The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled, with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. . . .
‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. So far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it, for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements (I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy). I repeat it therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
Pres. George Washington, 1796 (farewell address)
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, 1961 (farewell address)
I’m a former Airborne Ranger. My first full-time job after college was as a rifle platoon leader in the 82d Airborne. As readers of this blog know, I’m also a believer in the fundamental truths of Christianity: sola Christa, sola fide, sola scriptura, sola gratia, and Soli Deo gloria. Accordingly, I’m no fan of the Islamic Republic of Iran and believe the world would be a much better place if it ceased to exist. Iran is economically, politically, technologically, and morally a decrepit nation-state. It’s a repressive regime and their Islamic-political leadership is openly anti-semitic. Their leadership is deluded and dangerous.
In contrast, I like Ron Paul. I dismissed him last election cycle because of his outspoken criticism of the Iraq war. Now, four years later with the blood of our soldiers paying the price to establish Islamic regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, insane levels of federal debt with no relief in sight, and spiraling western economies, I find myself much more open to criticism of those wars. What’s surprised me is how hostile my colleagues on the right are to Paul’s utter disinterest to continuing our mideast war policies and the apparent anger over his refusal to entertain a preemptive war against Iran to stop it from becoming a nuclear state.
Although dangerous, Iran is not the greatest strategic threat to the United States. Not even close. Its military is third-rate, if that. To the extent Iran is within reach of nuclear warheads, however, North Korea has nukes and a formidable army. Today, it is more unstable than ever. Unstable Pakistan has nukes, as do the Russians and Chinese. Turkey has nuclear technology and likely warheads and is increasingly trending itself away from US interests and toward political Islam. In comparison to these military threats, Iran is a basket case.
Iran is also not a global “leader” of international terrorism. It’s a terrorist state, but there are dozens of such. Iran’s Persian ethnicity in general and brand of Shia Islam in particular is not popular throughout the Islamic world, to include throughout most of the mid-East. Iran is not the primary or even a primary source for inspiring international Jihad. Our “ally”, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exports the dangerous Wahhabism Islam, built the Pakistani madrassa system and is the majority financier for Hamas. Saudis started al-Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 attackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Bin Laden was a Saudi. Saudi’s are the heart of Arabia. They are neither fans nor allies of the Persian Iranians. Our “ally” Saudi Arabia is much more dangerous when it comes to global terrorism.
The Iranian issue is not, however, really about Iran. Iran is about Israel, supposedly. The argument is that a nuclear Iran would launch a nuclear weapon on Israel. There are several problems with that claim though, particularly the facts that Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons and several means for delivering them over all of Iran. Israel has one of the best armies and top air force in the world. It has for a long time, which is why the Six Day War lasted days. Further, Israel’s narrow borders are filled with millions of Muslims and numerous Islamic holy sites.
I’ve read some claim that Iran would welcome Israel’s nuclear retaliation, that the destruction of Iran would be a national martyrdom of sorts. If Iran wanted martyrdom, they’ve had decades to attack Israel, but have chosen instead asymmetrical means, entirely for purposes of avoiding the consequences of overtly confronting Israel. Put simply, when confronted by Isreal’s superior strength, for decades Iran has acted like a rational state, even if it’s rhetoric has often been irrational. While an Iranian nuclear attack would be theoretically possible, citing relying upon that risk to dimiss Paul misses a key point and an important part of Paul’s policy. Israel is an independent nation with a highly sophisticated and skilled military. Paul correctly charges that we should get out of their way and “allow” them to protect themselves as they believe appropriate. As Iranian nuclear research facilities continue to spontaneously combust and top nuclear scientists meet sudden and tragic ends, one cannot help but suspect the Mossad. I believe Israel could defend herself quite well if we allow them the same autonomy that we ourselves expect (and practice) worldwide.
Equally important, we simply cannot afford another prolonged military engagement that is not critical to our security. We are living grossly beyond our means and destined to quickly become the latest republic in history to bankrupt itself. Further, even if we avoid a complete financial and corresponding national collapse, we are grossly encumbering our children’s generation. We are racking up substantial debt for our children to pay. You think Greece is bad? The German socialist sugar daddies are certainly not going to bail us out. The US needs to immediately contract federal spending in all areas, to include defense and nation building, particularly nation building for cultures that fundamentally reject our ideas of western liberalism and human rights. We need to end welfare and warfare largesse. We simply cannot afford not to. And we simply cannot balance our books without reducing military expenditures, along with all the other expenditures. Paul is the only candidate that has taken on spending and an immoral fiscal policy and made those issues the center of his campaign.
By the Numbers: