Tag Archives: Ron Paul

Foreign Policy Knows No Party

If citizens want to have an opinion on how American foreign policy should be conducted, they may sadly be forced to think for themselves for the foreseeable future.

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Democrats and Republicans

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My European friends typically portray Republican foreign policy as monolithic. Which is to say, nasty. This is baffling, as there is little consensus on foreign policy in either party beyond razing any Olympic uniforms made in China, and wholly and unquestionably doing whatever AIPAC wants.

There are perhaps one or two blurry foreign policy differences between the major parties. The Democrats are arguably less hawkish, with the notable exception of when it comes to doing things like voting on whether or not to bomb other countries. In these rare instances (invading Iraq, for instance) they’re surprisingly gung-ho.

To their credit, Democratic lawmakers did not vote in favor of the Libyan military intervention of 2011. However this is largely because President Obama neglected to ask Congress’s permission to do so.

While the Republican Party still sports an alarming amount of Neocons eager to engage in nation building (usually by bombing the nations they intend to build), it’s unfair to describe the GOP as the party of war. In truth the GOP has only one commonality: a fear of commitment. Isolationist, Neoconservative, Realist and whatever exactly Governor Romney is, Republicans are the party hesitant to confirm “relationship status” with other countries on Facebook.

Let’s look at three recent prominent contenders for the Republican presidential nomination:

First, Rick Santorum, whose hypothetical White House policy briefings would involve several men (note: men) sitting around in sweater vests discussing “Operation Glass Parking Lot.” Santorum appeared to be in such a hurry to catapult projectiles at Tehran that, endowed with the presidency, he would probably order NASA to build a time machine through which to dispatch F16’s to carpet bomb the Ayatollah last month. After leveling the Parchin, Bidganeh and Qom military complexes, they would circle back to the 1950’s to refuel their sweatervest reserves and return to now.

There could be no greater contrast than Ron Paul, a staunch non-interventionist who would ideally like America to transition from the world’s only remaining super power to a sort of 320-million person Switzerland. Defend the shores, deliver the mail. Stop.

The only commonality between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul is that both find the notion of any treaty compelling America to legally bind itself to the consensus of other nations utterly distasteful. Differences notwithstanding, monks and playboys are nonetheless bachelors.

As it stands, the Republican contender for the presidency is Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney’s foreign policy plan is more or less identical to President Obama’s, only with more aggressive adverbs.

It’s possible he’ll start a trade war with China by labeling them as currency manipulators. In his book No Apology, he was of the opinion that “protectionism stifles productivity,” which indicates a reluctance to start a trade war. More than likely, he would carry on the same Free Trade policies enacted by Obama, many of which started during the Bush administration.

The only discernible difference between the diplomatic and economic measures which President Obama has employed to halt the Iranian nuclear program and Romney’s counter plan is his more liberal use of exclamation marks. He would also support covertly support dissidents and increase the US Naval presence in the Straight of Hormuz. Primarily, however, he would rely upon economic sanctions and diplomacy, reserving military intervention in the event that soft power fails. Just like Obama.

What are we to make of all this? The first is that Americans don’t particularly care about foreign policy. If they did, Jon Hunstman would be orchestrating it right now.

The second lesson is that, while Republicans and Democrats might neatly organize themselves into tug-of-war teams on issues like abortion, healthcare and firearm regulation, there is no actual partisan American foreign policy agenda.

If citizens want to have an opinion on how America should conduct itself abroad, they may sadly be forced to think for themselves for the foreseeable future.

US Presidential Election Roundup: 05/8 – 11/8

This week’s roundup of the US presidential elections…

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Romney attacks Obama over military voting [The Hill] Mitt Romney has criticised the Obama campaign for attempting to prevent a law that would extend the early voting period for military personnel.

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Obama policies under fire [Huffington Post] Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of ‘an extraordinary series of policy failures’ in the wake of a recent report on jobs.

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‘Apologies are in the air’ [Washington Post] The Washington Post rounds up a series of apologies from both the Obama and the Romney campaigns from the past two weeks.

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Romney supports Senate contender [CNN] Mitt Romney has campaigned in Indiana alongside Republican candidate for Senate Richard Mourdock.

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Obama ad attacks Romney on Planned Parenthood [Political Wire] A new campaign ad has criticised Mitt Romney’s stance on contraception and Planned Parenthood funding.

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Wealthy will ‘do just fine’ says Romney [CBS] Mitt Romney has said that the wealthiest Americans will ‘do just fine’ regardless of the outcome of the presidential election.

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Reid branded ‘liar’ by Republicans [The Guardian] The majority leader of the Senate Harry Reid has been accused of lying after claiming that Romney paid no taxes for ten years.

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Republican convention speakers announced [Huffington Post] The Republican National Committee has confirmed that Senator John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be among the speakers at the Republican National Convention.

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July sees Romney raise over $100 million [ABC] The Romney campaign raised $101 million in July, it was announced this week.

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Obama predicted to exceed fundraising record [Politico] Although behind his Republican opponent, President Obama is expected to surpass the $750 million raised by his first election campaign.

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Jewish organisation demands Romney apology [The Hill] Jewish Voice for Peace has called on Mitt Romney to apologise to the Palestinians after comments made by the Republican frontrunner in Jerusalem last week.

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More convention speakers revealed [Huffington Post] Rick Santorum and Ron Paul will be among those joining John McCain and Condoleezza Rice as speakers at the Republican National Convention.

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Romney challenges Reid over tax accusation [Fox News] Mitt Romney has requested that Senate leader Harry Reid reveals the source behind his claims about the Republican contender’s tax affairs.

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‘Obamaloney’ [CNN] President Obama’s criticism of Mitt Romney’s tax policies as being ‘Robin Hood in reverse’ has been described as ‘Obamaloney’ by the Republican presidential hopeful.

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Republicans label Obama ad ‘dishonest’ [Telegraph] Republicans have criticised a campaign ad from the Priorities USA Action Super PAC for suggesting that Mitt Romney and Bain Capital may have been responsible for the death of a former employee.

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Obama maintains Colorado lead [Politico] A new poll has found that President Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney in the battleground state of Colorado has remained at around 49% to 43%.

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Obama appeals to women in Colorado [Politico] President Obama has spoken about the benefits of his healthcare reforms for women during a campaign trip to Colorado.

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Spokesperson promotes Romney health law [CNN] The Romney campaign has spoken about the successes of the Massachusetts healthcare law passed by the Republican contender.

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Obama waging ‘war on religion’ says Romney ad [CBS] A new campaign ad from the Romney campaign has accused President Obama of threatening religious freedom.

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Polls show Obama lead [Political Wire] A poll for CNN shows that President Obama is seven points ahead of his Republican rival, while a Fox News poll gives Obama a nine point lead.

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Democratic National Convention to feature Republicans [Politico] Planning papers for the Democratic National Convention have revealed that the event will feature Republican speakers.

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Romney leading in Iowa poll [Politico] A Rasmussen poll gives Romney a two point lead over President Obama.

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Paul Ryan to be named VP [Reuters] Congressman Paul Ryan is expected to be announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Compiled by Patrick McGhee.

Ladies & Gentlemen, The Next President of the United States Is… Ron Paul

Why the most important Republican nominee for the 2012 elections is the one you’ve probably never heard of.

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Let us begin with a test: how many 2012 Republican candidates can you name? The sure favourite Romney; Gaff prone Perry; Pizza king Cain; Tea Partier Bachman; the unfortunately named Santorum maybe? How about Texas Libertarian Ron Paul?

There is a famous dictum by Mahatma Gandhi saying “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” This dictum was famously used in Paul’s 2008 nomination campaign and again now, though if could you not name him in the quiz above, then it seems he’s still stuck on the first stage of Gandhi’s quote. It should come as no surprise that you may not have heard of him. If you speak to any follower of Paul, they will claim that the mainstream media is purposely ignoring the 76 year-old Texan.

Indeed, if you observe the major media outlets, one can perhaps concur with such an accusation. During most of the televised GOP debates it was hard to tell if Paul was even there with the little amount of attention he was given. For instance, at the latest two and a half hour long CBS News debate the Congressman was give just 89 seconds to answer his only question; and was not even allowed to finish at that. A study conducted by the Pew Research Centre Project for Excellence in Journalism shows that from May 2nd to October 9th of this year, Paul only appeared in two per-cent of all elections stories. The weekly publication The Economist, which champions itself in propagating a limited government agenda, has also ignored the campaign trail of the libertarian.

You may be wondering why this matters. After all, there are other candidates that are not given the same limelight as say Romney, Perry or Cain. True, but unlike his neo-conservative rivals, Paul is perhaps the most important candidate running. The reason why he is such an important candidate is because he is so far removed from his republican fellows. So much so that he makes tea partiers such as Bachman appear socialist. Indeed, Judge Napolitano, the presenter of Freedom Watch called Paul “the Thomas Jefferson of our day.”

In essence, he is an enemy of the state; Paul is a libertarian of the constitutionalist sort. He believes that government should be strictly restricted to the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution.  Though placing precedence of local government over lager government, Paul asserts that notion of personal freedom and individual responsibility. Taxes should be kept to an absolute minimum. Ultimately, the government has no legitimacy or authority over Americans unless, of course, there is a threat to freedom. Paul does have some congruence with the Republican Party, such as being anti-abortion (though for freedom rather than religious reasons) and taking a strong anti-monetary policy stance. But some of his proposals do touch a nerve with his party. He advocates free trade and the use of marijuana, and strongly holds a non-interventionist foreign policy. He is against all forms of torture, unlike his Republican rivals who see it as necessary to gain information on supposed terrorist attacks in Americans. Rather than having a heavy military presence both home and abroad (despite being an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War), the Texan argues that diplomacy and free trade are far more effective and moral tactics. In fact, he believes that the cause of most hostilities towards America is because of its military presence.

Such a viewpoint has made him few friends. Those who have followed the debates will remember the infamous photo of Rick Perry apparently threatening Paul during an ad break. The Fox News host Bill O’Reilly called Paul’s foreign policy “dangerous stuff if you have power.” Nevertheless, whether the political elites like it or not, Paul has had a direct influence on American politics. In 2009 Paul wrote the bestseller End the Fed which heavily criticised the use of monetary policy in American and called for the Federal Reserve to be abolished. Prior to the book’s publication there was hardly any discussion about the Fed in either party. Now, with the worsening economic condition both globally and domestically, more questions are being asked about the usefulness of the central bank, with other Republican candidates now suggesting they would reform the Fed if they won the presidency.

In spite of the apparent media blacklist with Paul’s name on it, the congressman does possess a strong and resilient, though small, following. Since the start of the debates Paul has held a consistent approval rating in the mid-teens. Moreover, he as the biggest amount of support from veterans than any other candidate, possibly because of his strong stance against interventionism and war. Though perhaps his biggest support comes from fellow libertarians. Despite their numbers increasing, Libertarians and minarcists in America are still a rare breed. What is more, these fellow Libertarian groups mainly use alternatives form of media as their news source and for communication. Podcasts and radio shows such as No Agenda, Anarchast and theAlex Jones Show are notable examples. These alternative news sources are strong supporters of Paul’s campaign and constitute a substantial part of his campaign fund. But these small groups are also Paul’s weakness. Because of their political beliefs, many individuals reject the elections and will not vote, even for a fellow Libertarian. One caller on the Anarchast radio show said they hope Paul wins the nomination, but would not cast their vote because it meant they consented to having a government.

As much as some wish for Paul to win the nomination and become President, most accept that he will not win. This is because of both the media blackout and the fact that many hold his beliefs as extreme and radical. And being in his late seventies, it is unlikely Paul will run again in 2016. Nevertheless, it is the writer’s conjecture that Paul knows this, and the main reason why he is running is to get propagate his message of freedom. And despite the lack of mainstream attention, more and more people are becoming enlightened by his Libertarian viewpoint. In some ways, then, he has already won.