Ron Paul on Foreign Policy
Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President
A: Absolutely. But remember, the Arabs would get cut off, too, and the Arabs get three times as much aid altogether than Israel. But why make Israel so dependent? Why do they give up their sovereignty? They can’t defend their borders without coming to us. If they want a peace treaty, they have to ask us permission. We interfere when the Arab League makes overtures to them. So I would say that we’ve made them second class citizens.
A: Why should we unless the Congress declared war? I mean, why are we there? In South Korea, they’re begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become Westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess. I mean, the problem still exists, and it’s drained trillion dollars over these last 50 years. We can’t afford it anymore. We’re going bankrupt. All empires end because the countries go bankrupt, and the currency crashes. That’s what happening. And we need to come out of this sensibly rather than waiting for a financial crisis.
A: Oh, I think some, just like the West is wanting to do that all the time. Look at the way they look at us. I mean, we’re in a 130 countries. We have 700 bases. How do you think they proposed that to their people, saying “What does America want to do? Are they over here to be nice to us and teach us how to be good Democrats?”
Q: So you see a moral equivalency between the West and Islamic fascism?
A: For some radicals on each side that want to impose our will with force. Not the American people--I’m talking the people who have hijacked our foreign policy, the people who took George Bush’s humble foreign policy and turned it into one of nation-building.
Q: The president himself?
A: The president himself has changed the policy. I liked the program he ran on. That’s what I defend. It changed at the first meeting of the Cabinet, [when they discussed] when were we going to attack Iraq?
A: Well, he never has the right to violate any human rights, but because he should obey the constitution, not because of the international treaty. But so I would get to that point but not because of the treaty but because of the Constitution.
Q: Well, but the Constitution only has force on US soil, right, so the question is what happens when he is operating overseas? Do these other instruments bind him if the Senate has ratified them?
A: If he’s overseas and the treaty is in effect and would protect human rights--see I keep thinking well we shouldn’t be over there. So if we’re there--and I can’t see myself being over there--well, okay, the answer would be that he would have to obey the treaty.
A: Well, he’s not the easiest person to deal with, but we should deal with everybody around the world the same way: with friendship and opportunity to talk and try to trade with people. We talked to Stalin, we talked to Khrushchev, we’ve talked to Mao, and we’ve talked to the world, & we get along with people. Actually, I believe we’re at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba. We have a problem in South America and Central America: because we’ve been involved in their internal affairs for so long. We have been meddling in their business. We create the Chavezes of the world, we create the Castros of the world by interfering and creating chaos in their countries, and they respond by throwing out their leader.
I think the whole sentiment [toward the Iraq war] is shifting. The people are sick and tired of the war. We can’t even afford it. We can’t even fight the war without borrowing the money from the Chinese. So it doesn’t add up. It really doesn’t matter whether I’m right or wrong. The war is going to end because we are going to have such a political and financial havoc here with the devaluation of our dollar because we just can’t keep affording.
This is usually how empires end, by spending too much money maintaining their empires. We are in 130 countries. We have 700 bases around the world. And it’s going to come to an end. I want it to come to an end more gracefully and peacefully, follow the Constitution and follow more sensible foreign policy.
A: I would like to change Washington, and we could by cutting three programs, such as the Department of Education-- Ronald Reagan used to talk about that--Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security is the biggest bureaucracy we ever had. And besides, what we can do is we can have a stronger national defense by changing our foreign policy.
PAUL: The US government has no authority. There’s no constitutional authority. There’s no moral authority. There’s plenty of moral authority and responsibility for individuals to participate. But every time we get involved, no matter where, for good intentions, believe me, we’re getting involved in a civil war. Even when you send food, it ends up in the hands of the military and they use it as weapons. So it’s not well-intended. We should direct our attention only to national security and not get involved for these feel-good reasons. And this is the main reason why I think we ought to just come home from every place in the world and bring our troops home from Iraq.
BROWNBACK: I couldn’t disagree more with that last answer. We are the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, and we are ones that can stand up. We had declared years ago in Rwanda: Never again. And what is happening? It is happening again.
A: Our responsibility is to spread democracy here, make sure that we have it. This is a philosophic and foreign policy problem, because what the president was saying was just a continuation of Woodrow Wilson’s “making the world safe for democracy.” There’s nothing wrong with spreading our values around the world, but it is wrong to spread it by force. We should spread it by setting an example and going and doing a good job here. Threatening Pakistan and threatening Iran makes no sense whatsoever. I supported going after Al Qaida into Afghanistan--but, lo & behold, the neocons took over. They forgot about Bin Laden. And what they did, they went into nation-building, not only in Afghanistan, they went unjustifiably over into Iraq. And that’s why we’re in this mess today.
Another reason people succumb to dangerous policies of war and conquest relates to the false sense of patriotism promoted by our politicians.
Thus the missionary zeal to spread American goodness, always promoted as altruism by neoconservatives, gains public support. Military adventurism seems justified to many, especially before the costs, the failures, and the deaths are widely recognized.
A republic that remains neutral in foreign affairs would not dispense foreign aid. It would seek diplomatic solutions to international disputes. No direct subsidies would be given to other governments, politicians, or factions involved in internal disputes abroad, and there would be no subsidized loans. There would be no sanctions or blockades placed on other countries, unless war was declared. There would be no threats to have our way in foreign affairs. There would be no treaties promising to commit later generations to war. There would be no CIA coups to overthrow governments.
A: The president ran on a program of a humble foreign policy, no nation-building, and no policing of the world. And he changed his tune, and now we are fighting a war, and our foreign operations around the world to maintain our empire is now approaching $1 trillion a year. That’s where the money’s going, and that’s where it has to be cut so we can take care of education and medical cares that are needed here in this country.
Some may argue that it does not matter whether the US operates under double standards. WE are the lone super-power and can do as we wish, they argue. But this is a problem of the rule of law. Are we a nation that respects the rule of law? What example does it set for the rest of the world when we change the rules of the game whenever we see fit. Won’t this come back to haunt us?
A: I certainly agreed with his foreign policy that he ran on and that we, as Republicans, won in year 2000. You know, the humble foreign policy, no nation building, don’t be the policeman of the world. Of course, the excuse is that 9/11 changed everything. But the Bush doctrine of preemptive war is not a minor change; this is huge. This is the first time we, as a nation, accept as our policy that we start the wars. I don’t understand this And that all options are on the table to go after Iran? This is not necessary. These are Third World nations. They’re not capable. But I think it’s the misunderstanding or the disagreements that we’ve had in this debate along the campaign trail is the nature of the threat. I’m as concerned about the nature of the threat of terrorism as anybody, if not more so. But they don’t attack us because we’re free and prosperous.
Over 58 years in Korea have seen 33,000 lives lost, 100,000 casualties, and over a trillion dollars spent. Korea is the most outrageous example of our fighting a UN war without declaration from Congress. And where are we today? On the verge of a nuclear confrontation with a North Korean regime nearly out of control.
But I think there is a third option that we often forget. Why can we not be pro-American? What is in the best interests of the US?
I believe that it is in the best interests of the United States not to get into a fight, a fight that we do not have the wisdom to figure out. I would like to have neutrality. That has been the tradition for America, at least a century ago, to be friends with everybody, trade with everybody, and be neutral unless someone declares war against us.
The perceptions are yes, we have solidarity with Israel. What is the opposite of solidarity? It is hostility. So if we have solidarity with Israel, then we have hostility to the Palestinians.
I have a proposal. We should start by defunding both sides. I think we can contribute by being more neutral.
This dramatic shift in policy, one of the major US blunders of this century, is responsible for all of our overseas military conflicts of the past eight decades, which have resulted in more than 650,000 Americans killed and 1,130,000 Americans wounded. The last two major conflicts, Korea and Vietnam, were fought without a formal declaration of war. In modern language, they were “police actions.” Since war was not declared, there was no commitment to win. Clearly the efforts proved futile, serving only to tear at the seams of American society.
Policy shifts have since occurred, but reassessment of the overall foreign intervention policy has not taken place. Reassessment must occur if the senseless killing is to be stopped.
Our politicians’ enthusiasm for foreign aid is not shared by a majority of the American people, nor does it confirm to the Constitution.
We have 340,000 troops in Europe and over 200,000 elsewhere around the world. It costs $140 billion a year to protect Europe and $50 billion a year to defend Japan. It costs approximately $1000 to maintain each man per day overseas. This assistance permits a competitive edge for our allies, who are well ahead of us technologically, and contributes to our trade deficit. Our only response has been to promote protectionism, making the problem worse. Overall foreign policy has never been seriously considered as the basic flaw, like it someday must.
The outcome of even the best-motivated assistance is usually the opposite of that which was intended. When economic assistance is sent to other nations with the intention of helping the poor, the poor receive a small fraction of what is sent. But the worst part of all this is that the assistance perpetuates the entire system that causes the impoverishment in the first place and makes it more difficult than ever for the people of that country to achieve more liberty.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. IKE SKELTON (D, MO-4): Pakistan is important to the Middle East and our intentions there. Their cooperation, of course, is so very, very important. This legislation gives economic and democratic development assistance to that country.
Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): We can't allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state and its nuclear arsenal to be taken over by the Taliban. To help prevent this nightmare scenario, we need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan's democrat government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R, FL-18): This bill focuses on past actions and failures attributed to the Pakistani Government, punishing the new leadership for the sins of its predecessors. While the authors of H.R. 1886 may have sought to empower our Pakistani partners to undertake the formidable task of fighting and winning against violent extremists, it does the opposite. We have gone down this road before. I recall during the Iraq debate, Members sought to prejudge the surge strategy before it could even be implemented. Let us hope that this will not be repeated with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.
Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
OnTheIssues.org explanation: The US government has forbidden US citizens from traveling to Cuba since the 1960s. Try booking a trip from Mexico City to Havana on travelocity.com (or any travel website) and it says, "Due to a U.S. government travel restriction we are unable to book this reservation." You can, however, purchase that same ticket while in Mexico City, or anywhere else in the world. Sanford's bill attempts to undo this long-standing situation.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on the Western Hemisphere; never called for a House vote.
Title: To direct the International Monetary Fund to oppose any new loan to any country that is acting to restrict oil production to the detriment of the United States economy, except in emergency circumstances.
Summary: Amends the International Financial Institutions Act to direct the U.S. Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to use the U.S. voice, vote, and influence to oppose any new IMF loan to any country which the Secretary of Energy determines is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is acting to restrict oil production to the detriment of the U.S. economy, or is acting in concert with OPEC to do so, unless the provision of the loan is necessary to address a systemic risk to the international financial system.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Prohibits the use of appropriated funds for the establishment or operation of the International Criminal Court. Declares that any action taken by or on behalf of the Court: (1) against any member of the US armed forces shall be considered an act of aggression against the US; or (2) against any US citizen or national shall be considered an offense against the law of nations.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: This bill prohibits funds made available by the US Government from being used for the establishment or operation of the International Criminal Court. Perhaps the most significant part of the bill makes clear that any action taken by or on behalf of the Court against members of the US Armed Forces shall be considered an act of aggression against the US.
In May 2002, Pres. Bush took the commendable step of repudiating the Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Court is an illegitimate body even by the UN's own standards. The Statute of the International Criminal Court was enacted by the UN General Assembly, whereas according to the UN Charter, the authority to create such a body lies only in the UN Security Council.
The International Criminal Court puts US citizens in jeopardy of unlawful and unconstitutional criminal prosecution. The Court does not provide many of the Constitutional protections guaranteed every American citizen, including the right to trial by jury, the right to face your accuser, and the presumption of innocence, and the protection against double jeopardy.
Members of the US Armed Forces are particularly at risk for politically motivated arrests, prosecutions, fines, and imprisonment for acts engaged in for the protection of the US. I hope all members of this body will join me in opposing this illegitimate and illegal court.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on International Relations; never came to a vote.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: This bill lifts the harmful and counterproductive US embargo on Cuba. The sanctions have failed to remove Castro from power, and other nations are unwilling to respect the embargo.
I oppose economic sanctions for two very simple reasons. First, they don't work as effective foreign policy. Time after time, from Cuba to China to Iraq, we have failed to unseat despotic leaders by refusing to trade with the people of those nations. If anything, the anti-American sentiment aroused by sanctions often strengthens the popularity of such leaders. While sanctions may serve our patriotic fervor, they mostly harm innocent citizens and do nothing to displace the governments we claim as enemies.
Second, sanctions simply hurt American industries, particularly agriculture. Every market we close to our nation's farmers is a market exploited by foreign farmers. China, Russia, North Korea, and Cuba all represent huge markets for our farm products, yet many in Congress favor trade restrictions that prevent our farmers from selling to the billions of people in these countries.
I certainly understand the emotional feelings many Americans have toward nations such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Cuba. Yet we must not let our emotions overwhelm our judgment in foreign policy matters, because ultimately human lives are at stake. Economic common sense, self-interested foreign policy goals, and humanitarian ideals all point to the same conclusion: Congress should work to end economic sanctions against all nations immediately.
The legislation I introduce today is representative of true free trade in that while it opens trade, it prohibits the US taxpayer from being compelled to subsidize the US government, the Cuban government or individuals or entities that choose to trade with Cuban citizens.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on Immigration & Border Security; never came to a vote.
EXCERPTS OF RESOLUTION:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on International Relations; never came to a vote.
Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.
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GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader