Anti-defense liberal Jack Hunter has written yet another laughable screed at the DailyCaller.
This post is yet another laughable screed designed to cover up the fact that Ron Paul is weak on foreign policy and defense issues. This one, however, is deeply offensive to me, because in this one, the Offical Ron Paul Blogger claims Reagan’s mantle for Ron Paul and claims that Paul’s foreign policy of appeasement, isolationism, and unilateral disarmament is thoroughly Reaganesque (his screed is titled “Ron Paul’s Reaganesque foreign policy). Nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t take my word from it. Read Ron Paul’s own resignation letter to Reagan and the GOP from 1987, in which he denounced Reagan’s foreign and defense policies in the strongest possible terms, saying that Reagan’s FP was “unconstitutional” and denouncing his defense spending as well as “spending on… warfare”. That same year, Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell denounced Reagan as a “warmonger” and called on the Congress to impeach him and remove him from office. And, throughout the 1980s, Ron Paul OPPOSED Reagan’s defense spending hikes, funding for the Nicaraguan contras, funding for other freedom fighters worldwide (e.g. the Solidarity trade union in Poland), and any interventions anywhere, including the interventions in Lebanon, Grenada, and Libya, as well as the shootdowns of Libyan aircraft in the Gulf of Sidra in 1981 and 1989. Lew Rockwell has recently said that “Ron Paul is not a Reaganite; he is much better than that” and denounced the B-1 bomber (which Ron Paul opposed) as a “killing machine”.
Today, Ron Paul supports MASSIVE defense cuts, to the tune of at least $1 trillion over a decade (including the elimination of the entire USAF bomber fleet), withdrawal of all American troops from all foreign countries (including staunch allies like Japan and South Korea, to whose defense Reagan was pledged), total isolationism (no interventions anywhere, not even if it’s necessary, and yes, Paulbots, sometimes it is necessary), and dumping all of America’s allies, as well as appeasing America’s enemies. He also opposed the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
So Ron Paul’s foreign policy is not only not Reaganesque, it’s the total OPPOSITE of the foreign policy that Ronald Reagan supported.
Now, what was Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, actually?
For starters, I welcome the admission by Hunter and J Street propagandist Beinart that Ronald Reagan was not really a promiscous interventionist at all. That’s some progress. Beinart’s recitation of Reagan’s scant record of military interventions is 100% true.
But both Hunter and Beinart have omitted the biggest difference between Reagan’s foreign policy and Paul’s: Reagan supported (and actively fought for – before, during, and after his 8 years as President) strong defense as a means of both protecting America and preventing wars. Ron Paul opposed it at the time and opposes it now, as does Lew Rockwell. Throughout Reagan’s 8 years as President, Ron Paul fought against his defense policies. But how can one be surprised when Paul’s self-admitted biggest intellectual influence, Murray Rothbard, claimed that
“The United States was solely at fault for the Cold War and Russia was the aggrieved party.”?
As the Roman proverb goes, si vis pacem, pare bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war. Or, as George Washington said, “To be ready for war is one of the most effective means of keeping the peace.” Reagan invoked Washington’s words during the 1980s. Throughout that decade, even though liberals (and Ron Paul) were fighting tooth and nail every day against his defense budgets and defense policies, Reagan held firm and frequently spoke in defense of a strong defense and In Defense of Defense Spending, which is the title of my book on the subject. The Congress, including Ron Paul, repeatedly called on Reagan to cut defense spending as a means of balancing the budget, but he continually refused. At least twice, he delivered nationally-televised speeches to the public about why his defense budgets were necessary and why it would have been foolish to cut them. He explained, in simple terms that everyone could understand, why robust funding was necessary to rebuild the US military and counter America’s enemies. He countered anti-defense propaganda. He and his administration’s officials did, with words and deeds, more for the cause of a strong defense than anyone else during the last 50 years.
Indeed, Reagan has set the bar very high, and I’m badly disappointed that there is no Reagan now to fight for the cause of a strong defense and against defense cuts. Maybe Sarah Palin will do that, if she jumps into the race. Her foreign policy opinions are actually closest to Reagan’s, compared to all other candidates.
And what about the INF Treaty?
Throughout the 1980s, the US demanded the removal of Soviet IRBMs from the European continent and the signing of a verifiable INF Treaty. However, since 1983, the Soviet Union was placing an unreasonable condition: cancelling the SDI. The 1985 and 1986 American-Soviet summits ended with nothing because Reagan refused to give up the SDI. Liberals blamed him. However, Reagan held firm, and eventually the INF Treaty was signed (in 1987) WITHOUT a cancellation or even a slow-down of the SDI. In other words, Reagan won, and Gorbachev lost. The Soviet Union got NOTHING. The Treaty only ordered the elimination of all American and Soviet IRBMs. It did not say anything about the SDI. And as a result of that treaty, the USSR had to dismantle twice as many missiles as the US.
Compare that record to that of Obama, who sold missile defense to Russia in 2010 in return for a New START treaty unfavorable to the US.
Yes, a few conservatives denounced Reagan as an appeaser, but I don’t think anyone makes these ridiculous claims now.
True, he would’ve probably opposed the Iraqi and Libyan wars as well. Two of his most important Cold War era allies, William Buckley and General William Odom, opposed the Iraqi war. But the Iraqi and Libyan wars are hardly the only disagreements Ron Paul has with mainstream Republicans on the issue of foreign policy.
So, in short, Ron Paul’s foreign policy is the OPPOSITE of Reagan’s. Ronald Reagan never supported, and would have never supported if he were alive today, a policy of defense cuts, withdrawal from the world, isolationism, and appeasement. Reagan supported a strong defense, defending America’s loyal allies, standing up to America’s enemies, both Communist and Islamist, and intervening military abroad when (albeit ONLY when) necessary.