Ron Paul's policies most in line with ideals of founding fathers

Chris Shirley

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Many like to claim that Ron Paul has an illogical – perhaps even fantastical – foreign policy.

However, that neglects to mention that his is the most rational, as well as being most in line with the ideals of our founders.

During his inaugural address a great man once said, “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.” 

This man was President, and founding father, Thomas Jefferson. 

He was wise to warn us to stay away from foreign entanglements, and so far, our policy of intervention has ruined our reputation, and made America less safe.

First, America does not need a military to prop up governments to purchase oil. Breaking down where our oil comes from, most of it is actually sold by stable, relatively friendly countries: 36% is domestic, the second largest supplier is Canada (which by most accounts does not need American military support),  and another 40% comes from OPEC.

The largest contributor being Venezuela, which contributes 11% of the oil the U.S. uses. 

Simply perusing the EIA (Energy Information Administration) one notices that Iraq, which is the only nation that might need military aid, which they vehemently claim they do not need, only contributes a measly 12,000 or so barrels to the U.S. 

Of course, propping up countries just so we can purchase oil from them is simply wrong. Our Constitution grants us the right to self determination, and we cannot pay lip service to “peace and liberty,” but prop up dictators at the same time. 

Not only is it illogical to keep a hated leader in charge, it is also completely immoral.

As far as other nations are concerned, the United States is not a global police force. If a leader wishes to stay in power, but faces a rebellion or insurgency, he or she can bring in allies, or even appeal to the United Nations for help. 

What is more, intervention can just as easily destabilize the global economy. 

For example, Greece exports much of its oil from Iran, which the European Union is now embargoing because of the proposed “nuclear threat’ that Iran poses. 

First, the crisis in Iran is caused ironically by American intervention, in that the CIA helped to dispose a democratically elected leader and prop up a monarchy. 

I suppose the right to self determination is a human right, unless those humans just happen to live in a country that disagrees with the United States. 

Iranians, displeased with their new despot, revolted and set up an Islamic republic lead by an Ayatollah. 

One can only imagine how many Western leaders thought “oops.”

Nevertheless, this also brings the current saber rattling – and we should all hope it only stays as that – between Iran and the West, namely the United States. 

The West drones and raves that we must prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities, but they neglect to mention that there is no evidence Iran is planning to, or will use nukes. 

The Ayatollah controls Iran despite what many would have you believe, and he has issued a fatwa (religious decree in the Islamic faith) against the creation, stockpiling, or use of nukes. 

In an ultra religious country like Iran, a decree like this is a huge barrier, and is only one reason why it’s foolish to worry about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. 

Secondly, translations stating that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wants to “wipe Israel off the map,” are mistranslations that actually read something to the effect of “we want to see regime change,” a sentiment many Western leaders know, and Iran has also signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, in addition to complying with International Energy Agency agents. 

Third, Iran would never use nukes against Israel or the West. 

It’s just plain stupid. 

Not only would Israel, which is not part of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and is known to have at least a hundred undeclared nukes, retaliate with a mass barrage of warheads, it is likely that the U.S. or Europe would follow suit. 

Furthermore, Iran is intelligent enough to keep any nuclear material safe as any terrorist attack using material from the country would be used as pretext for an invasion.

In regards to the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, not only have we destabilized two countries, Bush’s ill advised invasion of a country with a pro-American leader (the U.S. actually armed Saddam in the Iraq-Iran war), and anti-terrorist state has ironically introduced the Taliban to the area. 

Additionally, our efforts at nation building have been a resounding failure. Afghanis do not have a government they trust, and corruption is rampant in Karzai. 

The notion that we can bomb a nation to pieces then rebuild it from rubble is utterly foolish. 

Certainly the West did so after World War II, but the West also had functional governments and were already accustomed to a high standard of living before the destruction of their infrastructure. 

This is not to say that Iraq or Afghanistan will always be unindustrialized, but they present a series of unique challenges: they still have large areas controlled by tribal leaders, there is an active insurgency, the countries have remained relatively poor and decentralized for years and they hate their occupiers with good reason. 

Furthermore, the idea that we should stay in Iraq is laughable, considering they are actually kicking us out of their sovereign nation.  

While Afghanistan lacks the power to prevent us from staying, one has to question if that is not on the minds of thousands of Afghanis.

At the expense of sounding like Scrooge, foreign aid is bad practice, albeit one that has good intentions. 

Many claim that aid is needed to developed poor countries, when aid can actually retard the economic growth. 

For example, grain from the West, which is usually given away, means that local farmers are unable to adequately sell their crops, so there is not incentive to grow domestic food. 

Further, monetary aid is really not needed because businesses and governments can borrow from international firms. 

However, by simply giving money to poor nations firms are unable to compete with the “free” money that the West doles out.

Aid is also generally given to the rulers of poor nations, not to the needy. 

In many countries, the aid gets held by the government and causes conflicts in multi-racial or multi-ethnic nations. 

Rulers can also use aid to retard food production. For example, Tanzania has embarked on a goal of “villagization” of agriculture, which has displaced millions of people and actually lowered total food production in that country. 

However, charities or individuals should always reserve the right to donate to any NGO (non-government organization), or countries, and Ron Paul does nothing to stop them. 

It is also important to remember that little of the aid given by the U.S. is actually from the American government. 

Most of it actually comes from private citizens or corporations, and it should stay this way.

 If you care enough about Africa, or whatever place you wish to send aid to, rather than asking the government to tax you to support them, just donate it instead and help get others to donate. 

Of course, there’s also another way. Rather than simply giving the poor food, money, or whatever aid they might be given, they should be given the tools and knowledge to build their countries. 

Industrial nations did not receive aid to develop to their current state, so the idea that these people cannot is paternalistic and just wrong.

In conclusion, Paul’s message is not unrealistic, imprudent, or wrong. 

It’s actually the most logical conclusion to decades of failed foreign policy, positions that have often backfired and rarely work to American’s long term goals. 

Our position is not that of a global police force, or the bayonet of freedom. 

Not only do we needless endanger the lives of brave Americans, NATO troops, and innocent civilians, we also tarnish the American brand, and ultimately fail to live by the founding ideals of our nation – the right of self-determination. 

 

Comments, rebuttals, questions or concerns about this piece can be sent to christopher.m.shirley@live.mercer.edu.

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