It boils down to foreign policy. President Obama has proved more competent than Bush in this area, but being a more competent beehive whacker does not take a whole hell of a lot of work. Most of Rep. Paul’s domestic policy proposals would have to go through that beautiful, awe-inspiring labyrinth of constitutional checks-and-balances created by the Founding Fathers of this great republic. However, Presidents have much more leeway when it comes to foreign policy. This is something that Ron Paul has talked about checking, but it is also something that could convince independents on the Left to vote for Ron Paul.
Think about it: he would (unfortunately) have a tough time getting some of his domestic policy proposals passed, but as President he commands the military, and he wants to bring our troops home.
My main concern upon writing this little blurb is the Right’s reluctance to embrace Ron Paul’s foreign policy of freedom, commerce, and honest friendship. The following is meant to convince those of you on the Right who would otherwise vote for Ron Paul if it weren’t for his foreign policy views.
The reluctance on the Right to yield to both superior reasoning and common sense on the issue of American foreign policy stems from three basic points:
1) Old timers still have a seething memory of Vietnam burned into their brains. They still remember the bourgeoisie hippies of their youth – most of whom are now members of the Democratic Party – spitting on soldiers as they returned home from our government’s ill-fated war in Vietnam. This is no trivial matter. The hippies represented the upper classes of American society at the time. Hollywood glorifies them today because of it. Their parents were rich and well-connected (as evidenced by the well-worn places inhabited by these hippies in today’s political spectrum). Therefore they did not have to fight in Vietnam. The soldiers that they spit upon, called murderers, and so forth were for the most part draftees. That is, poor people who had no good connections to the power elite at the time. This vision that is no doubt seared into your memories carries with it a meme that has become absolutely toxic to today’s Right. Rather than shift the blame to the Democratic administrations that started and perpetuated the war in Vietnam, the Right instead has instinctively been drawn to support our military-industrial complex out of sheer hatred or contempt for the Left. This is not a reasonable position; it is blind, passionate support for a cause that conservatives of the past have always loathed. Supporting the troops does not equate with supporting Washington’s wars. Remember, Ron Paul has more campaign contributions from members of the military than any other candidate, including President Obama. This was true in 2008, and it is true with the current campaign.
2) There is a disturbing assertion on the part of the Right to conflate Islam with evil-doers. Wars take (at least) two to tango. Where were the Muslim terrorists prior to the 1950′s and 1960′s? The answer: they were attacking European positions both in their overseas colonies and in Europe itself. Where were the calls from Muslim imams to wage war against the United States prior to the 1950′s? The answer: there weren’t any. The main point being driven home by Congressman Paul and other libertarians is not that we should back down and stop fighting in the Muslim world, it’s that our presence of military troops actually encourages the enemies of freedom to target American civilians. If we were to withdraw our troops from the Muslim world, what would be the consequence? Would the well-equipped, well-fed armies of the Muslim states “follow us home”? What would be the incentive or even the rallying call of Islamists be if there were no American troops in Muslim states? A quick point: Islamism is a popular ideology in the Muslim world. It is a backwards, self-defeating ideology that, when implemented, leads to states like Iran. This can be fought, but not with guns and bombs. Muslims live in deplorable conditions today, but they lack a secular, empowering ideology to help combat the God delusion currently permeating Islamic societies. This does mean condemning God or Islam or religion. It just means that there needs to be some other ideas about humanity competing with religion for the hearts and minds of the people there. Defeating Islamism requires the mind and the pen. In the case for promoting freedom in the Muslim world, the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword” has never been more apt.
3) This brings me to the final camp within the Right which claims to be “libertarian” but in reality acts paternalistically. Basing their claims for nation-building largely on old 19th and 20th century doctrines promoting and celebrating the success of colonialism, these folks believe that our military and our benevolence are just what other societies need in order to attain freedom. They point to Germany and Japan often – two states that we beat in a legal war that they started – as examples of just how well an American empire can implement democracy and liberty abroad. They do not point to Vietnam, the Philippines, Cuba, and many of our other failures in trying to bring foreign states liberty and democracy with tanks and guns pointed in their direction. They also fail to mention all of the benefits that states previously under colonialism are currently enjoying. The key difference between our successes and our failures has been the acknowledgment from the other side that they were beaten fair-and-square. Germany and Japan signed armistices. What of the other states that we have fought over the years?
It is time to stop supporting all of Washington’s wars out of a knee-jerk hatred for the Left (who often start the wars, by the way). It is time to acknowledge that our benevolence abroad stems from free trade, honest friendship, and an idea rooted in the belief that all people have the right to self-government, not our guns and bombs. It is time to bring our troops home to a final – and well-deserved – welcoming party.