Recently, I spent some time watching videos of Ron Paul speaking on foreign policy, particularly Iran. Ever since my webcast discussion of his views, I’ve wanted take a closer look, because my sense is that his views are not merely mistaken, but reveal some deep error in his principles.
In a recent editorial — What Ron Paul Thinks of America — Dorothy Rabinowitz writes:
Ron Paul’s efforts on behalf of Iran’s right to the status of misunderstood victim continued apace. On the Hannity show following the debate, Dr. Paul urged the host to understand that Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel off the map. It was all a mistranslation, he explained. What about Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust? A short silence ensued as the candidate stared into space. He moved quickly on to a more secure subject. “They’re just defending themselves,” he declared.
So is that a fair recap of his views? Well, you can see for yourself in the following videos.
(1) Iowa GOP Debate: 11 Aug 2011
(2) Ron Paul with Sean Hannity: 22 Sep 2011
(3) Ron Paul with Sean Hannity: 15 Oct 2011 (?)
(4) Ron Paul on Fox News Sunday: 6 Nov 2011 (?)
(5) GOP Debate: 15 Dec 2011
(6) Ron Paul with Sean Hannity: 15 Dec 2011
So what do I think of all that? Oy, that’s a bit hard to untangle. Mostly, however, I see deep-rooted moral equivalence.
Ron Paul flatly refuses to draw any distinction between (mostly) free countries like the US and Israel and repressive dictatorial theocracies like Iran. He seems to think that every government is legitimate, including governments run by batshit-crazy terrorists who repress their own citizens and threaten their own neighbors. Hence, he supposes, every regime is entitled to defend itself against its perceived enemies, including with nuclear weapons.
That basic view — that moral equivalence between nations — is why Ron Paul repeatedly stresses the sheer number of nukes possessed by various countries — without any regard for the principles, policies, or even sanity of the regime. That’s also why he regards Iran has having just as much right to the “respect” afforded to nuclear regimes as does Israel. Perhaps worse, he can’t even fathom that Iran might be allah-crazy enough use nuclear weapons offensively against other nations (i.e. Israel, then America). He’s not just ignorant of that possibility: he’s willfully blind to it.
Ultimately, the serious threat posed by Iran and other totalitarian Islamic regimes could easily become reality under any Ron Paul presidency. He would open the door to the slew of state-sponsored terrorist groups seeking to destroy America and establish a global caliphate. As I said in my webcast discussion, if you think that Obama can destroy the economy with more controls, you’re right… but just think about the economic devastation inflicted by a nuke in Manhattan. Iran doesn’t need a land army to do that — just the nuclear weapons that Ron Paul urges us to permit Iran to develop.
Contrary to Ron Paul’s moral equivance in foreign policy, other nations ought to be judged based on their respect for rights. A nation that respects rights is not a threat to other free nations — and likely would be an ally. Dictatorial nations must be clearly identified as such, then monitored for threats. Serious threats should be swiftly and decisively eliminated. Ron Paul will not do that, not because the threats don’t exist, but because he refuses to see them.
Even when military action would not be proper, dictatorial regimes should be identified as morally illegitimate, clearly and forthrightly. Any American president with a shred of love for liberty ought to say to despots, “Your regime is despotic and vicious. Your power is unjustly obtained and unjustly exercised. Your citizens, if they value their lives, ought to rise up in revolt, then establish a constitutional government based on the principles of individual rights.” Ron Paul won’t do that, not even to Iran, because he doesn’t draw moral distinctions between nations.
What will Ron Paul do instead? He suggests that America befriend Iran, a barbaric theocracy openly seeking to destroy us. After all, he says, we used diplomacy with the USSR and China, so why not use it with Iran? Basically, he wants America to adopt a stance of weakness and cowardice — even now, while the threat is merely potential and could be defused at minimal risk to American lives.
Ron Paul’s views on these matters are so fantastically twisted that I can’t even regard them as any kind of “foreign policy.” He’s willfully blind to the proper moral principles and to the basic facts — and hence, he would be the best possible ally of our sworn enemies. Although I’m far more concerned about domestic than foreign policy in this election, Ron Paul’s foreign policy is so bad as to disqualify him, in my view. America would not survive four years with him at the helm, I don’t think.