06 January 2012

How Ron Paul Can Win

If not the election, at least the debate:

It's certainly true that Paul's hawkish critics are using his weirder ideas and checkered past to try and make non-interventionism synonymous with creepiness. But, whatever their success,  Paul is making one contribution to the foreign policy debate that could have enduring value.
It doesn't lie in the substance of his foreign policy views (which I'm largely but not wholly in sympathy with) but in the way he explains them. Paul routinely performs a simple thought experiment: He tries to imagine how the world looks to people other than Americans.
This is such a radical departure from the prevailing American mindset that some of Paul's critics see it as more evidence of his weirdness. A video montage meant to discredit him shows him taking the perspective of Iran. After observing that Israel and America and China have nukes, he asks about Iranians, "Why wouldn't it be natural that they'd want a weapon? Internationally they'd be given more respect."

At this point, I’m proceeding under the assumption that Ron Paul will not be the GOP candidate for 2012.  I assume it will be Romney, unless the GOP leaders will actually allow party members’ votes to count.  However, my hope is that Ron Paul will stay in the race long enough to effectively change the debate on foreign policy.

Specifically, I hope that his criticism of our ongoing wars, antagonistic policy, and foreign military bases are enough to convince people to say “enough” to the ongoing wars and the stationing of troops around the world. And hopefully this will cause people to demand that American troops come home, that we shutter all foreign bases, that we cut military spending in half,* that we reduce the number of troops, that we cut out wasteful spending to as great extent as possible, and that we stop meddling in the affairs of foreign nations.

If Ron Paul can have this message win out, then I’ll be happy with his candidacy.

* Incidentally, if military spending were cut in half, the united states would still be spending roughly 3 times as much as China on military expenditures.  Keep in mind that China is second to the United States on military spending.  In essence, the united states could cut the budget in half and would still be spending three times as much on military as its next-closest rival.


  1. I don't seriously think RP will be a candidate on the Republican ticket either.

    But some in the commentariat are crediting him for moving the Republican party and the discussion in general in a much more rightward direction. A direction that most assuredly not be explored had he not been in the race, for Messrs Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, et al all seem cut from the very same big government, neocon cloth.

    The irony is that I consider Mr. Paul to be a better choice to run against Mr. Obama than all the others, if for no other reason than he'll garner a lot of independents and right-Dems to his camp. In other words, he splits off some Democrat support away from 44, while retaining most of the Republican support.

    At this point, I have a hard time seeing why I should bother to drop a ballot in the "serf suggestion box" known as the ballot box this November. From my perspective, apart from a couple of wedge issues, there is little difference between the major candidates on the Republican side and on the Democrat side.

  2. @EW- And, in the grand scheme of things, nothing ever comes of wedge issues anyway. Take abortion, for example: each election, every candidate stakes out a pretty specific position and much ink is spilled condemning one side or the other. Yet, not much has changed since this became an issue. Babies are still murdered and congress still funds it. And all the speechifying over the issue during election, and all the hand-wringing from the electorate doesn't change anything.