Skip to comments.Hunkered Between Santorum and Paul Lies Peace Through Total War
Posted on 01/31/2012 5:49:52 AM PST by Notary Sojac
Imagine discovering that your police force, funded through local taxes, has begun diverting patrols to a neighboring town instead of protecting your own. Most people would be up in arms, and rightfully so.
A similar impulse informs Ron Pauls foreign policy. He claims our military is off adventuring outside its jurisdiction. It is a message which appeals to a loyal base of supporters who believe that Americas military ought to respond to direct threats against American lives, rather than police the rest of the world.
There is a legitimate argument for refocusing our military, but not as Ron Paul and many of his supporters articulate it. Paul imagines a world where there are no credible threats, and thus nothing worth responding to. He imagines that the Constitution of the United States is binding over the lot of man, regardless of whether they are citizens or foreign enemy combatants. Worst of all, he imagines no cultural distinction motivating the behavior of regimes like Irans:
I dont know of anybody who can militarily threaten [Israel]. They have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobodys gonna touch them
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a multitude of imams and Islamist fanatics disagree. They dont value life as Western civilization does. Indeed, they embrace death as a path to salvation. In their hands, a single nuclear weapon is a far greater threat to human life than the 300 held by a nation like Israel, which hopes never to use them.
Pauls inability to make such an essential distinction has kept his support from rising above a particular ceiling. Yet, what support he has remains impressively stable, indicating that he speaks to some chord within many voters.
Opposite Paul stands Rick Santorum, a candidate who has struck an entirely different chord. Santorum is a proud neoconservative interventionist who believes America has a unique place in the world which endows it with an esoteric duty to spread democracy and freedom. The Hill reports,
Listening to Rick Santorum, one imagines he would lead America to more war, very quickly. Santorum speaks loudly, carries a big stick and speaks with a trigger-happy enthusiasm common to neoconservatives. The winds of war blow from Santorums lips with an almost casual air of breathless excitement that virtually guarantees more war if Santorum is elected president.
Listening to Ron Paul, by contrast, there is an isolationism that worries almost all leading national-security strategists, from conventional liberals to conventional conservatives. While Santorum gives the impression he would jump to war quickly, Paul gives the impression he would never wage war under any circumstance.
Both of these candidates miss the mark for the same reason. Both maintain flawed concepts of sovereignty.
Santorum is a theocratic collectivist who subordinates the individual to an undefined common good. In this way, he is fundamentally anti-liberty:
"Particularly in the area of sexual freedom and personal issues, this is the mantra of the left. Which is, I have a right to do what I want to do. And that is not the kind of freedom that our Founders envisioned, and it is not the kind of freedom that makes up a society that is devoted to the common good. The definition of liberty as our Founders understood it, was freedom with responsibility. Responsibility to who? To themselves? No. It was a responsibility to others. It was responsibility to your family, but not just your family. It was a responsibility to your neighbors and to your country."
This alleged responsibility to others is the root of all political evil, the same irrational claim which motivates prescriptions like welfare, progressive taxation, and government-run healthcare. Indeed, Santorums record reflects a brand of big government conservatism which is distinguished from the Left only by its definition of the common good. Santorum does not object to social engineering as such, only that which conflicts with his vision for society.
This translates to a foreign policy which is a calling or duty to spread democracy and freedom around the globe. In Santorums view, we are not responsible for our own defense for our own sake, but to others for some subjective common good. We are thus obligated to sacrifice blood and treasure in perpetuity, an inappropriate use of our resources applied to an impossible goal. Men must assert their freedom. It cannot be handed to them by American troops.
Ron Paul has a relatively good grasp of individual sovereignty, but overlooks how it manifests as national sovereignty. The vast majority of Americans celebrated when special forces struck a safe house in Pakistan last year to eliminate Osama bin Laden. Ron Paul criticized the operation citing Pakistans national sovereignty. What he failed to recognize was that a nation-state may only command respect if it upholds the rights of its citizens and does not encroach upon its neighbors. Pakistani sovereignty was negated by harboring the mastermind of attacks upon the United States. If a nation can claim sovereignty without regard to its actions, we could never rightfully respond to a threat. Anyone with borders would be free to do as they pleased an absurd notion.
"The definition of liberty as our Founders understood it, was freedom with responsibility. Responsibility to who? ... to others."
There is a correct foundation upon which foreign policy should be built. It is not so much a middle-ground between Santorum and Paul as an entirely different perspective from either.
The sole purpose of government is the protection of individual rights. We constitute the state in order to protect us from harm, coercion, and fraud. In a just world, that is all government would do. Such a governments foreign policy would secure free trade and eliminate threats. It would not take on responsibility for the peoples of the world. Other nations can constitute their own governments to secure their own freedom. If they do not, the consequences are theirs to bear, not ours.
This is neither isolationist, as Paul is often accused of being, nor non-interventionist, as he claims to be. Implementing this style of foreign policy would not cut us off from the rest of the world or prevent us from responding to threats. On the contrary, it would open us to profit from trade with non-threatening nations, and free us to fully engage those who would do us harm.
As it has been thus far executed, the War on Terror cannot be won. Its social and political objectives are beyond our control. We cannot bring civility to the uncivilized, dispense freedom as if it were ours to give, or hasten in tribal hearts and mystic minds the principles and values discovered over centuries of Western Enlightenment. It is neither our duty nor our place. Our duty is protect ourselves, and that means eliminating threats.
Elimination is not education. It does not rebuild. It does not tip-toe around civilians or yield to human shields. It is total war. It is utter destruction. It is the kind of war which hasnt been fought by the West since World War II, and which the United Nations was crafted to prevent.
Nevertheless, it is the only effective way to deal with genuine threats. When we provide our enemies a list of things we will not do, the best we can hope for is perpetual stalemate, an ongoing containment, counter-insurgency, and fruitless negotiation. Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein wrote in The Objective Standard:
"The right to self-defense rests on the idea that individuals have a moral prerogative to act on their own judgment for their own sake that a nation against which force is initiated has a right to kill whomever and to destroy whatever in the aggressor nation [that] is necessary to achieve victory. The neoconservatives reject all-out war in favor of self-sacrificial means of combat that inhibit, or even render impossible, the defeat of our enemies. They advocate crippling rules of engagement that place the lives of civilians in enemy territory above the lives of American soldiersand, by rendering victory impossible, above the lives of all Americans."
We all know Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never have been bombed by todays politicians. The neoconservative foreign policy of Rick Santorum would have fed Americans into a grinder in pursuit of winning hearts and minds. The naive non-interventionism of Ron Paul would have blamed America for provoking Pearl Harbor. Only an objective, rational, and muscular foreign policy which proceeds from the individual rights of American citizens would justify destroying whomever and
to achieve victory, eliminating current threats and effectively deterring future ones. If the people of the world are to learn the value of freedom, let their first lesson be the price of threatening ours.
Nails it, nails it, nails it!
We did provoke Pearl Harbor.
War with Japan would have some to us one way or another no matter what we did because Japan’s “Co-Prosperity Sphere” would have no limits. Limits had to be imposed.
Set up a false premise and attack it, yawn, boring.
Co-Prosperity Sphere would have no limits. Limits had to be imposed.
Nails what? The two above statements are contradictory.
And I'll believe that the others are serious when they control our Southern Border again. Not much sense in just fighting elsewhere for "security" when the door is wide open 24/7/365.
We brought democracy to Egypt, Libya, etc. The result was that they installed the Muslim Brotherhood.
Democracy results in whatever the popular culture asserts as being the ideal state. It only works when the underlying culture is healthy.
Thank you! This is one of the best articles/analyses I’ve read here lately!!!
Which turned out to be true...
I’m a strong supporter of Dr. Paul, and I wholeheartedly agree with this article.
I wish Dr. Paul would read this and start to come around on America’s threats.
This writer did nail it. I can’t think of a better American foreign philosophy.
There is too much money to be made by having an open border, and that is why we have an open border.
I see your point about the apparent contradiction; however, I believe the author was trying to draw a distinction between Paul's policy (respond only to direct threats) and the beliefs of many of his supporters (majority are Leftist according to stats I saw posted here recently; only 18% self described as “very conservative”) who are radical anti-war (Code Pink, etc) and believe there are no threats.
That part is not clearly written; so, again, I see your point and would add the author should have written that segment w/greater clarity. (...and you get “points” for having better crtical reading skills than I this morning!)
As you point out, if Dr Paul could support the foreign policy/defense strategies articulated by the author, he could likely attract a lot more people to his campaign.
Of course the GOP elitists would simply crush Dr Paul; just as they are crushing anyone who becomes a serious threat to their lust for power. My loathing and contempt for those Machiavellian ba$tards and their toadie minions increases exponentially every day.
I have been a Republican all my life, probably will die a Republican. I have been voting since 1974. The present GOP is not the GOP of yesteryear. Compared to the Red Threat that occupies the White House, these candidates seem conservative, but then, so wouldnt Chairman Mao.
All war is attrition. We, the Republic, have been loosing a war of financial attrition for decades. We, the Republic are engaged in a war with those who govern us. Drastic measures are required to defeat this enemy in order to stop the bleeding that each of us are seeing in the depreciation of our savings, the constant onslaught of taxes, fees, and licenses. Each of them designed to remove our ability to live free.
If a slave is a person who works for no money, then a paid person who works with no money left for savings or investment is therefore a slave. In each case work is done, the slave is fed and roofed.
We have no choice but to vote for the candidate who will without hesitation stop the death of a thousand cuts. Bring the troops home, set them up defending our boarders to stop the invaders(illegal immigrants), while they spend their paychecks here bolstering our economy instead of someone elses.
If we need to declare war, then we do so, and like in the past, ramp it up again.
Reduction of all Federal Spending, and all taxes, fees, and other theft apparatus, is the only way to save our Republic.
All the candidates have faults and planks we dont like. But at this time we need an Anti Federal Reserve, spend slashing nut job. Its our only chance.
Vote Ron Paul, and plead, beg, and demand the others drop out of the race.
They are not interested in the Republic.
This article made me like each of these men a little less.
“I have been a Republican all my life, probably will die a Republican. I have been voting since 1974. The present GOP is not the GOP of yesteryear. Compared to the Red Threat that occupies the White House, these candidates seem conservative, but then, so wouldnt Chairman Mao.”
I’ve often thought that if JFK could return from the dead and run as Republican, the GOP machine woould marginalize him as a ‘dangerous rightwing extremist’. In fact, I think Hubert Horatio Humphrey was probably more conservative than today’s GOP ‘moderates’.
Santorum would not rush the country into another war. He is just accurately aware of the truth: there is danger for us and our allies, especially Israel, from Iran.
He also sees correctly the danger of illegal immigration.
He wants to stop both the abject and subtle ways to destroy America.
What I want to hear Santorum (or any other candidate say) is:
"I will not send Americans into combat unless it's total war, fought with overwhelming force, with no objective but unconditional surrender of the enemy. No more decade-long nation building exercises fought with one hand tied behind our backs."
It's the failure of any Republican to say that which has lent support to Ron Paul - and to Obama, too.
Sadly the Republican voters didn’t much care for Bachmann and the media and the establishment kept Thad McCotter off the stage altogether.