Like 2008, the field is littered with so-called conservatives who have been indelibly influenced by the rise of the neoconservatives, which peaked in 2004 and has, unbeknownst to its members, been in free-fall decline ever since.
At around the same point in the race four years ago, Ron Paul was relatively unknown except for a few hard-core followers. He made an impression back then in one of the early debates by repeating something he has said for years, that he would abolish the income tax given the chance.
His famous exchange with Rudy Giuliani at another debate propelled him even further. But because Paul didn’t have nearly the financial backing his opponents had in the early part of the campaign, his showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, two key states, seemed to doom his attempt to electoral failure. In all other ways, however, he has secured a victory that no other person with whom he’s shared a stage before or since has even remotely approached.
He’s made it possible for people to associate themselves with the Republican party and be proud to do so. As long as they can do so by defining themselves as “Ron Paul Republicans” that is. So, in this respect, the 2012 cycle is vastly different .
Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a speech last Friday at the UN which caused US “diplomats” to pack up their toys and run home.
In his speech to the annual General Assembly, Ahmadinejad said it was mostly U.S. government officials who believed a terrorist group was behind the suicide hijacking attacks that brought down New York’s World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.
Another theory, he said, was “that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime” — his way of characterizing Israel.
“The majority of the American people as well as most nations and politicians around the world agree with this view,” Ahmadinejad told the 192-nation assembly.
Shortly after walking out of the speech like spoiled little children, the US envoy responded by written statement claiming Iran’s president had offered up “vile conspiracies” and “anti-Semitism”. Even if you accept that the translation of his statements are perfectly correct, it isn’t clear at all that he claimed to believe the conspiracy himself, merely that a large number of people outside US government circles believed them.
Over the past few weeks I have had quite a few conversations with Conservatives which have led to a debate about interventionist versus non-interventionist foreign policy. It usually starts with them attacking Ron Paul for one reason or another (check out this article on Midwest Spin for an example). After I respond and question their criticism, it usually ends up being their disagreement with his foreign policy.
Foreign policy can be a very complex topic. I think that non-interventionists, for the most part, know why they support that policy much better than your typical interventionist. Many interventionists do not even understand the difference between non-intervention and isolationist.
If you support non-intervention you either have found yourself in a debate and had to defend non-intervention, or you will find yourself in one sometime in the near future. I have found there are a few things to keep in mind when you are in these debates:
1) Be ready to explain the difference between non-interventionism and isolationism. Isolationism is the foreign policy of North Korea. Non-intervention involves open dialogue, free trade, and minding your own business overseas. Two vastly different approaches. Just because you don’t support having a global military empire does not mean you are an isolationist.
2) Know some facts and figures. The United States has over 700 permanent military bases spread out across over 100 nations. Roughly 20% of the federal budget is military expenditures. There are facts and figures that give proof that 1) our military expenditures are financially unsustainable and 2) we most certainly have a foreign policy of intervention and global imperialism.
Dr. Paul continues his call to the GOP to return to their roots of fiscal conservatism and a sensible foreign policy. What I find disheartening is that it’s obvious that the GOP leadership still does not get it. As long as they continue to allow the likes of Newt Gingrich, John McCain, Mitt Romney, etc. to remain the face of the Republican party- past leaders whose ideas have been tried and failed- we will remain ineffective and stagnant as a party. It’s time to allow fresh faces and fresh ideas to come to the forefront if the party is to grow and become a viable force in 2010.
Dr. Paul, once again, outlines the real culprits of the current economic crisis, and points to the real solutions- less government, lower taxes, decreased spending, the end of devaluing the dollar.
H/T: Matt Chancey
Naturally a recurrent theme of this lecture was monetary policy, specifically having to do with the dollar’s spiral toward hyper-inflation in the midst of the current economic collapse. Schiff stressed that sooner than later the rest of the world, more importantly those still buying our debt would wise up to our inability to repay those fiscal obligations. He told a short story about a wily old man in a certain neighborhood who had hoodwinked the neighborhood kids into vying for the job of painting his fence. He related the metaphor by surmising, “We’ve got the world painting our fences, as if they don’t have their own fences to paint.” Essentially, he said the way it is now, we get all the stuff and they only get the jobs. He then fittingly asked, “What good are jobs without stuff?” In short, we are barreling straight toward a currency crisis.
What if we wake up one day and learn that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?
Dr. Paul continues to try and educate his fellow Congressmen regarding Israel, Palestine, how Hamas came into being and why we should never have gotten involved in the first place.
I’d like to echo the comments of my fellow contributors here at United Liberty in a call for a non-interventionist foreign policy on the part of the United States when it comes to the situation in Gaza. This conflict is complicated and poses no real threat to our national security. The U.S. should discontinue its foreign aid to Israel as well as Egypt, Jordan and all other countries receiving the largesse of the American taxpayer.
Independent of any opinion regarding who is “right” and who is “wrong” in this conflict (I think there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides), I do have to stand up and give Israel a small moment of applause for standing up to the United Nations. Israel is a sovereign nation and has the right to make its own military decisions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently reacted to the UN Security Council’s recent resolution on the situation in Gaza: