national defense It is a plain *fact, but one that *statists ought to
dwell upon, that *states start all wars instead of merely defending their
*nations or
territories (and they murder even more of their own *subjects than die
in war; see *democide). States
have, particularly since the start of the previous century, a tendency to bring
about the mass killing of conscripts and civilians and general destruction. Yet
states are also an Achilles’ heel with a single center of control that can be
more easily attacked and defeated: once the capital is taken the war is usually
ended (assuming that it is an uncontested seat of *power rather than a
capital that barely rules antagonistic factions). *Anarchies lack this
weakness and hence, famously, superpower USA-state could not defeat North Vietnam (albeit
that its hands were tied by threats from China and the USSR if it
invaded the North) nor superpower USSR-state defeat *Afghanistan (albeit that there
was external support in both cases and that the anarchic defenses were not reflected
in the official *politics). Henry Kissinger (1923- ) admitted that conventional
troops have special difficulties defeating a guerilla force: “The conventional army loses if it does not win. The
guerilla wins if he does not lose.”

How could unaided anarchies raise enough money voluntarily (i.e., without
*tax-*extortion) to pay
for the expense of even defense? Public subscriptions could fund relatively cheap
mercenaries and bounties (see *assassination) to
deal directly with bellicose foreign statesmen themselves, hence seriously
deterring them in the first place once this is realized, instead of the wholesale
bloody and destructive statist approach to war. However, some *nuclear weapons
might also be an investment, as a last resort; possibly small enough to be aimed
at, or smuggled into, military targets of the aggressor state; hence not
attacking the *country as such. Nuclear weapons are the only things that seem to stop
the USA-state from invading wherever it likes. If used, these weapons will
undoubtedly kill some innocent people (although the state does rely on popular
support) and so will not be deontologically *libertarian. But if
they are all that can restrain some *aggressive states
then perhaps they are necessary and *consequentially libertarian
or, better, the threat alone will deter.

*Imperialism was loss-making. Aggressive war never pays financially in
the long run compared to *free trade (there can be a short-run gain if the
aggressor is sufficiently ruthless, but the destructive *economic effect is
eventually global). Free trade also results in global *market networks,
which tends to abolish identifiable separate sides and make military attacks even
more uneconomic. A world without states would have no one that could start a
war. If state national defense is necessary at all, it is only while other
states exist.

See *just war theory; *World War I; *World War II.

A Dictionary of Libertarianism