Whether or not Ron Paul actually said that he would not intervene to stop the Holocaust, there is nothing particularly extraordinary about this position. The United States has never intervened to stop a genocide. Not in WW2 and not since when several genocides have taken place, most notably in Africa, without any military intervention.
The United States did participate in two NATO wars justified with phony claims of genocide, but the only ethnic cleansings that have taken place have been of Serbs from Kosovo and of Africans from Libya. Which is to say the closest thing to a genocide in either case was perpetrated by our allies against the people we were bombing on their behalf in two civil wars. And neither of those rise anywhere near the level of genocide. We have maintained close ties with two genocidal Muslim states, Turkey and Indonesia. The latter conducted genocide against Christians in East Timor on our watch and with our weapons. Obama’s Indonesian stepfather was a likely participant in that genocide; his former Director of National Intelligence helped keep it going. And Obama has been on record opposing any intervention in Sudan.
It is doubtful that any American president would have intervened militarily to stop the Holocaust, with the possible exception of George W. Bush, and there is no reason to pretend otherwise. Ron Paul can’t be given credit for much, but his response is honest if nothing else. Or at least partly honest. It’s more likely that he is actually sympathetic to another party in the conflict. His newsletter where he blames Churchill for prolonging WW2 by not letting the USSR and Nazi Germany “fight it out” suggests as much. It’s an echo of similar themes put out by Pat Buchanan and other fellow travelers. But this really isn’t about him. The question of whether we should be intervening to stop genocide is virtually irrelevant because it’s not something we do. Holocaust education has very little to do with the mass murder of the Jews of Europe and a great deal to do with teaching tolerance. The genocide doctrine employed by modern administrations has nothing to do with the Holocaust either. It has a great deal to do with dressing up the wars that our leaders decided they wanted to fight anyway.
WWI had enough grandiose claims made about it to make you think that it was the ultimate war against evil. WWII where there actually were monsters on the side, not just Prussian stuffed shirts with curled mustaches, must have caught the propagandists by surprise. But had Hitler’s minions practiced eugenics and killed ethnic minorities, there would have been no war. The initial response to Hitler was that he was stabilizing an unstable country. It was only when Hitler insisted on destabilizing the region with grandiose ambitions that war became inevitable.
Stability is the reason why we began bombing Libya. Not because Gaddafi was guilty of genocide, but because Western diplomats and the assorted grab bag of elites had decided that democracy was the way forward in the Middle East. And the dictators who were blocking the way forward had to go. Gaddafi’s crime wasn’t that his troops were raping and murdering their way through the opposition. Raping and murdering your way through the opposition is a time honored-practice of Muslim rulers.
The trouble with Gaddafi was that he stood in the way of plans to “stabilize the region.” That also happens to be Israel’s crime. And stability means fitting into the regional order and not making too many waves. When Hitler was rolling out workers rights and grandiose national spectacles, then he was fitting into the European future. Oswald Mosley, the fellow who would become the bugbear of English socialists, started out as a radical socialist, until his approach fell out of step.
It might be nice if we actually avoided wars except when dealing with threats or mass murdering lunatics, but plenty of the former and the latter have thrived on our watch. If we actually fought wars to deal with threats then the Saudis wouldn’t be stuffing their faces with lamb stew while counting their rolls of money and rolls of fat. And if we actually dealt with mass murdering regimes, then the Butcher of Khartoum wouldn’t be laughing while his troops wipe out another African village.
After World War II when we began actively intervening to push back threatening ideologies our wars on occasion had a certain amount of substance. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada and Afghanistan were arguably in our national interest. That was more than could be said for when we were clearing the way for UN aid workers or creating a Muslim state in Yugoslavia or protecting the fat Kuwaiti merchants from being looted by Saddam’s kinfolk. Saddam arguably engaged in genocide, and didn’t have to worry about being bombed. It was only when he stepped on the toes of some of our oily friends that the bombs began to fall. And when our Kuwaiti friends got back their dominion courtesy of the United States Marines, their first order of business was ethnically cleansing the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who had sided with Saddam. The response from the Bush Administration Mark I, which was quite fixated in its own way on the “peace process,” was to shrug its shoulders and treat it as business as usual.
There’s something noble about the idea of the United States Marines coming forward when some dictator decides to wipe out a few million people. It’s what most Americans think their country does. But that idea is also completely detached from reality. We don’t do it and we aren’t about to start doing it. Which is why keeping things like Right 2 Protect around is a dangerous thing. It provides ammunition for the amoral likes of Obama and Clinton to fight their Post-American wars for their Post-American reasons.