Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Off Topic Tuesday: Picking On Ron Paul
Right now, as it is primary season when the contest is ‘who is conservative enough’, the one issue he is picked on the most is foreign policy. His stated position on foreign policy is one of non-intervention. Frankly, I disagree with that, however, I don’t think Ron Paul is as far off the reservation as he is portrayed as in the media. I have heard people say they are afraid of Ron Paul because he would never take us to war, even if it was necessary. But, that is not exactly true. Ron Paul would say that NO president should ever take us to war because the Constitution says it is the Congress that has the power to declare war and conclude peace. So, just because Ron Paul was President of the United States does not mean that the USA would never go to war, only that it would have to be done (as in the old days) by a vote of Congress. However, let us get right down to the nub of the issue and that is Iran. The big issue at the heart of all the controversy around Ron Paul in the GOP primary is that he refuses to say he would go to war with or bomb Iran and he does not believe that Iran is a threat, he does not believe they are close to having the bomb and yet he also says he wouldn’t really blame them or be concerned if they did get the bomb.
Congressman Paul (and I almost hate to say this) is also correct when he says that Iran is simply not a threat to the United States. Even if they had the bomb they have no missiles they could stick it on that could possibly reach North America. The only way Iran could pose a threat to the national security of the United States is if they smuggled a weapon into the country with a person carrying it. Which, by the way, is something that hardly anyone seems concerned with guarding against. The World Trade Center was not destroyed by missiles launched from Afghanistan. If the U.S. had occupied Afghanistan in 1999 or 2000, that would not have stopped 9-11. What would have prevented it would be keeping dangerous and unauthorized people out of the country and that is something the US is still not doing and shows no real interest in ever doing. Blowing up Iran (satisfying as I would find it) would not make America safer, secure borders and ports of entry and keeping a close eye on foreign nationals inside the country actually would. Whether Paul would do that or not, I don’t know, but I do know he is technically correct when he says that Iran is not a threat to the United States of America. A threat to Israel? Certainly. A threat to Europe? Possibly. And Ron Paul would have no problem with those countries doing whatever they pleased to protect themselves. He would say it is none of our business what Iran or Israel or Europe does.
Ron Paul also makes a valid point that is never considered. When he gives it, interviewers usually ignore it and carry on as if he had never said it. The point Ron Paul makes with Iran is that U.S. forces are or have been established in both Iraq and Afghanistan, putting them on the eastern and western borders of Iran. How would the U.S. react to an enemy invading and occupying Canada and Mexico? Of course, the U.S. would never tolerate such a thing. Since at least the American Civil War the United States has quite frequently displayed behavior she would never tolerate on the part of any other power. This has often caused confusion and anger on the part of foreign powers. For example, the Japanese raised no fuss when the U.S. took the Philippines from Spain and so were rather annoyed that the U.S. would make such a fuss over Japan taking Manchuria from China. I’m sure, in 1914, there were some Germans who found it odd that the U.S. which had so recently sent troops into Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean was so outraged at their own soldiers being sent into Belgium.
Again, I certainly don’t agree with Ron Paul on everything, and he doesn’t have a prayer of getting elected President in this day and age or even winning a primary in either major party. However, it seems wrong to belittle or dismiss him. He has ideas worth considering, he has been proven correct in many of his economic predictions and he is presenting a challenge to the American people and the political establishment that, frankly, I love to see. Unlike many of my countrymen, including Ron Paul, I do not hold the Founding Fathers and the system of government they established as being “divinely inspired” or somehow sacrosanct (I would have been one of those horrible Tories had I been in New England in 1776). At the heart of all of his positions, Ron Paul is simply challenging people today to practice what they preach in terms of upholding the Constitution of the United States. If they really believe the Founders were so brilliant and the Constitution such a sacred document, they should have no problem in strictly adhering to it. That means no government interference in the economy, no entangling alliances, no military adventures or treating people as POW’s without a declaration of war and no cradle to grave welfare.