This post is for all the Rononymous commenters, Paulbots, Paul Pots, Paul Reverists, Ronulans, and even the reasonable Ron Paul supporters out there. There’s something here for everyone who reveres or reviles the self-proclaimed Constitutional Messiah.
YouTube question: Good evening, candidates. This is (inaudible) from Arlington, Texas, and this question is for Ron Paul.
I’ve met a lot of your supporters online, but I’ve noticed that a good number of them seem to buy into this conspiracy theory regarding the Council of Foreign Relations, and some plan to make a North American union by merging the United States with Canada and Mexico.
These supporters of yours seem to think that you also believe in this theory. So my question to you is: Do you really believe in all this, or are people just putting words in your mouth?
Cooper: Congressman Paul, 90 seconds.
Paul: Well, it all depends on what you mean by “all of this.” the CFR exists, the Trilateral Commission exists. And it’s a, quote, “conspiracy of ideas.” This is an ideological battle. Some people believe in globalism. Others of us believe in national sovereignty.
And there is a move on toward a North American union, just like early on there was a move on for a European Union, and it eventually ended up. So we had NAFTA and moving toward a NAFTA highway. These are real things. It’s not somebody made these up. It’s not a conspiracy. They don’t talk about it, and they might not admit about it, but there’s been money spent on it. There was legislation passed in the Texas legislature unanimously to put a halt on it. They’re planning on millions of acres taken by eminent domain for an international highway from Mexico to Canada, which is going to make the immigration problem that much worse.
So it’s not so much a secretive conspiracy, it’s a contest between ideologies, whether we believe in our institutions here, our national sovereignty, our Constitution, or are we going to further move into the direction of international government, more U.N.
You know, this country goes to war under U.N. resolutions. I don’t like big government in Washington, so I don’t like this trend toward international government. We have a WTO that wants to control our drug industry, our nutritional products. So, I’m against all that.
But it’s not so much as a sinister conspiracy. It’s just knowledge is out there. If we look for it, you’ll realize that our national sovereignty is under threat.
Cooper: Congressman Paul, thank you.
Ok, I know some of my readers are also apprehensive about such things as a “North American Union”. I would be too…..if it posed an actual threat in the real world. I’m sorry, but lefties aren’t the only ones that fall victim to conspiratorial fear-monger. I think the North American Union is nothing more than a conspiracy for conservatives. There isn’t a single politician I can think of who is pushing for an NAU. If you know of one, let me know.
Given how ArPee believes there is cause for concern, is it any wonder that he’s attracted 9/11 Truthers and so many other conspiracy nutjobs to rally to his call?
John Hawkins offers some of the best antidote to the conspiracy. I suggest you read my links in this previous post (includes articles by Michael Medved). You might sleep better at night.
Responding to Emily’s YouTube question on “three federal programs you would reduce in size in order to decrease…” the size of government, Ron Paul answers:
I would like to change Washington, and we could by cutting three programs, such as the Department of Education — Ronald Reagan used to talk about that — Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security is the biggest bureaucracy we ever had.
“Ronald Reagan used to talk about that”…..*rolls eyes*
Why is it, that Ron Paul opportunistically likes to drape himself in the mantle of the Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan, with whom he would be at odds with on the matter of foreign policy?
He also has cited how Nixon was voted into office by Americans because Nixon pledged to bring troops home on grounds of “peace with honor”. But Ron Paul shares more with McGovern- the true anti-war candidate- than with Nixon on the Vietnam War; Nixon did not want to abandon our South Vietnamese allies and lose the country to communist rule.
I actually would like to see a push toward the reduction of the size of government, which may even involve the complete elimination of federal programs like the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.
Many conservatives have campaigned on promises of smaller government; but to the degree to which we’d like for this to happen, is it a plausible possibility, or a quixotic pie-crust promise? Easily made, easily broken?
And besides, what we can do is we can have a stronger national defense by changing our foreign policy. Our foreign policy is costing us a trillion dollars, and we can spend most of that or a lot of that money home if we would bring our troops home.
As in all things, there is criticism to be made in regards to our foreign policy; but the kind of criticism Ron Paul levels at current U.S. foreign policy, shares much in common with the blame-America criticism of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. If Ron Paul thinks American interventionism is not doing more good than harm on behalf of the world (and in particular, on behalf of America) then I suggest he drop Imperial Hubris for a moment, and read the following books:
Imperial Grunts and Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts, by Robert Kaplan.
Robert Kaplan has been embedding himself with small deployments, throughout the world. And he will stick with a unit for weeks- not just a day- to get to know the soldiers and to earn their trust. What our soldiers are doing in foreign lands benefits America and benefits humanity, around the world.
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Robert Kaplan says,
people have this image of the U.S. military going all over the world as a busybody, propping up dictatorships. It’s so false. In fact, the only regimes we prop up through training missions are of certified democracies, certified by Congress, which we have not imposed on them, that they’ve evolved organically on their own as democracies.
The Savage Wars of Peace, by Max Boot:
Far from being isolationist before World War II and the formation of NATO, America from the very beginning of the Republic intervened in a nearly continual series of civil wars, coups, and hostage rescues. Starting with attacks on the Barbary Coast pirates between 1801 and 1805, the nation has always interfered in other nations’ business far from home.
Two generations of college students have been taught that all such “adventurism” is nothing but imperialism and running-dog capitalism–and Boot does not deny that states naturally send in their forces out of national interest rather than mere idealism. But he shows that the majority of the time the Marines intervened to stop the slaughter of civilians, to retaliate against the killing of Americans and destruction of their property, and to prevent chaos from spreading beyond a country’s borders. While such incursions often served the local property-owning elites and corrupt grandees, such interventionists as Thomas Jefferson, Chester A. Arthur, and Teddy Roosevelt assumed that order and stable governments were usually preferable to mass uprisings, constant revolution, and mob rule.
Dangerous Nation, by Robert Kagan:
Americans, in fact, have always defined their interests broadly to include the defense and promotion of the “universal” principles of liberalism and democracy enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. “The cause of America is the cause of all mankind,” Benjamin Franklin declared at the time of the American revolution, and as William Appleman Williams once commented, Americans believe their nation “has meaning . . . only as it realizes natural right and reason throughout the universe”.
This is the real “traditional approach”: the conviction that American power and influence can and should serve the interests of humanity. It is what makes the US, in Bill Clinton’s words, the “indispensable nation”, or as Dean Acheson colourfully put it six decades ago, “the locomotive at the head of mankind”. Americans do pursue their selfish interests and ambitions, sometimes brutally, as other nations have throughout history. Nor are they innocent of hypocrisy, masking selfishness behind claims of virtue. But Americans have always had this unique spur to global involvement, an ideological righteousness that inclines them to meddle in the affairs of others, to seek change, to insist on imposing their avowed “universal principles” usually through peaceful pressures but sometimes through war.
This enduring tradition has led Americans into some disasters where they have done more harm than good, and into triumphs where they have done more good than harm. These days, this conviction is strangely called “neo-conservatism”, but there is nothing “neo” and certainly nothing conservative about it. US foreign policy has almost always been a liberal foreign policy. As Mr Will put it, the “messianic impulse” has been “a constant of America’s national character, and a component of American patriotism” from the beginning.
The other constant, however, has been a self-image at odds with this reality. This distorted self-image has its own noble origins, reflecting a perhaps laudable liberal discomfort with power and a sense of guilt at being perceived as a bully, even in a good cause. When things go badly, as in Iraq, the cry goes up in the land for a change. There is a yearning, even among the self-proclaimed realists, for a return to an imagined past innocence, to the mythical “traditional approach”, to a virtuous time that never existed, not even at the glorious birth of the republic.
This is escapism, not realism. True realism would recognise America for what it is, an ambitious, ideological, revolutionary nation with a belief in its own world-transforming powers and a historical record of enough success to sustain that belief.
Coming off of an interview with Robert Kagan, Michael Medved writes,
Ignoring the long record of American involvement in such conflicts in every corner of the globe, those who question our current world-wide role express reverence for a simple-minded (and non existent) tradition of isolationism. They cite George Washington’s words in his celebrated Farewell Address of 1793: “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….’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.” Jefferson also warned against “entangling alliances,” at the same time he negotiated a vast expansion of U.S. territory with France, and pursued the daring and difficult Barbary Wars.
Even Pat Buchanan, the three time Presidential candidate most often identified as a contemporary advocate of “isolationism,” rejects the idea that the nation ever cowered behind its Atlantic and Pacific “water walls.” In his provocative and beautifully written book “A Republic, Not an Empire,” (1999), Buchanan argues: “The idea that America was ever an isolationist nation is a myth, a useful myth to be sure, but nonetheless a malevolent myth that approaches the status of a big lie…. What is derided today as isolationism was the foreign policy under which the Republic grew from thirteen states on the Atlantic into a continent-wide nation that dominated the hemisphere and whose power reached to Peking….To call the foreign policy that produced this result “isolationist” is absurd. Americans were willing to go to war with the greatest powers in Europe, but only for American interests. They had no wish to take sides in European wars in which America had no stake.”
1. Foreign Policy and the Constitution. Paul is what you might call a Constitutional originalist. He divines his governing philosophy from the Constitution and America’s Founders. But his understanding of their vision is profoundly flawed. Paul appears to believe the founders vested absolute authority for foreign-policy making in Congress, not the executive. “Policy is policy,” Paul wrote in 2006, “and it must be made by the legislature and not the executive.” But there’s almost no evidence the founders saw it in such simplistic, absolute terms. Law professor Michael Ramsey, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, recently noted (pdf) this in very eloquent terms in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Reasonable people can agree that Congress has failed its oversight responsibilities with regard to Iraq and the Bush Doctrine. But Paul’s thinking here is simply not supported by the weight of historical evidence.
2. “Noninterventionism.” This is the word Paul uses to describe his foreign policy, and he insists the term also encapsulates the vision of the Founders. While Paul claims “noninterventionism” is not isolationism, it sure sounds like it is. For instance, he even seeks to dismantle the Bretton Woods system of international cooperation born from the ashes of the Second World War (more on that below). Isolationism by any name, friends, is still isolationism. Sure, such sentiments were rampant in 18th and 19th century America and before WWII. The same sentiments are resurfacing today as a backlash against Iraq. Intelligent people can disagree about the Bush Doctrine’s place in history. But let’s not make up facts. The post-9/11 period has been filled with literature by such historians as John Lewis Gaddis and Walter Russell Mead debunking the notion that the founders were only concerned with domestic security and never saw an ideological component to America’s place in the world.
Hat tip: American Power.
Here is McCain attacking Paul on the isolationist point (yeah, yeah, yeah…he’s a “noninterventionist”, because he wants to still “do trade” with other nations– do read the link, and then tell me if you really see a distinction between the terms):
McCain: I just want to also say that Congressman Paul, I’ve heard him now in many debates talk about bringing our troops home, and about the war in Iraq and how it’s failed.
And I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. We allowed…
We allowed …
Cooper: Allow him his answer. Allow him his answer, please.
McCain: We allowed — we allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and appeasement.
And I want to tell you something, sir. I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops, and their message to you is — the message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is, “Let us win. Let us…
Cooper: We will — please. We will get to Iraq…
All right. Let me just remind everyone that these people did take a lot of time to ask these questions, and so we do want direct questions to — the answers. We will get to Iraq later, but I do have to allow Congressman Paul 30 seconds to respond.
Paul: Absolutely. The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?
Is he talking about “donors identified as affiliated with the military,”?
As the reporter in the Houston Chronicle says,
“many contributors do not disclose their occupations, making it difficult to determine the total extent of military contributions to any one candidate.”
More importantly, the amount of contributions are incredibly small, hardly proving much of anything. Beth adds in the Outside the Beltway comment section:
Also not understood by the obsessed Paulbots and other assorted antiwar nutters: the fact that “military employees” includes civil service employees of the various services. That means a GS-7 who works at Whatever Air Force Base in BFE, Idaho has their employer listed as “Air Force.” For all we know, not one of those people is someone in uniform. I’m sure there are some, but it certainly is not all, nor is it indicative of some big antiwar sentiment in the military. For Paultards and Sullivan to extrapolate that idea from this is laughably absurd.
Furthermore, if one compares the 3rd Quarter statistics of Paul and McCain regarding the contribution amounts of those who do not list their employer, 100 dollars worth was given to Ron Paul’s coffers, compared to that of McCain’s: 2,244,223.39. Out of all of that money, how much of that could have been donated by active and retired veterans? Or “Affiliates” of the military? We don’t know. But it seems clear, by the paltry $100 given by the person(s) not listing employment, that the Ron Paul supporters are overwhelmingly listing their employment when making contributions.
among all the candidates, the total number of contributors surveyed here numbered less than 1,000–out of an Armed Forces of 2.2 million. And, remember, most of these contributors aren’t even active duty.
So yes, Andrew [Sullivan], those tasked with fighting this war do get it, which is why they aren’t donating to Paul. The only real report we have on political contributions from active duty military in this election cycle has Paul taking in just over $19,000, and that’s only counting donations larger than $200. So, maximum, we’re talking about 90 active duty soldiers who we know have actually contributed to Ron Paul’s campaign. The rest is pure speculation, and the Chron‘s tally of $63,440, with its average of $500 per donation, is unlikely to be populated by many of the guys who are “actually fighting this war.”
Ron Paul continues…
What John is saying is just totally distorted.
(Protester shouts off-mike)
Paul: He doesn’t even understand the difference between non- intervention and isolationism. I’m not an isolationism, (shakes head) em, isolationist. I want to trade with people, talk with people, travel. But I don’t want to send troops overseas using force to tell them how to live. We would object to it here and they’re going to object to us over there.
In case you did not click onto the Jump Blog link, like I encouraged you to do, I am reprinting the relevant sarcasm:
So, we shouldn’t entangle ourselves in foreign affairsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦except of course to trade with them. And travel to them. And have diplomatic relations with them. Which of course would lead to things like trade treaties. Which lead to real treaties. Which lead to military obligations and charges of American Imperialism and makes a target of our trade partners. Which would put us right back where we are. If, that is, the terrorists didn’t just decide to start knocking us off back here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Which of course they would. Good idea Ron. It’d be much better to fight ’em right here.
Governor Norquist: President Bush made a commitment when he ran for president in 2000 an 2004 that he would oppose and veto any tax increase that Congress sent him. My question to each of the candidates is: Would you promise to the people watching this right now, that you will oppose and veto any efforts to raise taxes as long as you’re president?
Paul: I have never voted for a tax increase; never will. But the tax issue is only one-half of it.
You can easily pledge not to raise taxes, but you have to cut spending.
There’s really nothing special about Ron Paul’s response here. It’s the right answer; basically, the same one all the Republican candidates gave (more or less).
Next YouTube question, and perfect one prescribed to the doctor:
Journey: Hi. My name is Journey. I’m from Texas. And this question is for all (inaudible) pro-life candidates.
In the event that abortion becomes illegal and a woman obtains an abortion anyway, what should she be charged with, and what should her punishment be? What about the doctor who performs the abortion?
Cooper: Congressman Paul, 90 seconds.
Paul: You know, it’s not a federal function to determine the penalties for a crime of abortion if it’s illegal in a state. It’s up to the state, it’s up to the juries. And it should be up to discretion because it’s not an easy issue to deal with. But the first thing we have to do is get the federal government out of it. We don’t need a federal abortion police. That’s the last thing that we need.
But for the …
Cooper: Should a woman be charged with a crime?
Paul: Pardon me?
Cooper: Should a woman be charged with a crime?
Paul: I don’t personally think so. I’m an O.B. doctor, and I practiced medicine for 30 years, and I of course never saw one time when a medically necessary abortion had to be done.
But so I think it certainly is a crime. But I also understand the difficulties. I think when you’re talking about third trimester deliberate abortion and partial birth abortions, I mean, there has to be a criminal penalty for the person that’s committing that crime. But I really think it’s the person who commits the crime. And I think that is the abortionist.
Cooper: So you’re saying a doctor should be punished.
What sort of punishment should they get?
Paul: Well, I think it’s up to the states. I’m not in the state — I’m not running for governor. And I think it’s different, and I don’t think it should be all 50 states the same way. So, I don’t think that should be up to the president to decide that.
Ron Paul gets a plus on this one.
Buzz Brockway: Hello. My name is Buzz Brockway from Lawrenceville, Georgia. All the talk about the war in Iraq centers around how quickly we can get out. I think that’s the wrong question. We need to make a permanent or long-term military commitment to the region.
By staying in Iraq, we provide long-term stability to the region, we provide support for our allies, and we act as a deterrent to the trouble-makers in the region. Which presidential candidate will make a permanent of long-term military commitment to the people of Iraq?
Cooper: Congressman Paul, 30 seconds.
Paul: The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That’s the most important thing that we can do.
Well, that’s odd…..I could have sworn we have been doing just that, by first ridding them of a murderous dictator; then helping a budding democracy flourish while helping the Iraqi people drive out the occupiers who have been fomenting chaos and discord.
The Iraqi people have their country; we are there helping. It is in our interests to do so, and in their interest.
Already, part of their country has been taken back.
No thanks to the white flag Americans who would have had us abandon them to al-Qaeda violence and al-Qaeda victory.
In the south, they claim the surge has worked, but the surge really hasn’t worked. There’s less violence, but al-Sadr has essentially won in the south.
The British are leaving.
Michael Yon responding to purported violence in wake of the British pullout:
Basra is not in chaos. In fact, crime and violence are way down and there has not been a British combat death in over a month. The report below is false.
Ron Paul continues…
The brigade of Al Sadr now is in charge, so they are getting their country back. They’re in charge up north — the Shia — the people in the north are in charge, as well, and there’s no violence up there or nearly as much.
So, let the people have their country back again. Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam now is a friend of ours — we trade with them, the president comes here.
What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam.
Peace didn’t occur because we pulled out of Vietnam. The South was overrun because the North broke their agreement with us, and Congress failed to back our pledge to protect our South Vietnamese allies, should this happen. Not only did more death and suffering result from our abandonment of responsibilities, but we also lost the honor that Duncan Hunter referred to in a previous GOP debate. That too, seemed to escape Ron Paul’s fathoming.
What would the ripple effects of an American retreat, advocated by the Paul Pots, be to Iraq? For America? In Vietnam, our enemies stopped at their shores; with the conflict in Iraq, our enemies, who Lawrence Wright said have been bogged down in Iraq, will not stop until they reach our shores.
So it’s time for us to take care of America first.
Does handing al-Qaeda a victory in Iraq, or even the perception of victory “take care of America first”? When Osama bin Laden was able to claim victory at the Lion’s Den against Soviet forces, it was a minor inconsequential loss for the Soviets, but a major propaganda win for “jihad” recruitment.
Al-Qaeda enjoyed new life and recruitment prior to the troop surge and Sunni tribe Salvation Fronts, not because of what the U.S. has achieved in Iraq, but because of perceptions and media propaganda about our involvement in Iraq.
Cooper: Senator McCain?
McCain: Well, let me remind you, Congressman, we never lost a battle in Vietnam. It was American public opinion that forced us to lose that conflict.
I think it’s important for all Americans to understand the fundamental difference. After we left Vietnam, they didn’t want to follow us home. They wanted to build their own workers’ paradise. If you read Zarqawi, if you read bin Laden, if you read Zawahiri, read what they say. They want to follow us home. They want Iraq to be a base for Al Qaeda to launch attacks against the United States. Their ultimate destination is not Iraq.
Their ultimate destination is New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona. This is a transcendent challenge of our time.
McCain: I believe that we can meet it and we will defeat it.
Cooper: Congressman Paul, I know — we’ll get everyone in on this. Congressman Paul, just wanted to allow you to respond.
Paul: Shortly after the Vietnam War ended, Colonel Tu and Colonel Summers met, and they were talking about this. And our — and the American colonel said, “You know, we never lost one battle.” And Colonel Tu, the Vietnamese says, “Yes, but that’s irrelevant.”
And it is irrelevant.
The moral lesson of that story is lost on Ron Paul. The point is, militarily, we did not suffer defeat. We suffered defeat at the hands of Walter Cronkite and the media reportage, in public opinion and waning support and understanding of the war; and we suffered defeat by the lack of will to win in Congress. In not fighting it to win, we could only insure a defeat. And this is why Colonel Tu understood that it didn’t matter that the North Vietnamese sustained massive casualties and losses. Body count didn’t matter to them. But it mattered to us. Military wins and losses were irrelevant, because the real battle was taking place in public opinion polls and back in Washington.
But we have to realize why they want to come here. Wolfowitz even admitted that one of the major reasons that the Al Qaida was organized and energized was because of our military base in Saudi Arabia.
He says, “Oh, now, we can take the base away.” He understood why they came here. They come here because we’re occupying their country, just as we would object if they occupied our country.
We took our military base away, because after OEF, there was no longer any reason to enforce the southern no-fly zone, over Iraq.
Cooper: Well, it’s Congressman Tancredo. And we’re running short on time. So, please, let’s try to get to these.
You have 30 seconds.
Tancredo: I wish that we lived in the world that Ron is describing — I wish that we lived in a world where we did not have to worry. By simply removing our forces, we would be safe.
Unfortunately, Ron, honest to God, I don’t believe that that is the case. We are living in a world where we are threatened. It is radical Islam.
It is — the ideology, the political and religious ideology of radical Islam is a threat to America, and it would be a threat to America if we never had a single person serving anywhere outside this country.
I disagree with Tancredo when he speaks of bombing Mecca and Medina. But on the point of ideology being the root cause, Tancredo has it absolutely right. Islamists who militantly follow the fundamental tenets of the Koran and Hadith reject modernity and see the very existence of non-Islamic societies as an offense to Allah.
Ron Paul likes to tell us “listen to what they say”. Yet, he seems to completely ignore the rhetoric of radical Islam which includes the Shia Islamic militants of Iran who await the coming of the 12th Imam, and the Sunni al-Qaeda master plan which desires to pitch the Islamic world into a “clash of civilizations”; both theologies wish to create an Islamic super-caliphate, and cleanse the world of all things un-Islamic.
Citing “occupation of the Saudi peninsula” as the casus bellum, misses the crux of the problem: radical Islam, which does not need an excuse to commit barbarism and murder, independent of American foreign policy.
Cooper: We’re running short on time. I want to get Ron Paul’s video in. Let’s watch.
Paul: The people are sick and tired of what they’re getting, and they want some real changes.
I don’t want to run your life. We need less taxation, less regulations, a better economic system.
We were not meant to be an empire; we were meant to be a republic, protecting liberty here at home.
It’s up to you to spread this message around this country. This is an American cause, it’s a cause of freedom. There’s something going on in this country, and it’s big. It’s really big.
Cooper: That’s part of the Paul campaign.
Critics of American foreign policy point to the fact that the U.S. does many things that empires once did — police the seas, deploy militaries abroad, provide a lingua franca and a global currency — and then rest their case. But noting that X does many of the same things as Y does not mean that X and Y are the same thing. The police provide protection, and so does the Mafia. Orphanages raise children, but they aren’t parents. If your wife cleans your home, tell her she’s the maid because maids also clean homes. See how well that logic works. When they speak of the American empire, critics fall back on cartoonish notions, invoking Hollywoodized versions of ancient Rome or mothballed Marxist caricatures of the British Raj. But unlike the Romans or even the British, our garrisons can be ejected without firing a shot. We left the Philippines when asked. We may split from South Korea in the next few years under similar circumstances. Poland wants our military bases; Germany is grumpy about losing them. When Turkey, a U.S. ally and member of NATO, refused to let American troops invade Iraq from its territory, the U.S. government said “fine.” We didn’t invade Iraq for oil (all we needed to do to buy it was lift the embargo), and we’ve made it clear that we’ll leave Iraq if the Iraqis ask. The second verse of the anti-imperial lament, sung in unison by liberals and libertarians, goes like this: Expansion of the military-industrial complex leads to contraction of freedom at home. But historically, this is a hard sell. Women got the vote largely thanks to World War I. President Truman, that consummate Cold Warrior, integrated the Army, and the civil rights movement escalated its successes even as we escalated the Cold War and our presence in Vietnam. President Reagan built up the military even as he liberalized the economy. Sure Naomi Wolfe, Frank Rich and other leftists believe that the imperialistic war on terror has turned America into a police state. But if they were right, they wouldn’t be allowed to say that.
Yet somehow we are told by the Paul Reverists that our civil liberties are being eroded by The Patriot Act and NSA wiretaps that are in place to protect American citizens against the next terror attack.
Two compelling new books help explain why our “empire” is different from the Soviet or Roman varieties. Walter Russell Mead’s encyclopedic “God and Gold” argues that Anglo-American culture is uniquely well suited toward globalism, military success, capitalism and liberty. Amy Chua’s brilliant “Day of Empire” confirms why: Successful “hyperpowers” tend to be more tolerant and inclusive than their competitors. Despite its flaws, Britain was the first truly liberal empire. America has picked up where the British left off. Whatever sway the U.S. holds over far-flung reaches of the globe is derived from the fact that we have been, and hopefully shall continue to be, the leader of the free world, offering help and guidance, peace and prosperity, where and when we can, as best we can, and asking little in return. If that makes us an empire, so be it. But I think “leader of the free world” is the only label we’ll ever need or — one hopes — ever want.
Cooper: Let’s go to the next question — it’s for Ron Paul.
Mark Strauss: Mark Strauss, Davenport, Iowa.
This question is for Ron Paul.
Mr. Paul, I think we both know that the Republican party is never going to give you the nomination. But I’m hoping that you’re crazy like a fox like that and you’re using this exposure to propel yourself into an independent run.
My question is for Ron Paul: Mr. Paul, are you going to let America down by not running as an independent?
Paul: Now that’s what I call a tough question, because I have no intention of doing this.
I am a Republican. I have won 10 times as a Republican and we’re doing quite well. We had 5,000 people show up at a rally in front of the Independence Hall with blacks and Hispanics and a cross-section of this country.
Without spending one cent. We didn’t even pay an individual to go out and they weren’t professional fund-raisers. It came in here — it was automatic.
We’re struggling to figure out how to spend the money. This country is in a revolution. They’re sick and tired of what they’re getting. And I happen to be lucky enough to be part of it.
Cooper: I’ll take that as a no.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.