Sunday, June 24, 2007

7. Ron Paul on US foreign policy

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1801

"[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force ... She might become the dictatress of the world."
-- John Quincy Adams, 1821

Throughout his tenure in Congress, Dr. Ron Paul has advocated a return to the non-interventionist foreign policy espoused by America's Founding Fathers. Ron Paul has consistently challenged the bi-partisan promotion of global interventionism, while pointing out the inherent negative consequences of such practices as:
  • US financial and military support of foreign governments and factions -- a long list of beneficiaries that includes such odious characters as Saddam Hussein, Pervez Musharraf, Osama bin Laden, and the House of Saud.

  • Habitual involvement of US troops in foreign conflicts that have nothing to do with national defense -- engagements that alienate and enrage those against whom the US government positions itself.

  • The maintenance of US military bases in more than 130 countries around the world -- a global presence that dilutes this country's capacity for genuine defense, and does nothing to dissuade those who view the US as a rapacious, militant empire.

  • Widespread covert operations to engineer Washington-mandated outcomes in other countries -- including activities unknown even to those in Congress, as illustrated once again by the revelations surrounding the CIA's international network of torture prisons.

  • The use of economic sanctions to effect 'regime change' in other countries -- measures that rarely impact ruling elites, but often inflict great suffering on those they rule.

  • Deference to special interests who benefit from interventionism -- perhaps best illustrated by the scores of Capitol Hill lobbyists who curry favor on behalf of the military-industrial-congressional (MIC) complex and foreign governments.
Our interventionist foreign policy has contributed to:
  • A $9 trillion national debt -- an unchosen and ever-growing obligation to be borne by future generations, with potentially dire ramifications for their economic well being.

  • A crisis in civil liberties -- a predictable result of militarism, as demonstrated throughout history.

  • An unchecked executive branch -- a decades-long development with ominous implications for the future, perhaps best exemplified by Congress' abnegation of its constitutional war-making authority.

  • Incessant military conflict since World War II -- an unavoidable consequence when a country's political class holds no principled opposition to the deployment of troops in non-defensive pursuits.

  • Unprecedented anti-American sentiment abroad -- an ironic state of affairs since some people maintain that interventionist policies are needed to engender international goodwill toward the US -- yet interventionism, not "isolationism," is the primary cause of such antipathy.

  • The peril of terrorism -- largely inspired by US actions in the Middle East.

  • The mounting loss of innocent lives -- a reality that should mortify decent people everywhere.
Ostensibly, an interventionist foreign policy was required to combat communism during the Cold War -- but 18 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an open and thorough re-assessment of American interventionism is long overdue.

Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate with the courage, knowledge, and honesty to initiate this vital discussion with the American people. While the other candidates accept interventionist premises and practices (including those who oppose this particular war), Dr. Paul expounds a fundamental alternative. Perhaps Americans will condone a continuation of the status quo, but we deserve to hear about the costs and consequences of maintaining this course, as well as the reasons underlying the advice of the Founding Fathers.
Below, you will find one of Dr. Paul's congressional addresses on the topic of American foreign policy, which he delivered in the House of Representatives prior to the vote on the Iraq War Resolution of 2002. Of this speech, Dr. Paul wrote the following in his book, A Foreign Policy of Freedom:
"Since I was against the foreign policy that was leading us into war once again, I needed to be something more than a mere critic; I also needed to state once again what the alternative was. Here, I make the case for a new approach by outlining what exactly we support in the way of foreign affairs."
As the drums of war again beat loudly, I hope you will take a moment to read and consider Dr. Paul's thoughts. For the text, go to:
A Foreign Policy for Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty, by Dr. Ron Paul, 2002