Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ron Paul's Foreign Policy

Something I've been hearing from a lot of Republicans when talking about Ron Paul lately is how he would be a great candidate if it were not for his foreign policy.  I admit that I've had some doubts about his "extreme isolationism," but the more I think about it, the more I realize that he's probably right on a lot of points.

Ron Paul has said that he would not invade a country to stop human rights violations.  That seemed a bit fucked up to me at first, because I truly believe that if ever there was a good cause for a war, it would be to stop the opression of a people.

But then you have to ask yourself a couple of questions.  Why do we stop some dictators from brutalizing their people and not others?  We haven't lifted a finger to stop the horrors in Darfur.  Gaddhafi was likely every bit as twisted and maniacal as Saddam Hussein, yet he met his demise at the hands of his own people, not the United States of America.  So who gets our help and who doesn't?  And why?  I think this creates the unintended consequence of making America seem as though it only helps a people if it's in our best interest.

So, as Dr. Paul has articulated, our police actions create sentiments of contempt towards America, the same contempt that has led to the rise of anti-U.S. terrorist cells.  I'm not saying that 9/11 was our fault, as if the people who perpetrated it are blameless, but we have to remember that everything we do on the world stage will have some sort of negative consequence in the future.

Some people think that the U.S. should intervene anytime that a people are being wiped out by their government.  I think the sentiment is okay, but we have to look at the reality of the situation.  As Dr. Paul has said, we simply don't have the resources or the manpower to be the world police.  How badly has Iraq and Afghanistan bankrupted this country?  How wide has the deficit grown, and how deep has the national debt sunk?  We know that the cost of these two wars has been high, not so much in human life on our part--we've suffered a fraction of the casualties that used to be associated with war--but we've run up quite a tab.

Not only is it financially unfeasable, we have to ask ourselves if we even have the authority to be the world police.  When does a sovereign nation stop being a sovereign nation, and why do we get to decide that?  Hypothetical nay-sayer might say that "well the community of nations, the UN decides when a madman must be stopped," but we all know that's not true.  Iraq, although no unilateral as some fools tried to paint it, was invaded primarily by the U.S. against the wishes of the UNSC.  Ultimately, we didn't give a shit what the community of nations thought.

Doesn't that seem a bit dangerous?  We've arrived at the point where we know how powerful we are.  We know that there is no country on this planet that would ever legitimately stand up against our military might, and that fact coupled with our economic importance to the world has made us extremely bold.  I don't think this is a good thing.

Now I'm no idealist.  I realize that even if we had nothing to do with world politics, there would still be people that hate us.  I understand that even if we tried to remove ourselves from world politics that it'd likely be an effort in vain.  But I think we seriously need to look at foreign policy from the eyes of other nations.  Ron Paul is right that our actions have hurt ourselves and our allies, so it would be prudent to consider taking a new approach to how we interact with the community of nations.

Isolationism might not be the answer and is probably not even viable, but Dr. Paul represents a more prudent course in foreign policy, one that a war-weary nation would do well to consider.

7 comments:

Jersey McJones said...

Ron Paul's point is even greater than all that: In the end all great military empires fall, and it is the military state itself that is the primary cause of those falls.

History 101.

JMJ

Harrison said...

Sometimes you have to stand up to bullies and support friends. If not, the vultures will grow and circle. Paul's foreign policy might have flown in the 1920s and before but not today. Like it or not, economies, health, everything is inter-woven with one another. Re-evaluating foreign aid and who gets what is a good idea but closing up shop and trying to become an island is simply not the way.

Anonymous said...

After listening to countless speeches given by him at this point, I can safely say that I mostly agree with Ronnie's sentiments. I have some reservations about it to be sure, such as his insistence diplomacy can solve it most of the time.

However you have to look at the big picture here, if we continue sending 10 million dollar missiles against guys with buick-launchers that clap wildly whenever a rental car explodes... only to have us rebuild whatever the hell we destroyed wasting more money. We are defeating ourselves!

Someone has to pay for all that, either through taxes or the devaluation of currency. They essentially win the war of attrition because our most effective tools are forbidden.

I seriously doubt that even if the whole damn planet ganged up against using conventional weapons that they could defeat the US military on its own land.

This terrorist thing isn't gonna go away overnight, and I think agencies like the TSA are a waste of time and money, they aren't gonna use the front door anymore people, wake up.

Little 14 year old susie Q is not a Terrori operative and should not be treated as such at the airport. Have a dude manning a X-ray machine, have shep the wonder pup sniff ya for bombs as you walk through a metal detector and go on.

Oh and give pilots MP5's with frangible ammo and access to sleep agent.

Jersey McJones said...

Machine guns with frangible ammo???

How about we just don't engage places on this planet with crazy terrorists running around? Yes?

JMJ

LD Jackson said...

Great post, Jack. I think it is far past the time when we need to understand exactly how accurate Ron Paul is on foreign policy. The real trouble is that very few people in our government, and the in the general public, are willing to look critically at that policy. Until we do, nothing can be accomplished.

Anonymous said...

Jersey,

Frangible ammo was designed for combat in areas and situations where normal ball or even jhp rounds might overpenetrate and hit something beyond the intended target. Air Marshall's have praised frangible ammo for use on planes for over 6 years now.

If the cockpit is armed to the teeth and fortified, and the threshold between the cockpit and the cabin could be sealed up and filled with sevoflurane by the pilots then all you have to worry about are bombs and inside jobs. It would cost money to be sure, but certainly has to cost less than the TSA.

This isn't directed at anyone, but I truly don't get it, more people are killed each year accidentally by our medical industry than got killed on 9/11 and that is some divine reasoning to plunge us into almost irrevocable debt? Sounds like the powers that be just want to fill the defense contractors coffers.



On your other point you are exactly right and I would extend it to say that how about we don't engage with anyone who isn't a dire threat to our national security. The only country that ever could legitimately challenge our modern military was dissolved almost exactly 20 years ago, the Soviet Union.

Jackie would know a lot more about the real world discrepancy between our military power and that of other nations.

Silverfiddle said...

Imagine a world where the US stayed out of WW II...

Jack: In a rare ( and I agree with you much belated) diplomatic victory, we did help the people of Darfur by creating South Sudan this past year.