Isolationism is a hypnotic platform that has seduced the American public (and other great powers) throughout its history. It is not and never was part of the founding fathers’ long term ideals — despite the selective quotes that “Paulites” may recite about Washington‘s address on “foreign entanglements.” (Robert Kagan writes a convincing study of America’s consistent engagement with the wider world since independence in Return of History and the End of Dreams. It effortlessly demonstrates American exceptionalism.)
The most simple rule of history, as Paul Kennedy unwittingly provides in the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, is that if you don’t entangle, “they” will entangle you, and usually from a position of superiority and untapped aggression. The twentieth century was a depressing list of lost opportunities to confront extreme leviathans that were once just sea urchins — from Prussian militarism, fascism, and communism to Islamism. Mr. Paul and his allies would do well to understand that it is precisely those entanglements that must and will continue to enhance our security.
China is indefatigably on the rise with its finger on U.S. debt. North Korea is governed by a temperamental adolescent seeking ever more dangerous toys. Russia is rediscovering how to bully a country into submission with its paws firmly on the oil throttle. Pakistan (a big kid already with dangerous toys) is staring itself and the world into potential anarchic terrorist meltdown. Is Ron Paul seriously suggesting withdrawing and leaving the world “to it” in the belief that the U.S. will be unaffected by such regime lovelies?
One can only assume the ease with which Mr. Paul is cringingly taken in by Bruno represents accurately his general perception of dealing with world and international menace. For the sake of U.S. security (and as a humble Brit, dare not I say the rest of the western civilized world), keep your foreign policy fantasies to yourself. In the era of sound bites, doing nothing will in the end ultimately mean doing much more (and perhaps when it is a mushroom cloud too late).
It is time for RP to say “R.I.P.” to his delusions.