Ron Paul fervently believes in the U.S. Constitution and the form of government it created. The Bill of Rights defends the freedom of the individual, and constitutional principles limit what the federal government can do. But it was the Wilson administration of 1912 to 1920 that gave our progressive politicians the notion that the Constitution was an unreasonable obstacle to desired federal expansion and put us on the road to incremental socialism.
Actually, it was Theodore Roosevelt who unleashed the incipient totalitarian beast, by adopting a philosophy of government very much like the one expounded by "Colonel" Edward Mandell House, a key advisor to Woodrow Wilson and FDR, in his novel, Philip Dru: Administrator, the story of a Mussolini-type strong man who manages to become a benign American dictator and gets things done.
Ron Paul rejects that progressive philosophy of government, which in the eyes of establishment Republicans makes him out to be an extremist. Their cry is that we can’t go back to the way things were before the liberal-progressive-socialists took over our government. It is also significant that President Wilson not only embarked on a vast expansion of the federal government with the income tax and the establishment of the Federal Reserve System, but he also got us into World War I.
Ron Paul is a non-interventionist. If he had been President in 1917, he would have done everything in his power to avoid our involvement in that European conflict. A German victory would not have led to World War II. Yes, Britain and France might have suffered defeat, but to what extent that would have changed European or world history we have no way of knowing. Not only can we not predict the future, we can’t even predict the past!
While most pro-Paul voters wholeheartedly endorse his stand on domestic issues, it is taking them some time to adjust to his foreign policy of non-interventionism. Of course, students of American history know of George Washington’s famous Farewell Address in which he warned us not to get involved in entangling alliances with foreign powers which would prejudice our ability to deal with all nations on an equal, neutral footing.
But that has not prevented us from getting involved in a variety of wars, the first of which was the war against the Barbary Pirates in the Muslim states of North Africa who were interfering with our commercial vessels in the Mediterranean. Jefferson and Madison won that war with our warships and only seven American Marines on the landside.
In 1848 Mexico declared war against us when the independent nation of Texas joined the United States. We invaded Mexico and won that war, which added much new territory in the Southwest to the United States. But many New Englanders opposed that war.
In 1861 we had to deal with our own Civil War, which cost over a half-million lives. The Southern Confederacy surrendered, and the secessionist states once more became part and parcel of the Union.
In 1898, we declared war against Spain, a war that lasted about a year and gave us Puerto Rico and (for a time) Cuba and the Philippines. We had become a world military power. Nineteen years later we entered World War I on the side of the Allies. The end of that war led to the creation of the League of Nations. But President Harding rejected the League of Nations and signed separate peace treaties with Germany and Austria. Most Americans by then were opposed to any further involvement in the affairs of foreign nations. But the internationalists were determined to keep us involved, and they got their way after World War II with the creation of the United Nations.
By then America had become a world industrial power; our corporations had developed worldwide interests that were economically beneficial to American shareholders as well as American and foreign consumers. Those interests required the protection of our State Department and the military power of the United States. Our interest in the oil reserves of the Arabian Peninsula led to our involvement in the Middle East. A non-interventionist President would have had to deal with all of these delicate problems.
But our main concern after World War II was the attempt by the communists to achieve world domination. They had conquered Russia in 1918 and embarked on a policy of world revolution. Although we were allied with the Soviet Union in our efforts to defeat Germany, a Cold War against communism began at the end of that conflict with the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe.
The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, only five years after the end of World War II, when the communist government of North Korea, supported by Red China and the Soviet Union, invaded democratic South Korea, supported by us and the United Nations. The United States responded to that communist aggression. The freedom and sovereignty of South Korea were restored in July 1953 at the cost of 33,686 American lives on the battlefield. Since then South Korea has become one of the world’s most advanced and productive nations. We still maintain troops in South Korea to serve notice on North Korea to keep that communist totalitarian state at bay.
Two years later, in November 1955, began the Vietnam War between communist North Vietnam and democratic South Vietnam. Our military intervention began in 1961 during the Kennedy administration and ended 10 years later in March 1971. But after an enormously mismanaged military effort by the United States to prevent the communists from taking over South Vietnam, the war finally ended with the fall of Saigon to the communists on April 30, 1975. The number of Americans killed in that war was 58,220, with 150,000 wounded.
The American defeat permitted the communists to take over Cambodia and inflict a genocidal campaign in that poor country resulting in the deaths of over a million Cambodians. Pundits are still arguing whether or not we should have gotten involved in Vietnam to begin with.
Then, in 1983, there was the invasion of the island of Grenada by the United States to prevent it from becoming a communist military base in the Caribbean. Also, in 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was bombed by Hezbollah Islamic terrorists. President Reagan then sent a contingent of U.S. Marines to Beirut to help separate warring Lebanese factions. The Marines were housed in a building at Beirut Airport. On October 23, 1983, a Hezbollah suicide bomber detonated a truck load of explosives at the barracks killing 241 Marines and wounding 100 others. President Reagan then ordered American forces to leave Lebanon.
Then, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, President George H.W. Bush formed a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait. Desert Storm, as the operation was called, was a great success with a minimum of American casualties. We then tried to save Somalia by sending in American troops. That ended with the bodies of dead Americans being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.
On 9/11/2001, we were attacked by radical Islamists who managed to kill 3,000 Americans in just a few hours. That led to our involvement in Afghanistan where the terrorists had been trained. President George W. Bush then decided to invade Iraq even though Saddam Hussein was not involved in the attack on 9/11. We lost over 4,000 soldiers in that war in an attempt to bring democracy to an Islamic state. Obama brought that war to a close in December 2011.
It is obvious that we have been involved in an endless cycle of wars, much of it due to an interventionist foreign policy. Ron Paul offers Americans a new foreign policy that would reduce our involvement in the affairs of other countries. While the neo-conservatives believe that America has a duty to spread democracy around the world at the expense of American lives and treasure, Ron Paul would change that policy. American lives are not to be sacrificed for the benefit of others who generally despise America.
As for the threat that Iran poses against Israel, Paul believes that the Israelis are quite capable of taking care of themselves. They don’t need America telling them whether or not they can build apartments in Jerusalem or elsewhere. And they don’t need an American president telling them where they should locate their borders. And should a hostile Iran, armed with nuclear weapons, threaten us, there is no doubt that President Paul would know how to deal with that hypothetical situation. It will not be easy extricating ourselves from the complexity of our involvement in world affairs, but we must start somewhere, and Ron Paul would be the President to start the process.