Friday, September 07, 2007

Isolationist or Non-Interventionist?

Brits4RonPaul offers the standard response in defense of the "Ron Paul is an isolationist" charge:
Paul is clearly not isolationist, because he is for friendship and free trade with the world. Why do people think Brits, Germans, French etc are supporting him too?
Here is a Wikipedia definition of "isolationist":

Isolationism is a foreign policy which combines a non-interventionist military policy and a political policy of economic nationalism (protectionism). In other words, it asserts both of the following:

  1. Non-interventionism - Political rulers should avoid entangling alliances with other nations and avoid all wars not related to direct territorial self-defense.
  2. Protectionism - There should be legal barriers to prevent trade and cultural exchange with people in other states.
Besides the "free trade" defense, the Ronulans will also make the distinction that Ron Paul is a "non-interventionist"; not an "isolationist". I prefer to use the term "isolationist" because it gets the Ronulans very, very exasperated with having to go around setting everyone straight on the matter.

Regardless of the word-mincing, even specifying that Ron Paul is a "non-interventionist" is not a policy to be proud of. By that foreign policy position, we would not have gone to war with Germany until directly threatened by Hitler to invade our shores. We would not have fought on behalf of our allies throughout the world against the Nazis and against communism. Stalin was in fact probing and testing the United States during the Cold War. I guess under Ron Paul, the rest of the world be damned...we'll stick our necks out for nobody.

That being said, I do believe in committing our military only to missions that are critical to our national security and defense. Sometimes, however, that does mean sending troops to foreign lands and helping our allies. Sometimes our self-interest coincides with helping others.

Excellent response at The Jump Blog (Interestingly, the post seems designed around testing/baiting the Paulspambots to descend upon the blogpost- much like why I started my Ron Paul posts):

Ron Paul is a delusional tool:

At the same time, we must not isolate ourselves. The generosity of the American people has been felt around the globe. Many have thanked God for it, in many languages. Let us have a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

So, we shouldn’t entangle ourselves in foreign affairs…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.

“Did somebody step on a duck or is it my half-baked platform that stinks?”

Ron Paul is like that friendly neighbor who you invite over to barbecues and wave hi to on occasion as you come home with the groceries. Don't count on him to intervene on your behalf should he find you being mugged, or your family's life threatened; after all, he wouldn't want to invite "blowback" ("Blowback" is what the mugger should be experiencing for his crime- not the other way around). He may be friendly with you; but he won't come to your defense....he'll wait until the mugger comes knocking at his own door before fighting back.

Applying 18th century practice to a 21st century world ignores the changes that have occurred since the founding of our country. Even Thomas Jefferson was not a strict non-interventionist, and recognized a threat when he saw one.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the 20th-21st century concepts of Game Theory and ROI?

Did anyone bother to calculate a roll back equilibrium for the decision to invade Iraq or not?
Did anyone bother to calculate a ROI of all possible actions along with sensitivity analysis? All of this considering opportunity costs?

A more believable theory of what happened is that individuals in office, who had little reason to fear any punishment if they cheated in a Prisoners' Dilemma, problem decided to do the rational thing and cheat. I mean the probability of any individual's vote swinging a national election is virtually 0.

Friday, September 07, 2007 11:58:00 AM  

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