Isolationist or Interventionist? (Does it Matter?)

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Brits4RonPaul offers the standard response in defense of the "Ron Paul is an isolationist" "slander":

Paul is clearly not isolationist, because he is for friendship and free trade with the world. Why do people think Brits, Germans, French etc are supporting him too?

Here is a Wikipedia definition of "isolationist":

Isolationism is a foreign policy which combines a non-interventionist military policy and a political policy of economic nationalism (protectionism). In other words, it asserts both of the following:

  1. Non-interventionism – Political rulers should avoid entangling alliances with other nations and avoid all wars not related to direct territorial self-defense.
  2. Protectionism – There should be legal barriers to prevent trade and cultural exchange with people in other states.

Besides the "free trade" defense, the Ronulans will also make the distinction that Ron Paul is a "non-interventionist"; not an "isolationist". I prefer to use the term "isolationist" because it gets the Ronulans very, very exasperated with having to go around setting everyone straight on the matter.

 Regardless of the word-mincing, even specifying that Ron Paul is a "non-interventionist" is not a policy to be proud of. By that foreign policy position, we would not have gone to war with Germany until directly threatened by Hitler to invade our shores. We would not have fought on behalf of our allies throughout the world against the Nazis and against communism. Stalin was in fact probing and testing the United States during the Cold War. I guess under Ron Paul, the rest of the world be damned…we’ll stick our necks out for nobody.

That being said, I do believe in committing our military only to missions that are critical to our national security and defense. Sometimes, however, that does mean sending troops to foreign lands and helping our allies. Sometimes our self-interest coincides with helping others.

Excellent response at The Jump Blog (Interestingly, the post seems designed around testing/baiting the Paulspambots to descend upon the blogpost- much like why I started my Ron Paul posts):

 

Ron Paul is a delusional tool:

At the same time, we must not isolate ourselves. The generosity of the American people has been felt around the globe. Many have thanked God for it, in many languages. Let us have a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

So, we shouldn’t entangle ourselves in foreign affairs…except of course to trade with them. And travel to them. And have diplomatic relations with them. Which of course would lead to things like trade treaties. Which lead to real treaties. Which lead to military obligations and charges of American Imperialism and makes a target of our trade partners. Which would put us right back where we are. If, that is, the terrorists didn’t just decide to start knocking us off back here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Which of course they would. Good idea Ron. It’d be much better to fight ‘em right here.

 

 

“Did somebody step on a duck or is it my half-baked platform that stinks?”

 

Ron Paul is like that friendly neighbor who you invite over to barbecues and wave hi to on occasion as you come home with the groceries. Don’t count on him to intervene on your behalf should he find you being mugged, or your family’s life threatened; after all, he wouldn’t want to invite "blowback" ("Blowback" is what the mugger should be experiencing for his crime- not the other way around). He may be friendly with you; but he won’t come to your defense….he’ll wait until the mugger comes knocking at his own door before fighting back.

Applying 18th century practice to a 21st century world ignores the changes that have occurred since the founding of our country. Even Thomas Jefferson was not a strict non-interventionist, and recognized a threat when he saw one.

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Wow! I hope and pray you guys have a good spam program. You’re gonna need it. The little Ron Paulies have recently deserted me, thank heavens! I’m now no longer getting nearly 1,000 pieces of pornographic spam per day!

Better you than me!

SJ Reidhead
The Pink Flamingo

“That being said, I do believe in committing our military only to missions that are critical to our national security and defense.”

So how was the Iraq invasion “critical to our national security and defense”?

John: In case no one has already explained it, Iraq is the “keystone” in a our geostrategy to win the war with the Islamists.

You might have noticed from ALL the statements by Osama and friends how important Iraq is to them.

Do you really want the people who perpetrated 9/11 to go not only unpunished, but to establish a sanctuary from which to plan more attacks?

How is it that you folks have your head stuck in the sand at the same time you have it stuck up your ass?

There are 1 billion Moslems in the world.
I do not wish to go to war with all of them, even if it is possible for us to do so, and win.
Instead I just want the ones that blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon AND killed 3000 Americans.
Let’s catch that SOB Osama and his active friends.
What I am waiting for is some evidence that there are any governments in the world today which are actually supporting AND are actually the home of Al-Qaeda. The best justification in the world for going to war with Iran would be that Osama is in Iran. No one I have heard of has suggested that he is. He is just too radical.

The arguments I have heard, like Tancredo’s that we should NUKE Medina and Mecca if we are attacked again, others have suggested some milder variant, seems a lot like the idea that if in Ireland the Catholics have a terrorist attack on the protestants that someone should nuke the Vatican for them. I believe that we are in danger of losing our sense of the proportionality and feasibility of our actions over the last 4 years. The size of the IRA in Ireland is less than 150 people yet the Brits have not been able to catch them all in 100 years.

One last point, and it concerns the 2nd amendment; 500,000 men in the Iraqi army evaporated with their weapons at the time of the American army conquering/liberation of Iraq. In fact I believe I read that per capita Iraq is the third best armed population on earth. The US is #1 in that regard. If even a small number of the Iraqis or any occupied country wish to be active in resisting our presence in for example a guerilla war mode, particularly with a passive but significantly supportive general population, then Americans will bleed and die for a very, very, very long time. It is very very difficult to defeat someone if they are willing to die for their cause.

My question is, like Reagan’s: “Are we really sure we want to be and HAVE to be IN Iraq?” If we do, then we do. I would like to be convinced.

Would it be possible for someone to list for me the top 5 reasons/goals for us to stay in Iraq and the likelihood that we will accomplish EACH or any of these goals?

It really bothers me when children die in America and any place else. Kids are kids wherever they are. I want to make sure that the collateral damage of war is really worth it.

I would appreciate a sincere response.

Thanks.

Osama bin Laden is an enemy of Iran because he is a whacked out Sunni extremist. Wahabi is a Sunni cult, essentially. His big ace in the hole was the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, which his cronies have managed to screw up by isolating support among the only potential friends he might have in Iraq.

The Sunnis of Anbar Province, which is a HUGE province, turned on al-Qaeda because of their reckless and insatiable appetite for violence. Decapitating children and raping women is just a bit too extreme even for Sunni insurgents.

I personally believe Bin Laden is reaping his own reward now. If we catch him, which we won’t (his people will mercy kill him or he’ll commit suicide), it would be symbolic. He’s living out of caves, is very sickly (if he’s even still alive). That tape may have been a year or more old.

Tancredo’s idea of bombing mosques is a great one…. if you have intention of winning the war on terror. You may as well be totally morally irresponsible and just carpet bomb the entire Middle East. There is an entire population of moderate/devout Muslims who understand al-Qaeda and terrorists are apostates of the faith. Tancredo’s understanding of how to win this war is ill conceived. We have to alienate and marginalize the bad guys, showing them to be the apostates/heretics they are and join with good Muslims to show them we respect their religious freedom and want to work toward a peaceful life for all of us. Muslims are terribly put off by our separation of church and state and see it as a sacrileage, and we need to get on board with this as a religious war if we want to win it.

The majority of Iraqis do not want us to leave. They want stability and they have good reason for not trusting (or even particularly liking) Americans in their country. We don’t respect religion, we’re foreigners who call them all “jihadists” lumping them together with OBL, we totally screwed them over in the first Gulf War and we facilitated an insurgency that didn’t need to happen.

Intervention in Iraq was inevitble. Imagine Saddam Hussein developing a nuke (no question that was his design)… even if he were to die or fail in his mission, he had 2 sons to carry on in his stead. He left a legacy that would continue his agenda. This wouldn’t just go away. The whole reason we were in Saudi Arabia to begin with is because Saudis were fearful of Saddam and they invited us in for protection.

Bush had the courage to take this on and we should be grateful it happened now rather than when our children have children.

Mike,

Was Iraq a sanctuary for al Queada before or after we invaded? Al Queada seems to have found a sanctuary in Pakistan. I guess we’ll be invading Pakistan next. Oh wait, Iran is next. Just curious Mike, are you in the military? Or maybe you’re older and you have some kids of your own that you can lend to the fight.

Instead of keeping the focus on al Queada, Bush used 9/11 to justify his invasion of Iraq. Those who bought into Bush’s propaganda about weapons of mass destruction, mobile chemical weapons labs, uranium yellow cake, and Iraqi involvement in 9/11 are the ones with their heads up their asses.

All the contracts for production of Iraqi oil were held by French, Russian, and Chinese companies. Toppling Saddam’s government invalidated those contracts. This war had zero to do with terrorism and everything to do with benefiting Exxon Mobil.

“In 1997, Russia’s LUKOIL signed contracts to develop Iraq’s West Qurna oil field. The same year, the China National Petroleum Corporation bought a 50 percent stake in the al-Ahdab oil field. (Both have been barred from developing those reserves by U.N. sanctions.) More recently, France’s TotalFinaElf has reportedly negotiated agreements to develop the much larger Majnoon field, but has not yet signed firm contracts to do so.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3071526/

Follow the money Mike, and the truth shall set you free.

it’s all the neocons and major corporations that brought about the war in Iraq. Right?

Clearly the administration was hell bent to invade Iraq. They cherry picked the intelligence and ignored anything that did not fit into their plan.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2007/09/06/bush_wmd/

Call them Neocons if you want to. I personally think that name is far too kind. I propose oil as the motive. What’s your theory, Scott?

PS, How could I have forgotten to mention the famous “aluminum tubes” in my earlier post?

There are 1 billion Moslems in the world.
I do not wish to go to war with all of them, even if it is possible for us to do so, and win.

Who is advocating that? Not President Bush. Not I. The ones who are? You can scratch Osama’s name up on that chalk board, and the extreme right, of which I am not one.

Instead I just want the ones that blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon AND killed 3000 Americans.

Well, 19 of them died around the same time that they murdered 3,000 of us. And much of the original leadership and many operatives have been killed or captured.

But I really do not think that relegating this as a law enforcement issue would have been the proper response. We had warnings of escalating attacks from al-Qaeda, all through the 90’s. The law enforcement answer did not prevent 9/11.

Maybe I’m wrong, and that is the route we should have taken. But it isn’t the path we ended up choosing. So, with the hand that has been dealt, we need to play it to win.

Let’s catch that SOB Osama and his active friends.
What I am waiting for is some evidence that there are any governments in the world today which are actually supporting AND are actually the home of Al-Qaeda. The best justification in the world for going to war with Iran would be that Osama is in Iran. No one I have heard of has suggested that he is. He is just too radical.

I’ve heard some speculation on the outside possibility. I believe he has a son that is held “prisoner/guest”, along with someone else. It’s just unknown if al-Qaeda is working at all with Iran; but I would not put it beyond a sunni al-Qaeda and Shia Iran to have collaboration against the common enemy infidel U.S.

The arguments I have heard, like Tancredo’s that we should NUKE Medina and Mecca if we are attacked again, others have suggested some milder variant, seems a lot like the idea that if in Ireland the Catholics have a terrorist attack on the protestants that someone should nuke the Vatican for them. I believe that we are in danger of losing our sense of the proportionality and feasibility of our actions over the last 4 years. The size of the IRA in Ireland is less than 150 people yet the Brits have not been able to catch them all in 100 years.

I have no problems with “disproportionate force”. I believe in overwhelming the enemy with superior and sustained firepower.

That being said, I think bombing Mecca and Medina is a the wrong answer, and terribly irresponsible for Tancredo to say. It is not helpful when we do need Muslim allies in this, to not perceive this as a war against Islam, but against their terrorist brethren. Michael Medved really laid it out well.

One last point, and it concerns the 2nd amendment; 500,000 men in the Iraqi army evaporated with their weapons at the time of the American army conquering/liberation of Iraq. In fact I believe I read that per capita Iraq is the third best armed population on earth. The US is #1 in that regard. If even a small number of the Iraqis or any occupied country wish to be active in resisting our presence in for example a guerilla war mode, particularly with a passive but significantly supportive general population, then Americans will bleed and die for a very, very, very long time. It is very very difficult to defeat someone if they are willing to die for their cause.

DenisL, I believe that the size of the insurgency against the U.S., especially at the moment, is small relative to the population. I think most Iraqis just want to get on with their lives, and will go along with whoever can best protect them, and serve their interests. If it was a matter of just wanting the U.S. to leave, all the insurgents would have to do is stop killing their own and allow the rebuilding of Iraq proceed.

Things really went south after the bombing of the al-Askari Golden Mosque of Samarra. Although sectarian differences will always be there, it is really al-Qaeda who instigated the so-called “civil war” and sectarian violence.

500,000 men are not fighting us.

And insurgencies historically take around 10 years to win. Occupation is not unique to this war. Despite what Ron Paul says, undeclared wars have been around since Thomas Jefferson, as well as post-war operations that have our soldiers act in roles other than what they might have been originally trained to do.

My question is, like Reagan’s: “Are we really sure we want to be and HAVE to be IN Iraq?” If we do, then we do. I would like to be convinced.

Do a lot of reading, from both sides, and draw your own conclusions. You can find plenty in the archives that might help for the pro-war “neocon” view.

One of the things is, we are there now. Whatever you may think about whether we should or should not have entered Iraq. “We broke it, we own it.” The only option in war is victory. Especially this war. America cannot sustain another Vietnam. Nor can we hand victory over to al-Qaeda. There’s nothing like success and winning to boost your recruitment. Our recruitment is hurting, thanks to a pop culture and MSM bias that does not promote a warrior culture and make being a soldier a desireable, honorable way of life. And in the times we live in, who wants to serve in an illegal war, a quagmire, a disaster, as MSM has defined this to be?

Would it be possible for someone to list for me the top 5 reasons/goals for us to stay in Iraq and the likelihood that we will accomplish EACH or any of these goals?

I could, but I’d have to think about it some. Right now, I’m done typing. There are so many commenters in my multi Ron Paul surge of posts to address.

You can find much of my feelings if you google “Michael Medved’s 3 Big Lies of Vietnam”. It’s a great audio program. If you need help finding it, just ask. There are probably 5 answers right there, that you can relate back to Iraq.

It really bothers me when children die in America and any place else. Kids are kids wherever they are. I want to make sure that the collateral damage of war is really worth it.

Those thoughts are shared by most all of us. None of us want nor like war. But some wars are important to be fought; and all wars are important to be won, once we are in htem.

I would appreciate a sincere response.

Thanks.

I thought I’d try to give you a sincere response rather than a sarcastic, dismissive smackdown, as I have those RPers who I baited to fling mud my way.

Thanks for changing the tone and making me be respectful and serious, for one.

Keep on sucking up the Fox News propaganda, the world is laughing at you.

“Protectionism – There should be legal barriers to prevent trade and cultural exchange with people in other states.”

And Ron Paul is not a Protectionist, so your effort to portray him as an Isolationist fails by definition.
Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, never occupied a foreign country for a decade in the name of “national security”. He fought the war, crushed the enemy, and came home — which is exactly what Paul has been saying since ’08.