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Reblogged: Ron Paul on Foreign Policy

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Ron Paul on Foreign Policy:

Recently, I spent some time watching videos of Ron Paul speaking on foreign policy, particularly Iran. Ever since my webcast discussion of his views, I've wanted take a closer look, because my sense is that his views are not merely mistaken, but reveal some deep error in his principles.

In a recent editorial -- What Ron Paul Thinks of America -- Dorothy Rabinowitz writes:

Ron Paul's efforts on behalf of Iran's right to the status of misunderstood victim continued apace. On the Hannity show following the debate, Dr. Paul urged the host to understand that Iran's leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel off the map. It was all a mistranslation, he explained. What about Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust? A short silence ensued as the candidate stared into space. He moved quickly on to a more secure subject. "They're just defending themselves," he declared.

So is that a fair recap of his views? Well, you can see for yourself in the following videos.

(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDvaTqLlZlA: 11 Aug 2011

(2) Ron Paul with Sean Hannity: 22 Sep 2011

(3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlNTkYv74Ds: 15 Oct 2011 (?)

(4) Ron Paul on Fox News Sunday: 6 Nov 2011 (?)

(5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgAnUTTp4ss: 15 Dec 2011

(6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDKMR7mJERU: 15 Dec 2011

So what do I think of all that? Oy, that's a bit hard to untangle. Mostly, however, I see deep-rooted moral equivalence.

Ron Paul flatly refuses to draw any distinction between (mostly) free countries like the US and Israel and repressive dictatorial theocracies like Iran. He seems to think that every government is legitimate, including governments run by batshit-crazy terrorists who repress their own citizens and threaten their own neighbors. Hence, he supposes, every regime is entitled to defend itself against its perceived enemies, including with nuclear weapons.

That basic view -- that moral equivalence between nations -- is why Ron Paul repeatedly stresses the sheer number of nukes possessed by various countries -- without any regard for the principles, policies, or even sanity of the regime. That's also why he regards Iran has having just as much right to the "respect" afforded to nuclear regimes as does Israel. Perhaps worse, he can't even fathom that Iran might be allah-crazy enough use nuclear weapons offensively against other nations (i.e. Israel, then America). He's not just ignorant of that possibility: he's willfully blind to it.

Ultimately, the serious threat posed by Iran and other totalitarian Islamic regimes could easily become reality under any Ron Paul presidency. He would open the door to the slew of state-sponsored terrorist groups seeking to destroy America and establish a global caliphate. As I said in my webcast discussion, if you think that Obama can destroy the economy with more controls, you're right... but just think about the economic devastation inflicted by a nuke in Manhattan. Iran doesn't need a land army to do that -- just the nuclear weapons that Ron Paul urges us to permit Iran to develop.

Contrary to Ron Paul's moral equivance in foreign policy, other nations ought to be judged based on their respect for rights. A nation that respects rights is not a threat to other free nations -- and likely would be an ally. Dictatorial nations must be clearly identified as such, then monitored for threats. Serious threats should be swiftly and decisively eliminated. Ron Paul will not do that, not because the threats don't exist, but because he refuses to see them.

Even when military action would not be proper, dictatorial regimes should be identified as morally illegitimate, clearly and forthrightly. Any American president with a shred of love for liberty ought to say to despots, "Your regime is despotic and vicious. Your power is unjustly obtained and unjustly exercised. Your citizens, if they value their lives, ought to rise up in revolt, then establish a constitutional government based on the principles of individual rights." Ron Paul won't do that, not even to Iran, because he doesn't draw moral distinctions between nations.

What will Ron Paul do instead? He suggests that America befriend Iran, a barbaric theocracy openly seeking to destroy us. After all, he says, we used diplomacy with the USSR and China, so why not use it with Iran? Basically, he wants America to adopt a stance of weakness and cowardice -- even now, while the threat is merely potential and could be defused at minimal risk to American lives.

Ron Paul's views on these matters are so fantastically twisted that I can't even regard them as any kind of "foreign policy." He's willfully blind to the proper moral principles and to the basic facts -- and hence, he would be the best possible ally of our sworn enemies. Although I'm far more concerned about domestic than foreign policy in this election, Ron Paul's foreign policy is so bad as to disqualify him, in my view. America would not survive four years with him at the helm, I don't think.

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Original entry: See link at top of this post

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It's one thing to build a nuke, it is another to build an ICBM. It seems the only way to deliver a nuke to America would be through smuggling by ship or plane. If this is the only option, even with a nuke and a desire to use it against the US, is it really realistic that they would ever succeed?

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It's one thing to build a nuke, it is another to build an ICBM. It seems the only way to deliver a nuke to America would be through smuggling by ship or plane. If this is the only option, even with a nuke and a desire to use it against the US, is it really realistic that they would ever succeed?

Easily. Think of private planes and yachts. But even if customs people discovered one at a port in, say, New York, the terrorist merely need to detonate it there. Even a tiny 5 kiloton nuke would be devastating. A big one in the megaton range would be disastrous.

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http://www.youtube-n...bed/4JeNIX2x9j8

Interesting discussion here (in all 4 parts too)

I think there may be some errors in his analysis of what is/is not a threat, but his principle is what is Constitutional. His position is sufficiently basic: "If you want go to war with Iran (or take war-like actions against them), make your case to the public and generate the support for a congressional Declaration of War."

If you cannot make the clear and convincing case to the people, validated constitutionally with a congressional vote, that an action is necessary for the defense of United States citizens, then the option should not be to figure out a way to take the action anyway with out clearly legal and constitutional authorization.

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His position is sufficiently basic: [if you want go to war with Iran (or take war-like actions against them), make your case to the public and generate the support for a congressional Declaration of War.]

Edit: Removed quotation marks. That was my own statement of his position, not a direct quote.

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http://www.youtube-n...bed/4JeNIX2x9j8

Interesting discussion here (in all 4 parts too)

I think there may be some errors in his analysis of what is/is not a threat, but his principle is what is Constitutional. His position is sufficiently basic: "If you want go to war with Iran (or take war-like actions against them), make your case to the public and generate the support for a congressional Declaration of War."

If you cannot make the clear and convincing case to the people, validated constitutionally with a congressional vote, that an action is necessary for the defense of United States citizens, then the option should not be to figure out a way to take the action anyway with out clearly legal and constitutional authorization.

Interestingly enough on the same day this was posted, I was making the same case regarding Ron Paul. During his tenure as a United States Congressman he has had a perfect Constitutional voting record. This is important to note because as Commander In Chief he would be bound to his "duties" expressly written within said document. If Congress & the people support a call to war, subsequently voting to declare war, then we're at war and up to this point he has stated that he would lead us, win it & get it over with.

It is understandable that most observers have concerns, the M.S.M(in particular Fox) has rounded out a hit job regarding Paul's foreign policy. That said, I have been digging for a period of almost 2 years and his policy decisions are in-line with what I expect from a President. Ron Paul is not the perfect candidate...he's not a John Galt...he's not an Objectivist but from a political perspective he's the only one running for President that is not a collectivist. My opinion is that this trumps almost everything else, we're in the final throws of the collectivist movement vs individualism.

Ron Paul's foreign policy positions explained through the first 17 minutes:

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Although I'm far more concerned about domestic than foreign policy in this election, Ron Paul's foreign policy is so bad as to disqualify him, in my view. America would not survive four years with him at the helm, I don't think.

I don't know if that is meant hyperbole, but I am not sure at all what would be less "survivable" about his constitutional approach to war making. If his predecessors(or opponents) had a record of consistently acting in the best interests of the country in Foreign policy, let alone their totally disastrous domestic policies, that would be one thing, but spending trillions of dollars repairing countries we destroyed is hardly an unequivocal example good foreign policy. And further, if we have now, as a country, decided that the government has the right to censor the internet and the 4th amendment is decimated, we are rapidly approaching the point where there is little freedom to defend.

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but spending trillions of dollars repairing countries we destroyed is hardly an unequivocal example good foreign policy.

The worry amongst many of us is not that he'd refuse to spend trillions of dollars repairing countries--we are against that... but that he'd refuse to destroy countries that are actually threats and consequently, badly need a destroying. He seems to be in denial about Iran, in particular. But I will admit that I could be wrong about Iran being an objective threat.

Sure, under our constitution congress ought to be declaring wars before we go making war.... but in general, the President _asks_ Congress for such a declaration. Would we have to wait for a mushroom cloud over a major city, before RP would do so? Or would he be willing to change his mind about Iran _before_ that happens, if he is presented with intelligence data showing Iran is an imminent threat? (Or that they will be once they have a nuke, and they are very close to getting one, after which it will be too late for pre-emptive action?)

Unfortunately he strikes me as the sort who has his preconceived notion that every hostile act towards the US is our fault (the libertarian Murray Rothbard school of "blame America First" which is just as noxious as the leftist Noam Chomsky school by the same name), and would simply dismiss such intelligence data as either irrelevant or a fabrication put forth by "war mongers."

I was once a member of the Libertarian party. Mere days after 9/11, their 1996 and 2000 presidential candidate (who I had voted for enthusiastically) sent out a mass e-mail titled "When will we learn?" and you can imagine the contents. It's our fault, etc., etc. I now consider those two votes the biggest mistakes I have ever made in the voting booth and I am now suspicious of ANY libertarian (big or small L) running for federal office and want some pretty good evidence that they don't have the Rothbard Delusion so strongly that when we are attacked, or under imminent threat of same, they won't go around blaming us for the attack or refusing to believe there is any threat because the worst player in global affairs is us and we deserve to be killed.

Edited by Steve D'Ippolito
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The worry amongst many of us is not that he'd refuse to spend trillions of dollars repairing countries--we are against that... but that he'd refuse to destroy countries that are actually threats and consequently, badly need a destroying. He seems to be in denial about Iran, in particular. But I will admit that I could be wrong about Iran being an objective threat.

I understand your concern, totally, and share it. What I can't get my mind around is how anyone could imagine that Obama or Romney or Gingrich would make us so much safer as to justify allowing the wholesale destruction of our rights that they are currently engaged in. Given that the president will be one of few with all of the relevant information, ultimately we have to trust them to make a rational decision on a proper moral basis in regards to it. Paul's the only one in the field who I can judge in this regard since the others are completely unprincipled politicians, at best, and outright liars otherwise. I find him to be generally credible, knowledgeable and sincere and really the only realistic option right now for slowing the damage being done. Regardless of the next 4 years, I'm not really certain that we have survived the last 4 years and shudder to think about which have to be obliterated next....What's left? The 3rd amendment and half of the second? Scraps of the 1st? From where I sit foreign threats to my negative liberties are a minor blip on the screen compared to the aggression we are facing within so he could be a total pacifist and still come off as preferable to the rest of those statist thugs intent on owning me.

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I'm not completely unsympathetic to that point of view. On the other hand, a handful of well placed nukes set to go off simultaneously could hose us far worse than we have been so far from enemies domestic (look at the damage a well-placed two large aircraft did to our economy). This is not a completely implausible scenario and I like to think whoever is in office is willing to at least contemplate what to do to avoid such things.

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I'm not completely unsympathetic to that point of view. On the other hand, a handful of well placed nukes set to go off simultaneously could hose us far worse than we have been so far from enemies domestic (look at the damage a well-placed two large aircraft did to our economy). This is not a completely implausible scenario and I like to think whoever is in office is willing to at least contemplate what to do to avoid such things.

I agree 100% and I believe he would take preemptive action if there was a credible threat with actionable intelligence. The interview I included in my previous post is of his director of policy and I think it's very clear what "his" actions would be. Also, this week Doug Wead(R.P's Senior Advisor) was on Fox and I think he does a good job articulated what "his" positions are.

Finally, regarding how our constitution would bind him to take action once a declaration of war was/is issued. Congress does not have to wait until a nuke is detonated in the U.S., they have the power to determine whether a threat is credible as well. Ultimately Congress could compel the President to take preemptive action, so again I personally am not concerned about this aspect of his policy.

Edited by logicalpath
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