Smithian To The Bone

Theories become theories for perhaps one reason, and that is parsimony. In other words, theories are supposed to be parsimonious, in the sense that they are supposed to explain virtually everything about a subject. When we employ quantum entanglement for physics or whether we employ realism or economic interdependence as theories for politics and international relations, we employ these theories as a basis or a foundation for explaining everything that goes on within these particular subjects. In terms of explaining politics and international relations as well as the nature of the international system, realism has its limits. Thus, the prevailing theory of politics and international relations – especially when we take into consideration the developments and trends of the 21st century which have led to further globalization, interconnection, and interdependence between peoples and nations – is perhaps economic interdependence theory.

Moreover, the principles as well as the philosophical underpinnings of economic interdependence theory come from solid sources. In addition to having the principles and philosophical underpinnings fostered by Kant and Hegel, economic interdependence theory also gets a boost from the famous philosopher and economist Adam Smith, who was of British and Scottish origin. One commentator argued that America was “Smithian to the bone.” Thus, as the primary anchor of the international system, the United States is obliged to uphold a set of principles and philosophical underpinnings which preserve an international system that is fostered by economic interdependence.

American domestic politics is even running into these principles and philosophical underpinnings by happenstance. For one, an entire government spending and social welfare program is being held up by two senators who are opposed to the trajectory towards a massive social welfare state. Moreover, a progressive caucus is undermining an incremental course towards a massive social welfare state by arguing that incrementalism is not enough.

Veering away from the principles and philosophical underpinnings of the international system have also undermined American credibility, legitimacy, and power in the international system. For one, these principles and philosophical underpinnings include the preservation of international peace through diplomacy, small government and low taxes, as well as capitalism and free markets with the aim of thwarting communism. In blatant violation of these principles and philosophical underpinnings of the international system, neocons first went into aimless wars. Then, they expanded the size of government and made it into a bloated mess. Also, sanctions and tariffs imposed first by neocons and then upheld by successive administrations undermined capitalism and free markets.

Thus, there are so many reasons as to why a handful of neocons need to be held accountable for both domestic instability as well as global instability. In a sense, the Biden Administration is providing amnesty for these people, when in reality, social strife can be overcome only through accountability, transparency, as well as truth and reconciliation – all of which happen to be mechanisms of a concept known as “transitional justice.” Essentially, “transitional justice” and its basic mechanisms facilitate a transition from war and social strife to peace and domestic tranquility, thus the use of the term “transitional” within this concept. By overlooking the importance of transitional justice out of political correctness, Biden and his administration are doing a disservice to their country, as well as to the thousands – if not millions – of families who lost family members and loved ones because of not only the ethical and moral transgressions of a handful of criminals and psychopaths, but also because of the violations of the basic principles and philosophical underpinnings of our international system.

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