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On the laughable AntiWar.com forum, a blogger named Justin has recently posted a ridiculous screed titled “An Open Letter to Ron Paul”, in which he calls on his pseudo-prophet to run as a third party candidate. He claims that there is a “substantial and growing libertarian wing” in the GOP and that the majority of Americans desire peace, yet the GOP, the blogger claims, disregards them, so he thinks the GOP deserves to be “punished” by Paul by running as a 3rd party candidate.
Let’s leave the issue of RP’s chances of “punishing the GOP” aside. Ron Paul is a flake and never was anything more than that. He’s not even a blip on the GOP’s radar. He’s far to the left of even Barack Obama on foreign and defense issues, so if he runs as a 3rd party candidate, he’ll siphon far more votes away from Obama than from Romney (the votes of pacifists, anti-defense leftists, Blame America First traitors, and other whackos who usually vote for Democrats).
Let’s refute the claim that the “libertarians” in the GOP want peace and that the GOP opposes it.
I’m assuming that by the GOP’s supposedly warmongering policies, Justin means the GOP’s support for a strong defense, opposition to deep defense cuts, opposition to Obama’s appeasement of America’s enemies, and support for an America that is generally engaged in the world one way or another – economically, diplomatically, and/or militarily.
I’m also assuming that the policies libertarians claim will bring about peace include massive defense cuts, the withdrawal of all American troops from all foreign countries, termination of all defense commitments to all allies (even close, longstanding allies), retrenchment behind America’s borders, not raising a finger if aggressors threaten or attack America’s allies (even key ones), and standing passively by as America’s foes expand their spheres of influence and as Iran and North Korea develop ICBMs and nuclear weapons.
Libertarians claim that these policies will bring about peace, and they they want nothing but peace. They are lying.
As history has shown, and as Obama’s failed policies are showing everyday, defense cuts, appeasement, and isolationism (or noninterventionism, if you prefer) DO NOT lead to peace. They lead to war.
We saw this happen during the 1930s, when the free world, including the US, refused to arm itself while Nazi Germany and Japan were arming rapidly, and the US had to fight a war it could’ve avoided at a high cost in blood and treasure. We saw the same repeat itself during the 1940s, culminating in the 1950 invasion of South Korea. We saw the same happen during the 1970s, when the US hurriedly withdrew from Vietnam, egan retrenching behind oceans, and the Soviet Union marched from victory to victory, as Marxists invaded half a dozen countries and killed millions of people.
We saw the opposite happen during the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan rebuilt the US military, stood strong against the Soviet Union and Islamic terrorists alike, and won the Cold War without firing a shot.
If America continues to cut its defense, it will severely weaken its military, and thus will fail to deter potential aggressors. It won’t just mean being unable to intervene abroad or to defend America’s allies (as important as they are); it will mean being unable to defend America itself, and there are several threats to the US itself, Iran, Communist China and North Korea just to name a few. This would lead to war, not peace.
That is what always happens when the US severely cuts its defense. It is later forced to rebuild its defense and fight against a new aggressor at a much higher price than what it would cost to keep America’s defense at an appropriate ebb of quality.
Weakness is provocative. Weakness provokes aggressors to perpetrate actions they would otherwise refrain from.
Isolationism (or noninterventionism, if you want to call it that way) would also cause a deterrence failure and thus bring about war, not peace. It would mean American withdrawal from the world, dumping all of America’s allies, breaking all defense commitments to these allies, and consequently a license for all potential aggressors in the world to perpetrate evil and attack their weaker neighbors and targets. For example, North Korea would waste no time in attacking the ROK, and China would quickly subjugate Taiwan, as well as those Asian countries it has serious territorial disputes with (Vietnam, the Phiippines, Japan, etc.). Such a policy would also give these aggressors launchpads (e.g. South Korea) from which to perpetrate further aggression against other countries (including, yes, the United States – don’t think that the crocodile would not come to eat the American people). It would also mean that America’s word, America’s commitment to anything, is completely worthless. No country would ever again trust the US on fur trade, let alone security issues.
In short, isolationism and retrenchment would lead to war and death, not to peace.
Appeasement of, or playing nice with, America’s enemies, such as the dictators of Iran, Venezuela, China, and Russia is also doomed to fail. Suffice to say that Barack Obama has been trying this policy nonstop for the last 3 years, with no success.
The fact, which pacifists, anti-defense leftists, and self-described “libertarians” refuse to recognize to this day, is that there is only ONE thing that can bring about and maintain peace and keep America safe, and that is a strong, well-funded military that will be second to none: very large, well-trained, well-motivated, and equipped with the best weapons and technology that America can produce, competitively and honestly procured in large quantities that bring about economies of scale.
That is the only thing that can bring about and maintain peace. Disarmament, defense cuts, isolationism, and appeasement only bring about death, war, and insecurity.
But pacifists, anti-defense leftists, and libertarians don’t care. Why? Because they don’t really want peace. They just want to pursue their ideological policy of massive defense cuts, eventual disarmament, and retrenchment.
The only thing Justin got right is that most Americans, the peace-loving people that they are, desire peace. But as stated above, only a strong defense can bring about peace – and in the most recent Gallup poll on the subject, 51% of Americans expressed opposition to defense cuts, even as a way of reducing the budget deficit, and only 47% agreed to defense cuts as a deficit reduction measure. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/153185/Fewer-Americans-Say-No-Military-Power.aspx) An earlier Gallup poll found that in general, 57% of Americans oppose defense cuts and this sentiment is shared by a vast majority of Republicans and Tea Partiers.
That is a phenomenal level of opposition to defense cuts, given that for many decades the American people have been bombarded by anti-defense propaganda, portraying defense spending, the DOD, and the military in a bad light, from all sides. I’d say that Ronald Reagan’s lesson that a strong defense is needed to keep the peace and keep America safe has not been lost on most Americans.
Certainly, it has been lost on anti-defense activists, pacifists, and most self-described “libertarians”. But their false claims and pretentions don’t matter. The fact is that the only thing that can bring about and maintain peace, and keep America safe, is a strong national defense, no matter how hard they pretend that defense cuts will somehow bring about peace.
DISCLAIMER: As for actual use of force, I support President Reagan’s guidelines on this issue just like I do on defense posture. Namely, the US should not intervene abroad unless there’s a clear threat to America’s security or crucial interests; troops should be committed wholeheartly or not at all; troops should be committed only with clear, achievable goals and a strategy to achieve them;, and only with popular and Congressional support; and a military intervention abroad should be considered a last resort, not the first. I do not support intervening in irrelevant countries or making American troops crusaders tasked with righting every wrong of this world, or nationbuilding.