Many, including fellow presidential candidate Rick Santorum, have labeled Ron Paul as part of the ‘blame America first’ crowd in this election cycle. They are angered by his willingness to point out flaws in our country’s foreign policy and smear him as an isolationist who wants America to hide from the rest of the world. Contrary to establishment Republican rhetoric, Paul’s policy is not “blame America first,” but “put America first.”
From the start of the Cold War, America adopted a more interventionist foreign policy. We have been more concerned about the affairs of other nations than ever before, and the result has been more military spending. The United States spends roughly $1 trillion per year on defense, which is more than at any other time in our nation’s history. This spending has become unsustainable, as shown by the debt crisis that loomed this summer.
Opposition to these policies is the only sensible way to keep the deficit under control and to keep the country safe from those who want to do us harm. If we were to bring our troops home from around the world they would be in less danger, we wouldn’t be interfering with sovereignty of other nations and making enemies, and we would save hundreds of billions of dollars every year. These are the same policies that were supported by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams, none of whom were considered isolationists.
If we consider the enormous benefits to this country of discontinuing our role as world’s policeman, we’ll see that they would go a long way towards putting the United States back on the road to fiscal solvency. The United States would do well to stop worrying about the disputes and internal affairs of other nations when we are on the verge of a financial meltdown at home.
There is nothing isolationist about putting the interests of America first rather than funding wars with countries that pose us no threat, propping up dictators who are hated by their people, and sending aid to other nations to buy their friendship. Policies like these create more problems than they solve. Instead of defeating the terrorists, we are giving them more motivation to continue fighting. When we spread ourselves too thin, we make ourselves more vulnerable. And sending foreign aid to other countries generally means taking money from the poor in this country and giving it to the rich dictators of poor countries.
Pointing out these unfortunate truths is a necessary step to fixing our problems, and Ron Paul is the only candidate brave enough to do it. It is mind boggling that while Republicans claim to fight for smaller limited government, they feel that it does not apply to foreign policy. They would do well to listen to their own rhetoric when they talk about the problems and inefficiencies of government, and apply it to our meddling overseas. Maybe then the Republican Party might be able to demonstrate some consistency to the American people instead of talking out of both sides of their mouths.
When Rick Santorum shamelessly exclaims that Ron Paul is blaming America for 9/11, not only is he wrong but he is also being intellectually dishonest. Santorum, like the rest of the Republicans, opposes our current healthcare predicament. If Obama-care destroys our healthcare system in the next ten years, no one would claim that Senator Santorum had “blamed America” for our healthcare problem. Like any other conservative, he is simply blaming a flawed policy.
This is no different than Dr. Paul’s position on 9/11. He does not blame the country for the despicable acts that occurred on that day, but he correctly places some of the blame on our government’s foreign policy. Unfortunately, trying to explain this difference to Rick Santorum is as fruitless as attempting to convince him that his support for Medicare Part D in 2003 was as bad as supporting Obama-care.
It’s ironic that while most establishment Republicans accuse Ron Paul of not supporting the troops, he has gotten more money from active duty troops than all other Republican candidates combined. Maybe the rest of the Republican field should follow the example of our men and women oversees and put America first.