I Don't Agree with Ron Paul

Scott Wilson's picture
Submitted by Scott Wilson on Sat, 2012-02-25 10:17

[Lifted from the Arizona Debate thread—Linz]

I don't agree with Ron Paul on foreign policy. He sits alongside the Pat Buchanan school of isolationism that whilst intuitively simplistic would effectively abandon the US's allies and leave a vacuum to be filled by its enemies.

There have been monumental errors made in Afghanistan, this is true. The key one being that a muddle half-arsed option was taken between taking out the Taliban and rebuilding the country to be pro-Western. The former has partly happened. The latter has not. The model that is easy to identify for Afghanistan is Japan post-1945, but the US could not afford to sustain, nor practically had the logistics to occupy the whole country and change the culture, not least because it is culturally vastly different from militarist Japan and is so much poorer, less governed with a more disaggregated population. The only viable option has been to knock out the Taliban and support fighting them, whilst leaving the Afghan government largely on its own. Afghanistan being less Islamist than the Taliban only in that North Korea is less Maoist than the Khmer Rouge. The future strategy should be only about addressing Al Qaeda and leakage of terrorism efforts into other countries, because Afghanistan itself cannot be saved from its largely stone-age Islamist misogyny.

Iraq is different. The evidence for WMDs in Iraq was clear, as Saddam had used them and had constantly evaded allowing free and open inspections of his facilities. The reasons for not finding WMDs are not clear, but could come from anything ranging from Saddam thinking they existed (when those below him lied about it), or hiding them, or them being taken. However, the monumental mistake in Iraq was similar to Afghanistan, with no strategy to rebuild, secure the borders and change the society (when there was far more scope to do so than there was in Afghanistan). Iraq is now slipping backwards into an anti-Western system getting ever closely aligned with Iran. Not much can be done now about this except to deter it.

However, the approach to Iran is laughable. Iran's foreign policy is clear, it has two priorities - isolating, combating and eradicating Israel, and promoting Islamism globally. There is no compromise or negotiation possible with this. Negotiation MIGHT be possible if it could offer free and frank inspections of all of its nuclear facilities, as that would show good faith. However, until Iran stops calling for the destruction of Israel and the USA, it becomes rather difficult to imagine how to go forward. There have been negotiations with former enemies - China was one of the significant ones, but then China wasn't really interested in destroying the US or exporting Maoism to any serious extent (particularly after 1976), it wanted an ally against the USSR and eventually a trading partner.

Iran's regime will eventually fall, because the population of Tehran want it to do so. They don't subscribe to the Islamism, and the regime has clamped down to stop them rising up against it. The best path forward in two track - one track being tough and keeping all options on the table and increasing sanctions, another being a backdoor to those in the regime who may facilitate change. That approach has worked in Burma and I believe will also work in North Korea.

However, in both of those latter cases the regimes have not been led by religious fundamentalists. Ron Paul would have not put pressure on Burma and presumably would yank out of South Korea giving the Pyongyang regime confidence to keep shelling and torpedoing random South Korean targets.

Uploaded March 1st

gregster's picture

Ron says he's not in Romney's pocket. I tend to believe him.

Bear in Mind

Cornell's picture

When we speak here, we are not only speaking to one another. We must understand that the Monolith overhears us. So this is an opportunity to reason with it.

True. That having been said,

Cornell's picture



That having been said, beyond the question of good and evil, there is the question of sustainability. If we accept as given (which I do not, necessarily) that invasions of dictatorships and nation building are somehow not self-sacrificial, and/or that self-sacrifice is not wrong, there is still the question of whether or not we can afford to keep doing it.

And we can't.

Blame America First, Defend America Last

Michael Moeller's picture

Desalvo has done his summary of Ron Paul's foreign policy, which bares little resemblance to the actual positions Ron Paul has taken over the years. Further, his defense of Ron Paul's foreign policy appears to be supported by some ridiculous psychologizing of all of Ron Paul's detractors, describing them as motivated by "fear". No doubt, we would crush Iran, for instance, if we had the moral strength to execute a war as it should be executed. My only fear is a person like Ron Paul directing foreign policy, thus implementing a morally perverse foreign policy that leads to the appeasement -- and ultimately destructive capabilites -- of foreign enemies.

Anyway, here was a quick summary of Ron Paul's foreign policy that I did before, and needs repeating because these are Ron Paul's actual positions.

He [Ron Paul] doesn't support preemptive war. First, if you agree that the Constitution supports US military action where a nation presents a clear and present danger, but has not yet struck, then he is blowing smoke about the constitutionality of his position. What does Ron Paul propose? Have a dirty bomb take out part of Manhattan before he decides to act?

Does that sit well with you, Scott?

So I suppose your question is whether I am overstating my case by claiming that he would not use American troops in foreign lands. Of course he is not going to come right out and say that, but let's look at the sum total of his positions.

First, he advocates pulling out of every country across the globe, which immediately puts all the troops within our borders. We know he is not going to act preemptively. After all, he thinks it is "fine" for Iran to get a nuclear bomb. He would have us withdraw and/or end our support for places like Taiwan, Israel, and South Korea. The imbecile has gone so far as to say that North and South Korea should reunite.

The man does not even support economic sanctions on rogue nations. He wants to end the embargo with Cuba. He wants to trade with Iran and help prop them up longer than Iran could otherwise exist.

Therefore, in each and every case where America faces a rogue regime, he supports no action, not even economic sanctions.

So what about the case where America is attacked? Thankfully, we have precedent for how Ron Paul would respond.

America was attacked on 9/11, and Ron Paul did support the AUMF against terrorists. Ron Paul actually had his own legislative proposal on the matter where he would NOT attack any nation-states involved in supporting or harboring terrorists, but rather individual terrorists. Yet, he condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden. He condemned the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

Therefore, not only would Ron Paul not support military action against nations funding/supporting terrorism, when the chips were down, he went back on even his own vote to kill individual terrorists. He condemned them as unconstitutional, even though he voted for it. How, on God's green earth, could this man possibly trusted to strike against a nation that attacks America?

So a quick summary for you, Scott. He would withdraw the military from all areas around the globe. He would not attack first, no matter how imminent or credible the threat. He wants "free trade" with Castro and Iran. If attacked, he has shown he has no interest in attacking nation-states. He has shown he will vote for measures against individual terrorists, but then will go back on his own vote and condemn any action against them as unconstitutional. How does this all add up re Ron Paul using our troops to defend America on foreign lands, or even defend it at all?

You do the math.


We're spending billions of dollars on these wars!

Stephen Berry's picture

Is it right to rob your grandmother to spend billions of dollars on foreign adverturism?

I agree that it is right to get rid of evil dictatorships. I also agree that Islam is a disgusting poisonous evil upon humanity. What I don't agree to is a nation spending itself into oblivion using inflation and the money stolen from individuals to fund it.

The objection...

Ross Elliot's picture

..."Ron Paul's position might be extreme, and perhaps even disadvantageous, but he does have a point: we simply cannot afford war like we used to. We spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined. And for what? To bring teddy bears to Afgans? Now our military is extremely competent, and they pretty much accomplished the impossible in Iraq, but it's time for us to start making difficult bedgetary decisions as a country,"

...to nation building and self-sacrifice is not based upon the cost.

Right will always find a way. You don't sacrifice the good upon the altar of cost.

"The current National

Stephen Berry's picture

"The current National government is the most dangerous government NZ has had inflicted upon it since the 1999-2008 Labour government led by Helen Clark."

lol Eye


atlascott's picture

You can't polish a turd, but you CAN roll it in glitter...

I think the solution to your domestic fascist problems in New Zealand is to help invade Syria or Iran. Or somewhere.

Fight them there so you DON'T have to fight them HERE. And the bonus is, even though you aren't fighting them at home, you STILL get to lose your civil liberties.

It's what I like to call the "Gingrich Plan"...

Cost Analysis of War

Cornell's picture

Ron Paul's position might be extreme, and perhaps even disadvantageous, but he does have a point: we simply cannot afford war like we used to. We spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined. And for what? To bring teddy bears to Afgans? Now our military is extremely competent, and they pretty much accomplished the impossible in Iraq, but it's time for us to start making difficult bedgetary decisions as a country, and the biggest piece of the budgetary pie is the military. And here's the thing: I'm not worried about Ron Paul making bad military decisions. The Pentagon has more power than I think you give it credit for. If he were in office, the size of the military would be reduced, and our global military footprint would diminish somewhat. But those generals in the Pentagon are not going to let Ron Paul eviscerate the military. There is a certain balance of pull.

Blinded by FEAR

Richard Goode's picture

Fear is such a tremendous persuasive force ... And, of course, politicians use it. My, do they use it. "Don't let a crisis go to waste" - and my god, how Americans and Kiwis have bought it, hook, line and sinker. So much so that America stands on the steps of totalitarian dictatorship.

New Zealand, too, is on the brink of totalitarian dictatorship. The current National government is the most dangerous government NZ has had inflicted upon it since the 1999-2008 Labour government led by Helen Clark. We no longer have the luxury of voting for minor, freedom-loving parties like the Libz or the ALCP. We are in crisis and in 2014 I will vote with one end in mind. To salve my conscience? To feel cleansed? No, to oust the National socialists. It's an emergency situation and in 2014 my vote will secure Western civilisation. Meanwhile, I have turds to polish.


atlascott's picture

Sticking out tongue

Canada should invade China

Jules Troy's picture

They would never see us coming!!!

I was kidding of course..

Argument From FEAR

atlascott's picture

The argument from fear is one of the most powerful.

Fear is such a tremendous persuasive force that advertisers teach its use. The marketing sales message P-A-S (Problem - Agitate - Solve) teaches marketer to identify their target's fear, agitate it, and that will move the prospect towards your solution. Trial lawyers teach fear and safety from the feared as the conceptual framework to place one's case in to convince a jury.

And, of course, politicians use it. My, do they use it. "Don't let a crisis go to waste" - and my god, how Americans and Kiwis have bought it, hook, line and sinker. So much so that America stands on the steps of totalitarian dictatorship. All we need now is a worsening economic crisis ala Germany in the 1930's and we will be there, with the full support of Obama supporters and "liberty lovers" like the Objectivists on this site and the GOP faithful.

The conceptual framework used to sell the interventionist-everywhere foreign policy is: America is a force for good, and if left to their own devices, all of the world would secretly plot and seek our destruction. Every bad force, every evil, left with no America in their region, would grow stronger and emboldened, and then they'd come for us. "WE HAVE TO FIGHT THEM THERE SO WE DON"T HAVE TO FIGHT HERE!!!!!!!" As if these tiny little countries full of lunatics can hurt us. It's the saddest joke ever played on otherwise intelligent people who profess love of individualism. The punch line is the death of the bright light of liberty in America and the world.

This IS scary. It's a scary message that, if believed, motivates people to support all sorts of bad ideas, or at least to accept them uncritically. FEAR shuts off cognition, on a reptile-brain level. it is why you do not "think" fight or flight in a dangerous situation, you just ACT in the face of danger. Bad people know this and have used DANGER as a tool to get you to put the shackles on yourself.

America IS a tremendous force for good. It HAS helped lots of people. It is the best country ever to exist in the history of human civilization. But she has also needlessly killed a lot of people, unintentionally, and often not the people whom are targeted. There are lots, and lots, and lots of BAD unintended consequences. First and foremost, it leads to military entanglements which mean Americans get killed. Lives are ruined. Guys come home with emotional disorders and missing limbs. We spend trillions. Political insiders become multi-billionaires by selling war materiel to the government for conflicts that never needed to be. War is not an economic policy; nor can it ever be a moral foreign policy. Men were hung in bygone days for war profiteering. Maybe we had the right of it, back then.

We propped up a largely secular dictator in Iran in the 50's through 70's. He was brutal, but under his rule, women had more rights than they do under a Islamic fundamentalist regime. Women had more rights in Iran in the 1960's than they do now. We propped him up, and after his brutal regime was brought to a brutal end, a more Islamic religious regime took over in response. And ever since the Iran Hostage Crisis, America has been taking consistent action against Iran. They took over our embassy, NOT at random, but with purpose and for a REASON. It has been largely downhill since, and came to a head with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2000's, largely due to an upswing in Iranian Nationalism and fundamentalism due to America's heavy handed occupation of the region since 9/11. He was regarded as a clown by his own people, but was elected, TWICE, for a REASON. It didn't happen for NO REASON -- nothing does. Identifying our enemies' REASONS for doing something DOES NOT absolve them of moral blame for their violent actions. But it IS the first step in formulating a better plan so you do not repeat the same old mistakes. Read some history. You will find that this is absolutely true.

And yet, we are SURPRISED that Iran hates us. Our embargoes impoverish them. We treat them like 3rd class world citizens, occupy their region of the world, dictate what they do, when they can do it and how, float our massive warships in their waters and we WONDER why they try to build up and army, boast and brag abut how they want to hit us back, and have just developed a culture of, at best, severe distrust and dislike of America, and at worst, the sincere desire to kill us. Would America stand for Mexico floating warships in the Gulf? Or China?

They war with us because they hate our freedom? THEY haven't taken our freedom away from us -- WE DID IT TO OURSELVES.

These observations DO NOT mean that we SHOULDN'T sort Iran out if that needs to be done. Or that if they kill Americans, they are JUSTIFIED. It just means that, like any responsible entity, we should analyze our actions. Not shut our brain off and accept FEAR in substitute for an argument or a pro-war slogan for a careful analysis of an issue which means death, destruction, and high cost.

That is only half of the story, but it IS a half that no one here even wants to think or talk about. With a wave of their hands, they will not finish reading the above-described behavior and discussion and will instead accuse someone like me of blaming Americans for those who died on 9/11, or call me a "Saddamite" -- the latter of which, in a sense that is unintended, is paradoxically true, because we never should have invaded Iraq, for lots of reasons, including that the best hedge against the spread of violent and dangerous Islamic fundamentalism is a brutal dictator who keeps them in line. Or, if you prefer, "Let HIM fight them over there, so WE don't have to fight them over here" -- or, as I like to say "They are such a barbaric culture that our best move is leave them alone and leave them to it."

The best thing we can do with the entire region, as in interpersonal relations when you are dealing with a violent and passionately irrational person, is bid them a fond adieu and have nothing more to do with them. THAT is the Middle East solution, my friends, except I appreciate Israel and the unique situation they are in. It is similar to the situation Georgia is in (next to an aggressive neighbor, Russia, which dominates it despite its desire to be free), and similar to the situation in South Korea (North Korea is bigger and bigger population and wants to invade). But what people do not understand is that even if THREE Muslim Middle Eastern countries started a war with Israel RIGHT NOW, Israel would kick their ever-loving asses all over the the sand. Quickly. They have air power and a technological edge. But WE STOP ISRAEL FROM LOOKING AFTER ITS OWN SECURITY INTERESTS. That is part of our foreign policy, and it is lunacy. THEY live there. THEY have enemies at their borders. THEY should decide when and where and how to defend themselves. And they have said that they absolutely can.

If a force of Chinese military invaded Auckland, or dropped a few missile in there how would you Kiwis be content if America shackled you from responding? yet this is how we treat our "ally" Israel. Would you resent America for doing it?

As to Georgia and South Korea -- South Korea should be able to defend itself. The average South Korean is 4 to 6 inches taller and 30 lbs heavier and much healthier than the average North Korean. South Korea is armed with American military hardware. If North Korea nukes South Korea, we should make it clear to everyone that WE will nuke North Korea, and be done with it. Traditional conflict? Sorry, South Korea, but we have given you every advantage. If you are invaded, then South Koreans have to fight to protect their home, or emigrate here. Same with Georgians, but its actually worse for them. They can, in no way, compete with the strength of Russia. And we cannot help them. When they were invaded, WE LET IT HAPPEN. Geographically, they are in a place where no one is EVER going to be able to help them. They will likely NEVER become economically or technologically adept enough to defend against the 2.5 million man army Russia can field (about 1 million active and 1.5 reserves). It is a problem for Georgians. They should consider moving here. Seriously.

And we have not even considered the financial costs of an interventionist-everywhere foreign policy. There is either going to be a default of debt in America, or a severe austerity imposed on the Federal and local governments and their wasteful and shameful use of taxpayers' money. If we do not correct our course, there is going to be social disintegration and possible violence in the streets. I support austerity, and it should begin with our foreign and needless military spending, work its way through the domestic government, and lead to a tapering and eventual elimination of social programs. Supporting America as world policeman based on fear ignores harsh economic realities: if we do not change our policies NOW, they will change in the very short near term as we default on Army soldiers' salaries, supply lines are disrupted and our soldiers are stranded. One way or the other, we will not be able to cash the foreign policy checks you folks seem to want to see us continue writing.

In responding the the FEAR message, in order to SAFEGUARD freedom and prosperity, we have severely damaged prosperity and freedom, here and abroad. It is time for those here to wake up from the message of FEAR, and stop supporting FEAR driven policies which damage freedom and prosperity. Fear the domestic strategy of Islam over the foreign.

Scott vs. Scott

Richard Goode's picture

Pass the popcorn. Smiling

We cannot be the insurer of the world.

atlascott's picture

But we can be a refuge for those who flee hellholes, and an ally and friend to those who wish it, and a terrible, efficient enemy to those who do not. We should guard against becoming such a hellhole ourselves.

Your foreign policy is a continuation of the expensive, ruinous unintended consequences that cost my countrymen their dollars and lives and limb.

Of course your preference is that we continue. The world gets something for nothing, right?

Except your analysis ignores the tragic and wasteful legacy of misguided meddling.

And for the record, there was and is no evidence of WMD's in Iraq. When security advisors told him this, he told them to make something up. And then, after scouring the country, we found nothing. Score one for Israeli and American intel gathering. But the American and Iraqi people lose.

Ron Paul would get us out of places, but with notice so that folks could decide how to proceed. Yes, if South Korea, with it's great income and standard of life could not move towards self sufficiency, it would either have to become a State or use more of its budget to defend itself. We PREVENT Israel from defending herself currently. She is up to the job and has said so, but we meddle.

The policy you support, Mr. Wilson, is illegal, immoral and has caused losses to America, and some ill-gotten gains. If someone is being bullied and I step in and beat up the bully, it does not gie me moral sanction to pick the bully's pocket and keep his cash. But America's foreign policy has instances of this. So my question is: how many of my country's dollars and how many drops of my countrymen's blood should I spill at your insistence? What moral responsibility, outside of emergency, have Americans to be the insurers of safety of South Koreans?

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