Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Criticisms of Ron Paul

I write this here today not because I dislike Ron Paul, but rather, because I very much want him to be president and believe this constructive criticism can help him improve on certain aspects of his proposed policies that a) don't resonate with the nation and b) are not to America's advantage.

First let me explain why I support Dr. Paul. His vision of a minimalist government that does not tax and regulate the population more than is absolutely necessary resonates with my core beliefs. Any government that goes beyond the absolute necessities into the realm of welfare, regulations to "protect" consumers (e.g. narcotics prohibition), etc is a form of tyranny.

It is irrelevant whether the policies were voted in by the majority of the population. There should be, and indeed there are in the constitution, certain freedoms and rights that all people are entitled to that cannot be over-ridden by any government, democratically elected or otherwise. Constitutionally protected rights is an understanding that justice and fairness should preside and is deserved by all. The sole purpose of government is to provide that justice and fairness.

The reason why governments go beyond these absolute necessities is because it is easy to get elected by promising to "do things for people". That the government is not supposed to "do things for people" (with other people's tax dollars), but rather, supposed to protect people's rights and security in order to allow them to do things for themselves, is often forgotten by voters who are looking for something to believe in and someone or something to make their problems go away.

Ron Paul reminds us of the fundamental injustice of imposing the majority's wishes upon a minority via force (i.e. government regulations and taxes) and shows us how far a nation can decline economically and socially as a result of deviating from the just role of government in people's lives.

Now on to my criticisms. I have serious reservations about the foreign policies Dr. Paul espouses. I do believe in non-interventionism in principle, but I do not believe that a nation's foreign policies should be changed drastically in a very short period of time, and this is the impression I get of what Dr. Paul would have the US do if he became president.

If the United States withdraws from South Korea and gives China a carte blanche to invade Taiwan, as Dr. Paul has suggested it do, that will cause a serious disruption in the world and decline of US's economic strength. Even if the policy to get involved in East Asia was wrong to begin with, the US has made commitments to that region and has to live with the consequences of its commitments.

Trillions of US investment dollars have flowed into Taiwan and South Korea as a result of the understanding that the US would protect by force any armed invasion of those countries by socialist nations. To change course and withdraw that guarantee of support is a betrayal of the highest magnitude and I believe cannot be justified in any way. Besides Taiwan and South Korea, China itself could nationalize trillions of dollars worth of American assets if it perceives that the US will no longer militarily respond to such a move.

I'm not suggesting that if Ron Paul becomes president, then the next day China will nationalize all industries. What I do believe though is that if a policy of non-interventionism takes effect, China will probably take over Taiwan, and eventually, North Korea will take over South Korea.

With a strengthened military and economic position, I very much believe China would then feel confident in nationalizing foreign owned assets in its country. The strategic landscape will be significantly altered to China's advantage and Americans will lose hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars in assets they have invested in that country. This scenario is absolutely intolerable and must be avoided at all costs.

What I would suggest instead of jumping out of all of the commitments the United States has made to other nations and to its own investors, is for it to slowly decrease its foreign presence, starting with the middle east, and wait until its economy has strengthened to a point where its corporations are not so reliant on investments in East Asia before it starts to withdraw from that region.

Decades of special interests politics and government over-regulation have resulted in American corporations investing their money abroad, mostly in China and surrounding countries. With a Ron Paul presidency, that trend can be reversed, and American companies can feel comfortable in doing business in the U.S. In time, the US will no longer be vulnerable to Chinese expansion in East Asia, and it can move to a more non-interventionist position.

I hope Ron Paul and/or his supporters can read this and either reconsider their policies or explain to me why I am misreading potential world events.

17 comments:

Cutkomp said...

"The strategic landscape will be significantly altered to China's advantage and Americans will lose hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars in assets they have invested in that country. This scenario is absolutely intolerable and must be avoided at all costs."

"Trillions of US investment dollars have flowed into Taiwan and South Korea as a result of the understanding that the US would protect by force any armed invasion of those countries by socialist nations."

I'm glad you like the civil liberties side of Dr. Paul. It's also a main reason I support the man. Thanks for writing a thoughtful piece. We don't see eye to eye on the foreign policy thing, but that's ok. For me, I don't agree with being world police simply to control assets and protect investments. I could care less if people lose money from non-interventionalist policies, the greed for money and control is what got us into this problem in the first place. Instead of shipping all of our manufacturing jobs overseas to China, India and Korea, why not instead remove gov't regulations and interference with business on our homefront and bring those trillions back to our country. Are we that dependent on tainted wheat gluten, poorly made tee-shirts and flimsy plastic toys?

KineticReaction said...

It's great to see others who have a similar vision for the world and government's role in it.

I too don't want to make a select few rich at the expense of pursueing a interventionist foreign policy that taxes the national economy, but I don't want to see millions of Americans lose their livelihoods as the stock market crashes due to a sudden withdrawl of US forces from around the world. I strongly prefer a gradual withdrawl coupled with rapid deregulation in the US to spur economic growth.

That being said, I think Ron Paul is the greatest politician in the world.

inaneframe said...

I don't agree, I believe that a lot more can be done in Iraq with economics and diplomacy. If China had troops in our country how many police do you know would aid them in keeping the peace?

They do not like us and staying there is not going to make any new fans. The main reason for insurgency is that we are there.

KineticReaction said...

I agree with a military withdrawl from Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, mix in some paragraphs!

There is a reason newspapers break up sentence structure, even when it breaks up a paragraph into -- shall we say -- less than correct paragraphs. It not only makes reading the article easier, it invites the reader to read, which is the point.

No more than three sentences per paragraph on a publication is a good rule of thumb.

toronator said...

I am a US citizen living in South Korea. They don't want us here.

It is not our job to police the world and Korea isn't even in our neighborhood. The Chinese and the Japanese have an interest in keeping the region in check. Let them handle it. Their neighborhood; their problem. All of this dabbling in foreign affairs only breeds resentment of the United States. We would do better to have free trade with all and no entangling alliances. I will cast my vote for Ron Paul bearing that in mind.

KineticReaction said...

Thanks for sharing your experience toronator, I've heard the same thing before from others who've lived in Korea.

Pzych said...

Even if you really, REALLY think we need to pull out of somewhere immediately, for the sake of "not being the world policeman" or because "they don't want us there"; the point is, if we decrease our forces gradually, with a plan to eventually leave completely, how would that breed any resentment?

Although I agree that Iraq is a special issue; it's recent, and the resentment is there whether we like it or not, so we should just leave.

KineticReaction said...

Pzych, it's not so much the troop withdrawls that bother me, but the fact that Ron Paul says that he wouldn't give South Korea and Taiwan security guarantees in case of invasion from China/North Korea. I'm playing the devil's advocate here because this is a very important issue for me.

scineram said...

Security guarantee to Korea and Taiwan is welfare. ABOLISH!

blueridgewv said...

I would add the following, which is inconsistent with his norm of principled (not partisan) action and challenging what is popular opinion:

1. His vote against Kucinich's recent resolution for impeaching Richard Cheney. It is inconceivable that Paul would be against this, since he rarely tows the party line and stands firmly against the neoconservatives--of which Cheney is chief! The question is why did he do this? Did he bow to party or fear of men?

2. His blind belief in the official story of 9/11--despite the overwhelming evidence of a false-flag attack and just who has benefited most--Israel and the neoconservatives.

3. His preaching of "anti-authoritarianism", a libertarian philosophy which itself is VERY authoritarian! The philosophy, like that of GW Bush in his first campaign, requires a pretended "tolerance" which only existentialists and agnostics could possibly agree with, but which no one in the world really operates by. To demand people believe falsehoods and lies as "opinions of others" leads to the destruction of truth, the undermining of societies and civilizations, as if two plus two could be anything other than four.

Brandon J said...

blueridgewv, I'm going to have to disagree with you.

"1. His vote against Kucinich's recent resolution for impeaching Richard Cheney. It is inconceivable that Paul would be against this, since he rarely tows the party line and stands firmly against the neoconservatives--of which Cheney is chief! The question is why did he do this? Did he bow to party or fear of men?"

I see a few, some strategic some otherwise, reasons that Ron Paul would not have voted to impeach Richard Cheney.
1. Ron Paul is running as a Republican, and like it or not, the general public is not likely to vote for a candidate unwilling to support his party.
2. Impeaching of anyone would cause a sense of panic, and would draw unnecessary attention to him for having voted for it. The general public would take the negative spin that Fox News would put on it seriously, and it would hurt the public opinion of Mr. Paul.

There's a few more ideas bobbling in my head, but I think when it comes down to it, Mr. Paul did not believe there was significant evidence to believe that Cheney commited impeachable acts. Although he did vote to impeach Clinton, so I'm unsure what he considers impeachable.

"
2. His blind belief in the official story of 9/11--despite the overwhelming evidence of a false-flag attack and just who has benefited most--Israel and the neoconservatives."

When it comes down to it, it reflects on just who is at fault - the individuals committing crimes. Ron Paul sees the situation as a crime commited by proven and agreed members of Al Qaeda. He hasn't, nor has anyone else really, seen conclusive evidence that Israelites or Neo-Cons were involved in the attack. You can't take a stance without conclusive evidence.

And finally,
"3. His preaching of "anti-authoritarianism", a libertarian philosophy which itself is VERY authoritarian! The philosophy, like that of GW Bush in his first campaign, requires a pretended "tolerance" which only existentialists and agnostics could possibly agree with, but which no one in the world really operates by. To demand people believe falsehoods and lies as "opinions of others" leads to the destruction of truth, the undermining of societies and civilizations, as if two plus two could be anything other than four."

Libertarianism does not preach that you believe the falsehoods and lies of others. It preaches Constitutional equality of all men, hence meaning, if A Moslem Female comes to this country and wants to start a business, she should not receive any unnecessary benefits in order to start a business, nor should there be any penalty. All people have equal rights, equal say, and less oppression. If someone says that "two plus two equals snail" educate them the best you can, and if they refuse to believe you, leave them be. Survival of the fittest, those intelligent enough to be an upstanding citizen will survive. Those dumb enough to dig themselves a whole should not be dug out by the government. It's the right and responsibility of the individual to right their problems.

John said...

I like the way you wrote this article, I enjoyed it. Obviously, paragraphs more often would have helped me keep my pace and read it earlier, but that's not related to the content so it's not that important.

I think what is important, is that Ron Paul be a "pull" on the majority. Even if he wanted to jump out of every foreign entanglement on day 1, he needs a plan. You know Congress won't let him do it all at once.

Since he isn't a corrupt man, it will be hard for him to do a lot of things at once as Bush is currently able to do - like declare war without Congress approving.

I see it more as a referendum that people are tired of politics as usual. Look at Ron Paul, something's on fire here and someone has to notice. We need more than just he presidency. We need politicians to act like Paul and say what he's saying. One day, we will have more sane people in office to start making change.

Right now we need to stop the bleeding and start reversing policy while downsizing government. Getting out of Iraq needs to happen as well, but all of it will take time.

Great article again, keep it up!

KineticReaction said...

john, thanks for the feedback, I've taken your advice and made more paragraphs. I'm glad you liked the post.

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Michael said...

South Korea is more than capable of defending itself against it's northern neighbours with a GDP a mere 3% of it's own. It is nothing short of lunatical to conclude NK will ever take over SK by military or philisophy, such an idea reeks of the 'domino theory' and besides the biggest grievance of NK is the massive hostile occupation in the DMZ not SK itself. It is totally against Korean culture to make an about face retraction and so long as USA stays in the DMZ peace will never exist.


China considers Taiwan a province however even it recognises the value Taiwan provides through being a safe avenue for direct investment. They would not upset this order. At the very worst they would move to make it an autonomous province like Hong Kong but this is doubtful. Besides as long as the Taiwanese recognise ANY governments ability to govern them and intervene in their private transactions they are at risk of tyranny. Finally forget the dillusion that China even considers USA a deterent to invading Taiwain, USA could only wage war against China by printing trillions of new money in which case China would nationlise not Taiwan but rather US owned factories in China. Given this would lead to a dollar collapse in the USA and a huge amount of bankruptcies you've got to face it, USA will never and can never attack China.

As Ron Paul says, "we just marched into Iraq*, we should just march right out".
*(as was the case in the DMZ).