Rand Paul outlines constitutional, conservative foreign policy

Rand Paul

There is a battle raging for the heart and soul of the conservative movement. While there is a near constant discussion over fiscal issues, also emerging is a debate over the foreign policy direction the United States should take.

Despite his anti-war rhetoric on the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama has largely continued the expansive foreign policy views of his predecessor. In 2011, Obama authorized a bombing campaign in Libya, which was aimed at deposing the regime of the country’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

This campaign, which was waged without the consent of Congress, setoff a debate between the neo-conservatives and those who advocate a more restrained, constitutional foreign policy. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) criticized the non-interventionist views of Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and others, smearing them as “isolationists.”

It’s Sen. Paul who has largely become the voice of reason in the foreign policy debate. During the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, suggested that he could, as president, authorize military action against Iran without congressional approval. Sen. Paul responded forcefully, explaining that the “Constitution clearly states that it is Congress that has the power to declare war, not the president.”

Ron Paul: We helped create Hamas

See Video

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.

A third way on foreign policy: U.S. needs to be cautious about the prospects of military intervention

Libertarians, generally by definition non-interventionists, have found themselves in a bit of a quandary of late as the debate about ISIS — and how much of a REAL threat it poses to the United States — ramps up and gets the national security wonk tongues wagging. For many libertarians, the debate hinges less on protecting U.S. interests abroad, but in protecting hearth and home. In other words, non-interventionism ends the minute the enemy is at the gate. And since no one seems to know exactly how powerful ISIS is in their ability to cross the ocean, it’s been a fascinating debate to watch.

It’s a mistake to assume libertarians are anti-interventionist because they are afraid of a fight. Many, in fact, are by nature brave enough to stand outside current accepted thoughts and practices — often alone and screaming into the wind. Their preference for staying out of world conflict is born of economic pragmatism and a belief in individual and national self-determinism more than anything else.

So what do they do with an increasingly belligerent world and an enemy that threatened (even though that threat turned out to be hollow. This time.) to raise a flag over the seat of governing power in this country?

In other words, is there, as T. Becket Adams proposes in a recent piece for the Washington Examiner, a “third way”?:

Today in Liberty: FEC wants answers from Harry Reid, pollster warns Democrats on Obamacare

Today in Liberty is a daily roundup of recent political news and other interesting stories presented with liberty-minded commentary. We frequently keep tabs on liberty-minded politicians and candidates in these updates. We also inject some humor on occasion. Click here to receive Today in Liberty every morning via email.

— Harry Reid’s campaign expenditures come into question: So…the FEC wants details about $16,786 in “holiday gifts” purchased for donors and supporters of Friends of Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader’s campaign name. “The gifts,” Jon Ralston reports, “were purchased from his granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, who is a jewelry vendor in Berkeley, CA. The gifts were later passed on to donors and supporters, a Reid spokeswoman told me.” Reid’s campaign tried to hide the disbursement by listing his granddaughter’s name as “Ryan Elisabeth” rather than disclosing her full name. The FEC has given Friends of Harry Reid until April 25 to respond to its inquiry.

Ron Paul launches Institute for Peace and Prosperity

See Video

Ron Paul Launches Foreign Policy Think Tank

Ron Paul

Ron Paul may have left Congress, but he will continue to push his non-interventionist foreign policy through a new think tank. The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity will focus on promoting the same foreign policy views that became a signature issue for the former Texas Congressman as well as make a case for civil liberties:

“The neo-conservative era is dead,” proclaims the media advisory on his Facebook page announcing the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

“The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people. Multi-trillion dollar wars have not made the world a safer place; they have only bankrupted our economic future. The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.”

The group promises to focus on coalition-building across party lines and creating opportunities for students to engage on the topic.

The official launch of the project will be held at 3pm on Wednesday, April 17th, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC. Ron Paul and members of the organization’s advisory board — Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Rep. John Duncan (R-TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Judge Andrew Napolitano, Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, and Lew Rockwell — are slated to speak.

You can read the full media advisory on Ron Paul’s Facebook page.

Are Republicans finally serious about defense cuts?

defense spending

Last year, Republicans in Congress strongly resisted cuts to defense spending, despite voting for the sequester, which would reduce defense outlays by $400 billions over the next 10 years. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012, frequently made calls to undo the sequester during his campaign.

But after being taken to the shed during “fiscal cliff” negotiations and the subsequent deal reached, Politico notes that House Republicans now seem to be looking seriously at letting the sequester happen, including the defense cuts.

On a hot July night six months ago, 89 House Republicans joined more dovish Democrats to do the unusual for Washington: cut $1.1 billion from the GOP’s proposed budget for defense in 2013.

Then came Hurricane Sandy and the New Year’s Day tax bill, and as many as 157 House Republicans voted Jan. 15 to endorse a much bigger cut, taking nearly $10 billion from the Pentagon to help pay for disaster aid. It was a huge swing by any measure and one followed this week by a Monday night Senate vote in which the overwhelming majority of Republicans endorsed their own across-the-board defense cut worth tens of billions of dollars over the next nine years.

Welcome to the new “dare you, double dare you” school of deficit politics — just a taste of what’s to come March 1 when much deeper spending cuts take effect under the sequester mechanism dictated by the 2011 debt accords.

House Republicans seem determined to let the cuts take effect if only as payback to President Barack Obama for humiliating them over taxes.

Ron Paul may not win, but his influence will be lasting

“[T]here’s something weird going on when Paul, the small-government constitutionalist, is considered the extremist in the Republican Party…” - Jonah Goldberg

Establishment Republicans have worked hard during this election to play down the impact Ron Paul is having on the race. Why? They’re scared of him. Paul, with his anti-war and passion for the Constitution, represents a change in the traditional way of thinking in the Republican Party.

Ed Crane, president of the Cato Institute, explained this recently in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, noting that Paul “has traction because so many Americans respond to his messages.” Crane says:

Support for dynamic market capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism), social tolerance, and a healthy skepticism of foreign military adventurism is a combination of views held by a plurality of Americans. It is why the 21st century is likely to be a libertarian century. It is why the focus should be on Ron Paul’s philosophy and his policy proposals in 2012.

Most of us can recall Paul predicting the financial crisis and many of the problems the country currently faces from an economic perspective. And while many Republicans are quick to dismiss Paul as being loony on his claims of increasingly diminished liberty, all you need to do is, you know, pay attention to the last few weeks as Congress passed and President Obama signed the NDAA; legislation that allows for the detention of American citizens.

Defining the Anti-War Right: Dan McCarthy & The American Conservative Magazine

See Video

Ron Paul throws a wrench in GOP foreign policy debate

Republicans are still debating the so-called “isolationist” sentiment among their presidential field. We know how warmongers like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008, feel about those that oppose military intervention in Libya, and there is certainly a large contingent in the GOP that support his views.

But there are some that are fighting back against McCain’s demagoguery. In his most recent column, David Harsanyi takes McCain and other neo-cons to task over use of the misapplication of the isolationist label:

Sure, some on the far right and swaths of the protectionist, union-driven left oppose international trade agreements and endlessly freaking us out about foreign influences. But isolationists? Judging from our conduct in the real world of economy, we’re anything but insular. So perhaps McCain simply meant noninterventionists—as in folks who have an unwavering ideological aversion to any and all overseas entanglement.

That can’t be it, either. Maybe, like many Americans, some in the GOP are simply grappling with wars that never end and a war that never started. And with plenty of troubles here at home, it’s not surprising that Americans have turned their attention inward.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.