Monday, June 22, 2009

Shame on Ron Paul

Anybody who has followed what I write, or who has perhaps decided to read a few things here and there, ought to very well know that I am fan of Ron Paul. I have enjoyed the fact that his voice has come more to the forefront over the past year or two as a necessary voice of reason in terms of the economy. However, when it comes to foreign policy, Ron Paul has, essentially 100% of the time, been laughed off the stage.

While the predominant issue of the past eight years has obviously been the war on terror and our foreign policy, I have, until recently, not paid much attention as I have not felt particularly obligated to. As much more attention as I pay to foreign affairs than I used to, however, economy, "global warming," and general political philosophy are issues I am much more excited about and enjoy writing about. I agree with Ron Paul on certain aspects of our foreign policy. In particular I believe we are probably too interventionist. I think there has to be a way we can impose our military might without actually physically occupying countries ad infinitum. I believe that if our dollar were real, and if our economy were suitably strong, all nations would be forced to bow to us economically, and the use of force would largely be unnecessary, irrational theocracies excluded of course. Perhaps we have been interventionist for so long that this train of thought seems ludicrous, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to believe that it is possible.

However, I disagree with Ron Paul's nonsensical explanation of his own foreign policy as not being isolationist. He explains this in his book The Revolution, and attempts to back it up with references to his previously issued A Foreign Policy of Freedom. His overarching argument is that he believes all countries should be left to their own devices, to do as they please, and that peaceful political discourse and freedom through trade are all that are necessary to coexist. A brief glance at the past 20 years of history, however, wholly undermines that line of thought, as we have watched our one time allies turn against us in their zeal for power. I refer, of course to Bin Laden himself, whom we aided in liberating Afghanistan from Soviet control, only to watch as his irrational thirst for anarchy turned against us. Paul would argue that it was our meddlesome policies that triggered this, however this ignores the fact that Bin Laden and others like him despise our culture at their very cores, and would act to destroy it no matter our political relationships with them.

Which brings me to Iran.

The protests in Iran following what appears to be an obviously rigged election resulting in a victory for Ahmadinejad have been nothing short of inspirational. Watching a long oppressed people rise up in anger at the sham of the "democratic process" that was just put on by the clerics for show on the world stage has filled me with more hope for our own ability as a people to shrug off the impending autocratic measures intended to be enforced by the Obama administration than ever before. The protests continue despite repeated shootings and further brutal crackdowns by the Iranian government. Twitter and other social networking outlets have fostered the spread of information from the ground like a California wildfire, despite the Iranian government's every attempt at censorship, including the bald faced threat of violence.

At a time when our president, the leader of the free world, should have stepped up to the plate and delivered a strong denouncement of the Iranian government's tactics, he said nothing for days. Finally, when it became apparent that this revolution would persist, that the will of the Iranian people could not be ignored, Barack Obama took to the podium and delivered a "pragmatic" speech that can be considered nothing short of weak sauce in light of the way it should have been handled in promoting freedom and liberty. Even as our President tip-toed through the middle-eastern tulips, however, our Congress passed a resolution condemning Iran's violent crackdowns (HT: LGF). What should have been a unanimous vote in the condemnation of brutality by a government against its own people passed 405-1.

The one vote against the denouncement? Ron Paul.

The very same man who is the figurehead of the Campaign for Liberty in the United States, a fantastically grassroots movement of citizens coming together largely via the internet to organize and begin to fight for their rights against what they perceive as an overgrown, perhaps in cases even oppressive, government, refuses to denounce ruthless violence by a government against its own people?

I am continuously irked by Charles Johnson for what I feel is an overly critical eye toward Ron Paul. He has attempted to paint the man as a racist and to marginalize him as an extremist. I am irked further by Johnson and by Rick Moran for what I perceive to be their attempts to marginalize the emergence of libertarian thought into mainstream politics as being extreme. Indeed, my own shot across Johnson's bow back in April lost me the privelege of being a posting member at his website inside of a week.

However this time, Charles Johnson is right. When I read this story there was nothing I could do but hang my head in disgust. Not only because this vote is a betrayal of the ideals of liberty and freedom, but because it simply makes it so much harder to rely on Ron Paul's words about any subject, including economy, no matter how right he may be.

Ron Paul's refusal to join in denouncing the actions of an oppressive Iranian government that is flailing as its people are twisting loose from its iron grip is nothing short of a shameful cry for attention. A failure to denounce oppressive actions abroad amounts to an abandonment of the core principles he so vehemently preaches here at home.

There is no principle involved in this decision by Ron Paul.

There is only shame.


  1. Ron Paul lost my respect many years ago. Back when the hot political topic was whether we should topple Saddam, and the bullets weren't flying yet, there was a common argument that the US made Saddam, by giving him WMD of his own and/or helping him develop them. Now, the US DID give Saddam samples of various things, and they were controlled items. Let's be clear about that.

    But Saddam's chemical weapons were Soviet in origin, deployed by Soviet military doctrine and the Soviets even provided advisors on how to use them. Congress knew this.

    But Ron Paul repeated the left's canard of the day about how WE made Saddam, getting all this factually wrong. Well, Paul was in Congress back during when all this actually happened, presumably voted on acts of Congress concerning it, and so on. Ignorance is excuseable. But for Paul, not so. Not only was he in office when the facts in question were real time, but had at his disposal near instant access to the facts, pre-researached and summarized.

    From that moment on I decided Ron Paul might right or wrong or insane, but none of that mattered, because as far as I'm concerned, he wasn't intellectually defensible, he ignored facts that he EXPERIENCED in order to take positions he wanted to take. I've ignored him ever since. As should everyone else.

  2. You are right on all points. I consider myself to be a Libertarian, but often find myself hesitant to use the label because of differences in opinion regarding our border security and national defense. I wholeheartedly agree that we have no business trying to push our way of life on the rest of the world. I am also tempted to say we have no business policing the world. However, I don't think our policies and actions are the only reason tyrants want to bring us down. There also comes a time when morality dictates that you help someone being oppressed.
    Some of these things are gray concepts, although one remains black and white. Nothing we do or say as Americans will make people who despise us on a philosophical, spiritual and cultural level change their minds.
    This is a point on which I feel Paul and many Libertarians are dead wrong. You're also right in pointing out the hypocrisy of Paul turning his back on the Iranian people. You can't spout freedom when it's convenient, then turn your back when it has to be defended. Libertarians advocate limited government, property rights and respect for the individual not anarchy. The former are being destroyed by the recent events in Iran, and the result of the latter is always tyranny.

  3. The author is sorely mistaken when he claims that Ron Paul and Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy "ignores the fact that Bin Laden and others like him despise our culture at their very cores, and would act to destroy it no matter our political relationships with them." If Mr. Kroenke do a little research, he'll find that the 9/11 Commission Report said terrorists themselves cite U.S. support for Israel and an indefinite military occupation of the Saudi desert, necessary for the enforcement of the blockade and no-fly zones against neighboring Iraq during the 1990s, as the primary reason for the attack.

    In fact, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a primary architect of the Iraq invasion, explained to Vanity Fair magazine soon after the fall of Baghdad, in May, 2003, that the ability to move the bases from Saudi Arabia to Iraq was a great benefit of the war because it detracted from one of bin Laden's motivations for attacking the U.S.:

    "There are a lot of things that are different now, and one that has gone by almost unnoticed – but it's huge – is that by complete mutual agreement between the U.S. and the Saudi government we can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia. Their presence there over the last 12 years has been a source of enormous difficulty for a friendly government. It's been a huge recruiting device for al Qaeda. In fact if you look at bin Laden, one of his principle grievances was the presence of so-called crusader forces on the holy land, Mecca and Medina. I think just lifting that burden from the Saudis is itself going to open the door to other positive things."

    Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government. In fact, Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away. HR 560 will do nothing but incite additional American hatred. The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote, “Perhaps the most significant moral characteristic of a nation is its hypocrisy.” But our hypocrisy no longer fools anyone but ourselves.

    Ron Paul always votes based on his principle of Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy preached by our founding fathers, and this vote is no differernt:

    "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." - John Quincy Adams

    "Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto." - Thomas Jefferson

  4. Raymond, you are incorrect. Long before the formation of Israel, the Arab nutjobs had sided with Hitler and the SS in an effort to kill as many Jews and devout Christians as possible.

    See What Really Happened.

  5. directorblue: Raymond is absolutely correct and you are wrong. The Arabs is only a small minority in Iran, they are mostly Persians, NOT Arabs. If all the Arabs killed as many devout Christians as possible, why are their Christians in Lebanon in parliament, in Palestine and in Iraq, so much so that the deputy Iraq PM under Saddam, Tariq Aziz, is a devout Christian. How many Christians are their in the Knesset and are they free to do missionary work in Israel? Also Mossavi criticized the incumbent during the debate about the Holocaust denial and there is no proof that all the followers of the incumbent believe in a Holocaust-denial as well. They are a highly nationalistic country and it is a theocracy.
    If the US wants to do a military intervention - where will it get the finances and people from? (have to be drafted) - it will be seen by the 1,3 billion Islamic world as a direct attack on Islam, e.g. the third Islamic country after Aghanistan and Iraq, even though Saudia-Arabia does not have a good relationship with Iran. And why not be consistent, and urge a democratic election (they do not have any debates even, unlike Iran) in Egypt and Saudia-Arabia as well? Tip: that will lead to the Islamic Brotherhood, e.g. Hamas type hardliners to come into power.

    Also read Doug Bandow and Leon Hadar's comments on the Iranian situation, at etc.

  6. I have elaborated and provided further clarification: