Irresponsible Foreign Policy: The Republican Establishment, Not Ron Paul
(Huffington Post) -- by Doug Bandow --
Even loyal Republicans are disheartened by their choices this year: the man who flips and flops whenever convenient, the official turned lobbyist who imagines he is Churchill (or maybe Caesar) reincarnated, and the governor with memory problems. But the man the GOP elite most fear is a genial 76-year-old congressman from Texas. He actually believes in something and remembers what it is. And he has been largely right on the big issues.
Of course, Rep. Ron Paul suffers from some self-inflicted problems. But for most of his critics what most matters is his stand on the issues. Especially on foreign policy. If the Republicans ignore him they deserve to lose the 2012 election.
A decade ago President George W. Bush chose arrogance over humility as his foreign policy. Since then virtually every Republican presidential candidates has embraced his philosophy of endless war: in effect, the GOP mantra is "we're all neoconservatives now."
Only Paul (and Gary Johnson, excluded from most of the debates) challenge America's role as a de facto empire. Paul observed that conservatives enjoyed spending money, only "on different things. They like embassies, and they like occupation. They like the empire. They like to be in 135 countries and 700 bases."
All of Paul's establishment GOP opponents support defending a gaggle of prosperous and populous "welfare queens" around the world. Rick Santorum warned: as commander-in-chief Ron Paul "can shut down our bases in Germany. He can shut down the bases in Japan. He can pull our fleets back."
Why would this be bad? The European nations have a larger GDP and population than America. The U.S. faces fiscal crisis: after 66 years, it is time for the Europeans to defend themselves. Japan, long possessing the world's second largest economy, also could take care of itself.
Americans must worry about the transition of power in North Korea primarily because nearly 30,000 U.S. troops remain on station in the South. Yet South Korea has about 40 times the GDP and twice the population of the North. Why, nearly six decades after the end of the Korean War, are Americans still paying for Seoul's defense? Observed Paul: "How long do we have to stay in Korea? We were there since I was in high school."
No less bizarre is the new-found Republican love affair with nation-building. It is widely recognized--outside of neoconservative think tanks and Republican presidential campaigns, anyway--that Iraq was a disaster. The war, fought under false pretenses, killed thousands of Americans, wounded tens of thousands more, killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, drove millions more from their homes, and will end up costing Americans trillions of dollars. The chief beneficiary of Bush's foolish misadventure was Iran.
Yet the GOP presidential contenders criticized the Obama administration for not forcing Iraq's elected government from accepting a continued U.S. military presence...MORE...LINK