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About the Author
James Kardys is a fourth year student at the University of Miami. He majors in political science and international relations. He has written articles for RISE NEWS since May 2016, and for Turning Point USA since November 2014.

So What Exactly Does The Libertarian Party Stand For Anyway?

Let’s face it. Donald Trump is a very unpopular guy.

As of last week, 55% of Americans have a negative view of him. 40% of Republicans say they will not vote for him, and 19% would vote for Hillary Clinton.

However, what about the remaining 21% of Republicans who would not vote for Trump or Clinton? Would they vote at all? Some, if not many, will not.

Others, however, are contemplating third party options.

The same logic applies to the 31% of Bernie Sanders supporters who may or will not cote for Clinton, and the 20% who would vote for Trump.

Perhaps the most frequently discussed of those options is that of voting for the Libertarian Party, whose online search results have reportedly surged since Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican primary on May 3.

On Sunday, the Libertarian Party nominated former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson for President, and former Governor of Massachusetts William Weld as his running mate.

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In an era where it seems that the Republican and Democratic parties are the only political parties around, and where dissatisfaction with them is near historical highs, it seems only fitting that additional options be shown to and discussed with the general public. Therefore, this article will be dedicated to doing so with the Libertarian Party.

Former Gov. Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party nominee for President. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Former Gov. Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party nominee for President. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Like all political parties, the Libertarian party determines its platform at its national convention. The result of this convention (aside from the nominees) are as follows:

-The Libertarian Party places emphasis over individual sovereignty over all else. It criticizes both the Democratic and Republican parties as being too regulating and authoritarian. It demands that the government not deny the right life, liberty, and property for the sake of itself or others.

-Under this philosophy, the following policy positions are advocated:

1. Individuals should be able do whatever they want to their bodies (appeals to liberals).
2. The government should not control the internet of mass media (appeals to elements of both sides).
3. The government should not spy on everybody (appeals to elements of both sides).
4. The government should not classify anybody by sexual preference (appeals to liberals).
5. The government should not regulate abortion (appeals to liberals).
6. Criminal laws should be limited to those involving person-to-person interaction (appeals to liberals).
7. The government should not regulate guns (appeals to conservatives).
8. The government should not interfere in property ownership (appeals to conservatives).
9. The government should not interfere in pollution regulation, for it is less trustworthy and effective than innovative civilians who seek to do the same (appeals to conservatives).
10. The government should not interfere with the energy market (appeals to conservatives).

11. The government should not rely on income taxes to produce a balanced budget, which should be mandatory (appeals to conservatives).

12. The government should not interfere in non-fraudulent banking practices (appeals to conservatives).

13. The government should not interfere in the free market (appeals to conservatives).

14. The government should not interfere in worker-employer relations (appeals to conservatives).

15. The government should not interfere in education, which should be determined by parents (appeals to conservatives).

16. The health care market should serve as any other market that operates across state lines, and not be subjected to government intervention (appeals to conservatives).

17. Social Security should be replaced with private retirement planning (appeals to conservatives).

18. Military service should be limited to voluntary defense of the country’s territory (appeals to elements of both sides)

19. Internal security should not trump individual liberty (appeals to elements of both sides).

20. All foreign aid should be ended (appeals to elements of both sides, but mostly to paleoconservatives).

21. Trade and immigration should not be restricted unless there is a threat to national security (appeals to elements of both sides, but mostly to liberals).

22. The government should not interfere in private practices of discrimination (appeals to conservatives).

23. The government should not try to rig electoral systems to create a party system with a limited number of parties (appeals to elements of both sides).

24. The people have the inherent right to self-determination (appeals to conservatives).

At the end of the day, this party is very socially liberal but very fiscally conservative.

This unique platform has the potential to either attract or repulse people on both sides of the political spectrum.

If the party wants a chance of growing to substantial polling numbers, it may have to target single issue voters.

Given that single-issue voters appear to be significant in numbers, as indicated by Gallup polls on the level of priority voters have on issues such as abortion and gun control, perhaps that may be all it needs to do, especially if it succeeds in attracting protest votes from disillusioned Republicans and Democrats.

Do you wish this party good luck in its quest? Feel free to comment and share your opinion below!

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Is American Hegemony Moral? It Can Be

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has been considered the sole superpower in international affairs.

It has taken advantage of this status many times over, particularly through what many have maligned as its “wars of democratization” in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well as so-called “proxy wars of democratization” in Syria and Ukraine.

These military and pseudo-military adventures have, unsurprisingly, led to much resentment of the United States and its perceived hegemony over global affairs.

So much resentment, that as of 2014, 24% of the entire world views the United States as the greatest threat to peace.

It is easy to understand the basis behind the grievances that this 24% possesses.

It can be laid out in layman’s terms as follows:

“The United States, through its irresponsible, if not malicious foreign policy, has caused death and destruction wherever it goes. The foundation of its power lies entirely on the assumption that moral values must be thrown out the window, if they exist at all. This is unacceptable in the eyes of the international community, which must work to change it.”

While it is common sense to recognize that with great power comes great responsibility, and while it is always wise to look back on past policies and take note on what is a responsible policy and what isn’t, is it accurate to call American hegemony immoral?

Not if you are a realist.

Read More: Why We Shouldn’t Fear A China Hegemony

Take note that when I make reference to “realists” or “realism,” I am not writing in the context of the arts, where realism is a described as a “realistic portrayal” of a person or object.

Rather, I am writing in the context of geopolitics, where realism is described as a philosophy that places emphasis on national interests.

Geopolitical realists view international relations as a competition for power between various nation-states.

They also assume that all nation-states aside from their own to be seeking power by taking it from others, and that their nation-state must, out of defensive impulses, play along.

It must eat in order to avoid being eaten.

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This philosophy has been discussed, in one form or another, for millennia.

It had appeared in the works of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rosseau, and even Shakespeare, before taking off as a solid political theory in the nineteenth century following the rise of nationalism in Europe.

That being said, there is now an important question that needs to be answered.

Why would the United States, the world’s sole superpower, feel threatened by tenth-tier nations such as Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine, to where it would be necessary to overthrow their governments to “spread democracy?”

Well, if you apply one theory that is sometimes discussed by American realists when attempting to formulate future policy, which I call “regional hegemon theory,” the United States has very good cause to see these countries as threats.

Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Photo Credit: DVIDSHUB/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Why? Because they are, in one way or another, capable of being used as tools to prop up a regional hegemon on the Eurasian supercontinent.

Now, why is a regional hegemon on the Eurasian supercontinent bad? For this answer, we ought to turn to John Mearsheimer, one of the most well-known (and most notorious) contemporary American geopolitical realists.

He sums up the threat of regional hegemons well in a 2015 interview with The National Interest:

“Regional hegemons are dangerous to the United States, because dominating their own neighborhood would give them freedom to intervene elsewhere, just as the American military is free to roam the planet today. The great danger is that a distant hegemon would eventually start to meddle in the Western Hemisphere, which could present a serious threat to the United States.”

Read More: Militarism Is Back In Vogue Around The World And It Should Scare The Hell Out Of Us

According to Mearsheimer, this idea was used to justify American policies against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and the Axis powers during World War II.

And according to Joseph Parent, who was one of my International Studies professors at the University of Miami, this idea was also applied, abeit to a much smaller extent extent, prior to World War II (particularly towards France, which, between the end of World War I and the rise of Hitler, was seen by some American political scientists as a, if not the, main potential hegemonic threat against American interests).

Although which countries could pose a potential threat to the United States via “regional hegemon theory” is often hotly disputed (for example, Mearsheimer, who sees China as the only country that currently has the potential to become a regional hegemon, would get into an interesting debate with someone who would portray Iran as a regional hegemon due to its alleged ability to project influence into South America via Hezbollah), that is a different debate that is beside the point I’m trying to make.

That point is that because even a weak country (such as Syria relative to Iran and Ukraine relative to Russia) can play a role in propping up a regional hegemon that can project power into the United States’ neighborhood, even a weak country can be a serious threat to American national security.

Therefore, it is at best moral (because you are acting to protect your citizens, which is the chief duty of all governments), and at worst amoral (because you are justifying your means with your ends and are, presumably, not acting out of sadism, malice, or greed, but out of defense) to make sure that friendly governments are in power in other countries, if you wish to protect your own nation-state from being changed by outside forces.

It’s eat or be eaten.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but other countries have made it this way. Is that our fault?

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Could Bernie Sanders Determine Who Wins In November?

The war between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is over.

The former has unofficially clinched the Republican nomination, and Cruz is back in the Senate, preparing his 2018 bid for re-election. However, as one war ends, another one begins.

No, I am not speaking about the war between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who is very likely to be the Democratic nominee.

I’m speaking about the war between Hillary Clinton and a still-defiant Bernie Sanders, who is fighting to the death to gain the upper hand as the last few primaries, notably the critical California primary, emerges.

This war has reached levels as to where Sanders has now officially endorsed Tim Canova, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s opponent in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, in response to Schultz’s perceived bias in favor of the Clinton campaign.

However, it is not the Debbie Wasserman Schultz issue that should be of concern if you are a Democrat and/or a liberal.

What should be of concern, in this case, is if Bernie Sanders could end up giving the White House to Donald Trump, because some of his supporters declined to vote for Clinton out of spite.

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This does not seem like a far-fetched scenario here.

According to a poll jointly conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News that was published on Tuesday, 31% of Sanders supporters say they may not or will not support Clinton in the general election. 64.5% of that 31% (or 20% of all Sanders supporters) say that they will vote for Trump.

When you take into account that 43.4% of all Democrats support Sanders (according to the latest RealClearPolitics average), this translates into 13.5% of all Democrats refusing to vote for Clinton, and 8.7% of all Democrats voting for Trump.

And remember, this poll was taken before the convention, whose outcome is now going to be determined by superdelegates, because of how close the race has been.

Many Democrats may not know this, so if they see the convention fight play out on national television, these numbers are likely to go up.

In response to this development, I ran a theoretical scenario where Trump manages to unite the Republicans, but the disgruntled Sanders supporters carry out their threats at the above rates in every state.

Here’s what plays out, based on the latest RCP averages in individual states (and assuming that the RCP averages assume that Clinton unites the party):

-Trump wins every swing state, except possibly Nevada (which has no recent poll data on the site).

He also wins Connecticut, a state that is normally considered to be a Democratic-leaning one, and comes within two points of winning New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin, three other Democratic-leaning states.

He may also win New Mexico, another Democratic-leaning state that could come into play in this scenario, but does not have recent poll data on RCP.

This leaves him with as many as 349 electoral votes (assuming he wins Nevada and New Mexico), and Clinton with as few as 189.

In the process, New Hampshire votes Republican for the first time since 2000; Connecticut, Michigan, and Pennsylvania vote Republican for the first time since 1988; and Minnesota votes Republican for the first time since 1972.

In other words, Clinton would be blown out of the water.

If you are a Democrat and/or a liberal, this should be a wake up call for you.

If you are a Republican and/or a conservative, this should be a wake up call for you.

Sanders is becoming the spoiler that may determine the election. It is time for the candidates who want to win to go after his voters.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Why Turkey Should Be Removed From NATO

Read the companion piece to this one: Kicking Turkey Out Of NATO Would Be A Massive Mistake

Whatever strategic value that Turkey may have to the United States and the rest of NATO can be considered as good as null and void in light of a series of events that have taken place over the last five years.

During this time period, the world has seen Turkey, under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, slowly morph from a beacon of democracy in the Middle East to a rogue state.

Ever since Syria descended into civil war in 2011, Erdogan has made it very clear that he wishes to see anti-government forces oust longtime Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

He has made Turkey into a sponsor of these rebel groups.

On multiple occasions, it has been demonstrated that these groups are willing to make deals with and, at times, openly ally with jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, both which have vowed to destroy America and attacked American civilians on American soil.

By logic, it is then safe to state that Erdogan has contributed at least indirectly that Turkey has played a role in the rise of ISIS.

The rise of ISIS and other jihadi groups in Syria has exacerbated and increased the stakes of the conflict there, to the point where a proxy war now rages between the US, Britain, France, Turkey, and the Arab monarchies on one side; and with Russia, Iran, and Iraq on the other.

It has also contributed a major role in the refugee crisis that is currently plaguing Europe and Syria’s neighbors.

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

So, how has Turkey taken advantage of this crisis, which it is partially responsible for? Let’s start with the proxy war first.

Turkey has engaged in multiple hostile acts against its opponents in this proxy cold war that could have turned it into a hot war.

First, in the most well-known such incident, it shot down a Russian plane conducting missions over Syria after it reportedly crossed over Turkish territory for seventeen seconds.

Second, it has threatened to invade Syria in order to protect ethnic Turkmen and over clashes between Turkish forces and Syrian Kurdish militias.

Turkey has also allegedly sent troops into Iraq without the permission of its government as the Syrian crisis spills over into it.

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Regarding the refugee crisis, Turkey has indicated its willingness to use it as an excuse to push other agendas.

It has made much more trivial issues ranging from travel visas to domestic terrorism laws into potential spoilers in negotiations on the control of migration flows into Europe.

This, without doubt, will be seen by those who view the migration crisis as a national security risk, as blackmail that states, “Do what we say or there will be terrorist attacks.”

In addition to the Turkish role in the developments of the Syrian and migration crises, Turkey has also shown open contempt for democracy and human rights, principles which are promoted (at least in word) by NATO.

Read More: 10 Days In Turkey: An American Student Comes Face To Face With The Islamic Crisis Of Modernity

On its own soil, people are arrested on a regular basis for “insulting the president.”

Protests and dissenting newspapers are subjected to violent crackdowns.

President Erdogan has been accused of inciting violence against pro-Kurdish (a minority ethnic group that resides in the southwest of the country, as well as in parts of Syria, Iraq, and Iran) political parties.

As of 2013, Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than any other country.

And finally, Erdogan has succeeded in forcing the ouster of the Prime Minister, former political ally Ahmet Davutoglu, as part of his attempts to increase the powers of the President, whose role has traditionally been ceremonial.

Erdogan’s attempts to curb democracy are not limited to his home country.

He has played a role in the disruption of democratic order in other countries as well.

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

For example, he has contributed to the curbing of free speech in Germany by demanding that a satirical poem about him written by German comedian Jan Böhmermann be banned under a law that forbids the insulting of foreign heads of state, despite the fact that Erdogan was not even on German soil at the time the poem was broadcast on a local television station.

A German court has partially complied, ruling that 18 of the 24 line in the poem are unacceptable and cannot be read in public, on pain of imprisonment or a fine.

In addition, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has been caught attempting to coerce Turkish organizations in the Netherlands to report on insults against Erdogan on Dutch soil.

And then, there is Erdogan’s security detail, which seems to have the mentality that it is above the laws of other countries, as demonstrated by a series of violent incidents with civilians, journalists, other security details, and even law enforcement when visiting countries such as the United States, Belgium, and Ecuador.

Turkey, under the leadership of Recep Erdogan, has demonstrated through its recent actions the following:

  • It isn’t willing to take the war on terrorism seriously.
  • It is willing to get into bed with the enemies of its NATO allies.
  • It is willing to cause unnecessary conflicts that could drag in NATO allies in order to achieve its individual foreign policy goals.
  • It is willing to put politics over the national security of its NATO allies.
  • It isn’t willing to promote democracy
  • It is willing to curb democracy, both at home and abroad.
  • It is willing to cause disorder on the soil of its NATO allies to prove a point.

Are these the characteristics of an ally, much less a NATO ally? These sound more like the characteristics of a rogue state. Until Turkey cleans up its act, it must be treated as such, and certain actions, including an exclusion from NATO, are welcome.

Read the companion piece to this one: Kicking Turkey Out Of NATO Would Be A Massive Mistake

Do you with agree with this view? Give us your take in the comments below. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Charles Dunst/ RISE NEWS

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