Foreign Policy

The Cycle of Violence in Afghanistan

Last week the National Bureau of Economic Research published a report on the effect of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq that confirmed what critics of our foreign policy have been saying for years: the killing of civilians, although unintentional, angers other civilians and prompts them to seek revenge. This should be self-evident.

The Central Intelligence Agency has long acknowledged and analyzed the concept of blowback in our foreign policy. It still amazes me that so many think that attacks against our soldiers occupying hostile foreign lands are motivated by hatred toward our system of government at home or by the religion of the attackers. In fact, most of the anger towards us is rooted in reactions towards seeing their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other loved ones being killed by a foreign army. No matter our intentions, the violence of our militarism in foreign lands causes those residents to seek revenge if innocents are killed. One does not have to be Muslim to react this way, just human.

The Trouble with Unconstitutional Wars

Our foreign policy was in the spotlight last week, which is exactly where it should be. Almost two years ago many voters elected someone they thought would lead us to a more peaceful, rational co-existence with other countries. However, while attention has been focused on the administration’s disastrous economic policies, its equally disastrous foreign policies have exacerbated our problems overseas. Especially in times of economic crisis, we cannot afford to ignore costly foreign policy mistakes. That’s why it is important that U.S. foreign policy receive some much needed attention in the media, as it did last week with the leaked documents scandal.

On the Bloated Intelligence Bureaucracy

I have often spoken about the excessive size of government, and most recently how waste and inefficiency needs to be eliminated from our military budget. Our foreign policy is not only bankrupting us, but actively creating and antagonizing enemies of the United States, and compromising our national security. Spending more and adding more programs and initiatives does not improve things for us; it makes them much much worse. This applies to more than just the military budget.

Recently the Washington Post ran an extensive report by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin on the bloated intelligence community. They found that an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances. Just what are all these people up to? By my calculation this is about 11,000 intelligence workers per al Qaeda member in Afghanistan. This also begs the question - if close to 1 million people are authorized to know top secrets, how closely guarded are these secrets?

Are US Taxpayers Bailing Out Greece?

Last week we were reminded that ours is not the only country suffering from severe economic turmoil. The Greek government is the latest to come close to default on their massive public debt. Greece has insufficient funds in their treasury to make even the minimum payments that are now coming due. Their debt level is about 120 percent of their gross domestic product and their public sector absorbs what amounts to 40 percent of GDP. Any talk of cutting costs and spending is met with violent protests from the many Greeks heavily dependent on government payments. Mounting fears of default have sent shockwaves through their creditors and all of the eurozone countries.

Iran Sanctions are Precursor to War

Last week the House overwhelmingly approved a measure to put a new round of sanctions on Iran. If this measure passes the Senate, the United States could no longer do business with anyone who sold refined petroleum products to Iran or helped them develop their ability to refine their own petroleum. The sad thing is that many of my colleagues voted for this measure because they felt it would deflect a military engagement with Iran. I would put the question to them, how would Congress react if another government threatened our critical trading partners in this way? Would we not view it as asking for war?

Who Wants War?, by US Rep. Ron Paul

If anyone still doubted that this administration’s foreign policy would bring any kind of change, this week’s debate on Afghanistan should remove all doubt. The President’s stated justifications for sending more troops to Afghanistan and escalating war amount to little more than recycling all the false reasons we began the conflict. It is so discouraging to see this coming from our new leadership, when the people were hoping for peace. New polls show that 49% of the people favor minding our own business on the world stage, up from 30% in 2002. Perpetual war is not solving anything. Indeed continually seeking out monsters to destroy abroad only threatens our security here at home as international resentment against us builds. The people understand this and are becoming increasingly frustrated at not being heard by the decision-makers. The leaders say some things the people want to hear, but change never comes.

The Very Busy Politicians in Washington DC, by US Rep. Ron Paul

With a faltering economy, multiple wars, and the approaching demise of the dollar’s reserve status, there are more than enough problems to keep politicians in Washington working day and night. In between handing out cash for clunkers and nationalizing healthcare, the administration is busy sending more troops overseas, escalating existing wars, and seeking out excuses to start new wars. Congress is working on “urgent” legislation to address crises like healthcare reform and climate change. The reforms are so very urgent that legislation must pass swiftly with no time to read the bills even though the new laws wouldn’t take effect for several years! Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is busy dealing with our dollar crisis by printing up more dollars.

Bombs and Bribes, by US Rep. Ron Paul

What if tomorrow morning you woke up to headlines that yet another Chinese drone bombing on US soil killed several dozen ranchers in a rural community while they were sleeping? That a drone aircraft had come across the Canadian border in the middle of the night and carried out the latest of many attacks? What if it was claimed that many of the victims harbored anti-Chinese sentiments, but most of the dead were innocent women and children? And what if the Chinese administration, in an effort to improve its public image in the US, had approved an aid package to send funds to help with American roads and schools and promote Chinese values here?

Trade Wars and Protectionism are not Free Trade

Two weeks ago, both the administration and the Fed announced with straight faces that the recession was over and the signs of economic recovery were clear. Then last week, the president made a stunning decision that signals the administration’s determination to repeat the mistakes of the Great Depression. Much like the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs that set off a global trade war and effectively doomed us to ten more years of economic misery, Obama’s decision to enact steep tariffs on Chinese imported tires could spark a trade war with the single most important trading partner we have. Not only does China manufacture a whole host of products that end up on American store shelves, they are also still buying our Treasury debt.

Government Solutions Lack Understanding

Things seem to be unraveling quickly for the new administration. The latest unemployment numbers are worse than the last reports. For all the billions of dollars spent and committed to fixing our economic problems, the situation is only getting worse. This was to be expected by those who understand the root causes of the problems. Throwing money around and creating more government programs is both simplistic and damaging to the economy. Of course, the administration claims that we would have been much worse off without these efforts. You can’t improve this situation by adding to our mountain of public debt for the benefit of big banks and other special interests. The American people know this. When will Washington learn?

Garry Reed's picture

Libertarianism 101: What's the libertarian position on foreign policy?

Contrary to popular opinion, willful ignorance, or intentional misrepresentation, libertarians do not believe in isolationism.

Libertarians believe in nonintervention.

International Bailout Brings Us Closer to Economic Collapse, by US Rep. Ron Paul

Last week Congress passed the war supplemental appropriations bill. In an affront to all those who thought they voted for a peace candidate, the current president will be sending another $106 billion we don’t have to continue the bloodshed in Afghanistan and Iraq, without a hint of a plan to bring our troops home.

Many of my colleagues who voted with me as I opposed every war supplemental request under the previous administration seem to have changed their tune. I maintain that a vote to fund the war is a vote in favor of the war. Congress exercises its constitutional prerogatives through the power of the purse, and as long as Congress continues to enable these dangerous interventions abroad, there is no end in sight, that is until we face total economic collapse.

Torturing the Rule of Law, by US Rep. Ron Paul

While Congress is sidetracked by who said what to whom and when, our nation finds itself at a crossroads on the issue of torture. We are at a point where we must decide if torture is something that is now going to be considered justifiable and reasonable under certain circumstances, or is America better than that?

Responses to Piracy, by US Rep. Ron Paul

The recent episode with the Somali pirates has brought to the forefront many questions about maritime security. What is the best way to deal with a gang of criminals, not acting on behalf of any country, when they attack private vessels? Under whose jurisdiction are these types of criminals to be prosecuted? Most importantly, how do we deter such attacks in the future?

Already the administration is saber-rattling with typical big government so-called solutions, like “diplomatically” threatening the weak Somalian government, or any government of any country where pirates are thought to live, with military action if they fail to control the situation. There are calls to increase the size of the navy until it is nearly omnipresent on the seas. I was pleased to see they got one thing partially right in stating that the government should work with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in their self-defense, if by “work with” they mean “get out of the way”. But I fear this will be soon be brushed aside in favor of the more elaborate, interventionist and expensive measures. Self-defense is the most obvious, most effective and least expensive solution, but that has never stopped the government from spending money they don’t have to make problems worse.

On Reinstating the Draft, by US Rep. Ron Paul

Much has been made by the new administration of the idea of national service and volunteerism. While service to one’s community is certainly admirable, it is not the federal government’s place to “encourage” or promote volunteerism. Moreover, there are troubling signs that national service could transition from voluntary to mandatory, or de facto mandatory, such as the requirement of service in order to be granted a diploma, or something along those lines.

Involuntary servitude was supposed to be abolished by the 13th Amendment, but things like Selective Service and the income tax make me wonder how serious we really are in defending just basic freedom. The income tax enslaves workers for nearly 4 months out of a year by garnishing what amounts to all their wages in that period of time. A military draft could demand your very life, without your consent. This should be unthinkable in a free society.

breath