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:
Over the past few months, I have been highly critical of the agenda and prospects of an Obama presidency. In the despair of the post-election depression among conservatives, I had hopes that maybe, just maybe, the Obama Presidency will not move quickly toward a socialistic state. Here’s looking for a few signs that the Obama Administration may result in some positives.
On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul gave his long awaited foreign policy speech at the Heritage Foundation. In it, he tried to outline a foreign policy vision that is a departure from the foreign policy that has been offered for more than a decade by the GOP. Also in the speech, he tried to distance himself from his father, Ron Paul’s, more radical non-interventionist views. Predictably, both neoconservatives and libertarian non-interventionists were not pleased with the speech. However, Senator Paul’s speech may open up a path for Republicans and conservatives to regain lost credibility on foreign policy and national security issues and tie it into the larger issues of debt and spending.
Senator Paul began the speech with this.
I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.
That sentence largely defines what Paul’s policy is. Traditional conservative realism as oppose to the alternatives of neoconservative hyper-interventionism and quasi-isolationist noninterventionism. A third way that is skeptical of intervention while at the same time engaged and active in the world.
Senator Paul also did something very few American politicians have done since 9/11, have a frank discussion with the American people about radical Islam.
The West is in for a long, irregular confrontation not with terrorism, which is simply a tactic, but with Radical Islam.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gave a speech on foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation, which is likely the most well known conservative think tank in the movement.
This was a significant event. The Heritage Foundation has been known for its aggressive foreign policy views. Dare I say that it would have been unthinkable five or six years ago to have someone like Sen. Paul — the son of former Rep. Ron Paul, who is know for his anti-war views — speaking at such a prominent institution.
As he explained in the speech, Sen. Paul was trying to present a “middle path” on the issue, one that stressed a reasoned, fiscally responsible approach. Unfortunately, the reaction to the speech has been met with negative and, in some cases, outright contempt.
While most of the comments border on the absurd, John Glazer at Antiwar.com has one of the more straightforward critiques of Sen. Paul’s speech:
Paul suggested the United States reapply its Cold War strategies of engagement, aggression, and containment to the 21st century’s version of a Soviet threat: “Radical Islam.”
This isn’t new ground for libertarian blogs, but apparently there is still a large disconnect between reality and perception. I don’t happen to have any illusions about this post actually changing that either, but I figured I needed to do something that didn’t involve a bell tower in an effort to curb the insanity.
Ron Paul, and most who describe themselves as libertarian, are non-interventionist. The perception by many is that we are isolationist. We are not, and there are very key differences.
First, isolationists are also the kind of people who want to block importation of goods. Most libertarians oppose efforts to limit imports. We believe in a free market, and part of that means we must compete with goods from outside of our shores. The truth is, Japanese cars made American cars better. Ford, GM, and Chrysler had to compete with the high quality and low cost, and American manufacturers produced better cars than they had in years. This is a good thing, and an example of why libertarians want goods imported.
Next, let’s look at the dreaded “outsourcing” of American jobs. Now, I hate calling up a tech support line and hearing a thick foreign accent saying, “Thank you for calling technical support. My name is ‘Bob’. How may I help you?” We all know his name probably isn’t Bob, but they somehow think they’re fooling us or something. So be it. However, American companies get better rates from call centers located outside of the United States, which lets them grow in other areas. That growth can lead to new jobs that pay better than the outsourced jobs that are now gone.
Revolution PAC, a pro-Ron Paul super political action committee, launched a new web ad last week that notes the military support Paul had received and points out that the values that our soldiers take an oath to uphold are the same that Paul has taken as stand for in Washington:
Many conservative pundits have knocked Ron Paul for his non-interventionist foreign policy views, to the point of questioning his and his supporters patriotism. Unfortunately, they never point out that of the remaining candidates, Ron Paul is the only one that served in the military. Moreover, these same pundits fail to realize (or perhaps don’t want to admit) that the nation cannot continue this doctrine of perpetual war that was set in place by George W. Bush and continued by Barack Obama. We simply cannot afford it, both in terms of dollars and lives lost.
When I scanned the front page of the local paper here in St. Paul, Minnesota, something stuck out to me (and no it was not the headline about the devastating loss the Vikings suffered last night). An article written by Rick Montgomery titled Poll: More Americans want U.S. to ‘mind its own business’ immediately grabbed my attention, especially the sub-title “Rising isolationism highest in people younger than 30.”
Of all of Ron Paul’s views, his non-interventionist foreign policy was the hardest for me to grasp. This was partly due to the natural complexity of the issue, but also my own lack of knowledge surrounding the topic. I read Paul’s “A Foreign Policy of Freedom” and was enlightened about some of the more intricate aspects of Paul’s views. He raises some great points and offers an argument that runs so against our current foreign policy that it is hard for an average American to grasp: our foreign policy has made us less safe and more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
What I read in Montgomery’s article was impressive:
To one poll question, roughly half of Americans agreed that the U.S. should “mind its own business internationally” and let others get along on their own. To another question, 44 percent said “we should go our own way” and not worry whether other nations disagree.
Both questions are vague and mean different things to different people, the pollsters concede. But when asked similar questions in 1964, not even one in five Americans thought going it alone or staying out were good ideas.
Ron Paul gives his reaction to the recent violence in the Middle East with Israel’s invasion of Gaza, along with its implications for the United States. He correctly points out that, given the large amounts of foreign aid to Israel, the U.S. will likely be blamed for the current crisis, and that we can expect to suffer the consequences. He also brilliantly ties this crisis with our overall foreign policy of interventionism and pre-emptive war, and our overall foreign policy with the current financial crisis, reminding us that in reality this is one very large, multifaceted issue. He also gives his predictions for what we might expect in the coming year, including possible massive inflation when foreign countries financing our debt choose to start rejecting the dollar.