Ron Paul and Ghosts of Appeasements Past
Americans have an on-again, off-again love affair with isolationism. Today, it’s very much on again. We just completed a nine-year engagement in Iraq in which we expended far too much blood and treasure for far too questionable an outcome.
But the world rarely respects our sense of timing. And foolish is the leader who expects it to. Denial is not a foreign policy.
We’ve seen this movie before. After World War II, Americans longed for a prolonged peace. Yet our former ally, the Soviet Union, harbored other aspirations. The Soviets quickly embarked upon a policy of aggressive expansionism. By 1947, President Truman promulgated the Truman Doctrine to contain the Soviets. The Cold War was on.
Some Democrats refused to recognize this reality. Led by former Vice President Henry Wallace, they argued that if we were only friendlier to the Soviets we could keep the peace. Wallace challenged Truman for the presidency in 1948. Luckily for America, and the West, he lost.
But Wallace must be dancing in his grave following U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s recent rise in the polls. Paul serves us well by sounding the alarm about our broken economy.
But there is a world beyond our borders. And when it comes to threats from abroad, Paul retreats from his trademark clarity. His increasingly desperate excuses in the face of increasingly troubling aggression cross a red line. This man is not fit to be commander in chief.
Paul’s foreign policy failures are often dismissed as being “anti-Israel.” And yes, Paul does have an Israel problem. But his criticism of Israel is merely symptomatic of his blindness to the threats that confront the entire West. Sometimes, it’s easier to blame the victim.
Take, for example, Paul’s reaction when Israel sent troops into Gaza on Jan. 3, 2009. That very day, Paul posted a video in which he declared it a “sad day for the whole world” since Israel’s action showed that the “idea of preemptive/preventative war is spreading.” All he said in Israel’s defense was “Israel says they have to go in to prevent a problem that might come.”
Why the future tense? By this point Hamas had already fired 8,000 missiles from Gaza into southern Israel.
But Paul’s confusion does not stop at Israel’s borders. He’s an equal opportunity appeaser.
He has repeatedly blamed 9/11 on American actions abroad, namely our presence in Saudi Arabia and our support for Israel. His snappy summation: “They’re terrorists because we’re occupiers.”
It’s clear that Paul has gone to the trouble of reading Osama bin Laden’s rants. But it’s one thing to read a terrorist manifesto and quite another to believe it. The Soviets also rationalized their aggression. Bin Laden’s hatred for the West has far more to do with the philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood — founded in 1928 — than with current events.
Paul’s ignorance of our enemies extends to Iran. When asked what a President Paul would do to stop Iran’s march towards nuclear weapons, he said he would oppose sanctions and instead “offer friendship to them.” Paul might want to ask President Obama how that approach is working.
Whether we like it or not, America faces a threat from militant Islam. When it comes to confronting this threat, Israel is our first line of defense. Israelis don’t want our boys to fight and die in their defense. On the contrary, their boys are fighting and dying in our defense every time they confront shared enemies such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran.
If Israel fails to contain these threats, we will certainly have to confront them ourselves. If in our obsession with our pocketbooks we turn so blind an eye to our security, we would be making an historic blunder.
Let’s keep Paul in the House of Representatives, where he belongs.