There is a part of me that is deeply grateful for Ron Paul. I don’t know of any other figure that could inspire so many twentysomethings to dig into the works of Austrian economists. I am a fiscal libertarian who has struggled to impart my passion for free markets (and especially how they lift scores out of poverty) to Generation-Y. It is possible that Paul’s two recent campaigns for president could spark a revolution in how the next generation thinks about government and economic systems. That’s the new good news.
The bad news is that Ron Paul’s view of foreign policy is absolutely coocoo for Coco Puffs! And, unfortunately, foreign policy is what dominates the modern presidency.
Ron Paul has blamed America for provoking the 9-11 attacks, has argued that Iran is justified in seeking a nuclear weapon and that we should close all of our foreign military bases. I’m sorry but that’s crazy.
One cannot trust the late Osama Bin Laden’s word when it comes to the reasons for the 9-11 attacks. Bin Laden often took contradictory positions when it came to his hatred for America. At first, he blamed the USA for desecrating holy ground for establishing bases in Saudi Arabia (despite the fact that we were invited to build those bases by the Saudi government to protect them from Saddam Hussein who Bin Laden opposed then supported then opposed then supported and on an on). He then stopped talking about that and switched to our support for Israel even though that didn’t stop him from accepting arms from America in his fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan and didn’t care enough about the Palestinian cause to send a penny of his fortune to alleviate their poverty. Bin Laden was always full of it. He took whatever position would elevate his own standing within the radical Islamic world. The attack on the US on 9-11 was about garnering praise for a psychopath and his terrorist network. Our government’s foreign policy had nothing to do with it.
It is also important to keep history in mind. As Thomas Sowell points out in his stellar work, Intellectuals and Society, one of the primary reasons World War II dragged on for nearly 5-years, was the radical cuts to our armed forces and closing of foreign bases in the wake of World War I. Radicals like Bin Laden are on the rise due to a number of reasons, none of which I believe have anything to do with our foreign policy, and tension with North Korea and Russia are also escalating. To close foreign bases and cut military spending would be to welcome yet another long, costly world war in the future. Reagan was right that peace is normally maintained through strength. Ron Paul disagrees, which is one of the reasons he ran for president in ’88 attacking Reagan. Yet, history proved Reagan right. In fact, only a few short years after Paul attacked Reagan’s spending, which the Gipper predicted would bankrupt the Soviet empire, the USSR fell apart and the Berlin Wall collapsed. Ron Paul would do well to heed the lessons of the Reagan presidency.
Finally, to trust a nation like Iran is the height of stupidity. They are an outlaw country that wishes to dominate the region and destroy Israel, who remains our greatest allie and the only true representative democracy in the Middle East. Congressman Paul should visit Israel and take a look at the signs in shop windows that read, “As long as Israel stands, America never stands alone!” To pull out of the Middle East and ignore Iran would be to abandon our friends.
So, I’m glad Ron Paul’s economic policies have attracted so much attention but I will never, ever vote for him.