Let’s Discuss! – Ron Paul & Foreign Policy

There are certain topics that tend to come up a lot here at TAC, and foreign policy is one of them. Often times the discussion breaks out on a comment thread of a post that has nothing to do with foreign policy whatsoever, and so those of us who want to continue the discussion either choose not to, or are politely advised by the moderators here to stay on-topic. This happens with a few other topics as well. So every now and again, I think it would be fun to do a post that addresses one of these topics so we can “have it out” without any hindrances or encumbrances. They’ll be called “Let’s Discuss!” and they’ll cover different topics that come up in the comment threads that don’t get finished. Hopefully they will be of interest to new readers as well.

I’d like to discuss these things charitably too, and I’ll do my best to start out on that foot. I’ll also do my best not to respond in kind if the first response is “you’re a moron who supports a lunatic and should be banned from participating in politics or having children.”

In the previous discussion, some of the regular contributors and I began discussing foreign policy. Here at TAC I understand and accept that as a Ron Paul supporter I am likely in a very small minority among my co-bloggers and regular comment contributors. I also understand that some of them deeply despise Ron Paul, and likely anyone who supports him. Well, I can’t change how people feel; there are certain public figures I despise myself. What I can do is explain why I believe as I do, and hopefully it will be seen that there is something rational behind it.

There are actually many conservatives today who like what Ron Paul has to say about the economy in general, and the Federal Reserve in particular. There are also those willing to acknowledge the political reality created by Paul’s campaign, such as Charles Krauthammer:

Put aside your own view of libertarianism or of Paul himself. I see libertarianism as an important critique of the Leviathan state, not a governing philosophy. As for Paul himself, I find him a principled, somewhat wacky, highly engaging eccentric. But regardless of my feelings or yours, the plain fact is that Paul is nurturing his movement toward visibility and legitimacy.

I actually agree with Krauthammer’s assessment of libertarianism. How could, after all, a philosophy that rejects most forms of government be a “governing philosophy”? Libertarian insights should play a role in setting the limits of government and exposing the utter folly of the managerial/nanny-state. And Ron Paul earned my respect when he was virtually the only voice of sanity in the years leading up to the housing bubble collapse. His (Austrian) explanation of the crisis was the only one that a) made sense, b) corresponded to reality, and c) proposed an actual solution (as opposed to throwing another few trillion at it).

I don’t support Ron Paul in the hopes that he will actually become president – that isn’t going to happen. I do believe that the GOP, which has been as terrible about spending and expanding government as the Democrats, not to mention as enraptured by ideology when it comes to foreign policy (we’ll get to that), needs an oppositional bloc. A political party in which there exist no factions and no contending points of view may have certain advantages, but whatever it gains by those advantages will be offset by what it looses when it becomes rigid, uniform, and sterile – when stagnation leads to inbreeding, when inbreeding leads to defects and deformities.

With all that said, lets look to the factional dispute itself. There are two main points of disagreement between Paul and “mainline” conservatives. The first is on social/moral issues. The second is foreign policy. The first issue isn’t that big of a problem, at least not in my experience. I don’t know anyone under the age of 60 who doesn’t believe that the “War on Drugs” has been a massive moral and fiscal failure, no matter what their views are on other issues. The idea that we need to spend tens of millions of dollars locking up non-violent drug offenders every year is no longer a mandatory conservative position, thank God. There are also the issues of abortion and gay marriage, and Paul’s positions have been pretty distorted on these topics as well.

We can discuss some of the social issues in the comment boxes below if readers prefer. I’ll move on to foreign policy though, because this is where most of the dislike for Paul from the right really comes from. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that Ron Paul’s prudential critique of American foreign policy, especially when it comes to the fiscal sustainability of multiple wars, regularly received cheers from conservative audiences during the presidential debates. That the United States simply cannot afford to engage in every nook and cranny of the world where a Muslim with a bomb might do something to someone is a reality that is slowly but surely coming into acceptance. The idea isn’t that by doing nothing we approve; the idea is that people need to defend their own interests, and not expect a financially devastated nation to do it for them.

But there were also boos. And the boos came, and always come, when Paul suggests that American foreign policy was responsible (at least in part, if not directly) for the 9/11 attacks. I’ll probably be booed myself for writing that not only do I agree with Ron Paul on this point, but I find it absolutely amazing that people take such offense to it. To me it looks like mass-denial combined with a sort of self-insulating narcissism. “How dare you say that we could ever do anything to make anyone dislike us!” It reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld’s mother. It seems emotional, not sober or honest.

I mean, it would make sense if people’s reaction were perhaps to say, “ok, so they attacked us because of our policy – but our policy is a good one, it is a justifiable one, and we are willing to have people hate us in order to pursue this policy.” That’s a rational and defensible position. To react, however, with utter shock to the notion that actions have reactions is something I really can’t understand. Moreover, Ron Paul really was simply repeating what both the CIA and the 9/11 Commission reported on the role of “blowback” in the attacks. Are they all insane traitors to America? Why only Ron Paul?

No, I will not abandon the truth that actions have consequences in the world, and that there will invariably be certain policies that cause people to hate us. Nor will I acquiesce to the patently absurd notion that even the radical Muslims, who immigrate to the West and fully partake of all the sinful pleasures made available to them “hate us for our freedom.” It’s an idea beneath my intellect and yours. The simple and plain truth is that there are millions of people, not only in the Islamic world, but in Russia, in China, in Latin America, in Europe – all over the world – who resent the involvement of the United States in their affairs.

I’m not even arguing that this involvement is always unjustified. I would probably support a little bit more of it than Ron Paul does and a lot less than Dick Cheney might. But there are always hidden and secondary costs, whether it is foreign policy or domestic policy. And this brings me to the most serious problem I have with modern GOP foreign policy: it is blinded by ideology. The GOP has done with foreign policy what the Democrats did with domestic policy; it has developed a rigid ideological line that stifles not only debate, but even a rational consideration of the potential and actual costs involved. We have all experienced debates with left-wingers, especially Catholic “social justice” types, who act as if any mention at all of costs is evidence of moral callousness.

I have seen the exact same attitude play itself out on the right over and over again. I’ve been told that we shouldn’t count the cost at all when it comes to “liberating” people who are oppressed. Aside from the fact that these narratives are often simplistic and inconsiderate of the actual desires and wishes of the supposedly “oppressed” people, we have not been appointed by God to wage war with every tinpot dictator in the world, nor could we afford to do so even if we were. Nor is it the destiny or desire of people everywhere to have a Western-style democracy and secular liberal society. These assumptions are delusions when sincerely believed and cynical ploys when they are not.

Finally I don’t believe the narrative about the suicidal irrationality of entire nation-states. An individual may be willing to strap a bomb to himself and explode for fanatical reasons – though more often than not, what happens is that they are promised thousands of dollars for their impoverished families and figure they are worth more dead than alive. But I do not believe for a second that the leadership of Iran would launch a nuclear missile at Israel, knowing that Israel already possess several hundred nuclear warheads of its own and that the United States could wipe Tehran off the map at a moment’s notice.

Please don’t bother bringing up the mistranslated quotes of Ahmadinejad either. I don’t believe they were mistranslated because I like the man; I believe they were mistranslated because they were in fact mistranslated, and have been used in a way I find highly reckless and irresponsible. Iran wants a nuclear weapon for the same reason every other nation wants a nuclear weapon: deterrence. It was invaded by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, and chemical weapons were used against its civilians. Iran is a sovereign state; if it wants a nuclear weapon, it can have one, and if it uses it offensively, it can expect to be totally destroyed. I certainly wouldn’t oppose such a retaliation. I also think Ron Paul is right to point out that all of the hyper-aggressive bellicosity towards Iran only serves to strengthen the ruling regime and weaken the position of the internal opposition.

So, in conclusion, I think Ron Paul brings a much needed alternative point of view to the table. I think he articulates what a growing number of Americans feel – that our government is far too involved in too many aspects of our lives, and in the lives of those around the globe. We reject what we see as a great deal of arrogance and presumption about situations domestically and globally that serve to justify government intervention. We have faith in the ability of people – not just individuals, but organic institutions such as family and churches – to look to their own affairs for the most part and only rely on government for those things we truly cannot do for ourselves. I also believe in a strong national defense, but we need it more on our Southern border than we do in Afghanistan (why are we there, again, over 10 years later?). I have no problem telling the rest of the world what the Emperor Honorius told the Romans in Britain in the year 410: look to your own defenses.

So, there it is. Reasonable discourse, or rant of an anti-American nutjob lunatic? We’ll find out.

106 Responses to Let’s Discuss! – Ron Paul & Foreign Policy

  • As a Catholic you make a very pragmatic secular arguement and don’t seem to recognize values as a legitimate reason for deciding foreign policy. But note that this is the reason religious conservatives, often closet evangelical Zionists, are the real pigs in the audience behind the boos you mention. They never seem to have heard the sermon on the mount or Jesus’s rebuke of Peter “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Instead they seek some very ugly revenge on hapless third world people whose pseudo-religious revenge motive is much like these Zionists.

  • Look, I don’t know if there is a charitable way of saying this. But anyone who equates the US going into Pakistan to kill bin Laden without Pakistan’s foreknowledge (consider that given bin Laden being housed just a few miles from a Pakistani military academy and that they probably would have tipped him off that we were coming) with Chinese agents killing a Chinese dissident on our soil and that a nuked up Iran doesn’t pose a threat has zero credibility on foreign policy. Anyone who would trust Ron Paul on foreign is either ignorant or as nuts as he is. End of discussion close the book!!!

  • Jihadis attacked the NYC WTC and the Pentagon because of something the US did to . . .

    The Japs attacked Pearl Harbor because of something isolationist US did or would not sell to . . .

    Hitler declared war on the US because . . .

    Are you and Paul saying we need to stop doing (our idea of) good in the world or advancing (our idea of) US national interests because evil men will resist us?

    Maybe America should adopt the Swiss model: strict neutrality but armed to the teeth to protect from invasion. The US never was that way, you know. The Monroe Doctrine comes to mind. And, Manifest Destiny was not isolationist, it was expansionist.

    Why do they hate us?

    Maybe for the same reasons the Devil hates God.

    You are not anti-american. You seem to be isolationist. America was isolationist before WWI and up to WWII. Maybe the US should have ignored Pearl Harbor (obviously we did something to merit it) sat it out and watched the trial by combat of whether Britain and USSR could prevail against Nazi Germany and japan. And, maybe Tojo and Hitler would have left the US alone after they defeated the rest of the World . . .

    Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Alexander, Caesar, Muhammad and his successors for 1,100 years, Ghengis Khan, et al only conquered those nations that irritated them . . . NOT!

  • The poster above me is unfortunately misinformed. Which coincidentally is the core reason we are in the trouble we are in today. A misinformed public. Nothing can be more dangerous then a misinformed public that refuses to discuss issues, and states “End of discussion close the book!!!” without giving thought to other possibilities of a given situation. It’s mindlessness at best.

    The difficulty in getting the truth out, is getting people to accept or even “hear” something that is contrary to their opinion. The ability to self analyze honestly, and actually change your belief is a hard thing to do, and almost feels as though you are betraying yourself. I personally have gone through it, it is very difficult. It’s nothing short of a train wreck when the beliefs you’ve held for so long come crashing together with conflicting idea’s.

    With that said I hope some reading this will open their mind’s a little bit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw7bcuonFjs

    .

  • Greg,

    I don’t think it’s “nuts” to point out that actions that may – depending on how they are perceived – violate another nation’s sovereignty are unwise. I do agree that the analogy was not a good one.

    As for Iran, I made my view on that known in the actual post, if you care to read it.

  • Bob D,

    “As a Catholic you make a very pragmatic secular arguement and don’t seem to recognize values as a legitimate reason for deciding foreign policy. ”

    Well, I do apply just war criteria to our wars too – but I don’t think we can all agree on how that criteria is best applied.

  • Shaw,

    I’d say I am non-interventionist, not isolationist. I like free trade and diplomacy, and even military intervention when I think it is really necessary/justified.

    “Are you and Paul saying we need to stop doing (our idea of) good in the world or advancing (our idea of) US national interests because evil men will resist us?”

    I think it is in our interests to stop trying to impose “our idea of good” on people who manifestly do not accept it.

  • Well, Bonchamps, if Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq and was making bellicose gestures toward Iran, the whole “deterrence” argument might, I say, might have some legs. But since Hussein is not only no longer in power, but no longer alive and Iran faces no real threat from its neighbors or anyone else, this is a non-sequiter at best. However, Iran poses a grave threat to Israel and has explicitly stated such. Iran is also the puppetier of many Islamic terrorist groups that pose a serious threat to us. A nuclear armed Iran makes that threat even worse.

    Saying a regime like Iran given its intentions can have a nuke is just plain nuts.

  • ” this is a non-sequiter at best”

    No it isn’t. It isn’t irrational for a country to consider relatively recent history when making policy decisions about defense.

    “However, Iran poses a grave threat to Israel and has explicitly stated such.”

    Iran knows that if it attacked Israel with a nuclear weapon, it would be destroyed.

    As for “explicit statements”, what are you talking about? The mistranslated quote? Please read the link I provided on that. If this is what you’re basing your policy views on, then you have a faulty foundation. That’s why I’m concerned about this issue. I think there are a lot of false assumptions out there.

    ” Iran is also the puppetier of many Islamic terrorist groups that pose a serious threat to us.”

    To us or Israel? The main group Iran sponsors, as far as I know, is Hezbollah. And Hezbollah doesn’t give a damn about the United States.

    “Saying a regime like Iran given its intentions can have a nuke is just plain nuts.”

    I think your assumption about its intentions are somewhat flawed.

  • It makes no sense to claim that the US was even partly responsibly for 9/11. It was the evil will of Mohamed Atta and his comrades that made it happen. As you say actions have consequences, but inaction and ignorance perhaps even more so. No one up till then had seriously entertained the possibility that fellow human beings would slam planeloads full of screaming children into skyscrapers. Ron Paul could have found less tasteless things to say. The US as a benign superpower has far flung responsibilities. It maintains a large force in S Korea, whose sole purpose is to prevent a surprise attack by the North. Suppose some of Kim’s suicide agents manage to fly a plane into the BOA tower, would Ron Paul maintain that it was somehow the responsibility of the US? Would his apologists claim that he was making a tautological statement? The US in general does not overstay its welcome. When the Philippines requested that the US vacate Subic Bay, she did so without hesitation. They are now asking her back in the face of the rising power of China but that is another story.

    Whether the Iranian nutjob claimed that Israel should be wiped off of the map, or merely that he wished to see the end of Israel is a meaningless distraction from the very real danger posed by the madman. He is a Basanj, one of those cruel fanatics who rounded up young children to run through Iraqi minefields during the Iran-Iraq war. A true believer in the return of the Mahdi. There is little doubt that given the opportunity, he will use the most terrible weapons against Israel, not for anything that they had done but to raise his profile in the Muslim world. For it is an unfortunate fact of life today, that the easiest way for the Shias to claim that they are better Muslims than the Sunnis is to work for the destruction of Israel.

  • Iran’s position is far from enviable. Internally, it has declining oil reserves; it has witnessed a catastrophic decline in its birth-rate, leading to a rapidly ageing population. Externally, it faces the possibility of a radical Sunni government taking power in Syria and it has a long-running dispute with Russia and Azerbaijan over the Caspian oil-fields (and about a quarter of its population, concentrated in the North, are ethnic Azeris)

    Obviously, the best way out of its difficulties is to destabilise the Saudi monarchy, as a prelude to annexing, or installing a puppet regime in the Shite area of Saudi Arabia, which just happens to include some of that country’s richest oil reserves. In this, it could expect support from the Shite majority in Iraq. Like France in 1914, it may well see demographics as a spur to prompt action, as its available population of military age is declining rapidly.

    Does this represent a threat to the United States? It is difficult to see how – What could be better than conflict and instability amongst the enemies of Israel?

  • “It makes no sense to claim that the US was even partly responsibly for 9/11.”

    No, that statement itself really makes no sense. By saying that this country is partially responsible for what happens to it, it doesn’t morally justify what actually happened. It’s simply an acknowledgement of reality.

    ” It was the evil will of Mohamed Atta and his comrades that made it happen.”

    Life is not a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Is their methods, their motives, or both you are calling evil here?

    ” No one up till then had seriously entertained the possibility that fellow human beings would slam planeloads full of screaming children into skyscrapers.”

    Are you kidding? This is naivety of the highest order. We live in a world in which governments have murdered tens of millions of their own people and people from countries they were ruthlessly invading and occupying, all within the last 100 years. We live in a world in which there is terrorism, nuclear weapons, ethnic cleansing, biological weapons, racial and religious divisions, naked and savage ideological hatred, a world that has known war for has long as humanity has been present within it. We live in a country with a government that has dropped tens of thousands of tonnes of explosive ordinance on dozens of nations around the globe, that has overthrown governments, that has had people assassinated (and I’m not even saying that it was NEVER justified – sometimes it was!).

    We live in a world like this, and the idea that some men would hijack planes and fly them into buildings astounds you?

    Really?

    I mean, we fought a country that used airplanes as missiles as a routine part of their military tactics in WWII. The kamikazie has been around for sometime.

    “Ron Paul could have found less tasteless things to say. ”

    It’s not about taste. It’s about understanding the world we live in.

    “The US as a benign superpower has far flung responsibilities. ”

    The US is on the verge of bankruptcy. It is time for other people to take responsibility. It is time for Japan, for instance, to start paying its own defense tab. It is time for Europe to let go of the welfare state and start paying its own defense tab. There can still be a free flow of information and technology with our allies but they need to become militarily self-sufficient.

    “Suppose some of Kim’s suicide agents manage to fly a plane into the BOA tower, would Ron Paul maintain that it was somehow the responsibility of the US?”

    I don’t know why you’d think that.

    “There is little doubt that given the opportunity, he will use the most terrible weapons against Israel, not for anything that they had done but to raise his profile in the Muslim world. ”

    Then he’d be destroyed himself. And he knows that. If the argument is that he doesn’t care about being destroyed, I see no evidence of that. Only some rather hysterical fear-mongering.

  • “Our freedom is so infringed upon by our own politicians and government regulations in the name of security, or fighting terrorism, or social justice, or environmental justice, or regulatory fairness, or redistribution of wealth, or Presidential prerogative, or healthcare as a human right, it almost seems that we have nothing more to fear from radical-Islamo-fascist terrorists. If we are no longer free, they have no reason to hate us. The job they set out to do with the 9/11 attacks seems to have been a success. Our freedom is diminishing so we need not fear them.”

  • Another cogent argument:

    “It’s the perfect self-perpetuating cycle: (1) They hate us and want to attack us because we’re over there; therefore, (2) we have to stay and proliferate ourselves because they hate us and want to attack us; (3) our staying and proliferating ourselves makes them hate us and want to attack us more; therefore, (4) we can never leave, because of how much they hate us and want to attack us. ”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/05/15/afghanistan_45/

  • Ron Paul has some good things to offer on foreign policy but his supporting arguments are not often the best. It is not a matter of indifference whether or not Iran develops nuclear weapons. However they are a signatory to the international Non-Proliferation Treaty, and have not been shown to be in violation of it. That agreement does allow nuclear activities for peaceful purposes, including limited enrichment. So far no one has shown that they are in violation, by producing nuclear weapons. It would also be far better if the US was pushing for a nuclear weapons free zone in the entire middle east which would include Israel.

  • Ron Paul has some good ideas but anyone who wants to legalize any drugs is foolish. You really ready to have “Joe’s Pot Shop” opened next to the local movie theater?? and how’s keeping legal booze away from teens working out?? Read this
    http://drugfreecalifornia.org/marijuana

  • I will say one thing in Bonchamps’ defense: if we made ourselves energy independent (e.g., via nuclear energy and the hydrogen or liquid fuels generated therefrom), then we could tell the Arab and Persian fanatics to go drown in their mineral slime and get the heck out of lands of Islamic fascism.

    As for Iran having nuclear weapons, perhaps our response ought to be: use them and we’ll smash you into the neolithic age. I think it’s inevitable that the mad mullahs will get such weapons. A missile defense shield (that Obama wants to surrender to the Russians) and an overwhelmingly greater number of nuclear weapons (that Obama wants to reduce by 80%) is sufficient to keep Iran in its place.

    That said, I don’t like Ron Paul especially for his foreign policy, and I do think we should continue to support Israel (I am unabashedly pro-Zionist and I am sure all the right thinking Catholics will now declare me a heretic; oh well). But I will give the devil his due, as it were.

  • Very brave of you, sir. I admire your courage, and stand in general agreement, minus only the few individual takes that we all claim and are not relevant enough to recount here.

    Ironically, the other blog I frequent most often, http://libertarianchristians.com, has this as the opening paragraph in their first post today:

    “All libertarians seek the path of non-violence. Even those with anarchist leanings will concede the possibility that the State has a legitimate, albeit minor, role in society (we usually call them miniarchists). But Christian libertarians have a clearer path to follow: the Way of Peace. Not optional. It is, in fact, absolutely essential. If our kingdom is led by the Prince of Peace, how ought we to propose conflict resolution in a society where institutionalized violence is acceptable? I hope to write about this in a future article, but the Way of Christ as demonstrated in and by the Scriptures is a commitment to living and espousing an alternative way of imagining life as we know it—specifically in contrast to the empires of this world.”

    Now, before the Hawks get all fluffed up and bellicose, let it be said that no single blog – even this one, believe it or not – is Gospel. That’s found only one place, and the best commentary on it is The Catechism. That doesn’t mean we can’t glean truth form other places.

    So, as the cited paragrah asks, if we are to stand upon The Rock and claim Christ as our Savior and King, then where, exactly, do we draw the line between behaving as He wants us to, and denying Him and acting out according to our temporal fears?

    It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when needed (which means standing up to the bully and daring him to strike you as an equal instead of back-handed as a superior,) and there comes very soon a time to go into the temple and upset the money-changers.

    But “Pray for those who despise you” has no asterisk. The Swiss model can work militarily. It would be much more effective to be a valuable business partner to anybody who wishes than a threat to anybody who doesn’t. If Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea want to continue down their Socialist roads, so what? They can’t touch us. When they see their neighbors benefitting tremendously more from being our friend and business partner, that tune will change.

    Remember, we’re Americans. We invented or perfected almost everything the world uses today. We provided the model for the elimination of serfdom and subject monarchy in the civilized world. When we’re at our best, we rule and don’t have to lift a single finger in anger to do it. Just because some blustering fools have had the reins of power at times ion our history doesn’t mean they were right.

    So, for just once, don’t be afraid. Deciding to at least consider a way other than bombing the [expletive] out of those who we “think” might be enemies doesn’t make you weak, or gay, or crazy. There is gentleness in strength and strength in gentleness. The Strongest Man Who Ever Lived proves that. Vicious rebuttals demonstrate fear and doubt. Throw them away, and at least consider.

  • But there were also boos. And the boos came, and always come, when Paul suggests that American foreign policy was responsible (at least in part, if not directly) for the 9/11 attacks. I’ll probably be booed myself for writing that not only do I agree with Ron Paul on this point, but I find it absolutely amazing that people take such offense to it. To me it looks like mass-denial combined with a sort of self-insulating narcissism.

    No, it is not. Al Qaeda is an international criminal organization which persues objectives as a function of its own esoteric pathology. It has no legitimacy as a political actor and there is no causal connection between the acts of any occidental power and the act of incinerating the employees of Cantor-FitzGerald except the fancy on the part of OBL &c. that they were entitled to injure the objects of their resentment. Your remarks here are a perfect distillation of the unwarrented self-confidence of Dr. Paul and his bots in their assessment of both the dynamics of international politics and the obligations nations owe eachother.

    His (Austrian) explanation of the crisis was the only one that a) made sense, b) corresponded to reality, and c) proposed an actual solution (as opposed to throwing another few trillion at it).

    It corresponds to no reality. Maintining a gold standard or currency board in lieu of fiat currency and discretionary monetary policy does not prevent asset bubbles (we had a jim dandy one in equities in the latter 1920s); nominal housing prices in salient markets (the Case-Shiller 10 city set) began to unmoor themselves from nominal incomes not in 2002 (when the Federal Reserve acted to radically lower the Federal Funds rate) but in 1997; and real estate bubbles appeared not just in the United States but in China, Britain, Ireland, and Spain – that is in the realm of four different currencies.

  • Unlike the neocons, militarists and other saber rattlers that dominate the GOP, Paul’s foreign policy views are traceable to Thomas Jefferson, who, in his first inaugural address, sounded the theme: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

    This was buttressed by George Washington’s farewell address in which he said, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

    How far the U.S. has strayed from two sturdy pillars that should define America vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

    Criticized as an “isolationist” and worse — Don McClarey thinks Paul is from Pluto — Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate and indeed one of the few politicians who support only “just wars” — those strictly fought to defend our country. Contrast this with Newt, Mitt, Rick, Obama, Clinton (pick any president since Grover Cleveland) who are constantly playing top world cop, interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.

    To his credit, Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the “military industrial complex” as he was leaving office — advice that has fallen on deaf ears. The reason, of course, there are many who benefit from war: the monarchs, dictators, and “statesmen” who enjoy wallowing in “imperial glory,” as Alexander Hamilton described it. One needed drag out the old shibboleths of Bush/Cheney and others who enriched themselves through defense contracts; nor trot out the academics and “journalists” who operate a pro-war propaganda machine for the state in return for notoriety, position, and money; and the state in general.

    “Perpetual war for perpetual peace” is the mantra that must be song to stay in tune with the choruses sung for the past several decades. In ancient Sparta, debates were decided by who shouted the loudest. Dissenting voices belong to Paul and other non-interventionalists such as Pat Buchanan have been drowned out by the war drum beaters — the “chicken hawks” who never served but gladly send American sons and daughters to spill their blood for the sake of industry and profit.

    It was this mindset that led to the needless Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World War I, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, ad nauseum. If William Kristol, Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, or any other political hack urging the invasion of Iran, Syria, North Korea had their way, “perpetual war” will win out.

    The Libertarians don’t have all the answers — no one does — but short of outright anarchy, the government that governs least governs best. Paul is largely ignored by the mass media but many critical thinking Americans find his foreign policy views, which include cutting all foreign aid and closing most overseas military bases, sensible and economically justifiable. The hundreds of billions that would be saved could be put to far better use — saving lives instead of taking them..

  • It makes no sense to claim that the US was even partly responsibly for 9/11.

    You may be confusing responsibility (in a legal/moral sense) with causality. For example, a woman who gets mugged in front of an ATM at 10:00PM in a deserted, isolated location is not, in a legal/moral sense, responsible for the attack. The perpetrator is 100% responsible. However, anyone with an ounce of common sense would have to agree she did contribute to the situation by placing herself in a vulnerable position, even if she had every right to do so. It does not excuse the perpetrator, but it does enlighten us about a course of action to take to reduce similar occurrences in the future.

    It is often said that we are shaped by the choices we make, and I agree. I would even go further – the choices we make also have a non-negligible effect on the shape of others. It is just common sense. To say we are not “responsible” for 9/11 is one thing; but to blindly believe our actions in the middle east had absolutely no impact in causing 9/11 is, well, naive at best. Like an alcoholic who denies he has a drinking problem, if we continue to deny that our actions have consequences, it is not too difficult to see where that will lead.

  • The Ahmadinejad mistranslation argument runs into the rather difficult brick wall of the fact that the *official* translations use eliminationist rhetoric. There’s no credible way to get past that.

    Juan Cole is beyond laughable in his argumentation. He is, after all, a man who finds complete moral equivalence between American evangelicals and Wahhabi imams. He is, to be blunt, a glib half-wit who gleefully nurses at the ample teats of the poisonous Edward Said. [Yes, I know the latter is dead, but his pernicious legacy lives on.]

    All that said, Ahmadinejad’s eliminationism does not warrant military action.

  • but to blindly believe our actions in the middle east had absolutely no impact in causing 9/11 is, well, naive at best.

    No it ain’t, because the adversaries actions are not in service to any kind of object a non-lunatic would persue. Dan Rather could not with an exercise of prudence evade Mr. What-is-the-frequency.

  • But there were also boos. And the boos came, and always come, when Paul suggests that American foreign policy was responsible (at least in part, if not directly) for the 9/11 attacks. I’ll probably be booed myself for writing that not only do I agree with Ron Paul on this point, but I find it absolutely amazing that people take such offense to it. To me it looks like mass-denial combined with a sort of self-insulating narcissism. “How dare you say that we could ever do anything to make anyone dislike us!”

    The reason that Ron Paul gets vilified so much for this line of argument is that because he tends to then go on and argue that we ought to disengage from the Middle East and from a variety of other international activities, people take him (rightly, I think) to be saying that the US to some degree “deserved” the 9-11 attacks as a retaliation for its actions abroad.

    Imagine a white police officer gets killed by black gang members while he’s making a routine traffic stop in a majority black neighborhood. A police commission studies the matter and issues a report saying that the killing “was in apparent retaliation for the recent shooting of a gang member who resisted arrest” and provides guidelines for how to conduct traffic stops in such areas more carefully in the future. The New Black Panthers issue a statement that the cop was killed because of the injustice inflicted on the black community by white police, and demands that police stay out of black neighborhoods in future.

    I imagine that you would react differently to these two statements, even though both in a sense say that the actions of the police officer killed and of police more generally were a cause of the killing. I think most people see Ron Paul’s statements relating to 9-11 as more like the New Black Panther example than the police commission example.

    On a few specific issues:

    - Ron Paul seems to basically object to the idea of the US acting as a monopolar global hegemon. He argues that being the primary world power is too expensive and too unpopular with the rest of the world. I’d agree it’s not great, but we need to consider the alternatives. Having two world powers in competition (the US and USSR) was more expensive, and more violent, with many smaller countries trapped in between as the two major powers sought to bring them into their spheres, and proxy wars being fought at the borders between the two spheres. The other alternative we have, is having a truly multi-polar world with more than two Great Powers. This was the situation in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, and it was comparatively speaking even more expensive in blood and money than the bi-polar world was. Then Russia, Germany, France, Japan and the US all were clearly great powers, and Italy and (in the Great War) Austria-Hungary and Turkey were marginally so, it was far harder to keep one or more powers from growing sufficiently to threaten the others, and the wars during that period were pretty cataclysmic. Now, we could also envision a world in which there is a single Great Power, but it’s not the US. But we need to realistically think about who that would be at this point. Right now, the most obvious successor power would be China. Does Ron Paul really think that a world in which China plays the international role that the US currently does would be a better one? Worse yet, there are other potential powers out there that are close enough in power to China that we’d be more like back in a multi-polar balance of powers. How good does a world that Russia, China, India, Turkey, Israel and Iran are all competing to influence sound? Especially when you’re got some other regimes with no chance of being global powers but that are unstable enough and military enough to ignite conflicts involving them (Pakistan, North Korea, etc.)

    - On Iran and nuclear weapons: I think it’s arguable that having “gone nuclear” Iran would not choose to nuke Israel for roughly the reasons you outline. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that allowing them to have nukes is harmless. Iran is doubtless looking to the example of North Korea, a far more dysfunctional regime that would doubtless have fallen by now if they didn’t have the threat of their nuclear weapons to hold over their neighbors. Because they’re a threat to those around them (not really the US directly, but certainly China, South Korea and Japan) powers that would otherwise encourage the quiet fall of the oppressive government there (to the undoubted benefit of the people and the region) quietly prop it up, in order to avoid the danger of “something happening” as the regime totters. Iran is not in as dire straights as North Korea, but they would certainly like to have the “deterrence” of a nuclear threat against their neighbors to make other major powers keep their hands off them (and quietly discourage their internal dissenters) while they seek to destabilize third tier countries around them in an effort to compete with Turkey for regional influence.

  • I’m with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I know basically nothing about foreign policy. Unlike them I will cease and desist.

    However, Dale Price @ 9:47am.

    ” . . . glib half-wit . . . ”

    I love it!

  • It strikes me that, when it comes to foreign policy, the United States government is remarkably bad at public relations. Let me offer a simple example.

    I live in Scotland and in August 2002, following the US (and UK’s) increased air activity over Iraq, I saw a demonstration in Glasgow, addressed by Tommy Sheridan of the Socialist Workers’ Party, where hundreds of protestors were carrying banners, reading “No War for Oil.” A secondary motive, suggested from the platform, was to give US and British troops experience in the techniques of urban warfare, for future internal repression.

    Everyone I spoke to in Scotland, during that summer and autumn – farmers, farriers, vets, shepherds, gamekeepers, lawyers, clergy, students and bar-room pundits – believed oil to be the motive for a war that they were convinced had already been decided upon. There were differences of opinion as to whether Iraq really did have WMDs, heated discussions, as to whether the war was, nevertheless, justified, but no one questioned that the principle motive was oil.

    Later that year, in October and just before the US Senate debated the Joint Resolution on the Use of Force, I was in Paris and talked to a number of friends, including some senior civil servants and a former minister in the Jospin government. They were all of the opinion that oil was the motive and everything else a mere smoke-screen; for that reason, they were sure the Levin and Durbin amendments would be lost (as, of course, they were). At the opposite end of the political spectrum, so to speak, I heard the now auxiliary bishop of Paris, Mgr Eric de Moulins-Beaufort (son of the General) imply as much from the pulpit of the Madeleine. I sensed that opposition to the war, which everyone regarded as inevitable, was stronger in France than in the UK. That is a different matter; but all were agreed that the motive for the war was oil.

    I do not claim to know what the true objective was. It may well be that different groups within the government supported the war to advance different objectives. What I do know is that this was a public relations disaster of the first order.

  • So many good comments!

    Chris C.,

    ” It would also be far better if the US was pushing for a nuclear weapons free zone in the entire middle east which would include Israel.”

    That will never happen. I don’t see why it should, either. Nations have the sovereign right to defend themselves.

    David Cartin,

    I certainly want most drugs decriminalized. I’m all for prosecuting people who make dangerous synthetic drugs like meth in large quantities. People who have a few pot plants are a different story.

    I don’t like drugs. I don’t even drink that often. But the idea that a person needs to be in jail over most of this stuff is not only morally repugnant to me – seeing as how it totally ruins people’s lives for years and years – but it is also inefficient from a fiscal and social standpoint as well.

    The U.S. imprisons more people than CHINA, for goodness sake. We have too many laws, too many cops, too many courts, too many prisons.

    Paul P,

    It depends on WHY you support Israel.

    If you believe we have to support Israel as a precursor to the return of Christ, if you reject “replacement” theology and the Church as the New Israel as do the evangelicals, well, then I’d say that we have a serious theological dispute.

    If you just think it is wise foreign policy, that’s something different.

    Darwin,

    “I imagine that you would react differently to these two statements, even though both in a sense say that the actions of the police officer killed and of police more generally were a cause of the killing. I think most people see Ron Paul’s statements relating to 9-11 as more like the New Black Panther example than the police commission example.”

    I think his tone in 2008 was more like the police commissioner, and more like the BP this time around, due to frustration. There are people like Rudy Guliani, who, either out of personal idiocy or for the sake of pandering, will bellow “traitor” even at the police commissioner tone. So that provokes a less sensitive reaction the next time around.

    I’d say some American policy decisions were flat out immoral and that at the very least the people responsible for them should have been fired. I mean, let’s get real for a moment: if a Chinese or Russian aircraft bombed your city and killed your entire family, you would think that they deserved retaliation. That they said they did it for your freedom or some other benign goal wouldn’t matter, would it?

    Does this mean America “deserved” to be attacked? Did anyone America attack deserve it? If the answer is “no, yes”, I don’t see how you justify that. Nor could the answer possibly be “yes, no” – I reject that as well. I think the reality is far more complex and nuanced than that. The American government deserves to be held responsible for its actions. The American people, on the other hand, don’t deserve to be the targets of terrorism. That’s a pretty important distinction.

    “Does Ron Paul really think that a world in which China plays the international role that the US currently does would be a better one?”

    I don’t think he thinks in terms of whether it will be better or worse. At any rate, if we keep becoming more like China in terms of a socialist police-state, and they keep becoming more like us in terms of crony capitalism and military exapnsionism, it won’t matter anyway. Is there really some great clash of values going on here?

    I mean, we have more people in prison than China does. China has forced abortions but we still murder of a million and a half unborn babies every year. There’s as much a culture of death here as there is there. When I look at the proliferation of laws and police, when I look at how the government in this country arrogates to itself greater and greater rights and powers, when I look at how many disputes that used to be settled by the parties themselves are now being settled by gendarmes with tasers, when I look at a whole society becoming dependent and incapable of resolving any issue without recourse to threats and coercion, I have a hard time seeing our inherent superiority to China.

    The only way we could speak with moral authority on the world stage again is to get our house in order. I think we do need to turn inward for a generation. I also think there are a number of serious direct threats that have been completely neglected, like the destabilization of Mexico and the ascendancy of violent, death-worshiping drug cartels into de fact sovereign states. Domestically, I think the unions, Chicano separatist groups, and communist activist groups are actively working for the destabilization of the United States. There’s also our massive, massive financial crisis that can only be addressed if the institutional power of the unions and the political sway of the major banks is finally broken.

    “How good does a world that Russia, China, India, Turkey, Israel and Iran are all competing to influence sound? ”

    Does it matter? It’s going to happen whether we want it to or not. There’s no magic formula that will keep the U.S. a solvent superpower forever. If we stop pretending there is NOW, we might be able to withdraw and regroup with our dignity and security in-tact. We may not dominate the world, but at least we’ll be able to defend our lives, liberty and property – and maybe one day play a significant role again. If we keep living in denial, though, we will be utterly destroyed, not from without, but from within.

  • “If you believe we have to support Israel as a precursor to the return of Christ, if you reject ‘replacement’ theology and the Church as the New Israel as do the evangelicals, well, then I’d say that we have a serious theological dispute.”

    No. Jesus is going to return to Earth on that great white horse of Revelation 19 regardless of what the United States does regarding Israel. Nevertheless, God has not reneged on any of His promises to ethnic Israel, to be differentiated from the New Israel. Those who bless His people will be blessed and those who curse them will be cursed. I simply don’t see the Catholic (the New Israel) superseding any of God’s promises to the ethnic Israel. Notice I never said that ethnic Israel gets into Heaven outside of Jesus. That’s false theology. But St. Paul does say in Romans 11 that all Israel will be saved, and that includes ethnic Israel – which means they have to come to Christ.

    “If you just think it is wise foreign policy, that’s something different.”

    Again, I wish we would tell the Arabs and Persians to go drown in their oil, and get the heck out, and warn all of them that we won’t tolerate any of them invading Israel – leave Israel the heck alone.

    BTW, yes, we did go into the Middle East to stablize oil supplies. Europe’s umbilical cord is siphoning off mineral slime in the Middle East, and ours in Canada. If Europe can’t get Middle East oil, then that leaves only Canadian oil (or Russian natural gas and that’s one umblilical Europe doesn’t want to use again). The best solution as I have always said is the nuclear one – getting hydrogen from the thermo-catalytic decomposition of water via nuclear heat, or using the Fischer-Tropsch process to make liquid fuels from coal via nuclear heat. We have got plenty of spent nuclear fuel to use in fast neutron reactors for at least a 100 years or more; we don’t even have to mine any thorium or uranium right away!

    But we didn’t do that, so here we are stuck in neutral with an oil needle sticking in our national veins while we suck in the fumes of methane (otherwise known as natural gas).

  • This thread reaffirms what I have come to see as an undeniable fact of life: you would have better luck pulling teeth with tweezers than reasoning with a Ron Paul supporter.

    But I gotta hand it to Congressman Paul. He may never pull over 15% in any given primary, but they are the most devoted 15% in all of teh electorate. How he gets some people to so uncritically drink his Kool Aid is nothing short of amazing.

    In that spirit, I would like to dedicate this song to all you Ron Paul supporters out there:

  • Everyone I spoke to in Scotland, during that summer and autumn – farmers, farriers, vets, shepherds, gamekeepers, lawyers, clergy, students and bar-room pundits – believed oil to be the motive for a war that they were convinced had already been decided upon. There were differences of opinion as to whether Iraq really did have WMDs, heated discussions, as to whether the war was, nevertheless, justified, but no one questioned that the principle motive was oil.Later that year, in October and just before the US Senate debated the Joint Resolution on the Use of Force, I was in Paris and talked to a number of friends, including some senior civil servants and a former minister in the Jospin government. They were all of the opinion that oil was the motive and everything else a mere smoke-screen

    Well, you might have pointed out to them that the value of fuels consumed by households or by industry amounts to around 6% of gross domestic product; that Iraq has had between 5% and 8% of the world’s proven reserves over the last 20-odd years; and that Iraq would surely have been willing to sell us the oil. If we were to posit that a military occupation would allow us a 60% discount over what the spot price would have been had Iraq simply been permitted to resume exports, we would have been looking forward to a bon bon worth about $36 bn per year (in today’s prices). Last time I checked, the U.S. Government was allocating $130 bn to ‘overseas contingency operations’. The fact you got shot this bilge by a senior civil servant in the French government and one of M. Jospin’s ministers strongly suggests it was not just common-and-garden public ignorance driving this meme. Did you ask any of them what happened to Kuwait’s oil after 1991? There is as much or more oil in Kuwait as their has been in Iraq, and the frictional cost of stealing it would have been a great deal lower than was the case in Iraq after 2002.

  • Greg,

    I think your characterization of Ron Paul supporters on the basis of OUR exchange is completely uncharitable and unfair.

    I don’t believe I have said anything at all to indicate that I am not willing to listen to reason.

    If you’ve set up your own opinions as the standard for what is reasonable, though, then of course you’re going to think everyone else is nuts.

    I always give reasons for what I believe, and I always engage the reasons others give. Your disagreement with my reasoning doesn’t mean I haven’t reasoned or can’t be reasoned with. We just disagree.

  • Bonchamps:

    Anyone who tries to defend some of the most irresponsible and dangerous foreign policiy of Ron Paul cannot be reasonable on this issue. You have defended the right of a regime that has been at war with both Israel and the US for the last 30+ years either through its proxies (Hezbollah who have fired thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and attacked the MArine barracks in Lebanon, Khobar Towers) or directly (Gen Patreuas confrimed during his congressional testimony that Quds force attacke US troops in Iraq as well as provided IEDs to name a few instances) to posses nuclear weapons. The grave danger that would pose to us as well as Israel is incalcuable.

    The arguments you have put forth are ridiculous on its face. For someone of your intelligence to put forth such arguments is an insult to people’s intelligence.

    My characterization, while blunt, is rather mild comparatively speaking.

  • And there you have it, Bonchamps, “irresponsible” and “dangerous” foreign policy rather than the “reasoned” approach of making more war. Yes, let us continue bombing, killing and maiming. After all, Greg has decided who the good guys and bad guys are and it’s only a matter of choosing sides. Good try, Bonnie, for starting a debate, which had the predictable results. I hope Paul runs as a third-party candidate and siphons off enough Romney votes to keep him from winning. If not it will be a contest between dumb and dumber.

  • Before I continue to read others’ responses and, perhaps, respond, I’ll ask just one question: does Ron Paul’s position come closer to the Just War theory or does yours?

  • All this clears up a lot of stuff.

    Only remaining question I have: Do libertarians also believe that Israel and the United States of America must totally disarm so that Iran, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, etc. will stop attacking them?

  • With regard to US Foreign policy, I know that America (USA) has flirted with the concept of isolationism, as it was prior to WWI, ever since their involvement in WWII because of the cost financially, and in human life, that the US has suffered.
    This idea, however, has not been supported thankfully, by the US administrations since that time, even though some have called for it. I think that, at times, there is a degree of US foreign policy that has not worked, either for the US, or for the countries where that policy was introduced – witness, the support of the generals in Argentina, and the support of Pinochet in Chile.
    However, I think it would be a disaster if the USA decided to withdraw into its own introspective shell and gave the finger to the rest of the world – “sort your own s**t out, we’ve got our own problems”. History is witness – Rule Britannica is long over; Rule Americana is, or has not been as intrusive as its predecessor, despite the screams of liberals, progressives and socialists, and the unfortunate bogging down of involvement in countries of different cultures. Some of the fights have not been well chosen, but fights that nevertheless had to be engaged.
    The previous other dominant powers are now gone – imploding by their own self destruction through liberalism and loss of founding principles and moral force. The United States of America is the remaining Bastion of Freedom, and having held its hand up in the past to put itself in that position, cannot abrogate the responsibity now that it has claimed that turf, and the only remaining forces are those that would destroy what we all, as free nations, hold dear.
    I’m now getting old – but if needs be, “in extremis”, I would still drag out my trusty old .303, clean it down, and use it for the protection of that Freedom which is precious to us, because we still see those that do not have what we have, and the dark forces that enslave them, and would also enslave us.

  • Art Deco

    I was simply interested in taking soundings. My point is that if these are the views of ENArchs & SciencesPO graduates, with the ability to shape policy, not to mention a Catholic bishop, then the US government has a communications failure on its hands. The former minister is my French law agent’s wife and they are Jewish, as are about half the people I spoke to, mostly friends of theirs. If the US government cannot convince them, it cannot convince anyone.

    This was a particularly egregious case, but another example is the way in which, certainly in Scotland and France, the two countries I know best, the Palestinians, and the Arab masses more generally, have come to symbolise the poor and the oppressed of the earth, with the USA, Israel and the West cast in the rôle of the oppressors, standing for capitalism, imperialism, globalisation, indeed the whole economic order. That, right or wrong, is the perception and, notably, amongst Catholics.

  • there is a degree of US foreign policy that has not worked, either for the US, or for the countries where that policy was introduced – witness, the support of the generals in Argentina, and the support of Pinochet in Chile.

    Be precise. What do you mean by ‘support’? Just what was it that did not ‘work’?

  • My point is that if these are the views of ENArchs & SciencesPO graduates, with the ability to shape policy, not to mention a Catholic bishop, then the US government has a communications failure on its hands. The former minister is my French law agent’s wife and they are Jewish, as are about half the people I spoke to, mostly friends of theirs. If the US government cannot convince them, it cannot convince anyone.

    If we cannot convince anyone, what is the point of public relations? You are recommending improved public relations, no?

    FWIW, I do not give a rat’s ass for the good opinion of the French chatterati and if their British counterparts approved of American policy, I would wonder what we were doing wrong. I would not want my government to be concerned with this in the least unless these social elements could and would (acting through their countries’ officialdom) obstruct our just and prudent efforts.

  • the Palestinians, and the Arab masses more generally, have come to symbolise the poor and the oppressed of the earth, with the USA, Israel and the West cast in the rôle of the oppressors

    I do not think you can fix stupid or that you can fix malicious.

  • I’ve never really had the impression Ron Paul was an isolationist in any way, shape or form. Certainly ones definition of “isolationist” comes into play, especially when there is a false narrative to promote. Can dialogue and trade be considered isolationist? Or is it the case only when a nation decides not to have a military presence and bases throughout the world. Funny, that, to me, is the description of empire. Anyone who doesn’t see the US as an empire is seriously lacking in discernment; no offense to any globalists out there.

    Bonchamps did an excellent job of accurately portraying what amounts to a common-sense approach to international conflict. As to his point about there being blowback associated with foreign policy, as factual as this is, it takes into account only one aspect of the agenda currently in place. I’ll not go into detail except to say many Americans put patriotism ahead of truth and simply will refuse to accept that the US government is controlled by a cabal of criminal elite determined to not only destroy our domestic tranquility, but to drive world events so as to bring about a one world government. Or as George H.W. Bush said, “A New World Order.”

    The writing’s on the wall but many lack discernmnent and are therefore fearful of 7th century-minded neanderthals who couldn’t harm a gnat if it weren’t for the funding, training and arming by the West. First we supported the Taliban but low and behold, they are now a menace. Al Qaeda was allied with our very own CIA and yet somehow escaped scrutiny to the point of that tragic day. And yet, once again, we have been allied with them to topple Qaddafi, a man George W. Bush removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism because he was cooperating with the west. Unfortunately for him, he decided his oil was meant for his people and was not to be controlled by BP or Exxon-Mobile.

    It’s long past time to reevaluate the policy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This is not 1914 or 1939. By retracting our forces of empire we can modernize our force projection assets to meet any potential threat both near and far.

    (As a side note, as we discuss foreign policy, has anyone else noticed how drones and cameras are going up everywhere? How our freedoms are being stripped away and the US of A is becoming(?) a police state with the radical dimunition of our rights? I’m still waiting to see if anyone can explain to me how my rights being violated will prevent a suicide bomber from blowing himself up at our local mall.) Insane and asinine.

  • I think your characterization of Ron Paul supporters on the basis of OUR exchange is completely uncharitable and unfair.

    I can think of many adjectives to characterize palaeo and libertarian discourse on foreign affairs. “Charitable” and “fair” would seldom be applied to the latter and almost never to the former.

  • First we supported the Taliban but low and behold, they are now a menace.

    Actually, we provided supplies to a concatenation of groups in insurrection against the (imposed) Communist government in Afghanistan. The Taliban were not among them because the Taliban were not yet formed.

  • BTW, yes, we did go into the Middle East to stablize oil supplies. Europe’s umbilical cord is siphoning off mineral slime in the Middle East, and ours in Canada. If Europe can’t get Middle East oil, then that leaves only Canadian oil (or Russian natural gas and that’s one umblilical Europe doesn’t want to use again).

    Petroleum is fungible. Supply interruptions induce price flux which causes economic injury to consumers of petroleum, no matter what are their current arrangements for supply.

  • I don’t know anyone under the age of 60 who doesn’t believe that the “War on Drugs” has been a massive moral and fiscal failure, no matter what their views are on other issues.

    You need to get out more.

  • Greg Mockeridge says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 A.D. at 9:55pm
    Look, I don’t know if there is a charitable way of saying this. But anyone who equates the US going into Pakistan to kill bin Laden without Pakistan’s foreknowledge (consider that given bin Laden being housed just a few miles from a Pakistani military academy and that they probably would have tipped him off that we were coming) with Chinese agents killing a Chinese dissident on our soil and that a nuked up Iran doesn’t pose a threat has zero credibility on foreign policy. Anyone who would trust Ron Paul on foreign is either ignorant or as nuts as he is. End of discussion close the book!!!

    Really? Says who? Don’t tell me you actually believe anything the narcissistic pathological liar in the White House says do you? Usama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan? Prove it. Oh, wait. You can’t because the street punk thug from Chicago sent a hit team in to kill someone then, like the Chicago mafioso he is, sent him “swimmin’ wit da fishes”. I guess you could ask Seal Team Red (aka Six) but… oh, that’s right. They died in a helicopter crash.

    Anyone who would trust Obama, or any Marxist, on foreign policy is either ignorant or as nuts as he is.

  • Usama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan? Prove it.

    Waal, OBL might wish to make the U.S. Government look foolish by releasing another of his videorants complete with references to the day’s papers. If he were not six feet under.

  • Greg,

    “Anyone who tries to defend some of the most irresponsible and dangerous foreign policiy of Ron Paul cannot be reasonable on this issue.”

    I don’t know how you define reasonable. I think of it as being able to give coherent reasons for the positions you take, based upon facts and logic, as well as an openness to changing one’s position on the basis of new information. I think I’ve been reasonable by that standard. Again, I don’t know what yours is.

    “You have defended the right of a regime that has been at war with both Israel and the US for the last 30+ years”

    Let me stop you right there. Who drew first blood? Who overthrew whose government and installed a puppet regime whose secret police tortured people for 30 years? Iran never declare war with the U.S. – Britain and later the U.S. waged war against Iran for all sorts of geostrategic reasons.

    If you’re painting a picture in which this nation just started randomly assaulting us one day, then you’re operating without historical knowledge or context. And that makes your assumptions and arguments flawed.

    “either through its proxies (Hezbollah who have fired thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and attacked the MArine barracks in Lebanon, Khobar Towers) or directly (Gen Patreuas confrimed during his congressional testimony that Quds force attacke US troops in Iraq as well as provided IEDs to name a few instances) to posses nuclear weapons. The grave danger that would pose to us as well as Israel is incalcuable.”

    Hezbollah is only interested in creating an Islamic state in Lebanon and waging war with Israel – how it is a threat to “us” is beyond me. We don’t HAVE to be involved in anyone’s affairs over there; we can’t insert ourselves into a situation and then complain that we are being threatened.

    Now I grant that Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, it is in fact the only organization I know of that has scored a military victory (of sorts) over the Israeli military. It is also a threat to my distant Lebanese Maronite relatives. Believe me, my sympathies are with the Phalange!

    But I don’t see why the defense of Israel must be our top priority. They can take care of themselves. They have 300 nukes. They have our military technology. Enough is enough. And I say the same about Japan & S. Korea, about Western Europe vis a vis Russia, about Taiwan, and any number of additional theaters of potential conflict.

    It is just beyond all doubt in my mind that absolutely no one in the Islamic world would give two rats behinds about the U.S. if it had no presence in the Middle East. I reject fully and totally this silly Hollywood-like narrative about the “forces of darkness” trying to take over this country in particular. I believe that there are PEOPLE over there, not cartoon characters like Cobra Commander.

    Finally you talk about Iran attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. I mean, you’re just not getting it. If we weren’t over there, they wouldn’t be attacking us at all. And I don’t think that war was necessary or justified in the first place. So yeah, of course I believe that if we keep antagonizing and encircling Iran, having sanctions placed on it, denouncing it before the entire world, yeah, at that point there are reactions and they can be a “threat.” If I punched you in the face repeatedly, I’d worry about the threat you posed to me when I stopped punching you in the face. This is hardly an argument worth considering.

  • Bobchamps:

    Before, 9/11, Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world. With 9/11, al Qaeda was able to do it in one fell swoop. If Hezbollah is no threat to us than why did they attack the Marine barracks and the Khobar Towers?

    Before you start into the “we drew first blood” nonsense, get acquiainted with the facts regarding the Mosseda situation.

    I at least appreciate you making my point for me regarding the lengths Ron Paul supporters will go to in defending him.

  • Don the Kiwi,

    “With regard to US Foreign policy, I know that America (USA) has flirted with the concept of isolationism, as it was prior to WWI, ever since their involvement in WWII because of the cost financially, and in human life, that the US has suffered.”

    Well, at least you acknowledge that. It’s not something insane Ron Paul zombies dreamed up four years ago, but a tendency in American political thought going back to the founding fathers of this nation.

    “This idea, however, has not been supported thankfully, by the US administrations since that time, even though some have called for it. I think that, at times, there is a degree of US foreign policy that has not worked, either for the US, or for the countries where that policy was introduced – witness, the support of the generals in Argentina, and the support of Pinochet in Chile.”

    How ironic. Overthrowing Allende and supporting Pinochet is one of the foreign policy moves this country made that I really support. What Pinochet did for Chile was astounding, and what Allende was going to do to Chile would have been a crime against humanity.

    “However, I think it would be a disaster if the USA decided to withdraw into its own introspective shell and gave the finger to the rest of the world – “sort your own s**t out, we’ve got our own problems”.”

    That’s a bit more vulgar than I put it in my post :)

    “History is witness – Rule Britannica is long over; Rule Americana is, or has not been as intrusive as its predecessor, despite the screams of liberals, progressives and socialists, and the unfortunate bogging down of involvement in countries of different cultures. Some of the fights have not been well chosen, but fights that nevertheless had to be engaged.”

    If it wasn’t intrusive, we wouldn’t have so many enemies. It only seems less intrusive because the primarily weapons of occupation today are economic, not martial.

    “The previous other dominant powers are now gone – imploding by their own self destruction through liberalism and loss of founding principles and moral force. The United States of America is the remaining Bastion of Freedom,”

    I actually agree with this. I agree that we may be the last bastion of freedom in the world, though we are getting more and more of a police state with every passing month, day, year. I believe that we have to withdraw the global empire (and that’s what it bloody well is) if we want to preserve that freedom.

    “and having held its hand up in the past to put itself in that position, cannot abrogate the responsibity now that it has claimed that turf, and the only remaining forces are those that would destroy what we all, as free nations, hold dear.”

    I disagree. I really disagree with this cartoonish view of the rest of the world. You know what poses a threat to freedom? Moral decay. The Muslims are doing to Europe through immigration what the Ottoman Empire couldn’t accomplish in a thousand years of military campaigns. They’re doing it because they’re filling a vacuum created by the sinful sickness of European societies, where they aren’t breeding or praying.

    All of the military technology in the world won’t save a society that has lost its moral bearings, its will to exist, that is weighed down by guilt and self-hatred.

    “I’m now getting old – but if needs be, “in extremis”, I would still drag out my trusty old .303, clean it down, and use it for the protection of that Freedom which is precious to us, because we still see those that do not have what we have, and the dark forces that enslave them, and would also enslave us.”

    Well, sure, I’d do that too – but I don’t ever expect to be looking down the sights at a Muslim. It will be people who look like us, who share many of the values and assumptions we do, who once went to the same schools and places of work as us – it will be a civil war. That is what is coming to this country.

  • Greg,

    “Before, 9/11, Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world. With 9/11, al Qaeda was able to do it in one fell swoop. If Hezbollah is no threat to us than why did they attack the Marine barracks and the Khobar Towers?”

    To get us out of their country?

    By “threat to us”, what do you mean exactly? Any place we go and establish a military presence will create “threats.”

    But Hezbollah has no interest in actually attacking the United States itself. It will attack anyone who interferes with its regional goals, as will any other political/military organization. Jewish terrorist groups targeted British buildings and officials in order to establish independence for Israel. They didn’t do it out of any special hatred for Britain; they did it because they wanted their own country. Hezbollah acts for the same reasons. It’s not about us – only a narcissist thinks that.

    “Before you start into the “we drew first blood” nonsense, get acquiainted with the facts regarding the Mosseda situation.”

    Why don’t you acquaint us with them?

    “I at least appreciate you making my point for me regarding the lengths Ron Paul supporters will go to in defending him.”

    What lengths? What are you talking about?

    I held my views on foreign policy LONG before I became a Ron Paul supporter too, btw. I am not interested in “defending” Ron Paul. I happen to share his views on foreign policy and I am defending those views, not a man.

  • Ron Paul is preferable to both Obama and Romney.

    That not an endorsement. It is a recognition of the abjectly horrid the state of affairs afflicting our nation. Paul is preferable solely because he would lessen the damage the government inflicts.

    Any alternative (from isolation to “exterminate all the brutes”) foreign policy would be better than the one pursued by the idiots running the country for the past 20 ears.

    Greg,

    You’re wasting your eyesight and time.

    Your 5:45pm, 4 May summation covers it.

  • Let me stop you right there. Who drew first blood? Who overthrew whose government and installed a puppet regime whose secret police tortured people for 30 years? Iran never declare war with the U.S. – Britain and later the U.S. waged war against Iran for all sorts of geostrategic reasons.

    No one overthrew any government. The United States Government, acting through the CIA’s clandestine services, put its thumb on the scales in a political dogfight between the Shah of Iran and the Prime Minister of Iran. Neither was a more legitimate actor than the other. The Shah of Iran was not the superintendent of a puppet regime. He was a common and garden near eastern autocrat neither more nor less abusive than the median in that part of the world (and likely more benign than the mullahcracy during its first 18 years or so).

    Neither Britain nor the United States have ‘waged war’ on Iran, either for ‘all sorts of geostrategic reasons’ or for shits-n-giggles.

  • Hezbollah is only interested in creating an Islamic state in Lebanon and waging war with Israel – how it is a threat to “us” is beyond me.

    Depends on how you understand the objects of an Islamic state.

  • But I don’t see why the defense of Israel must be our top priority.

    And who demonstrated or declared it our ‘top priority’?

  • It is just beyond all doubt in my mind that absolutely no one in the Islamic world would give two rats behinds about the U.S. if it had no presence in the Middle East.

    Except that various and sundry parties were truculently antagonistic when, in fact, we did have no presence in the Near East. No part of the Near East, North Africa, or Central Asia has ever been a dependency of the United States and other than a garrison in Turkey near the Soviet border we had no troops stationed there from 1946 to 1990, bar two brief and invited forays in metropolitan Beirut.

  • Overthrowing Allende and supporting Pinochet is one of the foreign policy moves this country made that I really support.

    Allende was overthrown by the Chilean military, not by the United States Government. Henry Kissinger has consistently denied all allegations that Gen. Pinochet and his colleagues were acting in cahoots with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Church Committee found no evidence that the CIA was the author of the Chilean coup, and Edmund Muskie stated in a civil deposition that he came across no evidence during his term as Secretary of State that our intelligence services were participating parties therein.

  • If it wasn’t intrusive, we wouldn’t have so many enemies. It only seems less intrusive because the primarily weapons of occupation today are economic, not martial.

    We are not so intrusive. Again, prior to 2002, the largest concentrations of American troops abroad have been in Germany, Japan, and (formerly) the Philippines. Without a doubt these countries have a domestic chatterati antagonistic to the United States, but then so does Manhattan. None have had a political stance that was hostile at any time in the post-War period.

  • I held my views on foreign policy LONG before I became a Ron Paul supporter too, btw

    Those views are in part a function of there being gaps in your ignorance.

  • Yes Art. The U.S. does no wrong. All grievances against it are illegitimate. Gotcha.

    Try condensing all your replies into one post in the future.

  • As for this,

    “You need to get out more.”

    I get out plenty. And for the record, even if everyone under the age of 60 did agree with you on that issue, I’d still disagree. It is morally indefensible and fiscally absurd to imprison people for lengthy periods of time for non-violent drug offenses.

  • You guys have totally confused me. The reactor kinetics equations are so much simpler!

  • Yes Art. The U.S. does no wrong. All grievances against it are illegitimate. Gotcha.

    That’s not remotely what Art said. What he said is that the conventional, received wisdom isn’t necessarily so. If he erred in fact, point it out.

  • “supporting Pinochet is one of the foreign policy moves this country made that I really support. What Pinochet did for Chile was astounding, and what Allende was going to do to Chile would have been a crime against humanity.
    What Allende was doing in Chile was the establishment of a communist system – it had initial success, but with a couple of years it was crippling the country. However, when Pinochet took over, initially with the support of the populace and the Church, he instituted a reign of terror against his political enemies, and then against the people who gave dissent to what he was doing. Literally thousands of people disappeared overnight. Hundreds of thousands of Chileans were exiled, or left the country, and then not allowed to return.
    The Church then withdrew their support for his regime. It is no surprise that he was charged with crimes against humanity. I fail to see how his regime could be considered a success story – maybe economically, but certainly not in human terms. He was a butcher.And this is why it did not “work” for the US – their complicity with Pinochet caused a lot of international sideways glances.

  • It isn’t easy to root out communism. I’m willing to cut Pinochet some slack. He cut out a pretty specific cancer and allowed a great deal of freedom in most other areas. It’s not like he was Kim Jong Il.

  • “That’s not remotely what Art said. What he said is that the conventional, received wisdom isn’t necessarily so. If he erred in fact, point it out.”

    Yes, of course, not remotely. Everyone who complains about the U.S. is just part of some grumbling “chatterati”, and no point can go unanswered by a wave of barely-relevant minutiae.

    I’m not going to respond to what I see as a series of irrelevant quips to isolated comments taken somewhat out of context. Art is quite the dashing rhetorical fencer when he’s taking on a strawman.

  • I’m not going to respond to what I see as a series of irrelevant quips to isolated comments taken somewhat out of context. Art is quite the dashing rhetorical fencer when he’s taking on a strawman.

    I am actually a fat middle-aged man, not dashing at all. My uncle used to fence; I’ve not touched a sword in my life.

    Your factual errors and those of allied posters are not ancillary.

    1. Friction is a normal part of social relations, including whole nations.

    2. The characteristics of politics among nations in a regional state system will be changed in some way by the removal of an exterior hegemon. ‘Changed’ is not synonymous with ‘improved’ either for the parties involved or for the hegemon. A subsidiary point to this is that the consequence of a withdrawal of force by the hegemon is not a state of tranquility in the regional system. It may be if there is an extant equilibrium between the salient actors. It may, however, mean that force is merely exercised by different parties.

    3. Great powers have a range of policy dilemmas derived from the force they can bring to bear; small powers do not have these dilemmas.

    4. Any country may be vulnerable to a false national narrative, not just Israel or the United States.

    5. Grievances may be just or unjust; they may cause practical problems or they may not; they may be ameliorable or they may be not. With regard to this last, I would offer Thomas Sowell’s counsel: recrimination is a modal response of societies which have suffered reversals of fortune. That recrimination can be expressed in political cliches or it can be expressed in elaborate discourses about social life.

    6. Much of the libertarian and palaeo discussion of international politics seems to be an exercise in deductive reasoning or a manifestation of the amour propre of its promoters. One fancies we can have an agreeable world of technological innovation and commercial relations through which intelligent post-national individuals such as himself can travel at their discretion; the other fancies we can reconstruct a state of the world as it was before a succession of fools and frauds demolished it in pursuit of their asinine schemes, around about 1865 or 1917 or 1929 or 1933 or 1941. This sounds like caricatures, but I haven’t the talent to have conjured Bryan Caplan or Joseph Sobran out of my imagination; they actually exist.

    7. An aspect of the above is that consequential problems in international relations just have to be the result of the mucking about of knaves and fools you can hypothetically influence, which is to say knaves and fools in Washington and Tel Aviv. No consistent conception of human behavior, even one with ample qualifications to take account of the human particular, is necessary. Any antecedent nonsense out of the mouths of political antagonists will do, even if it is historical fiction or engages in advocacy for the most bizarre political effrontery (Joseph Sobran’s commentary titled ‘Bin Laden’s Modest Goals’ is a fine example of this).

  • Art,

    I just can’t take this level of bombasticity seriously. There’s intelligent discourse and there’s verbose grandstanding.

    You can consider it a win, I suppose – I’m just not going to engage it. I feel as if I am being talked at, not to, and I don’t really care to respond. If there’s some central thesis here you really think I ought to accept because it is in my best interests and the best interests of the country, boil it down to one simple paragraph and share it with me. Otherwise good luck and God Bless.

  • People of principle supported a man of principle – Ross Perot – running on a 3rd party ticket in 1992. William Jefferson “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton won that election and the next.

    People of principle today support a man of principle – Ron Paul – who could end up running on a 3rd party ticket in 2012. Barack Hussein “I am not a commie” Obama will then steal the election.

    Nice going, people of principle. Nice going.

  • One problem I have with him is that he takes up the attitude that it is ok for people to smoke pot even though it deadens them and makes it hard for people to be self critical.

  • One problem is that almost all if not all of the presidential candidates actually like the idea of being president and so easily get tempted into being tyrannical. Another problem is that popular culture is so bad and non-judgemental that so many people do not bother looking peoples philosophies or what they actually believe and as Paul pointed out so many candidates are liars and don’t have integrity.

  • Valentin,

    Ron Paul does not necessarily think it is “ok” for people to smoke pot.

    He just believes you shouldn’t be arrested, fined, or imprisoned for it, and I agree. Pot is at BEST as if not less dangerous to individuals and society as alcohol; pure politics, and outdated politics at that, keeps it illegal and ruins tens of thousands of lives by getting them tied up with our “criminal justice” bureaucracy.

  • So why is it OK to decriminalize pot and not cocaine or heroin?

    Trust me – an addict doesn’t know the difference.

  • As I understand it, Ron Paul’s position is such that the Federal Government shouldn’t be involved in the drug war. Rather, he believes it is an issue for the individual states to tackle since he has a very narrow view of what the Constitution allows. And really, that’s the thrust behind most of his positions.

  • Paul P,

    I’m not opposed to decriminalizing possession of amounts clearly intended for personal use.

    On the other side of the coin, however, I am for ruthlessly prosecuting and even engaging with our military the drug cartels in Mexico. I would love it if we could bring the troops home from the Middle East and Central Asia and put them right on the border where they belong.

  • I just can’t take this level of bombasticity seriously. There’s intelligent discourse and there’s verbose grandstanding.

    Pointing out the factual inaccuracies and inconsistencies isn’t grandstanding, it’s argumentation. You can’t accuse Art of deploying strawmen when you were the only person in that exchange to engage in strawmen argumentation (The U.S. does no wrong. All grievances against it are illegitimate. Gotcha.) Perhaps the reason you go upset with Art isn’t because he is arguing in bad faith, but because you have no rebuttal.

  • “I’m not opposed to decriminalizing possession of amounts clearly intended for personal use.”

    Crack cocaine? Heroin? Crystal Methamphetamine?

    The drug addicts everywhere thank you for supporting the continuation of their imprisonment in the chains of addiction.

    Ah, principle, and Ron Paul, a man of principle at that!

  • Paul Z,

    When one walks away from a tedious man, one runs the risk of creating the perception that one has “no rebuttal.”

    Of course I could provide a rebuttal. I’ve decided it is more trouble than it is worth, and that Art is the sort of person I don’t care to engage in further discussion with.

    If you want to think I am a liar, making up excuses because I’ve been put down by his devastating argumentation, go ahead. It’s no skin off my back.

  • Paul P,

    Do you think being thrown into prison, with a possibility of being gang raped and made a sex slave, helps rehabilitate people?

    Bureaucracies don’t cure addiction. Prisons, however, make monsters out of men.

  • Bonchamps,

    I thank God I didn’t end up in prison. And I met many a man outside prison who became monster due to addiction. Indeed, no prison is required.

    But I wonder exactly how decriminalization helps rehabilitation. I will, however, tell you what does help: a strong 12 step mentor (otherwise known as a sponsor), an even stronger priest who takes no BS in or out of the Confessional, and the never-ending threat of imprisonment, insanity or death.

    You want to take one of those last three away.

    BTW, did you know that 90+% of all prisoners were using and abusing when they committed the actual crime – rape, murder, theft, etc. – which landed them in jail? I didn’t know that until my mentor made me visit the State Penitentiary in Fishkill, NY on an “out-going meeting.” He had the full approval of my priest.

    Oh yeah, I know. I can’t talk about this at a public forum. But I am grateful my mentor was an a__h____. There’s nothing like the sound of the gate for a meeting room jail cell slamming shut on you and 18 hard core prisoners, and you have to open with the Serenity Prayer. It is a wonderful experience and I recommend it for everyone – alcoholic dope fiend or not – who calls himself Christian.

    Don’t want to go to prison? Then don’t use drugs. Duh!

  • Paul P,

    “did you know that 90+% of all prisoners were using and abusing when they committed the actual crime – rape, murder, theft, etc. – which landed them in jail?”

    I didn’t know that and I’m not sure it is true. But even if it is, what % of causal drug users commit rape, murder and theft? I don’t think it is 90%. And so they don’t need to be in jail at all.

    “You want to take one of those last three away.”

    I do. First of all, I believe it is wrong to deprive a person of their freedom and basically ruin their life – which is what being run through the system does to most people no matter how long they are in it – because they had a bad habit, an addiction. This is a moral and spiritual problem. I’m not saying “do nothing”, but I am saying that being put in the same facility for years and years as hardened murderers and rapists is not the answer.

    Secondly, I don’t want to pay for it. I don’t want a dime of my money or society’s collective resources going to this. State budgets are tight too – they’d save a lot of money by not involving themselves so intimately in people’s lives. I don’t want a department of “corrections.” I’ll defend my life and property, and I’d like the police to focus on attacking the organized centers of criminal activity.

    If a person becomes a drug addict, they will suffer enough without the state putting its boot on them as well. They will lose their jobs, their friends, their families.

  • I didn’t know there was such a thing as the casual user of heroin, crack cocaine or crystal meth.

    Anyone here a casual user? Ron Paul’s principles say we must make way for such people.

  • Ron Paul’s principles say we must make way for such people.

    This is not true. Ron Paul’s view of the Constitution (with narrowly defined functions etc…) leads him to believe that drug usage is not a FEDERAL issue. Rather, it should be a state issue (under the 10th Amendment). Saying that Ron Paul believes drugs should be legalized is a misstatement of his position.

    Ron Paul is unique in his approach to the issues, which I believe leads to all sorts of misunderstandings of his positions. He’s a bit eccentric for my tastes, but I see value in his candidacy in that we tend to talk about issues that are often taken for granted.

  • What Big Tex writes in correcting me about Ron Paul’s approach is demonstrably not Bonchamps approach who apparently wants to decriminalize casual use of heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth. But maybe I misunderstand Bonchamps. And perhaps in not having seen casual users of heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth, I have led a sheltered life.

    ;-)

  • Ron Paul is opposed to the “War on Drugs” and is opposed to locking people up for drug possession. It isn’t a misstatement at all to say that his position is that most if not all drugs ought to at least be decriminalized.

    Though in principle, I suppose, he would not object to the states doing what they wanted on these issues.

    From one of the debates last year:

    “Q: Are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty?

    A: Yes, in essence, if we leave it to the states. For over 100 years, they WERE legal. You’re implying if we legalize heroin tomorrow, everyone’s gonna use heroin.

    How many people here are going to use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody! “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws!””

    So we see both approaches here. I think a lot of states would choose to have these things be illegal. Some might not. I think if Ron Paul were personally responsible for the laws in his own state, he’d decriminalize drug possession.

    Paul P,

    Ok, some drugs I suppose you don’t use “casually”, like the ones you listed. Others you can that just aren’t addictive, like pot or mushrooms. I still don’t see the sense or justice in locking people up with violent criminals for their possession and shall we say, personal use.

  • Another excerpt, from one of his books:

    “In Texas, it’s common knowledge that the current wars on the Mexico-Texas border are, to a large extent, about drugs. Ironically, the two strongest groups that want to maintain the status quo of prohibition are the drug dealers and Christian conservative –two groups with opposite motivations but who share a common interest in keeping the drug war going. The cost to pursue the drug war in the past 40 years runs into hundreds of billions. The social cost, including the loss of civil liberties, is incalculable. Crime relating to the drug laws far surpasses the crime related to the 15 years of alcohol prohibition. I expect that someday the country will wake up and suddenly decide, as we did in 1933, that prohibition to improve personal behavior is lost cause, and the second repeal of prohibition will occur. This is more likely now than ever before because of the growing perception that the federal government is inept and more Americans are becoming aware of the senselessness of the war on drugs.”

  • Ironically, I’d like a REAL “War on Drugs” that involved our military engaging with the narco-terrorist cartels that have established de facto sovereignty in what we still call “Mexico.” What we call the “War on Drugs” in this country is mostly a war on the people, on addicts, the poor, the sick. It is a war on basic liberties, a massive justification for intrusion into people’s lives.

    Do you think you separate the “criminal justice” bureaucracy from the welfare bureaucracy? Once someone is arrested and processed, they’re part of the ubiquitous “system.” They’re blacklisted from employment and their lives are monitored; they become defacto wards of the state. More laws = more crimes = more opportunities to get people ensnared in the bureaucratic belly of the beast for the rest of their lives.

  • “I still don’t see the sense or justice in locking people up with violent criminals for their possession and shall we say, personal use.”

    Crack mothers, crystal meth fathers, heroin addicts, etc., abusing their children are NOT violent criminals?

    Huh?

    Thank God I never fathered any children when I was using and abusing. I know darn well what I deserved for my “personal use.”

    Oh, I forgot. I’m not supposed to admit that.

  • Paul,

    Stop for a second. You added “abusing their children.” I never said that.

    Obviously if you abuse your children, you should go to jail.

    And I don’t care what you admit. There’s no “not supposed tos” with me. I believe in the 1st amendment.

  • You got principle Bonchamps. Violent drug addict users may see decriminalization of their addiction, but by goodness, you Ron Paulites got principle. Good for you.

    Thank God he hasn’t a chance in hades of being elected.

    Sadly, the other two alternatives are equally unpalatable.

    I’m sitting this election out. Let the country implode. Maybe that way we can get the feces down the sewer all the more quickly and start over fresh. Sadly, too much blood will be ( and is being ) shed.

  • Paul,

    I’m not for decriminalizing violence. Not everyone who is hooked on drugs is or becomes violent. It’s an error to assume they do, and a really bad fallacy to keep arguing as if I am actually advocating not prosecuting VIOLENT drug offenders.

  • Hey, you can win the argument if you want to. I realize Ron Paulites have this need – it’s almost addictive!

    ;-)

    An old man who spends most of his time campaigning for an office he can’t get (does he do anything to actually represent his congressional district?)’ appealing to the wide eyes youngsters with cries of decriminalizing illegal drugs, and about to run on a 3rd party ticket, handing the election to Obama. Oh yeah. You win.

  • Paul,

    I’m not trying to win an argument. I’m trying to clarify my actual beliefs vis a vis your rash assumptions.

  • If I were obsessed with winning arguments, I would have wasted valuable minutes of my life replying to Art Deco’s pompous monologues above.

  • Paul,

    Bankrupt local governments will be unable to enforce the hated weed laws.

    The Fed (End the Fed!) will implode. Barter will be big-time.

    The US, as we know it, will no longer exist. They won’t be able to nose around in other countries’ dirt.

    Oh yeah, they win.

  • Yes yes, anarchy for the USA. You got us pegged.

  • Art Deco’s monologues were not pompous. Perhaps disagreeable to you, but not pompous. I didn’t agree with everything Art wrote, but your response of disagreement is typically Ron Pauline. I understand that. It is typical. :-(

    No, I don’t have the answers to the country’s problems, but I do know that electing Ron Paul isn’t a solution ( nor sadly is Romney or Obama ).

  • Well, we define pompous differently then.

    I replied civilly and fully to Greg and Don the Kiwi, with whom I also disagree. Guess I forgot in those multiple instances my Paulbot programming, and then it randomly kicked back in when I saw Art’s posts. Yeah. That’s the explanation.

    It couldn’t be that I just find Art’s posts to be almost comically unreadable.

  • You know I got you “pegged.”

    A short while ago, you promised to take a sabbatical.

    I thought (dangerous!), “Good! Maybe he’ll come back when he doesn’t know everything, anymore.”

  • I only said I was going to be gone for the weekend, and I was.

    And there will never be a time I don’t know everything about everything :)

  • Do you have the winner in today’s third race at Santa Anita Racetrack?

    Cheers!

  • I have only one mild disagreement with Joe Green’s otherwise excellent post.

    America’s entry into WWI was a consequence of Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare against neutral shipping, which posed a real risk to US commerce. This makes it a just war (and, arguably, a necessary war) by any standards

  • MP-S: Maybe you know the answer to this question.

    Did the British Imperial Navy allow passage through its blockade of Germany to US (food or munitions) shipping? It appears that neutral America could and would only ship arms and food to Britain and France. Not that there was anything wrong with that unless you happened to be a malnourished German civilian.

  • T Shaw

    No belligerent allows neutral shipping to breach its blockades. Similarly, belligerents have the right to stop and search neutral vessels for contraband of war, destined to a belligerent. If so, the ship and cargo can be taken into a prize court for adjudication and possible condemnation, not simply sunk.

    Only Germany claimed the right to torpedo neutral ships on the high seas – not running any German blockade (for there was none). No neutral is obliged to respect a mere “paper blockade” (See the Declaration of Paris 1856) and the United States and other neutral powers had no intention of doing so.

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