Congressman Ron Paul made an appearance in Dearborn last night, and it seemed he was quite a hit. He called for the US to stay out of foreign military entanglements, and for greater liberties at home. They are ideas which certainly merit debate.
When to use military force is perhaps the most important aspect of the foreign policy of any nation the size and scope of ours. We have to agree with Rep. Paul, for example, about the Syrian situation. As bad as it might by for Syrian citizens, we cannot and should not play policeman in each and every trouble spot on the globe. But attacking Iran, which also says we should not do, is trickier. If they have or are close to having nuclear weapons, and given the radical nature of that country, a preemptive strike should not be off the table.
He criticized the Vietnam War as ‘fruitless’, pointing out that we have essentially won the peace there. But such opinions ignore the very real Soviet and communist threat which was behind the Vietnam War. US involvement there at least arguably (and we say arguable very loosely, for we think it pretty certain) helped drain the Soviets of their power and in the long run should be considered in that light. In short, Paul reeks of that libertarian strain which would allow virtually no military foreign action at all, if it ever even saw fit to engage in war. The fact is that we must sometimes use force even in areas which may not be immediate threats to us or our allies. We must consider our long term security, and that might mean aggressive action, dependent on circumstances.
The Congressman is on firmer ground with internal civil liberties and broader domestic policy. The auto bailouts were wrong and Obamacare merely adds an unnecessary layer to the doctor patient relationship. But what may be most telling in the article on his appearance which is in today’s Detroit Free Press, Paul’s anti-military comments seemed to be given greater prominence. It’s as though the liberal press really wants to like him in certain areas (foreign policy) and not so much on internal questions such as health care. That’s not surprising, but it does dilute their vaunted objectivity.
Paul says that ‘both left and right undermine our liberties’, and to a point he’s correct. Unfortunately his ideas effectively undermine American independence and, in the long run, American liberty too. For that, he’s bad for the US, and bad for Michigan. If he would moderate at least the more extreme of his views he might become palatable. Until then, he merits the third or fourth place finish he’ll get today in our primary.