05 Sep 2011

Ron Paul on Iran

Foreign Policy, Ron Paul 22 Comments

Wow I hadn’t seen this clip. (Lew Rockwell and Scott Horton referred to the Paul/Santorum exchange during an interview.) For those who can’t understand why people get so fired up about Ron Paul, it’s because of stuff like this. This is the furthest thing from a smooth politician, flattering the American public to win their votes. I still can’t believe he came out and said it like this.

22 Responses to “Ron Paul on Iran”

  1. Matt Flipago says:

    Never heard someone say Ron Paul is getting too much time because of biases judges.

  2. Yosef says:

    OK, I’ll bite. I don’t understand why people get so fired up about Ron Paul (at least as far as this goes).

    At 2:07 “Why would that be so strange if the Soviets and the Chinese have nuclear weapons. We tolerated the Soviets, we didn’t attack them.” Yes, we didn’t attack them, exactly because they had nuclear weapons. Instead the US fought proxy wars against nations with Soviet backing. So now instead we will have to deal with Iran’s proxies? The US didn’t tolerate the Soviets having nuclear weapons, but having nuclear weapons precluded the US from dealing with the Soviets directly.

    At 1:39 “Stay out of their internal business, don’t get involved with these wars” I have never quite understood where the line is drawn here. Is Ron Paul against allies in general, or is there some threshold? If a coup were taking place in England and the government asked us for help, would Ron Paul be against that or is that their internal business? If China invades Taiwan (certainly the Chinese would consider that internal)? If the Arab nations surrounding Israel attack? Yes, I know it’s terrible etiquette but I have a copy of The Gathering Storm on my desk so I have to ask, was the Anschluss just internal business?

    Does staying out of their business mean not giving information? Arms and tech? Boots on the ground? Finally, suppose the US is attacked by some foreign power. Will Ron Paul, will anyone, say “Everyone else mind your business, this is between them and us”?

    • Paul says:


      It is very difficult to stomach atrocities in other nations while “America” does nothing, but there is an underlying moral impediment (in my opinion) that does not justify our government sending aid be it weapons or military intervention. The impediment is the use of force. If the military force were completely voluntary with 100% of the military to intervene supporting the intervention while at the same time having the ability to back out without penalty then the morality of war would be determined by the soldier and not the government (the correct way in my opinion). The fact of the matter is that governments cannot be trusted to make, nor should they make, moral decisions for individuals no matter how obvious the circumstances may be. We should think about allowing private soldiers go fight in these international conflicts on their own accord with their own financing.

      Our government simply does not have the ability to make an absolute moral judgement as to what is right and what is wrong even if it may seem obvious. Our military, in my opinion, should be home defending our country, for defense is the only just action of a military. We understand our affairs and not the affairs of other nations therefore we can only be allowed to act on our affairs and not the affairs of others.

      As a bonus, I would bet that a non interventionist policy would bring significantly more peace to the region than if we intervene. My ideal method to facilitate peace would be to increase trade with the countries in question especially in a time of domestic turmoil.

      • Paul says:

        I do have to add that the soldiers can make poor moral choices. My whole point is the poor moral choices should be localized to the individual, not institutionalized by the government.

        • Yosef says:


          One point on defense and one on trade. First is that one of the most important things for your own defense is having allies (for use of airspace, landing zones, border crossing, etc.). To have allies you must be willing to commit yourself to their defense or aid (unless you think someone is willing to help you without ever demanding or expecting something back, especially when the other hostile party is likely to consider them responsible) So even if you think all we need to do is defend ourselves, we will still likely be involved with conflicts not necessarily important to our narrow interest.

          Second, you say that your ideal method to facilitate peace is to increase trade with the countries in question. Trade in continental Europe was very high on the eve of WWI. Prior to the attack by Japan in 1931, “China was more than ever Japan’s principal export market for cotton and other manufactures, and almost her sole source of coal and iron.” (The Gathering Storm, p.78). Finally, trade between the North and the South of the US was also high before the Civil War. If trade can’t keep one country from going to war with itself, why would it keep different ones? (Ok, Ok, that statement goes too far, but it has a point. Don’t overvalue trade). As a side note, once you have free trade with countries, which I assume is your ideal, how do you increase trade at certain times? (You can increase trade by lowering trade barriers, but that’s only true as long as you start from non free trade)

          • Dan says:

            The reason that people want to attack us is we are over there trying to rule them. If we would mind our own business we would be less likely to be attacked. If we stopped putting sanctions on countries and starving their people and instead freely traded with them we would be less likely to be attacked.

            This doesn’t mean we would never be attacked but the odds would be less. If we were attacked there are many ways we could handle it without signing a war pact. We could pay for the use of a countries air space or we could issue letter of marque and reprisal.

            As far as Iran, comparing them to Russia is absurd. They have no navy or air force to speak of and they haven’t initiated a war in hundreds of years. North Korea has nukes, should we invade them too?

    • bobmurphy says:

      Yosef, those are good questions but it’s not really what I was even talking about here. I wasn’t saying, “People are fired up about Ron Paul because of his excellent foreign policy analysis.” What I was saying is that people are fired up about him because he is the antithesis of a standard politician.

      • MamMoTh says:

        Being the antithesis of a standard politician is one of the standard ways of doing politics.

        • zee says:

          It depends. there are certain antithetical positions that are amenable to that, and other positions that are not. this is one of those positions that isn’t so is what paul said to giuliani back in 2007. most rational people at that time, and probably paul himself included, thought that kind of talk would sink his campaign for sure, but he still said it. though he was being the antithesis of a standard politician, that wasn’t a standard way of doing politics.

      • Yosef says:

        Bob, maybe I have a different reading of history than you do, but being somewhat isolationist or non-interventionist isn’t that uncommon among US politicians. But even with that, why is it a good thing to be the antithesis of something if you don’t thing that the things in that (anti) thesis are good and right?

        This is a harsh way to put it but its sort of like saying
        “Wow, this guy is saying what no one else is!”
        “Well, yeah, that’s because it’s ridiculous”
        “Yeah, but no one else is saying it!”

        Yes, no standard politician is going to tell you that Mole People are plotting the overthrow of (err undermining?) the US, but unless you also believe that why would you be fired up?

        I guess overall I just don’t understand being fired up about someone unless you agree with them, or think they are making sense.

        • Ancalagon says:


          Obviously there’s nothing to be fired up about if you are at odds with Ron Paul’s policy prescriptions in every particular — though I would argue his unwavering consistency and honesty over the course of thirty years is worthy of commendation, if not support, even should you agree with nothing the man says.

          If you don’t mind my reframing the debate a bit, the questions one really ought to ask with respect to foreign policy is: What is the Federal Government’s obligation viz. foreign affairs? How can it best achieve that objective? What threats exist to the achievement of that objective?

          Ron Paul answers those questions in this way:

          1) The Federal Government’s responsibility is to defend the United States.

          2) It can best achieve that objective by strengthening the defense of the homeland, and by not unnecessarily making enemies of foreign nations and peoples.

          3) There are no real, existential threats to the United States. Iran is under no circumstances an existential threat. Nor is anyone else, unless by our actions we deign to make enemies of them.

          Ron Paul does not see how being embroiled in all sorts of military alliances makes the United States one iota safer. It’s clear to me how it makes us less safe. It’s clear to me how it can contribute to bankrupting us. But it’s far less clear how being an ally with Georgia is going to enable the United States to stave off some non-existent existential threat.

          Look, the fact of the matter is America has the most powerful military the world has ever seen — and it’s not particularly close. And even if it were close — even if the Chinese, say, should eclipse us militarily fifty years down the road — we would still be unassailable by dint of our having enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world — to say nothing of whoever was dumb enough to attack us — ten times over.

          Even if much of the above weren’t true, at the end of day we simply cannot afford to be policing the world and maintaining an ad-hoc empire any longer; to be nation-building in vain for decades without cease. It’s completely untenable, and it will end, whether people want it to or not.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    As I recall, the God-King hisself, FDR, handed over Eastern Europe to Stalin before the Russkies had the bomb. We didn’t invade to get them out before they had the bomb.

    The Chi-Coms didn’t have the bomb for 15 years after taking over. We didn’t invade there either.

    RP was excellent in bringing up the CIA’s involvement in the 1953 coup and how we installed the vicious Shah. When the Shah was overthrown in 1979, hysterical 24/7 news coverage never mentioned that. As I recall, “Nightline” got its start as a hysterical Crisis in Iran propaganda organ.


    From my experiences, I’d say that 90% of red-state Republican voters can’t find Iran on a map. Or Kansas, for that matter.

    I’d stop worrying about what the rest of the world is doing and start worrying about how our great fascist Keynesian state is spreading the Clintonista Keynesian Fascist state to all corners of the globe with predictable results of constant war and poverty.

    • Anonymous says:

      RP was excellent in bringing up the CIA’s involvement in the 1953 coup and how we installed the vicious Shah.

      The Shah was installed by the British and Russians in 1941 (before the U.S. had even entered the war).

      • Bob Roddis says:

        Prior to the 1953 coup, the Shah was a sorta Constitutional Monarch, not the all-powerful killer satrap of the USA.

      • knoxharrington says:

        In actuality your point strengthens RP’s position. Iran has been subject to the mendacious ways of imperial powers for years. Whether it’s the British and Russians setting up spheres of influence in Iran in 1941 – as the Ottomans went kaput – or the US ousting Mossedegh and installing the Shah as absolute monarch in order to protect BP or the US funding terrorism within Iran’s borders in the form of the MEK – the modern history of Iran is one where outside players stick there nose where it doesn’t belong.

        I almost forgot – they hate us for our freedom. I retract everything I just wrote.

  4. Bob Roddis says:

    Ron Paul explains how WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Baghdad Embassy Cable to Congress greenlighting Saddam’s attack on Kuwait:


  5. Bob Roddis says:

    Red state Republicans love Reagan. I used to love Reagan’s rhetorical. This new Ron Paul ad is excellent for smacking down Perry:


  6. James E. Miller says:

    Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but Doug Casey brings up an important point in an interview with the Daily Bell yesterday:

    Daily Bell: Let’s suppose Ron was to win the GOP nomination and subsequently the US presidency. Would he be able to actually make the necessary changes?

    Doug Casey: No, even if by some miracle Ron Paul was elected. I can tell you what would happen. Before he could do anything he would get a visit from the heads of agencies like NSA, CIA, FBI and others, including a bunch of generals, and they would very seriously lay down the law to him. That’s because the president and Congress don’t run the government, it’s these gigantic Praetorian agencies. The guys with guns, and no ethics, who absolutely and reflexively follow orders, have all the real power. They are not going to let their rice bowls be broken. So, forget about it. Ron’s candidacy, like those of Harry Browne in the 90s, is useful only for advertising sound values. It’s a pipe dream to think he can be elected by the mob. And a fantasy to think he’d be able to change anything if he was.

    Hate to say it, but Casey has a good point here. Last fall semester, a college professor I had (huge unabashed lefty) had a book signing/C-Span book talk/extravaganza at a Barnes & Nobels (maybe Borders). While I was waiting in line to talk to her, a former student of hers (I think that is what he was, he looked to be in his very late 20’s and she was very excited to see him) was talking to her about the presidency and said that every president, once elected, has about a 20 minute meeting with what I guess can be described as the global financiers of the world. He told us that Obama, upon election sometime in December, was being followed by the media but then went off the grid and had the meeting.

    Not sure if it’s true or not, but it certainly isn’t farfetched to think that those who pull the strings on the global financial system and military complex may want to have a few words with the incoming president of the US.