The following essay is from Ron Paul's weekly column. I think one of the primary things that keep neocon ditto-heads (as opposed to deliberate, neocon propagandists) from being libertarians is the inability to empathize with other people. This is prevalent in their worldview and is tragically relevant in most of their positions, but most offensively in their "views" (regurgitated talking points) on foreign policy. This is made possible by a distorted sense of American exceptionalism. I'm a patriot and believe that America is exceptional, but not because of our militarty, our economy, our government, our borders, or even our Constitution. America is exceptional only as it remains a symbol of the principles on which it was founded, as embodied in the Declaration, another imperfect, man-made document. That exceptionalism does not give us some biological advantage or the right to exploit the rest of the world's population by force, or even to think that we can tell other people how to run their countries. Ultimately, if a people want to tolerate a dictatorship, or an oligarchy, that is their decision. We have been doing it in this country for quite some time and the final responsibility lies always, with we the people. In this essay, Ron Paul profoundly asks his readers to think outside of their bubbles and EMPATHIZE. Enjoy.
Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”
Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up check points on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.
Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.
Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.
The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment towards us.
According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of re-evaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn’t stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. 50,000 troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.
Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.
Posted by Ron Paul (03-09-2009, 10:29 AM) filed under Foreign Policy