Counterfactual Conceptions with Ron Paul

Wednesday night, the last President to leave office with a surplus will be offering his case for the President who inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Bill Clinton’s endorsement will no doubt evoke some memories of the healing process between Obama and Hilary in the wake of the 2008 primaries. Hillary’s stirring speech in Denver was symbolic of the Democratic ‘Big Tent’ – a party not only of diverse people, but also diverse ideas.

By contrast, the Republican “Big Tent” is nothing more than Chris Christie’s suit jacket propped up on two sticks. At their convention, the Republicans openly snubbed Ron Paul – the hero of the Libertarians, the hardline fiscal conservative sect that remains a close cousin to Republicans.

What kind of collective ego do Mitt Romney and the RNC have?

This kind of political idiocy is tantamount to the GOP shooting themselves in the foot – made easier by all the concealed-carry laws they’ve enacted.

Ron Paul will be endorsing neither Mitt Romney nor Gary Johnson. Let’s see if this could have an effect in even one state, with Romney’s path to victory as slim as Clint Eastwood’s Invisible Obama.

How about the first-in-the-nation primary state, Iowa?

Obama won handedly in 2008, but George W. Bush carried the state by approximately 10,000 votes in 2004. Ron Paul received over 26,000 votes in the 2012 Iowa caucus. That’s over double the 2004 margin of victory.

But that’s just another example of the GOP’s ‘severely conservative’ ideological purity.

Even though Ron Paul has been rejected by the Republicans, that doesn’t make his policy stances or ignorant statements any easier for Democrats to swallow.

It’s rare for a Republican to speak about foreign policy or national defense these days. The sequestration cuts routinely get a brief mention in a litany of Obama’s alleged sins by GOP lawmakers – even though the cuts were agreed upon by Congress.

The only people that have the wherewithal to discuss the national security or foreign policy in depth are members of the old guard – John McCain and Condoleezza Rice.

So when Ron Paul makes a ridiculous foreign policy claim, it should get a little more attention:

For those who can’t view the video, Ron Paul answers a charge that he would not have found Osama Bin Laden with the claim that if he were President *back in the day* 9/11 would not have occurred.

Ron Paul’s self-promotional non-interventionist brand of foreign policy loses massive amounts of credibility when he engages in such crude counterfactual conceptions as a form of evidence to support his views.

What bothers me even more is that Paulites fall for it hook, line and sinker. A Paul supporter friend of mine tried to defend Paul’s claim using some historical evidence: if we weren’t toppling and setting up regimes in the Middle East during the Cold War, establishing bases all over, then America would not have been a target.

The problem with this analysis is that you just can’t cut history off at the knees when examining past actions. Paul is cherry-picking an example of how a long-term policy of non-interventionism might have produced a better outcome for the United States – and in so doing, ignores the butterfly effect of all that could have happened beforehand.

Time for the history lesson:

In May of 1947, President Truman received authorization from Congress to provide Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid. The Truman doctrine – to provide aid, and in so doing, promote democracy – was the beginning of US interventionism in an effort to contain the global threat of communism posed by the Soviet Union. Greece was able to fend off a communist insurgency, while Turkey refused to make concessions to the Soviet Union. An American success story – one that Ron Paul surely would have opposed.

The Marshall Plan acknowledged the Soviet domino effect – the spread of communism to one country would put its neighbors at risk – and allocated $12.5 billion to 16 countries over 4 years. At the same time, the Soviet Union established the Cominform, composed of communist countries under its influence, to promote the spread of its ideology across Europe. Moreover, expansionist Soviets used force to overthrow the democratically elected Czech government and install its communist elements as despotic rulers subservient to Stalin.

NATO, the West’s 1949 response to the growing shadow of the Iron Curtain across Europe, contained Article V, which mandates that an attack on any member nation be viewed as an attack on all. Non-interventionists cannot fathom adherence to mutual defense, or recognize the effectiveness of such national security policies as deterrents.

The airlift worked. The wall came down. The Cold War ended. America showed a commitment to the world and to democracy – and backed up words with action.

Paul’s non-interventionism leaves him ill equipped to deal with the intricacies of an increasingly globalized world and its necessary alliance systems. He would not have taken sufficient action to contain the spread of communism during the Cold War. Who knows what might have happened if Paul was in charge back in the 50s and 60s? The unfettered spread of communism and Soviet dominance?

He’s arrogant enough to claim his policies could have prevented 9/11.

But one can just as easily say it would have caused a bottle of vodka on every comrade’s table, worldwide.

Brash statements like Paul’s remind me that I’m so grateful capable, brilliant men like Leon Panetta and Robert Gates have advised our Commander-in-Chiefs.

And even more proud we elected a leader with the prudence to overrule his advisors when necessary to achieve a significant foreign policy and counterterrorism objective – the death of Osama Bin Laden.

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