A crackpot brand of Blame-America, Excuse-the-Enemy diplomacy far too dangerous to dismiss.
Rep. Ron Paul believes the United States is a greedy, militaristic empire that brought 9/11 upon itself. He believes that Iran poses no threat to U.S. or Israeli security and that Iran deserves to have a nuclear weapon if it wants one. As for Israel, he does not think it should have ever come into existence as a Jewish state. Nevertheless, Ron Paul, whose crackpot beliefs would be disastrous for the United States and the free world if ever implemented, is a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination.
With money, good organization, a demagogic message that has a surface appeal to voters looking for a radical break with the status quo and an enthusiastic cadre of supporters fueling his campaign, Paul has vaulted into the top tier of Republican presidential candidates in the Iowa caucuses, which he could well win on January 3rd. He is virtually tied with Newt Gingrich for second place in New Hampshire after the heavy favorite, Mitt Romney. Overall, Paul is currently running third in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls.
Paul's foreign policy philosophy hearkens back to the pre-World War II "America First" isolationist movement that was shattered with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. In fact, Paul would have been right at home in that movement. According to Eric Dondero, a former senior aide to the congressman, Paul believed that the United States had no business getting involved in fighting Hitler in World War II. "He expressed to me countless times, that 'saving the Jews,' was absolutely none of our business," Dondero said. "When pressed, he often times brings up conspiracy theories like FDR knew about the attacks of Pearl Harbor weeks before hand."
Paul has harbored similar conspiratorial thoughts about 9/11. Dondero said that his former boss
engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions...
Paul was opposed to the war in Afghanistan from the outset, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11, according to Dondero. It was only after feeling intense political heat from his home district that Paul reluctantly reversed his initial opposition to the resolution authorizing military action in Afghanistan and decided at the last minute to vote "yes."
In Ron Paul's Blame America world view, the U.S. military, which conquered fascism and has since World War II helped to liberate many millions of people from the cruel grip of totalitarian communism, fanatical jihadism and secular dictatorships, is somehow the world's greatest source of evil and conflict in the world.
"Just come home," Paul has repeatedly intoned, echoing George McGovern's 1972 campaign slogan “Come Home, America.” A President Ron Paul would gut the nation's defenses and homeland security as he carries out his promises to drastically cut military spending and to repeal what he has called the "police state" Patriot Act.
It's no surprise that the left-wing, anti-American Code Pink likes Paul's message. Code Pink activist Liz Hourican told FoxNews.com that the "Ron Paul people are closer and closer to our talking points with each election."
Paul also has other friends on the hard Left such as Tom Hayden, who wrote:
Paul opposes the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He opposes the empire of military bases. He opposes Wall Street thievery, tax subsidies for oil companies, the suppression of WikiLeaks, the drug war and the criminalization of marijuana. Those positions might just save America.
At the same time, Paul's message is in sync with that of the paleoconservative, Israel-hating isolationist Pat Buchanan. Consider, for example, their common perspective on 9/11. Buchanan said that "Terrorism is the price of empire. They were over here because we were over there." Paul has attributed the al Qaeda attack to America's interventionist actions in Muslim lands and to our support for Israel.
In a speech he delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives in January 2003, for example, Paul said:
We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, and we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack, but we refuse to listen to his explanation of why he and his allies are at war with us. Bin Laden claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with bases on the Holy Land and Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians, as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel's occupation expands.
As for Osama bin Laden, whom our Navy Seals dispatched last spring, Ron Paul criticized the one decision that Barack Obama got right. Paul said he would not have authorized the mission, arguing that killing bin Laden was unnecessary and that he has "respect for the rule of law."
Ron Paul remains steadfast in denouncing U.S. foreign policy as one of occupation that justifies what he has referred to as the terrorists' "blowback" response. During a CNN-Tea Party Republican presidential debate last September, for example, Paul stated that
we’re under great threat because we occupy so many countries… We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?
Anti-American guru Noam Chomsky claimed that what Paul said was "completely uncontroversial."
It may be "uncontroversial" to Chomsky, as well as to Pat Buchanan who thinks 9/11 was the price we paid for empire-building. But it is way out of the mainstream to most Americans.
As the New York Times put it in a front page article on December 26th about Ron Paul's campaign, Paul and his closest political allies have "sought to forge a movement from the nether region of American politics, where the far right and the far left sometimes converge."
Ron Paul does not only attribute al Qaeda's terrorist attacks to American foreign policy. He also blames America and Israel for frightening Iran into taking defensive actions to protect itself. When asked how he might deter Iran if it ever did pose a threat, Paul said “maybe offering friendship to them.”
While defending the terrorist-sponsoring Iranian regime's right to seek nuclear arms, he denies that Iran's nuclear enrichment program is anything to worry about. He says there is no credible evidence that Iran is advancing towards achieving a nuclear bomb capability, despite a disturbing report to the contrary issued last month by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA report found that there was information indicating Iran was conducting activities "specific to nuclear weapons." The IAEA was particularly concerned about "activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."
Nevertheless, in the face of such evidence, Paul asserted, "we’re claiming that they’re gonna build a nuclear weapon and there’s no evidence for this." Speaking directly to Rep. Michele Bachmann during the December 15th Fox News debate after she confronted him with the IAEA report regarding Iran's progress towards nuclear weaponization, Paul said that the IAEA "produced information that led you to believe that, but they have no evidence."
During the August 11, 2011 GOP presidential debate in Iowa, Paul tried to justify Iran's aggressive posture towards the United States: "We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the Shah, and the reaction — the blowback came in 1979. It’s been going on and on because we just plain don’t mind our own business. That’s our problem."
Paul went on during this same debate to treat Iran like a mama bear just trying to protect her cubs. He asked rhetorically, "Why wouldn't it be natural that they might want a weapon? Internationally, they'd be given more respect."
During the Fox News debate on December 15th, Paul repeated his defense of Iran's right to pursue a nuclear weapons capability and pointed to what happened to Muammar Qaddafi after he abandoned Libya's nuclear program:
So the fact that they are surrounded, they have a desire. And how do we treat people when they have a nuclear weapon? With a lot more respect. What did we do with Libya? We talked to them. We talked them out of their nuclear weapon. And then we killed them.
Appearing on the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show earlier this month, Paul called allegations that Iran had attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States a “propaganda stunt” of the Obama administration.
In fact, Paul has run interference in Congress for the Iranian Islamist regime for years - so much so that Iran's state television has run admiring stories about him under headlines such as “Ron Paul Blasts U.S. Policy on Iran.”
In 2005, for example, Paul was the only Republican lawmaker who refused to vote for a resolution condemning Iran’s President Ahmadinejad after he said “Israel should be wiped off the map,” and predicted that "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation."
On June 19, 2009, the House voted to pass H Res 560 by a 405 to 1 margin, with Ron Paul casting the only vote in opposition. The resolution was entitled: "Expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law, and for other purposes."
Paul opposes economic sanctions against the Iranian regime. In 2010, he led the opposition to the "Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act." He explained his position to the House as follows:
I rise in strong opposition. I object to this entire push for war on Iran, however it is disguised. . . We need to see all this for what it is: Propaganda to speed us to war against Iran for the benefit of special interests. . . A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran.
In Paul's mind, the "special interests" pushing for war against Iran include Israel. While he claimed in a recent interview with Newsmax that he was a friend of Israel, during a 2009 appearance on the Iranian government owned PressTV station he called Gaza a "concentration camp," which he blamed on Israel, and criticized American foreign policy for "blindly" supporting Israel.
Earlier this year, Paul offered an amendment to cut off $6 billion in U.S. aid specifically to Israel and three other countries, lumping Israel with Pakistan.
“Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?” Paul asked in a November 22, 2011 Republican presidential debate on CNN.
Eric Dondero, Ron Paul's former senior aide, has written that Paul is uncategorically anti-Israel:
He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.
Such views and actions directed against Israel by Ron Paul are perfectly consistent with the Israel-bashing that has appeared in newsletters published under Paul's name and written in the first person over two decades. One of these jewels, dealing with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, hypothesized that it might have been "a setup by the Israeli Mossad."
Paul has disavowed any involvement in these newsletters' racist, anti-Semitic content, as recently as last week during a heated CNN interview which Paul cut short in a huff. Nevertheless, Reuters is now reporting that a letter appearing to have been signed by Ron Paul himself has surfaced promoting the controversial newsletters. The letter states that "as the only former high official to publish a financial letter, I supply facts and analysis available nowhere else." It goes on to boast that "I've laid bare," among other things, the "Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica."
Is it any wonder that Ron Paul's campaign has appealed to anti-Semitic, white supremacists? When he ran for president in 2008, he received a donation from a prominent white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan grandmaster. The campaign did not return the donation even after it was made aware of the donor's neo-Nazi connections. Moreover, the Paul campaign did not remove a link from the white supremacist website, Stormfront, to a Ron Paul fundraising site from which prospective donors could click into the Ron Paul 2008 donation page on the official campaign site. Stormfront commentators continue to support Paul this time around, which the "libertarian" candidate has done little to discourage. While Paul claims to reject white supremacists' extremists views, he does not reject their support. "If they want to endorse me, they're endorsing what I do or say - it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say," Paul said.
It is tempting to treat Ron Paul like the kooky uncle whom you tolerate but try to ignore at family occasions. However, as he rises in the polls and could run a formidable campaign as an independent if he loses the GOP nomination, Paul's crackpot brand of Blame America, Excuse the Enemy foreign policy is far too dangerous to dismiss.
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