Monday, September 10, 2007

More Ron Paul

It looks like I touched a nerve among the Ron Paul supporters for linking to Pillage Idiot’s joke. He has many excellent things to say about domestic issues. I for one would welcome President Paul eliminating the IRS as his first act in the oval office. However, when it comes to foreign policy he is off his rocker.

First, Ron Paul is a serious candidate and his views should be considered. However, his views on foreign policy are seriously flawed, which is why he should be taken seriously and refuted in a substantive manner. Conservatives, who refuse to take Paul seriously, are akin to those like the editors of the Wall Street Journal who refused to substantively debate the editors of National Review on the merits of the immigration reform bill. We on the right take great pride in our ability to hold great intellectual debates amongst ourselves. In fact, it was similar intramural debates within the right that gave rise to the modern conservative movement. When conservatives marginalize Ron Paul they detract from that august intellectual tradition. At least Mike Huckabee engaged Paul, if rather clumsily, in the last GOP debate. In the market place of ideas the better ideas win out. I believe that in a substantive debate between Paul’s ideas about foreign policy against so-called “interventionist” or neoconservative ideas, Paul loses.

So herewith is my substantive yet non-exhaustive response and rebuttal to Ron Paul’s foreign policy.

Ron Paul’s strict constitutionalist ideology in regards to foreign policy is an anachronism. Paul believes in a 1796 foreign policy where we stay behind our borders and ignore the changing world around us. If we keep our nose down no one will bother us. For Ron Paul, George Washington just finished telling us to avoid “entangling alliances” and is now in line at Starbucks ordering venti skim mocha. The world has changed, and like it or not there are those who mean to do us harm, because they hate our foreign policy AND our freedoms.

When Ron Paul says “I’m suggesting we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it,” fine, let’s do that but it is dishonest for Paul to limit their reasons only to their dislike of our foreign policy, when in fact bin Laden and the islamo-fascists do indeed hate the very freedoms we hold dear. One only needs to read the intellectual godfather of al Qaeda, Sayyid Qtub. Qtub’s work influenced Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s mentor. Qtub traveled through the United States in the 1950s and studied education in Colorado. Here is his overall assessment of America: “This great America: What is its worth in the scale of human values? And what does it add to the moral account of humanity? Nothing.” A 1950s sock-hop literally offended him. Qtub saw the contrast between America and the Middle East as the old world versus the new world. America was the antithesis of what he saw as the true zenith of civilization: Muhammad in the seventh century and the triumphant Muslim armies of the Middle Ages i.e. the caliphate and the dominance of Islam. Qtub railed against what he called Jahiliyyah or pre-Islamic ignorance and lack of Sharia law, all of which America represented. The means to fight Jahiliyyah was through offensive jihad. There is a direct line from Qtub to Osama bin Laden.

Al Qaeda would have attacked us even if the state of Israel withered away, all the Middle Eastern oil dried up and we removed our troops from the region. The islamo-fascist impulse to kill Americans is driven by far deeper motives than opposition to our foreign policy. This is the truth that Ron Paul cannot understand or refuses engage.

Ron Paul thinks all our problems stem from blowback of “50 years of bad policy.” Really, so that means we were wrong to stand up to the Soviets during the Cold War and wrong to support Israel the only functioning democracy in a region of despots! According to Paul, we really should not commit to an interventionist foreign policy because it might upset someone. Better to let West Berlin starve because airlifting supplies would make Stalin mad. By Paul’s reasoning cutting off oil supplies to the Japanese in 1941 was wrong because it caused them to attack Pearl Harbor.

Paul believes that we should not have an interventionist foreign policy because it invites blowback. That is his position, ok fine, but he never offers an alternative to the historical examples or the present day issues that complicate his simplistic view. It is like the peaceniks during the Vietnam War who sang, “all we are saying is give peace a chance.” That’s right, that’s all they were saying. They did not offer any arguments as to why giving peace a chance would have benefited the United States in Southeast Asia, furthermore look at the human tragedy that happened when peace was given a chance. Ron Paul is doing the same thing. Instead of peace, it is isolationism. Paul never offers a solution other than empty platitudes about the intent of the founding fathers. That is all fine and good, but it is not an argument. Paul never, makes an argument past stating his position of preaching non-interventionism in foreign policy and urging the GOP to return to its isolationist past (look how that turned out). Paul and his supporters spout their nonsense then sit back as if saying they have ended the argument, when at best, all they’ve done is start one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep the foreign policy and bankrupt this nation. Period.
No money, no miliarty. Hows that for blowback. It's pretty simple to me our finances say we can no longer afford it. 50 trillion dollars in debt. Another nation can bring us to our knees and they won't even have to set foot in the states or use nucler weapons.