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The US Under Threat

December 18, 2011

(Photograph: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

The American strategic position is as fraught as 1946 when it faced Stalin’s domination of Europe. Democracy around the world teeters on the brink. The US needs a massive military build-up, 100,000 more troops and a bigger navy. We have found another deadly enemy, another evil dictator “worse than Hitler”. There should be no space between the US and Bibi’s Israel.

After the last two wars we need another – this time, against Iran, the all-powerful global foe of the US which is ruled by enemies indistinguishable from Al-Quaeda.

Against this torrent of certifiable insanity in the candidates’ debate only Ron Paul stood out. Another war? A military build-up? Hang on, we’re bankrupt! And Iran would not be the only creepy nation to have the bomb. There is only challengeable evidence they are going to get it anyway. Are we going to fight another war against Moslems? And another after that?

It is only Paul who said that a feistier global role for a struggling US is incompatible with saving the country from budget disaster and that the US has got to pull back from Middle Eastern adventures not plunge into more of them. Thus Paul can ask like the imaginary mannequin of George Washington come to life in the museum basement of Gore Vidal’s playful fantasy The Smithsonian Institution, “And if they do these things (a nation on the other side of the world) why what business is it of ours, sir?”

Ron Paul is the authentic expression of the Jeffersonian spirit – no, the Washingtonian spirit. He heeds the advice of the great President Eisenhower warning in 1959 about the military-industrial complex. Now America surely has to start looking after its own people – the employees who have gone without real wage increases for 30 years, whose life savings were stolen by Madoff, whose homes halved in value, whose new health care is about to be ripped from them – and not embarking on another war, designed like the last one in the think-tanks of the neos and ultras.

“What we need is more war,” snarled Norman Podhoretz, founding neo-con when a few started questioning the wisdom of throwing an army into Iraq. Permanent war for permanent peace is what the neo-cons are still hankering for, while the great US slithers and slides to credit downgrade and permanent deadlock over necessary budget reform.

But listen to the Iowa debate. We are surrounded by crafty foes. Other nations are stealing from us. The president is Neville Chamberlain. Our land has never been so threatened. It is five minutes to midnight.

I’m petrified.

20 Comments
  1. December 18, 2011 6:09 pm

    Ron Paul is a libertarian and is consistent in his belief system. That is the problem. He doesn’t believe in a Federal Reserve. He is also a bona fide isolationist. How that helps the US and the world is beyond me. Politics in the US is in gridlock and the Republicans are in feral mode. But that is hardly a unique event in American Politics. Look at the US in the late nineteen forties. Taft ran a war of attrition in politics. Truman used it to his advantage in the 1948 election campaign.
    Contenders are invariably more radical before they are elected. Look at Reagan. When it came to war mongering he signed off on two attacks; bombing Gaddaffi in Libya and invading Grenada. Hardly consistent with his rhetoric before taking office.
    The USA is resilient. It makes mistakes but usually heeds the better angel of its nature.

    • December 19, 2011 2:54 pm

      He’s not an isolationist, he’s quite the opposite he wants dialogue, to open up trade and make use of the thousand of tax payer funded diplomats that haven’t really done much to resolve matters. How is talking to them being isolationist?

      All he wants is for the USA to not waste money policing the planet, especially now that they are broke.

      • December 19, 2011 5:14 pm

        Well I think you are both right, yes he is an isolationalist and has said so many times, “essentially its none of our business”, and withdrawing from military engagement and not being sucked into fruitless expensive wars, the “old blood and treasure”, for FNBC ie Fox viewers see the latest edition of Huckabee and their coverage of the US troop weithdrawl from Iraq. I agree that Ron Paul’s point about the State dept diplomats was well made, but I would think they would get very little satisfaction from President Amajamad Iran sorry about the spelling!!.

        I wish people like Hannity would acknowledge the cost of the war and in a time of growth the waste of money and growth in budget deficits.

    • December 20, 2011 3:17 am

      The US Federal Reserve goes WAY beyond the Australian RBA. One point is when Australian money supply goes up you can see the RBA balance sheets effected on the foreign side. The Fed doesnt have ANYTHING like this visibility. There is also huge amounts of evidence for the Fed policies prolonging the economic crisis in the US. The simple point can only be summed up by the question: How can government mandated interest rates possibly reconcile with the principles of a free market?

      Another point is Isolationist and Non-Interventionist are totally different.

      Ron Paul: An isolationist is a protectionist that builds walls around their country, they don’t like the trade, they don’t like to travel about the world, and they like to put sanctions on different countries. So some of the people who call me that, are actually much more in favor of sanctions and limited trade, they’re the ones who don’t want to trade with Cuba and they want to put sanctions on anybody who blinks their eye at them. And yet, the opposite is what we believe in, we believe Nixon did the right thing by opening up trade doors with China, because that is when we quit killing each other and we are more at peace, which we better be, because they have become our banker. So non-intervention is quite a bit different since what the founders advised was to get along with people, trade with people, and to practice diplomacy, rather than having this militancy of telling people what to do and how to run the world and building walls around our own country. That is isolationism, it’s a far cry from what we believe in.

  2. December 19, 2011 1:36 am

    I’ve been making scary predictions about the madness of America for more than ten years. Before he was elected I thought that Bush IV would be bad for the US and the world. After a lack lustre beginning Bush was saved by the attack on the World Trade Centre. Now, in the aftermath of two crazy and very expensive adventures on the battle field and the financial war against its own people -stealing the real wage increases of 4/5ths of the workforce and handing them to the now infamous1% and encouraging an orgy of consumerism on bad credit and low taxes that threatens to bankrupt the world’s richest economy, I feel I underestimated the damage Bush and the neo-cons could do that once great nation.
    If America does implode, no doubt Obama will be held responsible, when the credit should properly go to Osama and the Republicans.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      December 19, 2011 2:20 am

      And to Ralph Nader who insisted on running up to the last minute in the 2000 campaign (instead of urging his supporters to switch to Gore)and brought about Bush’s narrow win. There’s a lesson there. Gore would not have adopted the neo-con agenda for an invasion of Iraq.

      • December 19, 2011 5:17 pm

        and so with the Donald running will we see a Ross Perrot re run for the GOP and Obama retain office with 45% against a split conservative vote? I notice the political commentators all reject the Barry Goldwater analogy in ’64 as they believe the TEA baggers are a real force, Bob any thoughts??

  3. December 19, 2011 12:42 pm

    If the US starts a war with Iran, then my prediction is that their empire will collapse within five years as they go into severe economic decline. Scary stuff indeed.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3730604.html

  4. TerjeP permalink
    December 19, 2011 1:30 pm

    As a libertarian I am beside myself with glee at the possibility of a Ron Paul victory. I have admired the man since I first became aware of him nearly a decade ago. However my admiration for the man is not limited to his foreign policy position but also his domestic agenda. He is not just against expensive and futile foreign wars but also expensive and futile domestic wars like the war on drugs. Given the chance he would slash large sections of the federal beurocracy and hand powers back to the states. He would see the sixteenth amendment repealed. He would dismantle the patriot act and it’s corrosive influence. He is a true champion of the constitution and a hero to liberty loving people.

    However if Ron Paul fails there is a backup plan for next time. Gary Johnson and Rand Paul are both great libertarian candidates. Gary has been a state governor and Rand is a senator who will carry on his fathers great legacy.

    Libertarian grass roots are sprouting everywhere so even if you don’t agree with libertarians it is time to get used to them. In Australia we even have the up and coming Liberal Democrats (LDP).

    • December 19, 2011 5:52 pm

      Yes I find the the libertarians fascinating even if I don’t understand them, following the Iowa debate on Twitter there were heaps of RP followers and supporters who all thought he won the debate. On Fox in the following hours and days of course they were scathing of RP and his foreign policy views and certainly the response from the audience was muted. the one thing you must explain to me is John Stossel I just can’t fathom the dodgy moustache and bizarre patische of examples.

  5. fuck the carbon tax permalink
    December 19, 2011 3:35 pm

    911 was orchastrated, look up a little building called WTC BUILDING 7

    Ron Paul is western civilisations only hope

  6. December 19, 2011 6:18 pm

    Bob the other great point was the NG view on the judiciary and even his harkinnbg back to Abe Lincoln and of course Bill O’Reilley’s commentary, any thoughts on that aspect? I can understand the desire to appoint people to the bench with a shared philosophy and we see that throughout the world but the US seems ever nmore hardcore.

  7. December 19, 2011 8:28 pm

    Bob, regarding your second-last paragraph:

    It’s not that Ron Paul isn’t crazy, it’s just that he’s slightly less crazy than the others and he sticks by his story.
    Ron Paul may be the most sensible Republican on foreign policy, but it’s interesting that you invoke health care in the same thought. Ron Paul thinks that US already does *too much* for its people in terms of health care and says that dying of a preventable condition in a civilised society is an expression of freedom.

    I respect Ron Paul for being consistent in his principles, but let’s not kid ourselves. He may look like the only sane man standing next to the other loons, but it’s partly because he’s just a different kind of crazy.

  8. December 19, 2011 8:58 pm

    I don’t mind Ron Paul doing well. Quite like the idea in fact. I have libertarian tendencies. But will Ron Paul win nomination, no way. Republicans like winning more than Democrats. A Ron Paul candidacy has less chance of winning than Goldwater had in 1964. Republican Grandees may dislike Romney but they would hate Gingrich or Paul. They remember what happened in 1964. Elections are won by independents, otherwise known as the middle ground. Does any political operative think that currently the average elector is going to tolerate the government sector shrink to the size Ron Paul wants. They may talk about government waste but the elderly want Medicaid, the farmers want farm subsidies, communities want Defence bases and everyone wants highways that function, national parks and social security. Americans have a very healthy wariness about government and what it can and should do. It is a necessary evil. Australians should be more sceptical about government. But is any candidate going to get enough electoral vote with a strict libertarian policy. No way.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      December 20, 2011 1:37 am

      I agree. In all states the citizens expect government to perform functions. The challenge is to get out of things government does poorly, like run railway workshops or coal mines, or shouldn’t be doing on principle, like lotteries and TABs, to have more resources for child protection or efficiently-run hospitals and police.

      • Clinton Mead permalink
        December 22, 2011 10:34 am

        Bob Carr: Keep in mine Ron Paul doesn’t object to the government running schools, hospitals and police. He just objects to the Federal Government doing so.

        He consistently points out that the people and the states have the right to do as they see fit on these issues.

        Whilst it’s clear his preference is for less government, it’s also clear that he would not enforce this preference on the states. Indeed, only a Ron Paul president and philosophy in Washington would allow states to be more socialist if they choose to do so, as they would not be forced to accept “capitalist” Federal programs.

        If these “Occupy Wall Street” people are serious about real change, they should support Ron Paul, because only with Ron Paul they will be able to abolish the evils they see in warfare, discrimination, corporatism and corporate healthcare and establish “better” socialist systems in their own states.

      • Bob Carr permalink
        December 22, 2011 4:05 pm

        Yes, he is, as I said, a Jeffersonian – which means a federalist.

      • December 24, 2011 2:06 pm

        To Clinton, above,

        You make a good point that Paul wants to give back more responsibility to the states as per the original constitutional intent, but this leaves open the question of whether this is a sensible approach in the 21st century.

        Rather than regarding the founding fathers as infallible and the constitution as set in stone, there should be a free and open debate about whether the United States is a single nation, or a loose affiliation of states along the lines of the European Union. The mess we see in the EU should tell us something about what can happen when states can make their own rules which in turn have the power to drag down their neighbours.

        To bring it back to the US, why would one state bother having a health system at all if a neighbouring state has a good one? They can just send busses. The question is whether it’s practical, or even possible, for 50 states to all be doing their own thing and still be called the United States – and if it is, why bother having a federal government at all?

  9. TerjeP permalink
    December 20, 2011 8:29 pm

    Some might find it intriguing to revisit the foreign policy message that the GOP candidate in the year 2000 actually campaigned on. The message is not unlike the one now pffered by Ron Paul, although In terms of actual delivery Ron Paul is vastly more credible.

  10. Lord Shag permalink
    December 21, 2011 11:09 pm

    Bob I’m fascinated that you would draw attention to Paul. I’m so used to hearing a lot of stupid shrillness from the broad left side of politics about his various positions. I really think Bob, that they day you left office was a real loss for politics in general. Whilst I was no fan boy of NSW Labor I appreciate your basic objectivity. I also appreciate the blog. Well done.

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