Whether he wins or not.America is waking up,and that's what counts.
The Ron Paul Revolution Continues
If they continue to malign and ignore the libertarian wing of the
Republican Party, GOP elders will be slamming the door on their future.
BY CHRISTOPHER PREBLE |
MARCH 6, 2012
is an inherent logic to Paul's foreign policy that should appeal to
small-government conservatives. For one thing, conservatives' doubts about Washington's ability to
accomplish particular ends, no matter how well-intentioned, should multiply when
the government project involves violence in foreign lands. Americans who doubt the
U.S. government's ability to reform health care should be doubly skeptical
about its efforts to reform Afghanistan.
concerned about government power should also appreciate, as Paul does, that war
has almost always led to the expansion of the state's size and power at home. And
he is hardly alone. "War is a friend of the state," Nobel laureate Milton
"In time of war, government will take powers and do things that it would not
ordinarily do." We have seen this in the creation of new government agencies and
the erosion of civil liberties after the 9/11 attacks.
Paul's warnings against stationing large numbers of U.S. troops in foreign
lands reveal an understanding about how the world works that transcends
libertarianism. Conservatives who comprehend that people aren't inclined to pay
for goods if Uncle Sam foots the bill should understand why wealthy allies in Europe
and Asia will free-ride, taking U.S. protection as an opportunity to scrimp on
defense and splurge on other things.
Ignoring this dynamic, Paul's Republican opponents are calling for
spending even more money that the United States doesn't have. They think that the $5.7 trillion now
planned for military budgets over the next decade isn't nearly enough. Mitt
to spend at least 4 percent of GDP on the Pentagon's base budget, plus whatever
more is needed for any wars that he may want to fight. If Romney is serious
about fulfilling his pledge (which, given his track record, is far from
assured), he would spend an additional $2.5 trillion on the military over the
next decade. His military budget in 2022 would top $1 trillion -- 61 percent
more than current projections. And Romney has not explained which taxes he would
increase or what other spending he would cut to cover that increase, which suggests
that he would kick the problem to future generations in the form of more debt.
No wonder young people like Paul.
Military spending is not the main cause of America's fiscal crisis, and
cutting military spending won't solve it. But Republicans who argue that "the
common defense" is one of the few legitimate functions of government and that
therefore the Defense Department budget should be the last one
cut after every other department must come to grips with the fact that most of
what Americans spend on their military goes to defending foreigners.
This arrangement suits people in Washington, Republican and
Democrat alike, but many people outside the Beltway hunger for a, yes,
humbler foreign policy. Short of that, they would like to see a less
militarized one. As AlterNet's Adele
Stan recently explained, Paul's anti-war rhetoric "satisfies this
deep spiritual yearning" among progressives to "hear someone say that we
shouldn't be bombing other people around the world." On the other end of the
ideological spectrum, even as she explicitly rejected Paul's foreign-policy
Palin warned after the Iowa caucuses that "the GOP had better not marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters … because
Ron Paul and his supporters understand that a lot of Americans are war-weary
and we are broke."
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