority of the politicians who run the EU and Nato are socialists. Of the twenty
members of the EU governing
board, seventeen are associated with political parties that either have the word "socialist" in the
party name or, like the
British Labor party, proclaim socialism to be their main objective but shun the "S" word.
When all is said and done, socialism never amounted to more than a massive political
patronage scheme that allowed a
small elite to accumulate wealth and power at the expense of everyone else, while destroying the
economy of country after
country. Yet this is what the advocates of the "new international community" have in
mind--essentially, a world economy
run by EU bureaucrats and their American accomplices, all enforced by Nato's firepower.
The EU is a thoroughly and inherently corrupt organization, and it hopes to spread its
corruption worldwide. It currently has
"power" to "oversee" European economic policy, including the European Central Bank, although
its meetings are
completely in secret. It ostensibly "answers" to the European Parliament, whose members (the
majority of whom are
socialists) recently voted to pay themselves $250,000 per year each, plus fringe benefits, and
who built themselves a $1.2
billion headquarters building in Brussels.
The EU spends almost $100 billion per year. Each member has his own little patronage
fiefdom which dispenses largesse to
his political supporters, compliments of European taxpayers. It is corporate welfare run amok.
This fact explains the support by so many American politicians of both parties for waging
war against Yugoslavia over the
secession of a minor province (Kosovo). Waging war on a country and then using taxpayers'
dollars to "rebuild" it is the
lifeblood of the modern military- industrial complex.
It is instructive to recall that when former US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown died in a
plane crash over Bosnia in 1996 he
was escorting several dozen American businessmen who were in search of contracts to do work
financed by the World
Bank, International Monetary Fund, and US taxpayers. Most of the companies represented on the
trip were "Democratic
donors," the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
Former Republican Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who heads the construction firm of
Brown and Root, saw to it that his
company was paid more than half a billion dollars to build barracks and other facilities to serve
the "expanding needs of US
troops in Bosnia," according to the Associated Press. The US General Accounting Office
publicly blamed Brown and Root
for $327 million in "budget overruns for the Bosnia operation," but nothing was done about it.
Nice work if you can get it.
The original Marshall Plan was a colossal boondoggle that only hampered European
recovery from World War II, but that
fact will be ignored as the contemporary advocates of war socialism (a.k.a. the "new international
new Marshall Plans for much of the rest of the globe. The Marshall Plan greatly enlarged the
government sectors of
recipient countries by requiring "matching funds" for "public works" or other state projects.
But the countries that received the largest amounts of Marshall Plan aid, such as Greece and
Austria, did not recover until
the aid was ended, whereas Germany, France, and Italy rebounded before receiving any Marshall
Plan funds. Germany's
economic recovery after the war was due to the free-market policies implemented by German
Economic Minister Ludwig
Ehrard, not Marshall Plan welfare.
So-called foreign aid always enlarges the state sector of the recipient countries, thereby
increasing its resources, patronage,
and power in relation to the rest of society. This in turn destroys genuine free enterprise, making
the recipients more and
more dependent on international handouts.
Nothing could be more insidious than an international welfare state enforced and
implemented by the Nato military
machine. Any US politician who supports the shedding of American blood and the squandering
of American treasure for
such an objective should be tried for treason.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo teaches economics at
Loyola College and the Mises University. further reading: The Costs of
War, Expanded 2nd ed., John Denson, ed. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction
Publishers, 1999) and Secession, State
& Liberty, David Gordon, ed. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers,