David Codrea, penned a post on why us staunch Second Amendment defenders are doing a great disservice by supporting other presidential candidates, especially out of the fear that Ron Paul is not a viable candidate. I then commented that I would not support him because of his foreign policy ideas, and Mr. Codrea was kind enough to respond at length.
Let me start by saying I agree with Ron Paul on virtually all of his platforms, domestically. But when it comes to Paul's ideas of foreign policy, a policy of non-intervention, a policy of letting the chips fall where they may, is an even greater blunder than invading Iraq with no clear post-war plan with too few troops.
But there are some things in Paul's hopeful foreign policy that I admire, such as withdrawing aid to countries hostile or unfriendly to us and withdrawing aid to the corrupt and woefully inept United Nations. So, one might say, I agree on more of what Paul advocates than most other candidates, and I'll admit that at least I am sure of where Paul stands as he is remarkably upfront and honest, something I cannot say about the other candidates.
With that said, the few things that I disagree with are substantial. For example, Paul advocates immediate withdrawal from Iraq, would sit and watch Iran acquire nuclear weapons and continue to aid extremists. For those reasons, and for Paul's general idea of bringing troops, equipment, and security investments home as to avoid "entangling alliances," I cannot in good conscience support or vote for Ron Paul. I would rather vote for Hillary Clinton. Thankfully, I don't have to.
Here's the meat of David's response in the blockquotes, separated by my rebuttals:
The current approach has been such a great success in the Middle East--we see how well bellicose threats have worked to discourage the hardliners--right down to their helping devalue the dollar with the willing complicity of nations WE underwrite with trade and subsidize security for. And they sure have been discouraged from ongoing enrichment projects by all our saber rattling.He's absolutely correct on this, and if I hadn't of included it here, I would've felt disingenuous. We actually subsidize most of the world's security, and often provide trade cheaper than they provide it to us. Who else is fighting terrorism at levels compared to the United States? Nobody. China, Russia, Europe, Australia, almost every developed and wealthy nation is threatened by Islamic terrorism, and we pay most of that bill. Unfortunately, we cannot see how our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq has impacted the strength of terrorist groups compared to their strength had we not taken military action and/or stepped up the rhetoric. But we do know the American people wouldn't sit idly by as Al Qaeda went unpunished, and we do know that Saddam Hussein, not only was a genocidal dictator, but one of those same thugs who would do anything with his and possibly Kuwait's oil to hurt the American economy.
So what are you suggesting--we preemptively nuke Iran? Do we do the same nationbuilding there, too? Any idea where we get the troops from?No. At least not unless we have to, because you said it yourself:
Look, Iran has a population that has many who are pro-Western, sick of the theocracy and looking for ways to make reforms. If we attack them, they automatically go to the enemy camp. IF they achieve nukes and become a threat, their target will be Israel--do you doubt the Israelis will take out a threat before it can be actualized?Israel will act, if WE DON'T. I do know that if we don't and Israel does, you can count on a hot World War III. Saddam was brutal but he did have a brain. In the Gulf War you may recall Israel being hit by some of Saddam's SCUDs. It took some serious negotiation, but the coalition convinced Israel to stay out of it. Had they gotten in, all our Arabic speaking allies would've gotten out, and every young unemployed Muslim male that could get to Iraq, would've gotten there to fight with Saddam or would've died trying. We will likely act before Israel would act, that is of course, if Israel COULD still act.
And what are we prepared to do when Putin decides he's tired of us ringing him in with former satellites in NATO, and this is the last straw, so it's Gog and Magog time? And if we do go in, will it just be to take out facilities, or will we go after the regime, because if we don't, they'll be bent on opening up the gates of hell in this country with unstoppable low-level acts of terror throughout the land. Besides which, Pakistan already has nukes and is imploding as we speak. Will we take them out, too, and drag China into the mix?This is one big reason why I can't support Ron Paul. Putin is weak right now, but he's a bully, that much is clear. Avoiding bullies doesn't make them go away. What is Putin prepared to do? The last straw? We may not have much force in terms of ground troops, but we don't need ground troops, nor have we used ground troops as sticks in World Politics. We still are number one by far in Air and Naval power and capability. I don't see the logic in removing what we have in NATO and missile defense around Europe, just because Putin doesn't like it. If I recall correctly, we put them there precisely because of communists much like Putin.
Another good reason not to support Paul, is because of these low level acts of proxy war. Listen to Paul's response... err his lack of response to this same highly-probable problem. So is it because we were in Saudi Arabia saving Kuwait's ass from Saddam that we were attacked on 9/11, or is it because they're extremists who hated America? I don't think it really matters, because no matter what we do we will get attacked. Remember Pearl Harbor? If we were to withdraw from Iraq and stop the implicit threats to Iran, somehow I don't think they would suddenly stop funding terrorist acts against America and Israel. As long as we support Israel's right to exist and as long as there are anti-Semitic Muslims, we will be threatened. I don't like entangling alliances either, but I do recall France coming to our rescue once upon a time. We should remain a force for good, not merely a voice for good. I'll hold judgment on Pakistan, and yes, they are currently more worrisome than Iran given the instability. But should al Qaeda grab the keys to those nukes, I think India and China would have more reason to act, together, as it would be in their best interest that things don't escalate.
Do you really think it's more likely that instead, Iran will first-strike us, and do you think the probability of that overshadows the very real tyranny we will develop if we continue down this course demanded by the "war on terror"?...I think the probability of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is very real and their funding, training, and general support for terrorism against American and Israeli citizens far outweighs the threat of tyranny in America, in my lifetime. Especially when I can support both liberty and fighting terror, the two aren't mutually exclusive. We didn't really lose too many liberties during the Cold War, did we? And I think it's a lot more acceptable to openly be a commie now than it was in the past. I'd say that's an increase in freedom.
And here's my take on Iraq: my litmus test is would I pick up a rifle and fight for it, and the answer is "No." That there would be genocide if we leave speaks more of the imprudence of removing the stabilizing factor of evil monster Saddam and thinking it would all be garlands for our troops and Kumbayah democracy--but I agree it would happen and "we," as in the people who put us there, would be to blame. So here's what we should do to get out and do what we can to minimize a bloodbath:As much an individualist I am, I don't think we should bail out on our collective responsibility. We bailed on the Kurds just after asking them to rebel against Saddam, and if you remember, they were brutally gassed. I will not apologize for having some sense of social justice. I will not support bailing on the people, millions of men, women, and children, we jeopardized. I don't know what kind of moral compartmentalization that would consist of and frankly, don't want to know.
First, admit reality. Kumbayah democracy is not possible with a 13th century religious blood feud. So I would offer one month of safe passage for Kurds to get up to Kurdistan, Shiites to occupy their predominant territory and Sunnis to do likewise. I wouldn't draw firm borders, because that's just asking for trouble, but just let them know to get to their appropriate bases and we would provide what safe passage we can to at least avoid out and out genocide, but they only have a limited time to hightail it to their respective homelands before they're at risk of being trapped behind enemy lines. Then it would be up to them to manage their respective territories and behave themselves, so if the Kurds don't want the Turks to blow them to hell, stop doing cross-border incursions. Maybe promise everybody if they play ball, the nice blue-helmeted Belgian rapists from the UN will adminster their oil fields for them to make sure everybody gets their fair share for infrastructure developement--or not--the important thing is, we will have gotten out and the squabbling parties will be entrenched in their own territories to make the likelihood of outright genocide less likely--and the probability of border wars up to how strong a front they present and how well they conduct themselves--kind'a like real life. Not a perfect solution by a long shot, but I didn't create this mess, and don't see any body else's plans panning out--and those people get paid for it.
Would I pick up a rifle for Iraq? Honestly I don't know, but it is quite strange to base foreign policy on an entirely subjective question. I like most of us, would without hesitation pick one up for America. And that's what many did when we invaded Iraq, given the knowledge at the time. But your one month countdown to a bloodbath needn't be at current rate.
On Tuesday, I sat through a speech retired Lt. General Sanchez gave here at the local university, and what he had to say was optimistic. Troubling, but optimistic about Iraq in general. To him, Iraq is but one battle in the fight against terrorism, and a battle that we're starting to win.
Paul wants to strengthen us domestically--and I saw your website where you say "Foreign policy is the single most important factor that determines this country's safety." I disagree with that, and agree with the Founders, who not only admonished us to "beware foreign entanglements," but also let us know that "a well regulated militia [is] necessary for the security of a free state." You call your site "Free Constitution"--I trust those aren't just words?Right now, foreign policy is unquestionably the single most important factor, in my opinion at least, based on constant and looming threats, such as Islamic radicals with the combination of a porous border, and the nuclearization of these extremists evident in Iran, and potentially Pakistan. There is nothing in the Constitution about foreign entanglements, rather, that ratified treaties are on par with the Constitution. Clearly entanglements can be cumbersome, especially for a newborn, virtually defenseless nation. I'd think it'd please the founders to know that they've created the strongest, greatest, and freest nation on the earth. Ironically, it came in large part from very close foreign relations in wars the founders sought to avoid.
With our military here to help secure our borders, the likelihood of [more] bad stuff and bad people getting through will be minimized. A culture of freedom is what builds strength and security, not one of repression. And as for foreign relations, I like his approach--quite a bit, actually: "Let us have a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations."I agree with you that we should have a culture of freedom, a strong liberal policy on trade and diplomacy, something most other Republicans favor. Concerning war, I know you are aware that both Congress and the President constitutionally share these powers. Congress has the power to declare and fund wars. The president commands them. It is the directly elected congress that has increasingly delegated war powers, and consequently political risk, to the president. As far as the Constitution is concerned, this war is legal -as Congress authorized the use of force, continues to fund it, and has formally recognized the President's war making ability with various war powers acts. Nevertheless, I agree with you that all large-scale wars should be declared, but Congress wont take that risk, so war-making will indefinitely remain the power of the president. Paul's objection to this type of war making is for me only a moral issue, as Congress should have the stones to wage it, or not wage it. But Paul's insistence that this war is unconstitutional is ridiculous. If that were the case, the war in Afghanistan would be unconstitutional as well, a war Paul voted for.
And if a nation wants to push us into war, something I would be for because I would be willing to pick up a rifle, and risk or lose my life for, we would still have the "Free Constitution" way of doing things: declare it.
But we really need to make sure we have the belly for it. We won WWII because we had the stones to do horrible things to Dresden and Hiroshima. That's what war is. It's hell. This limited rules of engagement/undeclared police action crap where you can't cross into Laos or pee in the Yalu does not work and has never worked, as evidenced by the last time we actually outright won something, and how many disastrous adventures in killing off the flower of our manhood we've put ourselves through since then.I thought most rational Americans realized war is hell, and most of us supported the war. I agree that the ROE have been unnecessarily constraining on our effectiveness in conducting this war, as in other wars. We screwed up, but who doesn't in war? We're making progress now, the ROE have been revised, but we still are fighting the information war, where brutally effective tactics in this information age can do a great disservice to the war effort.
In order to win, you need the support of the people. That is a truism, and anyone arguing otherwise has not been paying attention to history. Show me where Paul has mis-gauged this in his calculations.Show me the poll saying most Americans want to bail out now. Take a poll asking Americans if they want to win. There you will find the answer. Better yet, take our democratic republic, a system of representative government responsive to and on some levels a reflection of the people. We are still at war. Last I checked, Americans can stomach a real war. We can't stomach being the bad guys. Paul, as with many leftists and anti war journalists, paint us as the bad guys. Those receptive to the bad guy message make up a significant constituency. Paul wasn't the first to find it, but he was the first non-promise-breaking-Democrat to take advantage of it. Naturally, he is the redeemer.
I won't support Ron Paul because his non-interventionist policy is akin to pulling all police off the streets. Who fills the void? The global militia men? I don't think so. Whether we like it or not, we are the de facto world police, and we and our allies have vital interests worldwide, and a vital stake in world peace. I'm not prepared to support filling the void with over-sized communist egos, Islamic extremists, and nuclear-armed proxy fighters.