Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3 Simple Steps to talking to Conservatives about Ron Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy

One of the biggest hindrances to conservatives supporting Ron Paul is his foreign policy. Some of the most vocal like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc say that he's right on almost everything, except foreign policy. Here's how I've started talking to conservative friends and family about his foreign policy and have convinced most to agree with Ron Paul.

1) The purpose of terrorism

Ask them why the terrorists attack us. If they say our freedom and prosperity, ask them why they aren't attacking Australia, or Japan, or Sweden? Why is the US the "Great Satan"? Then point out that if you  look at the 1998 fatwa, bin Laden's letter right after 9/11, his letter in 2002 or 2006, or the statements of various other terrorists and the core justification behind all of the attacks was our continued military presence, intervention and sanctions on countries in the middle east.

Then ask them, if we were to implement RP's foreign policy - a foreign policy NOT of isolationism, but of non-interventionism; if we were to end the active combat around the world; if we were to return our troops home from over 700 bases in over 135 countries; if we were to stop just giving money to foreign countries, countries that are often ran by authoritarian dictators; if we were to focus our defense spending on strengthening measures of ACTUAL defense; if we were to ensure a strong international intelligence network; if we are open, friendly and freely trade with all countries; if we were to do all of that, (besides saving hundreds of billions of dollars a year), why would they attack us? What would be the purpose? What would they be trying to get us to STOP doing by threatening attack?

If they reply that they believe that without provokation or justification, Muslims will simply attack us, minding our own business, for no other reason than to get their virgins or similar, then point out that they are confusing a rationalization for a justification. Ask them if they've ever asked an Islamic terrorist why they would attack us, and then state that their view is nothing but a ridiculous and ignorant caricature - even of Islamic extremists.

2) Support for Israel

"We cannot abandon Israel to be destroyed." is another common theme (usually among Christians). Yet, Israel has taken care of itself numerous times and dealt with various threats itself, often against US recommendations. Ask them exactly how taking a non-interventionist policy would hurt Israel.

Hurt Intelligence? It is generally admitted that Israel's intelligence network in the middle east is superior to the US.

Hurt Budget? On average, we give Israel $2.5 billion a year (Source), over 90% of which are military grants.

Hurt Military/Weapons? Israel is one of the most well trained military groups in the world. Our money doesn't make or break that. Nor is there any reason to believe that Israel would not be able to produce/purchase their weaponry or would be left "defenseless" if we left.

However, there may actually be an upside for Israel. One of the things that comes with that money to Israel is leverage. The US uses that money as a way to apply pressure on Israel to try to control/influence how it responds to threats. Thus the US, who does not face the same threats as Israel, tries to tell Israel how it must deal with certain situations and threats. This isn't right. Israel should be free to decide how to deal with its threats without US coercion. We remove that money, we remove the restriction on how Israel defends itself.

I would argue that a non-interventionist foreign policy would be better for both sides.

3) World's Police 

Another potential rebuttal is that the US is the only country that can keep the threats of the world at bay. If the US isn't the world's police, who would be?

Firstly, ask them why there needs to be one? Countries can join together voluntarily and address a threat the presents itself without trying to constantly have our boot on the neck of every country in the world.

Secondly, that job brings with it enormous animosity and a monumental expense. Our habit of trying to intervene and control all international events in our favor has helped cause the animosity and resentment that we're dealing with now. And with the current economic and govt spending, we simply cannot afford to be that police force anymore. In addition, we put our young men and women at risk and in harms way, to be injured or even killed, not necessarily to fight a clear and immediate danger to the US, but to squash potential resentment and backlash.

Thirdly, read and find articles to present them evidence on blowback. Here's a good example to start with.


Basically, our current foreign policy of preemptive military assault, regime change, and nation building does NOT make us safer. It creates an environment where MORE animosity grows and additional terrorists are cultivated.

What would make us safer would be to remove the very complaints that terrorists have against us, that cost us enormous amounts of money and lives anyway, to spend more effort on intelligence and actual "defense" instead of offense, and to be a free and open trading partner with all nations. Where trade flows free, there is peace. Where trade is blocked, war will follow."


Talking to conservatives about Ron Paul's non-interventionist foreign policy:

1) Point out that the terrorists attack us because of our intervention and military presence.

2) Point out that US support for Israel doesn't make or break the country and removing the monetary aid may, in fact, give Israel more freedom and flexibility in how it deals with threats.

3) Being the world's police is enormously expensive in both money and, more importantly, in lives. But beyond that, it doesn't work. Trying to militarily control the world CREATES animosity and generates terrorism.

Let me also say, Don't give up! With the people I talked to, it was always multiple conversations. I generally just said the same things in response to their same complaints. They seemed to wear a little with each one. And note that NONE of them changed their minds while talking to me. It was only weeks later after having heard these points and going back to their normal lives that they ended up changing their mind.

1 comment :

  1. I'd add that we'd be much safer defending our own borders than we are today. With the savings we could even throw in a missile shield over the Continental U.S.