Global View - WSJ.com: "Ron Paul and Foreign PolicyThe guy gets it right to a point -- and then wrong to the finish.
January 15, 2008; Page A12
Ron Paul (and I) want peace. We don't want the USA to police the rest of the world. This quote makes perfect sense to me. "It's time that we come to the point where we believe the world can solve some of their problems without us." That is, without the US war ships, without the US bombs, without the US Marines.
Dr. Paul is a libertarian, and a libertarian's core belief is that a person's pursuit of happiness is, or ought to be, his own affair. Up to a point, most of us are probably sympathetic to that argument. But is it true of all people? And is what's true of some or all people also true of countries? The libertarian conceit -- which now extends well beyond Dr. Paul's cult-like following -- is that it is.Glad to know that most people are sympathetic to freedom and personal liberties.
Of course all people are NOT excited about ANYTHING. Some people like to have authorities. Some people like to have and control aircraft carriers. Some people like to have and operate US Fighter Jets. A military and industrial complex has been built. CMU likes to win money from the US Defense Department to design new robot cars that can drive without soldiers to deploy destruction and pain on people on the other side of the world -- if not on other planets. Some people like to rule with an 'iron fist' and some others like to be under handed and of the 'winning side' even if that takes away one's freedom and liberty when it matters the most.
Everyone in the US isn't for peace and liberty. Everyone in the American colonies in 1776 didn't sign the Declaration of Independence either. Loyalists to the king (as then) and to the neo-cons exist.
This quote from candidate Paul works for me too: "We need to recognize they deserve their sovereignty, just as we deserve our sovereignty." I don't want top level 'officials' in D.C. picking leaders of other nations. They've been known to do that in the past. And often, they've guessed wrongly. Their feuds should NOT be owned by the US and the US citizens.
I agree, America needs to get its armed forces out of the way of harm. America needs to keep the taxpayer money from Americans out of the hands of those who aim to do harm to the US, today or into the future. The US Foreign policy has proven to be wild with weapons and wild with federal funds.
In a previous debate, Ron Paul mentioned that that "they attack us because we've been over there." Well, to be fair -- it is much more than just being over there that has generated some of the hate to the US. The US has been over there killing. The US has been over there funding others who have killed. The US has been over there funding both sides of the fights so that they can kill each other faster and cheaper. Being over there isn't the problem. Being there in the wake of the destruction and death, attributed to US involvement is the problem.
Dr. Paul's own remedy is that if "we trade with everybody and talk with them . . . there's a greater incentive to work these problems out." Exactly. The RUB is found within the degrees that the editorial does NOT put forth.
It was precisely out of a desire to "trade with everybody" that the early American republic was forced to build a navy, and then to go to war, to defend its commercial interests, a pattern that held true in World War I and the Persian Gulf "Tanker War" of the 1980s.No. The word, "FORCE" is what is wrong. The early NAVY was built out of 'desire,' not 'force.'
The American nation went to war (built a navy) to fight the pirates because of commercial interests. That history does NOT support the intellectual architecture of libertarianism itself. The history is valid. But, the article pins the history upon the ideal and those dots do not connect.
It is crazy to say that trade between nations is only possible in the absence of robbers, pirates and other rogues. Wrong. And this is wrong for a few reasons.
First, trade does not happen between nations. In a libertarian world, the US does not trade with other nations. The trade happens among merchants, individuals and business concerns. I don't want DC politicians selling Amish furnature to third world nations nor do I want congress critters representing Boeing or Westinghouse.
Same too when it comes to what comes into the US as imports. Those decisions rest with consumers, buyers in wholesale and retail settings, and perhaps bankers who invest in those types of transactions.
The government isn't to be the force so as to drive the trade with different nations -- not in a libertarian world.
If there are pirates or thugs along the silk road -- where and when they surface -- those that are the Marco Polos of the time need to fend for themselves. It is a nasty world. There are a lot of bad guys, from South LA to street gangs to less than honest dockworkers. Work it out and go with the flow of enterprise.
Whose job is it to get rid of them (the bad guys)? Well, it isn't the role of the US ARMY and US NAVY to get rid of the bad guys all around the world.
This next part is really bad. He is out to lunch by writing:
A strict libertarian might offer that mercenaries could be authorized to build aircraft carriers, Aegis cruisers and nuclear submarines to keep the freedom of the seas in the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca. But what happens when the pecuniary interests of mercenaries collide with the political interests of the U.S. or some other government? Ultimately, some kind of decisive power is needed there too, at least if the trading opportunities libertarians claim are so precious stand any chance of flourishing.Mercenaries could be deployed. They won't need aircraft carriers, I dare say. Nor will they need nuclear submarines so that Sears can deliver Maytag washing machines. Absurd.
Another kicker. The interest of the mercenaries would NEVER collide with the political interests of the U.S. The U.S. won't have an interest in those quarters. That is the whole point of live and let live. The USA should not care who the next king of the outback village is. The USA should have not own "political interests" there -- or at least no interest that needs to be protected by those wearing US uniforms.
Even in the US, think of the Brinks Armored Trucks. They come into the neighborhood to pick up deliveries of cash. They carry guns. They are good for business. Transactions occur. Losses are prevented. They are 'mercenaries' of a sort. They ahve a job to do and it gets done -- without the need of 'political interests' getting in the way -- be it a red state or blue state.
Ultimate and decisive power is NOT needed. The trading opportunities that the libertarians crave, and they are precious, can come about without big-time power brokers. The chance to flourish comes without the 'big man.' Cuba has Castro and not much in terms of trade. The USSR had the politburo and Supreme Soviet authority -- and there wasn't much trade going on with the USA then -- as grocery shelves were empty in Leningrad.
The argument of the article makes no sense.
Other question: Does U.S. diplomacy invariably facilitate peaceful outcomes in the region? Bad question. The problem isn't US diplomacy. The problem is the destruction from the US funded counter-measures. The problem is the military domination that the US seeks to impose by force. Ron Paul (and I) want diplomacy. We want to be aware. We want to understand. We want to witness. We want to communicate. We want to travel freely. We want to be smart. Diplomacy should flourish. Torture should not rear its ugly head on the calls of Americans in the name of diplomacy.
Does it make sense to arm Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the same time we arm Israel? No. There is no sense in that. Do not arm all sides. Do not arm one side. The third option is what I want -- arm no side abroad.
The USA can be armed -- in America to protect the USA. That's radical -- and that's logical.
The verdict does NOT depend on what kind of governments the other nations have. Not now. Not later. The verdict is known when we look in the mirror. The verdict for the US is going to be within the US. The verdict for the Arab states, or Israel, or Iran, or elsewhere -- is going to be mostly theirs to answer for themselves.
We write our own destiny. They write theirs. That's the way it should be. That's how we should think of it in our policy and with our leaders.
I confess. Ron Paul, once elected President of the USA, I expect, won't be a good leader of the free world. No. President Ron Paul would be a GREAT leader of the USA, and we'd become more free and greater as a free nation. Ron Paul would leave the rest of the world free to solve their own problems, struggle by struggle, without the our guns pointing and firing at them throughout.
The verdict will depend on what kind of governments the two Arab states have in, say, 10 years time. Should the Bush administration have backed Pervez Musharraf to the hilt these past seven years?What is done is done. The Bush administration ran and won the White House on the concept that the USA would not do any more 'nation building' as had been the policy of Clinton. But, once the neo-cons got into office, their missions changed. President Bush has been a huge downer, to say the least.
Electing Ron Paul as President fixes the policy of free-for-all war and moves the future into a time of new focus on peace and self-determination.
These questions turn on differences of tactics and strategy, whereas Dr. Paul's objection is philosophical. True. But, the tactical and strategy questions asked in the article stink. There are no right answers to those horrid questions.
Another example, "... the "blowback," as he puts it, from supporting Saddam at one moment and opposing him the next ..." Hold the phone. The word 'blowback' is NOT something that Ron Paul came up with. Blowback comes from the CIA. The US Intelligence community understands 'blowback.' That is a page from their playbook. Blockback is part of the downside to the neo-con and nation-building ways. Blowback is part of today's international landscape.
Blowback becomes big pimple in the history of the world when a real libertarian policy takes root in the US White House and with the deployment of real diplomacy and strict use of military force.
This is funny too. The writer speaks of the cost of US withdrawal from the Middle East. There is a cost of staying. There is a cost of lives. There are massive spending costs. The costs get reduced with a vote for Ron Paul for President.
The savings need to be counted when we talk of Ron Paul's foreign policy and a return home for our troops abroad. Some of the best and brightest people are not home today. They are elsewhere and that is costly, expensive and all part of the duty for the roles of a nation who aims to be the police force for the world.
Nobody can say what, precisely, the cost would be of U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East or, for that matter, disengagement from rest of the world.
No again. There is not going to be a 'disengagement from the rest of the world.' Consider the US and Canada. The US does not have troops and bases stationed in Canada. There is no 'disengagement' of the US to Canada because we don't have troops there. The engagement of the economy will grow among people of this nation and the rest as our military departs.
Ron Paul does not want to disengage the US citizens and US economy from the rest of the world. Rather, Ron Paul wants that to increase friendships, commerce, trade, and cultural understandings. More gets done when the guns are not pointing at heads of your friends abroad.
John McCain is dangerous and more of the same. That is quote is spoken like a true bigot.
But John McCain was on to something when he quipped, in reply to Dr. Paul, that the only items al Qaeda likes to trade in are burqas, and that they only fly on one-way tickets.
Another crock of bull:
No. Here is an accounting, from a libertarian. Don't go. I've not gone to Iraq. I'm a Libertarian. There is your accounting.
Mankind is not comprised solely of profit- and pleasure-seekers; the quest for prestige and dominance and an instinct for nihilism are also inscribed in human nature, nowhere more so than in the Middle East. Libertarianism makes no accounting for this. It assumes the relatively tame aspirations of modern American life are a baseline for human nature, not an achievement of civilization.
Yes, in America, we are tame. We settle lots of issues by looking at the Constitution and then voting, from time to time. That is tame. We don't take it to the streets. Some pitch a fit in a passive way. Fine. That's tame. That's great if you ask me.
If other parts of the world are wild -- and you can't get a handle on them. Here is a tip. Vote with your feet. Don't go. Or, if those settings are too near to your place at present -- leave. Figure out a way to get out. Run. Swim. Crawl. Escape. That's the libertarian way.
Not too long ago, Pittsburgh was the 'gateway to the west.' The wild west had it all. Outlaws, gunslingers, rattlers, herds of buffalo could mow you down. For some, the wild west was silly. For others, it was an adventure. To each his own. That's the deal.
Libertarianis and pacifism have a good deal of overlap -- but not fully. They are not the same. To the ignorant, they might be. A libertarian would walk into the wild west looking for Walden's next pond with a six-shooter and a bunch of buddies a couple hundred yards behind -- with rifles. Meanwhile, the pacifist just carries a bible.
There is a not-incidental connection here between libertarianism and pacifism. George Orwell once observed that pacifism is a doctrine that can only be preached behind the protective cover of the Royal Navy. Similarly, libertarianism can only be seriously espoused under the protective cover of Leviathan.The closing statements are all wrong too.
That's something worth considering as Americans spend the coming year debating the course of things to come in the Middle East. It is beguiling, and parochially American, to believe that things go better when left alone. In truth, as Yeats once wrote, things fall apart. With so much at stake in this election, it's no small blessing that Dr. Paul remains a man of the fringe.As a Libertarian, I don't think things go better when left alone. I get involved. I speak out on countless issues. I engage. Everyone can't be as hyper, of course.
As a coach, I coach. I teach. I'll get in and challenge. I'll push, pull or just make sure that people don't have lots of comfort. Things do fall apart when left alone.
Ron Paul isn't about leaving things alone. Rather, Ron Paul is about leaving things to those who can best fix them. Ron Paul isn't about an over-reaching federal government. Ron Paul understands that the president has a role -- and that isn't to do everything for everyone.
When Ron Paul says it is up to the states to decide -- then that is NOT leaving things alone. The states can decide upon the issue then. Let the states decide about public schools, not the feds.
Ron Paul would leave plenty alone as president -- such as schools. But, then things can get done at the other level. That, in my humble opinion, is parochially American.
That's the guy that I'm going to vote for. He is open minded. He sees the whole picture. He understands his role. He is only one guy. He is the best choice for the US at this time.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org -- as I just did.