Ron Paul and the Dangers of Isolationism

Ron Paul has built a reputation -- through the farce of his views rather than his personality -- as a man harping back to the ideals of a bygone era that never really was.

In an age of uncertainty and instability, it is not surprising that he gained somewhat of a cult status during the presidential elections with his overtly populist (but fatally misguided) prognosis of world affairs. Presenting himself as the avuncular and "wiser statesman" of U.S. politics, an arch opponent of U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and just about every other form of contact with the outside world, Paul advocates the most sulphuric cocktail of credulous and self-defeating policies. The definitive foreign policy of neo-isolationism which he spews (sadistically it seems, as 9/11, the recent economic meltdown, and humanitarian disasters in Darfur and Zimbabwe should demonstrate to even the most committed "realist") is just sheer folly. It is a platform that ominously resonated with vast swathes of the electorate and should be exposed for the dotty "one point plan" to peace and prosperity that it actually is.

Events reverberate through countries, continents, and wallets, and are dangerously unprejudiced to the national emblem on a passport. With shattered stock markets, defaulting loans, mass refugee influxes, and failed states that harbor terrorist networks, the idea of burying your head in the sand and allowing a poisonous ant nest to fester around it is national security suicide.

In his often recited critique of 9/11, Paul never once mentions the fiery rage of jihadi fundamentalism that aims to restore "the lost caliphate" and invoke medieval Sharia. In Paul's world, resentment towards "U.S. entanglements" led a group of sexually repressed Muslim men, brought up on a doctrine of aggressive Wahhabism (and the promised 72 virgins), to crash two planes into the Twin Towers.

Not once does he answer why, if U.S. foreign policy causes so many people around the world to "hate us," Islamic murderers carry out their belt-exploding best in India, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and other unaligned (Muslim) nations.

From 2007 in the Washington Post, here's Paul talking about America's defenses:

There's nobody in this world that could possibly attack us today. ... I mean, we could defend this country with a few good submarines. If anybody dared touch us we could wipe any country off of the face of the earth within hours. And here we are, so intimidated and so insecure and we're acting like such bullies that we have to attack third-world nations that have no military and have no weapon.

Not only does his rhetoric shadow that of Ahmadinejad’s "wiping off the map" spiel, it unforgivably ignores the fact that a domestic passenger flight from Boston to Los Angeles inflicted 9/11. On how a submarine is supposed to infiltrate terrorism from within, he is less clear or visionary.