Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Why Ron Paul's Foreign Policy is the most beneficial to US

Rate this topic


 thenelli01
 Share

Recommended Posts

Why should we care about Lebanon and Palestine?

Because Lebanon and Palestine aren't in another galaxy. The people in Lebanon and Palestine are plenty close enough, and connected enough to matter what they are doing and what happens to them.

The Israelis also tried something similar in Egypt to get the US into war.

They did? What? When? And more importantly, are you an antisemitic conspiracy theorist? If you are, tell me now, so I can start ignoring you.

Edited by Nicky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because Lebanon and Palestine aren't in another galaxy. The people in Lebanon and Palestine are plenty close enough, and connected enough to matter what they are doing and what happens to them.

Government's role is to protect the rights of its citizens. If you wish to fight for human rights in Lebanon and Palestine go ahead, but don't send others to die in your place.

What you speak of is Alturism and there are plenty of places where military action would be required but nobody cares about.

They did? What? When? And more importantly, are you an antisemitic conspiracy theorist? If you are, tell me now, so I can start ignoring you.

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Lavon_Affair

Edited by Dániel Boros
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Daniel nailed it on the head with the question of proof.

As for Nicky jumping to suggesting that he is an "anti-semetic conspiracy theorist" is just laughable. This idea that we can't question the government or question the evidence without being called a conspiracy theorist or anti-semetic is part of the problem because it enables us to act on misinformation.

These are lives, this is money, this is WAR. This isn't something to be taken lightly and we should always question what we are TOLD. Remember this is a government that lies and has lied in the past. We know the government has allowed attacks to happen on us and even staged attacks on us, including the Gulf of Tonkin and Operation Northwoods. So the lies are evident.

As Rand made the point with religion, never take anything at face value.

Edited by Matt Giannelli
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Government's role is to protect the rights of its citizens. If you wish to fight for human rights in Lebanon and Palestine go ahead, but don't send others to die in your place.

What you speak of is Alturism and there are plenty of places where military action would be required but nobody cares about.

What I speak of is an attempt to explain to you why it's in your self interest to care about what happens outside the United States, and why isolationism is not going to protect the rights of Americans.

As for Nicky jumping to suggesting that he is an "anti-semetic conspiracy theorist" is just laughable. This idea that we can't question

Please note that you are complaining about how you can't question things, right after you took my question and answered it as if it was a statement.

As Rand made the point with religion, never take anything at face value.

Leave Ayn Rand out of this. Her position on the subject is not an argument for yours. Trust me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nicky, are you aware that discussions with you are a chore? This thread is about four years of foreign policy; you are out of line in trying to limit the discussion to the time prior to a hypothetical Israeli strike. No president is going to be tried or impeached for treason because he shared intelligence with a nation not at war with the US (according to congress, at least). It's bizarre that you would waste my time challenging me on the subject of Obama's ability to impede an Israeli strike and then offer up your own example of how you believe he's actually doing it right now. This is an interesting point, though. Ron Paul isn't using foreign policy as a carrot to prod Israel, so it seems that a withdrawal of US support under a Paul administration would have less influence over an Israeli decision to attack than would the Obama incentive scheme you described.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, Daniel, I couldn't know for sure how familiar you are with Objectivism and I had to make it clear that I don't support democracy. It's probably worth mentioning again that I am not endorsing current US policy, which is a hopeless crusade to spread democracy. Like I said before, I think the Ron Paul approach is better than what we're doing right now (even if it has major flaws). I think it puts the US in a better position to act aggressively once leadership has the clarity and will to do what needs doing.

Would it matter if Iran wasn't Islamist or, in other words, didn't want to spread Sharia? Interesting question. This interpretation of Islam is the clear ideological force behind Iran's violent expansionism. If Iran didn't have such a clear ideology it would be easier to conclude that they were motivated by economics, geopolitics, etc. I think if they didn't have a clear ideology a peaceful solution might be possible.

I'm not advocating war to make Lebanon and Palestine better, and I don't think we need the excuse of a middle-eastern ally to claim US interests are damaged by Iranian activity. The 9/11 attacks were a clear indication that Islamist regimes regard the US as one of their primary targets. Any national leadership that shares the ideology is dangerous enough to invite US military action. The de-facto Iranian occupation of Lebanon/Palestine and constant proxy attacks on Israel are merely proof of the danger, not the sole reason for action.

Edited by FeatherFall
clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I don't believe Iran will detonate a nuclear device."

That is a seriously risky belief. I definitely believe that they will, because of their adherence to Islam. Death, individually or en masse, is no deterrence at all.

No more risky than the USSR situation, in which case they could have obliterated our country even if we retaliated, instead of making a dead zone out of a single city (if they are lucky, and if they have a death wish for their own country). I would suggest that Pakistan (which is also and is in a destabilized zone) is of more import when it comes to the likeliness of a nuclear device being used against the United States or her allies. There seems to be a considerable number of people in defense/military/intelligence that have been airing worries over Pakistan as the number 1 nuclear concern for over a decade now. While there are certainly fanatical elements within their government, they are not stupid. I don't personally believe (though of course, I could be wrong) that they plan on using it for anything other than a deterrent. There is a VERY strong historical precedent that you cannot be pushed around by the big boys anymore (in which case, before then you are at their mercy in many respects) if you have even a single nuclear device, this carries not only from denouncements to UN sanctions and active military engagement. They are surrounded by hostile governments and bases so I don't find this to be a stretch.

The question is what action is in the best interests of the United States both long term and short term, on a localized and a global level, and whether we will move forward in this respect with a healthy dose of caution or if we are going to jump the gun, pull the trigger before it makes sense to do so, and make a bigger mess than already existed for ourselves, which seems to be an American tradition as often as it is not.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also Re; the BBC article. I haven't read it yet, I will tonight, but its been made clear by other sources that it would be impossible for Israel to sufficiently deal with Iran's nuclear capabilities with the aircraft and bombing logistics involved. It would require a prolonged heavy bombing scenario ala several weeks ala Libya that realistically would almost certainly be met by the United States if such an event were to take place. They could take out some of their capabilities but in no way would they neutralize them such as was the case in their earlier attack to stop nuclear progress.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No more risky than the USSR situation,

The Soviets were atheists. They did not expect a reward in heaven for a glorious death on Earth. Although spectacularly wrong, they did claim reason and science were on their side. Martydom was useful for propaganda but was not a goal of the state or the marxist/communist ideology. It was possible to understand the Soviets and anticipate their reactions, and that premise was the basis for the "mutual assured destruction" nuclear strategy.

Islam occupies the contrary position of being literally a death worshipping cult. In the present Ayotollah-era Iran a suitably spectacular jihad operation is an end in itself regardless of the consequences, and they are quite able to delude themselves about consequences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nicky, are you aware that discussions with you are a chore?

It's not a discussion. I've shown no interest in your point of view. You engaged me with a question, so I responded. I'll take your rudeness as a withdrawal of interest, so we can go our separate ways now.

Ron Paul isn't using foreign policy as a carrot to prod Israel, so it seems that a withdrawal of US support under a Paul administration would have less influence over an Israeli decision to attack than would the Obama incentive scheme you described.

That makes no sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For one, those countries don't have the same ideology the US has. Not in practice (unlike the US, they have done very little to defend freedom in the past 50 years), and not even in theory (their laws are nothing like the constitution built on the principle of individual rights the US has).

Just wanted to correct your apparent view that the U.S. is far and away the most consistently adherent to an ideology of freedom: http://www.heritage.org/index/default

Three of those four countries listed rank higher than the U.S. in overall economic freedom, as well as a few others. The simple point is that interventionist foreign policy is much more highly correlated with retaliation than is economic or political freedom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I agree with your comments Grames, this seems to be an oversimplification of a lot of factors that are relevant and could very well change the course of how things transpire regardless of their beliefs. I also don't think the fact that man Soviets were atheists as opposed to the Iranian alternative necessarily increases the chances of such a thing. We could have had nuclear war on several occasions with the USSR which ended up being rather close calls. We also must keep in mind that there are two opposing leadership "groups" within the Iranian government.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just wanted to correct your apparent view that the U.S. is far and away the most consistently adherent to an ideology of freedom: http://www.heritage.org/index/default

Noted. I stand by my statement. I don't see what that list has to do with it.

Three of those four countries listed rank higher than the U.S. in overall economic freedom, as well as a few others. The simple point is that interventionist foreign policy is much more highly correlated with retaliation than is economic or political freedom.

Depends on your definition of interventionist. As for my definition, it doesn't fit most US wars (except the one against Serbia in the 90s).

US wars are motivated by retaliation or prevention, not arbitrary intervention.

Edited by Nicky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Noted. I stand by my statement. I don't see what that list has to do with it.

You don't see what the facts have to do with it? You're making very general and abstract claims about the ideology driving the U.S. as opposed to other nations around the world, with nothing to back it up except a generalized opinion gleaned informally from readings in history and current events. The general ideology driving a nation isn't something we can just observe out in the world, like the color of a nation's flag. Getting a rigorous idea of the state of a country's governance requires a systematic survey of the evidence. Freedom indices are one such attempt to systematically quantify these wide generalizations; an attempt to ground them in facts, in other words.

In your original reply to this, you criticized that this index was only economic freedom. Since in response I went ahead and found one for civil liberties as well, I'll post that too. Note the U.S. gets the maximum score for all years measured in the index, and so do several other countries, including Australia, Canada, Sweden, and Switzerland:

http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/results.php?years=all&variable_ID=508&theme=10&country_ID=all&country_classification_ID=all

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the contrary, Nicky. I'm interested in continuing this discussion with you so long as you show a willingness to engage with courtesy. My question was sincere; I can't know if the abrasiveness you've shown here is intentional or accidental, so I gave you the benefit of the doubt and made sure you were aware of how you're being perceived. If your abrasiveness is by design, then I'll be more than happy to part ways.

That makes no sense.

I admit that the mixed metaphor, "carrot to prod," is a bit odd, so I'll clarify. Your description of Obama's policy is one designed to tease away an Israeli strike by using negative reinforcement. Paul's policy is designed not to influence Israel. While Israel has less money under Paul's policy, it has no incentive to act one way or the other. Obama's policy comes with incentives to avoid a strike. Unless you can show Israel to be wholly dependent on US aid for a strike, Obama's policy is more likely to be the deciding factor in an Israeli choice not to attack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"No more risky than the USSR situation, in which case they could have obliterated our country even if we retaliated, instead of making a dead zone out of a single city (if they are lucky, and if they have a death wish for their own country)."

The situation with the USSR was entirely different, and would also be different with other major players today such as, say, the Chinese: Islamists are fond of saying that they love death more than the West loves life. Their use of suicide bombers is evidence that they really mean what they say -- their idealogy glorifies suicide. The historical analogy that comes to mind is Imperial Japan: it was not certain, even after we dropped the first bomb on them, that they were going to surrender. Half of the war cabinet wanted to press on and have every Japanese citizen -- man, woman and child -- resist the US forces in the case of invasion, with the result that their population would have been largely wiped out. It was the Emperor finally giving in that changed the course and allowed surrender. But until that time, the Japanese used suicide as a form of warfare on land and sea, with kamikaze pilots and foot soldiers loaded with explosives. The Soviets were never so inclined, and I don't think the Chinese are either. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) works only when the opponent is not willing to be destroyed -- in the case of the Islamists, they welcome death (72 ripe virgins, after all) and so mutually assured destruction is not effective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The situation with the USSR was entirely different, and would also be different with other major players today such as, say, the Chinese"

I fully realize this.

Why you are comparing Imperial Japan to Islamist groups is beyond me, however. I would argue this is entirely different as well, while you may be able to come up with a long list of similarities, the devil is in the details.

"Mutually assured destruction (MAD) works only when the opponent is not willing to be destroyed -- in the case of the Islamists, they welcome death (72 ripe virgins, after all) and so mutually assured destruction is not effective."

This is a pretty strong claim. I have not seen evidence that Iranian government wishes to see it's own destruction. If you have any please feel free to provide it.

Suicide is clearly forbidden in Islam, but the permissibility of martyrdom ops (Istishhad) is an altogether different topic, with scholars being split on the issue but has more support in general.

"O ye who believe!... [do not] kill yourselves, for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful. If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall We cast him into the Fire..." (Qur'an 4:29-30). The taking of life is allowed only by way of justice (i.e. the death penalty for murder), but even then, forgiveness is better. "Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause..." (17:33).

In pre-Islamic Arabia, retaliation and mass murder was commonplace. If someone was killed, the victim's tribe would retaliate against the murderer's entire tribe. This practice was directly forbidden in the Qur'an (2:178-179). Following this statement of law, the Qur'an says, "After this, whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave chastisement" (2:178). No matter what wrong we perceive as being done against us, we may not lash out against an entire population of people. Now, this is still done on a familial level by the Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan, but that is another matter.

Obviously, there is an issue with this (as is the case with all religions) because whether or not something can be classified as martyrdom is dependent on your perspective. I have not seen any articles or writing that suggests that Islam is the reason for the higher use of suicide terrorism, as there have been other groups that have used it in the past. It is a startlingly effective tactic especially against a much more powerful opponent, but I digress, this is a side issue really.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Why you are comparing Imperial Japan to Islamist groups is beyond me, however."

And it's beyond me to comprehend why you can't see the similarities: both cultures (Islam, Imperial Japan) glorify/glorified suicide, both as an instrument of war and as an honorable act, and who then conduct/conducted war accordingly. The possibility or even likelihood of death, either as an individual or as a culture, is/was of no deterrence.

"This is a pretty strong claim. I have not seen evidence that Iranian government wishes to see it's own destruction. If you have any please feel free to provide it."

Well, here goes, a statement saying how all Muslims want to meet their Maker, and how: "Everybody wants to meet Allah as a martyr. We have no fear… the enemy – especially the Zionist enemy – will not dare take this cowardly step (attacking Iran's Nuclear facilities). This could spell the end of Israel." [1] (February 8, 2010)" -- Foreign Affairs Minister, Ali-Akbar Salehi

"Suicide is clearly forbidden in Islam, but the permissibility of martyrdom ops (Istishhad) is an altogether different topic, with scholars being split on the issue but has more support in general."

Of course, suicide in despair is forbidden in Islam. That hasn't been an issue, has it? Get real! I mean, civilians around the world aren't quaking in their boots thinking of all of those despondant Muslims who might quietly take their own lives - no, it's the "martyrs" who give them pause. In Christianity and other faiths, "martyrs" are those who were (involuntarily) killed because of their beliefs. "Martyrs" in Islam however, means those who voluntarily killed others - and themselves - because of their faith.

"I have not seen any articles or writing that suggests that Islam is the reason for the higher use of suicide terrorism, as there have been other groups that have used it in the past"

Well, how nice for you that you've managed to be oblivious to the connection between Islam and the use of suicide terrorism. The articles and writing are out there, but obviously you are busy elsewhere......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That link claims Operation Susannah was aimed to induce the British to keep their forces in the region. You claimed that Israel tried to get the US into war in Egypt.

That's a leap that makes me more suspicious that you're a crazy conspiracy theorist, not less.

Okay I apologize I did not remember the factual details of the incident.

True Israel wanted for the British troops to stay, but they wanted to attack both British and US bases.

The fact that they wanted war or not doesn't matter because my argument was that ultimately you can't judge proxy attacks trivially since you can never truly know who are behind them.

Evidence you need evidence and I am not talking about evidence of non exisisting weapons of mass destruction, but real verifiable evidence.

Sorry, Daniel, I couldn't know for sure how familiar you are with Objectivism and I had to make it clear that I don't support democracy. It's probably worth mentioning again that I am not endorsing current US policy, which is a hopeless crusade to spread democracy. Like I said before, I think the Ron Paul approach is better than what we're doing right now (even if it has major flaws). I think it puts the US in a better position to act aggressively once leadership has the clarity and will to do what needs doing.

Does this mean that you do not support Ron Paul's idea that congress should declare war (democratically) instead of the president exercising the US's right for aggressive self defense?

Because that is what not supporting democracy would mean in the context you brought it up.

There are no laws determining how to wage war so you need to vote at least if you are going to do it.

Would it matter if Iran wasn't Islamist or, in other words, didn't want to spread Sharia? Interesting question. This interpretation of Islam is the clear ideological force behind Iran's violent expansionism. If Iran didn't have such a clear ideology it would be easier to conclude that they were motivated by economics, geopolitics, etc. I think if they didn't have a clear ideology a peaceful solution might be possible.

I feel that US intervention in the Middle East has only brought more fuel to the fire of Islamism.

The US has supported terrorists, dictators, covert operations, sanctions, wars in the region and gone into wars himself repeatedly.

You are assuming that some president can rationally handle the Middle East and do more good than harm.

I look back at the past and conclude... that's not going to happen. Even if you had one Pres. who could handle them 99 who couldn't would follow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry my position wasn't clear, Daniel. Democratic processes are fine when constrained by a constitution dedicated to protecting individual rights. I think it is very important for a US president to get congressional approval before fighting a war, so I respect Paul's pledge only to fight in declared wars. My reference to, "clarity and will," assumes a congress willing to authorize war on Iran. I understand that the president must be able to exercise discretion when prior authorization isn't possible (in the case of an attack on Washington, for instance). But simply deciding to bomb a nation (like Libya) for months is a gross abuse of that discretion. All of this might be a red herring anyhow, because congress has the authority to defund military action. If they don't like it, they just need to find the courage to pull the cash.

In your last post you mentioned that the US has served only to fuel the fires of terrorism in the Middle East. I'd agree that some actions have exacerbated the situation, but obviously I disagree with your assessment that every action has done so, or that most conceivable actions will do so. I have a hard time believing this is simply due to a difference in interpreting the facts. It seems that we are interpreting the facts differently because we hold different premises. What are they, do you think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't see what the facts have to do with it? You're making very general and abstract claims about the ideology driving the U.S. as opposed to other nations around the world, with nothing to back it up except a generalized opinion gleaned informally from readings in history and current events.

Why are you speculating on what I'm basing my opinions on? You don't even know me.

My claims on the guiding principles of the United States are mainly based on studying its laws, and the well documented ideas those laws are based on. My conclusions are confirmed by looking at the history of the United States, and Americans' willingness to actually fight for those principles.

While I agree that the Heritage Economic Index you posted is objective, it paints only a partial picture (and a fraction of the picture, at that - far outweighed by the two most important characteristics of freedom: free speech, and political participation open to everyone). It doesn't contradict anything I said. As for the other list, that's a joke. Freedom House is not a consistent advocate of the principle of individual rights, and its list is superficial at best. Those countries it lists as equivalent to the US in political and social freedoms all have laws restricting both political participation and speech.

And, more importantly, on a cultural level those nations do not identify with individualism the way Americans do. Their laws are ambiguous and their history spotted with episodes of tyranny and abuse precisely because their culture is a victim of trends. Sure, the trend right now is democracy and so called "democratic values", but there is no reason to believe that is their cultural identity. They certainly have yet to show a willingness to fight for those ideas, which is quite telling of the depth of their convictions.

Getting a rigorous idea of the state of a country's governance requires a systematic survey of the evidence. Freedom indices are one such attempt to systematically quantify these wide generalizations; an attempt to ground them in facts, in other words.

The ideology at the heart of the European Union (described with phrases such as open society, democratic values, human rights) often and in many areas produces similar concretes to the ideology of the United States. More often than not, people can speak freely. But not always, and never on principle. More often than not, people can support a political ideology. But not always, and never on principle. More often than not, people get to keep their property. But not always, and never on principle.

People tend to conform to the many rules that restrict freedom, and the few who don't show up tiny blips on a vast radar of conformity, in these studies you are citing. But, if you'd look at the actual rules instead, you'd be able to spot the glaring difference between the First Amendment and its application in the US, and speech laws in Australia, or political campaign laws in Europe, for instance.

And, again, this ideology of democratic values is a fleeting trend. You can already see the signs of the new trend: political correctness (fascism, when converted into law, as it's happening everywhere except in the United States and maybe Japan), everywhere from Canada to Europe and Australia. Their "open society" and "democratic values" laws are less and less about freedom, and more and more about sweeping dissent of "tolerance" and "humaneness" under the rug.

Edited by Nicky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the devil is in the details.

I don't think so. I think that Iran's "devil" is at the most abstract, least detailed point of divergence with western ideas you could find. And it's the same exact point of divergence we had with Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. It's the disagreement on whether human beings are ends in themselves or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I feel that US intervention in the Middle East has only brought more fuel to the fire of Islamism."

Islam has a problem with the West, US intervention or not. They were first on our radar in the early days of this country -- the Barbary pirates, remember? That was long before the US was a major colonizing, intervening force anywhere. And as you might have noticed, Islam is busily waging jihad in countries with no interventionist policies to give them a fig leaf. The idea that you can retreat from the cesspool of the Middle East and the jihadists will go away and leave us alone is dangerously naive - though we are in serious decline, we are still the major force on the world scene, culturally, economically, and militarily. We're a big target, and we symbolize, at least to some extent, the "West". The rest of the world is not going to leave us alone, no matter what we do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...