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Fiat Wars | Scott Horton

Fiat Wars | Scott Horton

Jan 30, 2024
Saifedean Ammous

Fiat Wars | Scott Horton

In this episode of The Bitcoin Standard podcast Saifedean Ammous sits down with Scott Horton to discuss the wars of the 21st century that the US has engaged in, how they negatively affect US citizens, and how fiat money fuels them.

Understanding the Afghan War: A Historical Perspective

The Afghan War, a conflict that has defined the early 21st century, has a convoluted history that predates the tragic events of September 11, 2001. To comprehend the war's origins, we must look back to 1979, a pivotal year when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. This marked the beginning of a protracted conflict that would eventually draw in the United States.

The Soviet Invasion and Operation Cyclone

The Soviet invasion was a response to the rise of the Mujahideen, an insurgent movement opposing the then pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan. The U.S., seeking to counter Soviet influence, launched Operation Cyclone, a covert CIA program that provided arms, training, and financial support to Mujahideen fighters. Notably, this program also attracted foreign fighters, including Osama bin Laden, who became a significant figure in the resistance against the Soviets.

The U.S. Reaction Post-Soviet Withdrawal

Following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, the U.S. attention to Afghanistan waned, leaving the nation in a state of civil war. It wasn't until the rise of the Taliban in the mid-1990s and their harboring of al-Qaeda that the U.S. re-engaged with Afghanistan in a significant way.

September 11 and the U.S. Invasion

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, perpetrated by al-Qaeda from Afghan soil, the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom. The initial phase successfully dismantled al-Qaeda's infrastructure and ousted the Taliban from power. However, the Taliban retreated to Pakistan and regrouped, leading to a prolonged insurgency.

The Taliban Resurgence and U.S. Policy

The resurgence of the Taliban posed a complex challenge for the U.S. Numerous strategies were implemented, including attempts at nation-building, counter-insurgency, and peace talks. Despite these efforts, the Taliban maintained significant influence, especially in rural areas.

Financial and Human Cost

The Afghan War has been costly both financially and in human terms. Trillions of dollars have been spent on military operations, development aid, and sustaining Afghan security forces. Additionally, tens of thousands of lives have been lost, including Afghan civilians, security forces, and foreign troops.

Impact on U.S. Foreign Policy

The war has had a profound impact on U.S. foreign policy, shaping perceptions of American military capability and affecting domestic politics. It has also led to a reevaluation of U.S. interventionist policies and raised questions about the effectiveness of military solutions to complex political and social problems.

The End of the War

The war officially ended with the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2021, leading to a rapid takeover by the Taliban. This outcome has prompted discussions on the lessons learned and the future of Afghanistan, particularly in terms of governance, human rights, and regional stability.

The Afghan War's intricate history is a reminder of the complexities of international conflicts and the challenges of foreign intervention. Its legacy continues to influence global politics and serves as a cautionary tale for policymakers and strategists around the world.

Best Quotes

  1. "War comprises the germ of every other tyranny over man." - Scott Horton quoting James Madison, highlighting the inherent dangers of war to human freedom.
  2. "Every government crisis...leads to an increase in government power...the ratchet turns and you get more and more control by government over the nation." - Scott Horton on the ratchet effect described by Robert Higgs.
  3. "As long as you have a war going on...then you can never have anything like a limited government at home." - Scott Horton on the incompatibility of war and limited government.
  4. "Why bitcoin fixes all of that." - Podcast introduction, hinting at Bitcoin's potential to address issues stemming from fiat money and war.


The podcast episode with Scott Horton offers a profound critique of US foreign policy and the perpetual state of war, particularly in the Middle East. Horton expertly connects the dots between military conflicts, the expansion of government power, and the erosion of civil liberties. In parallel, the episode introduces various Bitcoin and economic resources, positioning them as tools for empowerment and potential solutions to the systemic problems discussed.

The overarching message is clear: ongoing wars have far-reaching consequences that undermine the principles of a limited and responsible government. By analyzing the insights offered by Horton and considering the role of Bitcoin, listeners are encouraged to reflect on the potential for a future where sound economic understanding and sound money can lead to better decision-making and a more peaceful world.

In a time when the implications of foreign policy decisions are more critical than ever, this episode serves as an urgent wake-up call to reconsider the status quo and explore alternatives that prioritize economic wisdom and the transformative power of Bitcoin. It's an invitation for future discussions that can pave the way for meaningful change.


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