Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ron Paul, On Throwing Our Allies Under the Bus

Classic Liberal had a number of videos for an interview by Judge Andrew Napolitano with Sarah Palin and Congressman Ron Paul.



Let me preface this by saying that I admire Ron Paul for (most of) his views on the Constitution. He is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and his views on domestic policies are largely in alignment with mine. But on matters of foreign policy, the Congressman and I part ways. I heard this interview early this AM and have not been able to get it out of my mind. At around 4:35 into the video, Congressman Paul says the US is an empire. This is either hyperbolic on his part or he is badly mistaken. This may be due, in part, to what I call Paul's neo-isolationism. Our military projects the power of the US beyond our borders. Congressman Paul sees this influence as some kind of "empire", though not one classically defined*. I see it more as "deterrence" and "influence". We want to encourage other countries to embrace freedom. We want to discourage other countries that would take freedom away.
*The US has defeated a number of enemies and we have seized neither their lands nor their resources, which is what empires typically do. On this point, Congressman Paul is wrong.

Then, he goes on to speak about how we don't need to be the cops of the world and how we don't need nine hundred plus bases around the world, and both those things may be true! There are certainly areas around the world where we could reduce our presence while still projecting our power. However, when asked about coming to the defense of our allies, Paul said this at 5:08:

"No, I'd treat Israel like all the other countries."

Really? I have heard this from Mr. Paul's mouth before and I am still no less incredulous. The idea that we should treat all countries as equals strikes me as either naively idealistic or borderline insane. The idea that we would treat Great Britain and Israel the same as we would Iran or North Korea is preposterous.
I believe, in theory, we should treat all people equally as well. But, if I see two men coming at me on the street and one is carrying a Bible and the other is carrying a switchblade, I'm going to treat those two individuals differently. Refusing to aid our allies until the enemy is at our doorstep is a good way not to have any allies when the enemy is at our doorstep.

...we don't get involved in their internal or external squabbles and we just stay out of it
"Squabbles?" My dictionary defines "Squabble" as a petty quarrel. Does Congressman Paul believe that Israel fighting for its very survival is a "petty quarrel"? Is smuggling rockets to Hamas indicative of a petty quarrel? A petty quarrel might be the neighbor playing the stereo too loud or too late at night. The first RPG I lob through my neighbor's window escalates that up from a "squabble" to something more.
But, if it's just a squabble, then let's not send warships to the gulf, let's send guidance counselors! A couple of good shrinks with a PhD in psychology and we can solve all the problems in the Middle East. After all...they're just "squabbles", right?
One would think that after so many years of public service that Mr. Paul could be more precise in the words he uses to describe the US and our allies' plight in the world than "empire" and "squabbles"? Unless, that's what he really believes...


My fervent hope is that his son Rand has not adopted his father's views on foreign policy.

More videos linked at Classic Liberal
Cross posted at Say Anything

19 comments:

  1. Excellent post! You sum up my views of Paul perfectly. I will never, ever, vote for him.

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  2. I wish every Congressman had his high regard for the Constitution, but I can't go along with his neo-isolationism.

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  3. Empire is a fair assessment if you look at it as a historic metaphor. We may not be expanding on a technical basis, but Wilsonian "spreading democracy" walks and quacks like an empire (and has much the same consequences).

    Paul, like myself, was in favor of attacking Afghanistan, but in war, not in nation-building. We have the fire power to have defeated the Taliban and al Qeada a long time ago, instead, today we look like Russia did 20 years ago ... broke and at war in Afghanistan.

    Other countries need to learn to fight their own battles. Poland, for example, has no right to my tax dollars for missile defense. If they can't afford to protect themselves, maybe they should try capitalism. If not, they should lick the boots of their masters.

    Not to mention there'd be no talk of border problems under an America First foreign policy. They'd be secure.

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  4. One other quick thought ...

    Criticizing foreign policy is not unique to criticizing any other government policy. Foreign policy does not represent America anymore than healthcare policy does. To criticize foreign policy is not to "blame America." America is a creed, not a government.

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  5. Ditto. Excellent post and right on. Unfortunately, here in Kentucky, Rand believes everything his father espouses, but he has realized that he can't quite get away with it in such a red state. He's tweaked his talking points in regard to foreign policy, but the sentiment is still there.

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  6. theCL-I could almost buy your argument until this gem, "If not, they should lick the boots of their masters." That's all well and good to state confidently in the comfort and security of your armchair in the most powerful and free city on earth. But in reality, if Poland falls and does indeed end up "licking someone's boot" how soon do you think it will be before that "bell" of tyranny begins to "toll" for you? How long did it take for Hitler's little experiment in German national democracy to erupt into a world war and come visiting Pearl Harbor in the early dawn hours? And, take North Korea for example, I'm sure you are as happy as punch that your tax dollars no longer go to fund any military action in that country. Great, wonderful, end of story... Right? But what happens when/if one of Kim's nukes finds it's way to Detroit or L.A. I know...our consolation will be that at least we'd finally have that darn smoking gun WMD everyone was so sure was the Bush administration's biggest lie.

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  7. "Empire is a fair assessment if you look at it as a historic metaphor" Historic metaphor? Nope. Not buying it. One definition of metaphor is "Metaphors are comparisons that show how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar in one important way."
    Not alike in most ways. In fact, the only way I would conceivably even admit there is a hint of "empire" would be intellectually. To the extent that American ideas,idealism and culture have taken hold throughout the world, I might begrudge you that. But that is a voluntary acceptance, not under the boot heels of an emporor.
    In every other way, it is not, and speaking of America as an "empire" when the rest of the world knows what empire really is, weakens our influence. As a student of history, Mr. Paul should be more precise.

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  8. CL: You bring up Poland. I recall that once they had a "squabble" with one of their neighbors. Should FDR have said: "If they can't afford to protect themselves, maybe they should try capitalism. If not, they should lick the boots of their masters"?

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  9. "if Poland falls and does indeed end up "licking someone's boot" how soon do you think it will be before that "bell" of tyranny begins to "toll" for you?"

    Hopefully, this response answers many questions ...

    For starters, Poland isn't free. If they were, they wouldn't need the US taxpayer to subsidize their defense. To believe they are free, is to believe fantasy. You are not as free as your grandfather was, yet you know more freedom than a citizen of Poland. Don't kid yourself thinking of Poland as free. The polish are already licking the boots of their masters.

    Collectivism fails. Always. It is an economic impossibility. The USSR (or NAZI's) never had the ability to keep up with a free nation like the US. But we continue to give that freedom up. Why?

    We say radical Islam wants to kill us because of our freedom, yet we surrender our freedoms, claiming they're not "essential." Government needs more power. But isn't that what the Islamists think too, that government needs more power?

    Tyranny comes from within, not from without. Radical Islam couldn't possibly invade and occupy America, but pro-state radicals could take-over the government. And they have too! I think you'd agree.

    So the "bell of tyranny" rings most loudly in Washington, not in some distant land, a threat to Poland (or anywhere else for that matter) ...

    The fight is here at home, not abroad. Islam isn't invading, but progressivism is! So choose your battle. Send your resources to fight a myth in Poland, or keep it here at home to fight the progressives.

    God bless the people in Poland, but for me, home is where the heart is (and thus my money, talents, and wealth. People in Poland have no right to anything of mine. May sound selfish, but I have no right to anything of theirs either.

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  10. "Should FDR have said: "If they can't afford to protect themselves, maybe they should try capitalism. If not, they should lick the boots of their masters"?"

    Yes. But FDR was a tyrant, so of course he felt otherwise. Going to war helped him expand the state at home. In fact, progressivism relies on war (or at least the equivalent of war). FDR didn't defeat the state, he emboldened the state!

    Our economy is more fascist today than it was prior to WWII. So who really won? What's the point of winning a military battle if we're going to adopt their way of life?

    Today, we have a fascist economy and communists in the White House. Who won the wars again?

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  11. Yes? So the proper time for the US to have engaged the Wehrmacht was sometime after they invaded Canada and Mexico?

    "Islam isn't invading" so, Baptists flew those planes into the WTC? I was under the impression that they were Islamists primarily from Saudi Arabia!

    I notice, too that you keep focusing on Poland, whereas the example I brought up was Israel, an ally of ours whose very existence is threatened.
    Forget FDR. Forget Poland. Would you abandon our ally Israel? Is their survival merely a "squabble" with their neighbors?

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  12. This comment debate is interesting in that is summarizes exactly the split that exists between conservative/Republicans and libertarians as shown in the video. What is also interesting is that I can almost buy the argument...almost. The problem with it is that libertarians deny the possiblity that radical Islam is a threat. ie. "Radical Islam couldn't possibly invade and occupy America, but pro-state radicals could take-over the government." For one, "pro-state radicals" don't have the backing of entire wealthy nation-states like Iran and Saudi Arabia. What is a pro-state radical anyway? Where are they operating? Where are their training camps and their national leaders? Does their funding come from billions in oil revenue? Yet, they are suppose to be a greater threat than radical islam? I disagree 100% . Just ask my aunt how much life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness she's enjoying at 47...oh wait, she was incinerated on 9/11 when her flight for National Geographic was flown into the Pentagon. And finally, I don't have to choose my battle over progressives or radical islam...we're fighting them both at the same time whether we want to or not. God help us if they are united in their mission of destroying western freedom. It's time that we all open our eyes to that fact.

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  13. Proof,

    Ron Paul is 100% right about foreign policy! It’s not his platform that undermines his support… It’s the misunderstanding of his platform and the misunderstanding of the good results his Constitutionally limited, small government, non-interventionist approach will actually accomplish. His platform is as solid as a rock every time, on every major issue. Once you get all the facts, RP makes perfect sense.

    The good news is, he’s been preaching the same message for over thirty years. His 30 year old predictions are now the mainstream media headlines when it comes to our debt, the economy, the value of the dollar, our policing of the world, our war mongering and much more. In 08 it was common to hear someone call him crazy in the “lamestream” media almost every day. You don’t hear much of that any more and you have almost NEVER heard it from anyone that thoroughly understands why RP does what he does. The exception to that rule are socialist, fascist, corporatist, big government, one world government, nanny state, types that think the government owes them a living, that it’s the government’s legitimate duty to control and micromanage every aspect of their life and that they should give up their Constitutional rights and liberty in exchange for perceived government protection and the warm fuzzy feeling that illusion gives them.

    Ron Paul is NOT an isolationist, he is a noninterventionist. There is a huge difference and he has explained this in great detail. I’m sure you can find many references on youtube.

    Since you can watch what RP himself says about almost every issue on youtube, instead of just reading or watching what someone else says about him, I’ve found youtube is usually a great source of truthful information about RP.

    I don’t know for sure why so many write and broadcast twisted misleading reports of what RP actually stands for but I can’t help but believe most of the media misinformation is done on purpose and financed by the banksters that own the mainstream media and most of the crooked mega-corporations in the world. They also control most of the crooked politicians in both parties. If that weren’t true, Obama (who was the most liberal politician in the entire Congress) certainly wouldn’t be running an administration that looks like a mirror image of the alleged conservative Bush’s administration.

    The founders of this Country supported being friends with other nations, trading with them and talking with them but staying out of their “squabbles”… wars, as much as possible. It wasn’t that long ago, that was the National sentiment of the USA. It took Pearl Harbor to get us in WWII. We didn’t rush in without just cause on that one and many of our friends had previously suffered great losses.

    Ron Paul has NEVER objected to ANY nation defending their own borders! If you look at recent history (post WWII) you’ll quickly notice that our “police the world” and “promote democracy at gunpoint” policy has accomplished absolutely nothing except astronomical funding for the military industrial complex (at the expense of American taxpayers) and a lot of hatred toward us just about everywhere we have stuck our nose that it doesn’t belong. Korea, Vietnam and hundreds of other places around the globe have all had virtually the same result. We have created whole nations of people that depend on us to protect them with our interventionist policy instead of those people standing up and fighting for their own freedom like our founders did.

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  14. Proof,

    Israel and the Middle East are great examples of our bad foreign policy! Yes, we give a lot of aid to Israel but we also give twice as much aid to Nations that oppose Israel. Israel has plenty of resources to defend their self. They have far more nukes than anyone in the middle East and they have more than enough conventional weapons and manpower to protect their self against anyone in the region in a conventional war. They are also very prosperous, so why are our taxpayers funding them? Do some research and listen to what RP has said on this subject and I think you will more than likely agree that we’re doing Israel more harm than good with our current policy. Please consult sources where you can hear RP’s words straight from his own mouth.

    You commented: “He says he would treat Israel as any other country. Really? We're going to treat Israel like Libya? Columbia?? Cuba???” Yes, trade with them, talk to them, lead by example and let our example of Constitutional rights and freedom inspire them to make a better country for their selves but stay out of their wars and stop all foreign aid! If we do that, they won’t fight so much and their wars will be over a lot sooner when they do happen. They will be forced to solve their own problems and maybe we can solve a few of ours instead of funding other nations and maintaining over 900 military bases around the world.

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  15. Proof,
    RE: http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/2010/06/ron-paul-on-throwing-our-allies-under.html I’m glad you are looking at what RP himself says but go back and closely listen to what RP said here and do further research. I have watched him closely for several years now and some of what he has said (or rather, I should say, the headlines “allegedly reporting what he said”) has hit me wrong too but I ALWAYS keep looking until I find a source that gives me RP’s own personal in depth explanation on each issue, in his own words. In addition to youtube, RP’s official Congressional website often clears a lot of things up. The clip above covers many topics and doesn’t get in depth about any of them.

    I had to look deeper when I read that RP was NOT opposed to a Mosque very near ground zero in NY, but once I heard him explain why, I had to agree with him. He took a completely Constitutional position, as he always does and it was 100% correct. In a nutshell he said the USA is not at war with all of Islam, we are only interested in bringing the terrorists to justice and if the people that want to build a mosque are law abiding citizens they have the same right to worship as anyone else, in any legally available location. It’s a property rights issue and a 1st amendment, freedom of religion issue. Personally, I don’t like the thought of a Mosque near ground zero, it seems like a monument to the terrorists but what Constitutional right do we have to prevent it?... absolutely none. That being said, RP probably also wouldn’t have a problem with a pork barbecue or a topless bar being right next door or across the street from a ground zero mosque, as long as it was legal. As you can see, there are lots of ways to discourage behavior the majority of WE THE PEOPLE don’t approve of, without twisting the law to suit our whims.

    I had to look deeper when I read RP did not support the killing of Osama Bin Laden too but once I heard why, I had to agree with him 100%. If we let the Government kill people without a trial, or a Constitutionally compliant declaration of war against a nation and based only on the Government’s feelings or beliefs about them being guilty, rather than a guilty verdict in a court of law and especially in the case of someone like Bin Laden, who could have easily been captured alive and brought to court… what’s to stop the Government from killing you or me without a trial and dumping our body in the ocean? The Patriot Act actually allows the Government to do exactly that. Under the completely unconstitutional Patriot Act, not only can government employees write their own search warrants without 4th amendment due process but they can also kill people, including US citizens that are merely thought to be terrorists. This is a great example of the slippery slope away from the Constitution that RP is trying to prevent.

    These are the kind of things that set RP so far above every other candidate. He NEVER just says what people want to hear and he NEVER goes along with the crowd, when the crowd conflicts with the Constitution. He truly believes in equal justice for all and he weighs every issue against the Constitution.

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  16. Proof,
    Let’s talk about why we REALLY have over 900 military bases around the world. The Government would have you believe they are there to “protect our national interests” but that’s a load of pure hogwash! They are there to impose the banksters neocon will on other nations and to protect the interests of private corporations… mostly those in the oil business. Neither of those are legitimate Constitutional uses of our military.

    We have more oil, coal and natural gas within our own borders than we will ever need. This nonsense about the world running out of energy / oil is a crock!

    Let’s look at the single most efficient source of renewable, environmentally friendly fuel for a moment. Got any idea what it is? It sure isn’t corn! It’s hemp. No other plant on planet earth is more efficient at producing bio-fuel than hemp. Industrial hemp is absolutely useless as a drug because of it’s low THC content. Kind of makes you wonder why the USA has pushed it’s hemp / marijuana prohibition all over the globe doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that no one in the history of the world has ever died from consuming marijuana.

    The diesel engine was actually invented to run on hemp seed oil because Rudolf Diesel saw it as the most available, most easily produced renewable fuel. When hemp fuel burns it produces pollution just like fossil fuels do but the big difference is, when hemp grows, photosynthesis during the growing cycle removes as much pollution as burning it produces. This results in absolutely no loading of pollution into the environment like we get with fossil fuel and we certainly wouldn't have to worry about the contamination associated with nuclear power.

    With hemp we also don’t have to worry about such devastating oil spills, since hemp oil is nontoxic and we don’t have to drill for it or transport it offshore.

    There are roughly 100 million cleared ready to farm acres in the USA. About half of that is not being used and the Government is paying farmers not to plant it in order to artificially inflate food costs and keep the mega-corporate food producers happy.

    It’s estimated that we could grow 95% of our entire domestic fuel needs using hemp grown on the ready to plant unused acres right here in the USA. If that’s true, and I’ve seen strong evidence that it is, then why aren’t we doing it? Only one reason seems logical to me. Big oil and other mega-corporations that fear competition from superior more environmentally friendly hemp / marijuana products own and control our Government. If everyone grew their own cleaner more environmentally friendly fuel, what would happen to big oil? That’s the kind of crooked corporate controlled Government we are being governed by and that’s a lot of what RP is trying to straighten out.

    Just to give you the basics about the drug war and marijuana in particular I suggest you read:

    MARIJUANA AND HEMP THE UNTOLD STORY, Thomas J. Bouril,

    WHY IS MARIJUANA ILLEGAL, Pete Guither

    and the free online book:

    THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES, The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and The Conspiracy Against Marijuana. 1985 (with at least 12 re-printings with updates)

    Click the links to those titles on this webpage:
    Internet Explorer web browser: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/home
    All Other Browsers: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/index.html

    If you think marijuana prohibition has anything to do with the imaginary, false, fabricated, alleged harms from using marijuana as a recreational drug, YOU HAVE BEEN DUPED!

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  17. "Let’s talk about why we REALLY have over 900 military bases around the world."

    Look, you'll get no argument from me that we need to reevaluate our military presence around the world. But there's a big difference (or in some cases no difference) between too much presence and too little. The difference between too much and none at all is insanity. Jefferson recognized this and took the battle to the shores of Tripoli.

    It's not about oil or hemp, it's about the preservation of freedom. Perhaps you need to pull the beam out of your own eye before you talk about who's been duped. Britain and Israel are democracies, in the Jeffersonian tradition. To say we will treat them no differently than countries under the jackboot of tyranny and dictatorships is to say we can stand alone in the world and devil take the hindmost.

    We have a name for that. It's called isolationism. A newer form of it would be called neo-isolationism. Paul is not correct on foreign policy. Currently, the President is the Leader of the Free World. It is too soon to abdicate that role.

    America needs to do what it can to foster and encourage freedom and stand with our allies against the enemies of freedom. This is not the time for retreat. Ron Paul is not the man to lead this country in a time of war for the survival of freedom.

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  18. "I’m glad you are looking at what RP himself says but go back and closely listen to what RP said here and do further research."
    Unfortunately, leadership doesn't work that way. When the president of the US speaks, nations, markets, people around the world parse every word for its meaning both plain and implied. One cannot speak and say, well, just research this and interpret it based on some other body of work. A president has to say what he means and mean what he says or not say it.

    If we have to "look deeper" to find this guy is not going to throw our allies under the bus, after he as much as said so, doesn't spell leadership.

    "The clip above covers many topics and doesn’t get in depth about any of them." What part of "he's wrong to throw our allies under the bus" needs to be examined in greater depth?

    Please show us from your further research and watching closely, how what he believes and would implement is different from what he said?

    "He truly believes in equal justice for all and he weighs every issue against the Constitution.

    Funny. Harold Camping believes in the Bible and weighs every issue against what the Bible says.

    How'd that work out for him?

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  19. Please consult sources where you can hear RP’s words straight from his own mouth.

    Is this one of those "Who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes?" questions?
    I heard the words straight from his own mouth. You are the same anonymous as the hemp advocate, right? (I'm just saying!)

    I did consult a source with RP’s words straight from his own mouth. It's called "video". Watch it again, if you need to. Then tell me he didn't say what he said.

    "Ron Paul is NOT an isolationist, he is a noninterventionist." And if you call a dog's tail a leg, he still only has four legs. Nothing I have read, or heard from Paul's own lips, his denials notwithstanding, dissuade me seeing his policies as neo-isolationist.

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