In Defense of Tucker Carlson

Atilla Sulker | @atillasulker

Amid rumors that Tucker Carlson may have suddenly been suspended off of Fox News, some are taking this claim even further, predicting that Ben Shapiro may replace him. While these claims have remained only rumors, it is important to not lose sight of the importance of Carlson and his platform. Whether these rumors become reality or not, I fully stand by this defense of Carlson.

Many small-government activists, even, have gone as far as to condemn and chastise Carlson for his criticism of Austrian economics. While the claims made by Carlson in this regard are short-sighted and unwarranted, many conservatives and libertarians have allowed this to obscure the importance of Carlson. The fact of the matter is that while the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Levins of the world continuously call for more war in the Middle East and elsewhere, Carlson remains a bold anti-war maverick. And one of very few on Fox News.

Let’s go through some of the various warmongers and neocons that Carlson has exposed on his show. The first is one very prominent in the current administration: John Bolton.

Tucker Carlson vs John Bolton

In an interview with Bolton last year, before his appointment to national security advisor, Carlson caught Bolton off guard and began to grill him on whether we should go to war with Iran. “There haven’t been any Iran-sponsored terror attacks in this country”, Carlson pointed out, as he proceeded to rightfully connect terror attacks on the U.S. to “Saudi Arabians, the Gulf States, and the Sunni Arab World”. A disgruntled Bolton then proceeded to say that it’s Iran’s “support for terrorism generally, that should concern us- not necessarily specific attacks on the United States”. Of course, here, Bolton is alluding to the dream of the liberal international order, in which our interests lie in the promotion of “liberal democracy” worldwide.

Carlson then blatantly noted that to commit any number of troops or increase military spending, it would make much more sense to “go after the people who are attacking us here first”. Sidestepping this, Bolton began to put the blame on North Korea and their nuclear weapons. Bolton then returned to point out that had Israel bombed Iran 15 years before, we’d be in a much better place now. Carlson then pointed out that regime change in Iraq and Libya turned out to be a disaster, leading Bolton to immediately stop him there. Bolton ended the interview, saying that the analysis of Carlson and like-minded non-interventionists was “simplistic”, his final defense.

Standing (Alone) Against Killing

On many other occasions, Carlson has pointed out his abhorrence to the idea of war with Iran, grilling Bolton and the war lobby following the recent threat of war with Iran. “How many people will be killed? The most basic of all questions, but a question too rarely asked by leaders contemplating war”, Carlson asserted. Carlson also rebuked a clip where someone on CNN criticized the president for being indecisive on whether to strike Iran, as Trump decided last minute not to follow through with the prospective attack on Iran. Of course, in Washington, being indecisive is a greater sin than killing hundreds in a strike.

Carlson also once faced perhaps the most pro-war of all warmongers, Ralph Peters; he helped lead the anti-Russia hysteria. Peters branded the Russians as “terrorists” who hate the United States, calling it wrong to seek alliances with them in any way. To Peters, Putin “is as close to pure evil” as he can think of.

Like Bolton, in pursuit of the liberal international order, Peters asserted that “we should be strengthening our alliances with democracies”. When Carlson asked why the Russians constituted a threat to the U.S., Peters compared Carlson to a Hitler apologist, saying “you sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying Hitler hasn’t attacked us”. Of course, this is a classic move in the neocon playbook. Carlson’s scuffle with Peters is reminiscent of when John McCain called out Ron Paul in a debate for supporting “isolationism”, which “allowed Hitler to come to power”. All Paul was doing was pointing out the failures of the war in Iraq.

The Liberal International Order

University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer notes that “the (liberal international) order contains the seeds of its own destruction”. For if the dream of liberal hegemony, i.e., that the United States can impose its will on the rest of the world, is to prevail, a unipolar world would be needed.

This is not so, as China has emerged as a major world power, bringing back “balance of power politics”. But China’s emergence as a major world power was inevitable, Mearsheimer explains, through integrating it into the liberal international order, “making it richer and richer”. Thus the quest to achieve a liberal international order led back to a balance of power politics, making the former a futile endeavor.

A Winless Task

To support the liberal international order, one must first accept the prerequisite that there are no alternatives to liberal democracy. Thus one must ignore any historical or cultural considerations in various countries, some of which may date centuries back. While addressing the implications of détente, in his book The Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age, George Kennan underscores the importance of the “symmetrical” historical development of the Russian and American people.

The Russians inherited the outlook of a great continental land power, almost totally cut off from the world oceans, surrounded over great periods of their history by fierce and dangerous land neighbors; and they became accustomed to that intense concentration of political authority that marks all societies and communities that find themselves virtu­ally in a state of siege. The Russians learned to regard as natural the subor­dination of the individual to this con­centration of authority. They were grate­ful, no doubt, for whatever liberties and immunities might be conceded to the individual at any given moment, but they tended to accept these as the prod­uct of an act of grace on the part of constituted authority rather than as ab­solute rights, inherent in the condition of individual man.

Clearly, Russia’s history doesn’t show respect for “liberal democracy”. Thus, why impose such a concept on a nation that can’t make sense of it?

Tucker Carlson vs the World

The dreams of creating an empire that encompasses the whole world, enforcing “liberal democracy” on the nations, as supported by Bolton and others, lead down a futile path. And whenever a futile path is pursued through enforcing its policies on the globe, it is no longer futile, but suicidal.

It is sad to say that we are in great surprise nowadays when we find a consistent anti-war voice. What should be taken for granted has now become a rare gem. Few people with such a profound anti-war sentiment as Carlson have a platform as far-reaching as his. This is not something to take for granted. Nor should we brush off the fact that his potential replacement could be a mouthpiece for the neocon establishment: Ben Shapiro. For his work, Carlson should be heralded a hero.

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