We caught up with Congressman Ron Paul after his speech at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix over the weekend. One of the themes of that speech was that America cannot impose democracy upon the rest of the world. However, unaddressed was whether America ought to protect allies who are free and wish to remain so. Here was our follow-up with the congressman.
NRB: David Horowitz and others have been critical of the effect that your foreign policy would have upon Israel… How would you describe a libertarian vision for alliance that could support democracies where people want to determine their own course while under threat by external forces?
Ron Paul: We’ve been involved a long time, since World War II, especially since we’ve inherited or developed our empire. We strongly supported all the dictators that surround Israel, and sometimes we buy peace and pay for it. But it’s unstable. And that instability has always been a threat to Israel. Now, when it’s coming apart, and our financial system’s coming apart, Israel is in worse shape than ever because of our so-called protection.
I believe in non-intervention. I believe we should treat all other countries alike, and that we should be friends. Israel is very, very powerful. If we weren’t in there, they could do what they want to protect themselves, and they wouldn’t have to ask us permission, and we would never have to be dragged in if something happens over there. I think they’d be much better off, and that would be a constitutional position.
NRB: Is there a point where the existence of Israel being under threat would compel even a libertarian to take action to protect her?
Paul: First off, they’re under threat because we’re there. We’re a greater threat to them, and our polices, because they have assumed that we’ll [intervene] if they don’t do the right things for themselves.
I don’t know of anybody who can militarily threaten them. They have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobody’s gonna touch them. This notion that we have to support them over the Palestinians – we shouldn’t favor one over the other. It’s a very different problem over there. If you’re a Palestinian-American, you might not like [America's position on Israel]. I’m not saying you should support the Palestinian side or the Israeli side. I’m saying let them work it out.