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Ron Paul on Foreign Policy

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


We don't even accept elections from overseas

SANTORUM: As commander in chief, Rep. Paul can pull all our troops back out of overseas, put them here in America, leave us in a situation where the world is now going to be created huge amounts of vacuums all over the place, and have folks like China and Iran and others. Look at the Straits of Hormuz. As I said last night, we wouldn't even have the Fifth Fleet there.

PAUL: We're still running a foreign policy of Woodrow Wilson, trying to make the world safe for democracy. And, look, we have elections overseas, and we don't even accept the elections. Change in foreign policy is significant. But that's where a nation will come down if they keep doing this. We can't stay in 130 countries, get involved in nation building. We cannot have 900 bases overseas. We have to change policy.

Source: Meet the Press 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 8, 2012

Newt Gingrich's foreign policy stances compared to Paul's

Do Gingrich and Paul agree on foreign aid? (No; Gingrich would increase it). Do they agree on the Kyoto Treaty? (Yes, both oppose it, but for different reasons). We cite details from Paul's books and speeches, and Gingrich's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Gingrich vs. Paul on International Issues

Source: Paperback: Gingrich vs. Paul On The Issues , Jan 1, 2012

Wartime brainwashing that Islam is inherently warlike

If we hate racism, we must also hate war since it is war that has bred malignant types of racism. In our time, we observe the same happening to those of the Islamic faith. Members of both parties demonize people and encourage an anti-Islamic feeling. Christians are being told, as in George Orwell's 1984, that "we've always been at war with Islam," that Islam is an inherently warlike religion, that "they" are taking over America with their mosques, clothing, & law. This whole campaign has the earmarks of a new Cold War, and perhaps hot war, in which Islam replaces atheistic communism as the enemy.

What is striking about this form of racism is how little it has to do with reality. The 9/11 hijackers were not devout Muslims, but we are often led to believe that they were. The government of Saddam Hussein was secular.

What none of this mentions is that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism lived in peace, sometimes in the same regions of Europe, for some 700 years between the 8th and 15th centuries.

Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.239-240 , Apr 19, 2011

We're endangered as a result of our foreign policy

One thing is for certain: The intelligence agencies may not improve, but the American people will NOT ONLY lose more of their money through higher taxes but personal liberties will also be attacked. Legislation like the Patriot Act can be passed easily after any attack--serious like 9/11 or almost silly ones, like the underwear bomber. Intelligence-gathering shortcomings are met with ever more panic and spending mania. $80 billion is not enough. We need much more. Where does it end? At total government control and utter bankruptcy? They never want to ask or admit that we're endangered as a CONSEQUENCE of our foreign policy. They don't want to change that. They believe that with greater and more pervasive spying we can compensate for a policy that will inevitably generate more people around the world who will want to harm us. Treating the symptoms will not cure the disease. I don't argue for a complete abolishment of intelligence gathering, but I do strongly object to its size and scope.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 40 , Apr 19, 2011

Foreign aid wastes billions, with unintended consequences

Believing foreign aid benefits our national security allows for billions of dollars to be wasted, encouraging a foreign policy that inevitably leads to unintended consequences that come back to haunt us. Foreign aid support comes for various reasons. Some argue we are obligated to financially support those countries that yield to our demand that we maintain military bases in their country. American citizens are taxed to fund these foreign giveaway programs. That means funds are taken out of the hands of private citizens. Allowing government or bureaucratic decisions on spending capital is always inferior to private companies and people deciding how the money should be spent. But most importantly, foreign aid never works to achieve the stated goal of helping the poor of other nations. In poor countries food aid becomes a tool for maintaining political power. Many of the large foreign aid grants are driven strictly by special interest politics and a pretense that it serves our national security.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.118-119 , Apr 19, 2011

We manufactured fear about Saddam, Al Qaeda, & Ahmadinejad

It is commonplace for the would-be tyrants to create fear on purpose so that people will actually rush to the government saviors, demanding safety with a willingness to sacrifice liberty. Fear is constantly being manufactured by our leaders, Republicans Democrats, by invoking a current "Hitler" about to attack us: Saddam, Ahmadinejad, the Taliban, the communists, al Qaeda, or whomever. This fear is required to get the people's support for fighting unnecessary wars and supporting the military industrial complex. The fear is concocted. The war is very clearly not necessary. The results are devastating to our security and our prosperity. The real fear ought to be directed toward our own leaders and instigators of our policies. Pres. Bush constantly preached war while couching all his speeches in freedom-loving language. It was always because we were free and prosperous that Muslim radicals wanted to kill us. The real reason was never hinted at: that it was a reflection of our failed foreign policy.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.131 , Apr 19, 2011

We invested $70B in Mubarak; stop spending on puppets

[Egypt's President] Mubarak resigned today. People now say "what should our position be? What should our position be about finding the next dictator of Egypt?" And I would say "we need to do a lot less, a lot sooner, not only in Egypt but around the world."

Some people want to argue about that and say we have a moral responsibility to spread our goodness around the world and it's our obligation to do this. But let me tell you, fiscal conservatives should look at this carefully, how much did we invest in that dictator over the past 30 years? $70 billion, we invested in Egypt. And guess what? The government is crumbling and the people are upset, not only with their government by they're upset with us for propping up that puppet dictator for all those years. Now to add insult to injury, where do you think the money went? To Swiss bank account, that family, the Mubarak family had $40, 50, 60 billion--nobody knows--stashed away in other countries, other areas of your money and that is true.

Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 11, 2011

Can’t spread our goodness through the barrel of a gun

Truly conservative in the sense of the words “to conserve our true values” means being serious about taking our oath of office to the Constitution. Limit the government’s size, the spending, the deficits, and the exposure around the world. If the US is as great as I believe it should be and can be and has been, we will have influence around the world. We cannot spread our greatness and our goodness through the barrel of a gun. It fails because it destroys our goodness by doing it that way.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

We tax people to blow up bridges overseas then rebuild them

We have a foreign policy where we blow up bridges overseas and then we tax the people to go over and rebuild the bridges overseas and our bridges and infrastructure are falling down. We have a $1 trillion foreign operation to operate our empire. That’s where the money is. You can’t keep borrowing from China and keep printing the money. We have to cut some spending. We have to have faith and confidence that the market works, but you can’t do any of that unless you look at the monetary system.
Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley , Jan 30, 2008

Cut off all foreign aid to Israel & to Arabs

Q: Would you cut off all foreign aid to Israel?

A: Absolutely. But remember, the Arabs would get cut off, too, and the Arabs get three times as much aid altogether than Israel. But why make Israel so dependent? Why do they give up their sovereignty? They can’t defend their borders without coming to us. If they want a peace treaty, they have to ask us permission. We interfere when the Arab League makes overtures to them. So I would say that we’ve made them second class citizens.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Get out of South Korea and let two Koreas unify

Q: Under President Paul, if North Korea invaded South Korea, would we respond?

A: Why should we unless the Congress declared war? I mean, why are we there? In South Korea, they’re begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become Westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess. I mean, the problem still exists, and it’s drained trillion dollars over these last 50 years. We can’t afford it anymore. We’re going bankrupt. All empires end because the countries go bankrupt, and the currency crashes. That’s what happening. And we need to come out of this sensibly rather than waiting for a financial crisis.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Bush humble foreign policy was hijacked into nation-building

Q: Do you think there’s an ideological struggle that Islamic fascists want to take over the world?

A: Oh, I think some, just like the West is wanting to do that all the time. Look at the way they look at us. I mean, we’re in a 130 countries. We have 700 bases. How do you think they proposed that to their people, saying “What does America want to do? Are they over here to be nice to us and teach us how to be good Democrats?”

Q: So you see a moral equivalency between the West and Islamic fascism?

A: For some radicals on each side that want to impose our will with force. Not the American people--I’m talking the people who have hijacked our foreign policy, the people who took George Bush’s humble foreign policy and turned it into one of nation-building.

Q: The president himself?

A: The president himself has changed the policy. I liked the program he ran on. That’s what I defend. It changed at the first meeting of the Cabinet, [when they discussed] when were we going to attack Iraq?

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

US must obey human rights treaties abroad

Q: Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the Senate has ratified?

A: Well, he never has the right to violate any human rights, but because he should obey the constitution, not because of the international treaty. But so I would get to that point but not because of the treaty but because of the Constitution.

Q: Well, but the Constitution only has force on US soil, right, so the question is what happens when he is operating overseas? Do these other instruments bind him if the Senate has ratified them?

A: If he’s overseas and the treaty is in effect and would protect human rights--see I keep thinking well we shouldn’t be over there. So if we’re there--and I can’t see myself being over there--well, okay, the answer would be that he would have to obey the treaty.

Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power , Dec 20, 2007

Focus on the Iraq war and foreign policy

We could bring our troops home and become diplomatically credible again around the world. Today we’re not. Even our allies resent what we do. We wouldn’t have no more preemptive war. We would threaten nobody, not Iran. It is proven Iraq didn’t have the nuclear weapon, had nothing to do with 9/11. The Iranians have no nuclear weapon, according to our CIA. There’s no need for us to threaten the Iranians. We could immediately turn the Navy around & bring them home. This would be a major step toward peace.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate , Dec 12, 2007

Empires usually end by spending too much to maintain empire

I would say that since 70% of the American people want out of the Iraq war, and they are tired of it, the Republicans better pick somebody who is opposed to the war or have a new foreign policy, or they can’t win.

I think the whole sentiment [toward the Iraq war] is shifting. The people are sick and tired of the war. We can’t even afford it. We can’t even fight the war without borrowing the money from the Chinese. So it doesn’t add up. It really doesn’t matter whether I’m right or wrong. The war is going to end because we are going to have such a political and financial havoc here with the devaluation of our dollar because we just can’t keep affording.

This is usually how empires end, by spending too much money maintaining their empires. We are in 130 countries. We have 700 bases around the world. And it’s going to come to an end. I want it to come to an end more gracefully and peacefully, follow the Constitution and follow more sensible foreign policy.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Dec 2, 2007

Stronger national defense by changing our foreign policy

Q: What are the top three federal programs you would reduce in size in order to decrease spending?

A: I would like to change Washington, and we could by cutting three programs, such as the Department of Education-- Ronald Reagan used to talk about that--Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security is the biggest bureaucracy we ever had. And besides, what we can do is we can have a stronger national defense by changing our foreign policy.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida , Nov 28, 2007

No constitutional or moral authority for US action in Darfur

Q: Does the US have a role to play in ending the genocide in Darfur?

PAUL: The US government has no authority. There’s no constitutional authority. There’s no moral authority. There’s plenty of moral authority and responsibility for individuals to participate. But every time we get involved, no matter where, for good intentions, believe me, we’re getting involved in a civil war. Even when you send food, it ends up in the hands of the military and they use it as weapons. So it’s not well-intended. We should direct our attention only to national security and not get involved for these feel-good reasons. And this is the main reason why I think we ought to just come home from every place in the world and bring our troops home from Iraq.

BROWNBACK: I couldn’t disagree more with that last answer. We are the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, and we are ones that can stand up. We had declared years ago in Rwanda: Never again. And what is happening? It is happening again.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Don’t pressure Israel to give up land for promise of peace

Q: Past presidents have expected Israel to give up land, not for peace but for the promise of peace. With this mindset, Pres. Bush introduced the “roadmap” in 2003, yet 60 terrorist acts are attempted & 300 rockets fall every month in Israel. Will you stand behind Israel to not give up land for unfulfilled promises of peace, even in the face of opposition of European & Arab countries?
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Not US role to monitor eradication of legal slavery in Sudan

Q: I was made a slave during the government of Sudan’s war against black Christians of southern Sudan. I am a slave no longer, but today want to free tens of thousands of my brothers and sisters who remain in chattel slavery in Sudan. Would you today endorse the creation of a commission to monitor the eradication of slavery in Sudan, where the slavery of a man is legal?
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Our foreign policy is designed to protect our oil interests

You can’t discuss energy without discussing our foreign policy. Why do we go to the Middle East? You know that oil is very important about the Middle East and why we’re there. Why did our government help overthrow Mossadeq in 1953? It had to do with oil. So our foreign policy is designed to protect our oil interests. The profits--that’s not the problem. It’s the problem that we succumb to the temptation to protect oil interests by literally going out and fighting wars over oil.
Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Bush mistake: ran on humble foreign policy; now runs empire

Q: What has been President Bush’s biggest mistake since taking office?

A: The president ran on a program of a humble foreign policy, no nation-building, and no policing of the world. And he changed his tune, and now we are fighting a war, and our foreign operations around the world to maintain our empire is now approaching $1 trillion a year. That’s where the money’s going, and that’s where it has to be cut so we can take care of education and medical cares that are needed here in this country.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Avoid double standard--follow international law

On one hand, we pretend to abide by the UN and international law, such as when Congress cited the UN in its resolution authorizing the president to initiate war with Iraq. On the other hand, we feel free to completely ignore the terms of treaties--and even unilaterally demand a change in the terms of treaties--without hesitation. This leads to an increasing perception around the world that we are no longer an honest broker. Is this the message we want to send at this critical time?

Some may argue that it does not matter whether the US operates under double standards. WE are the lone super-power and can do as we wish, they argue. But this is a problem of the rule of law. Are we a nation that respects the rule of law? What example does it set for the rest of the world when we change the rules of the game whenever we see fit. Won’t this come back to haunt us?

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.360 , Jun 20, 2006

Neutrality on Israel-Palestine; start by defunding both

It is sort of a contest: should we be pro-Israel or pro-Arab, or anti-Israel or Anti-Arab, and how are we perceived doing this? It is pretty important.

But I think there is a third option that we often forget. Why can we not be pro-American? What is in the best interests of the US?

I believe that it is in the best interests of the United States not to get into a fight, a fight that we do not have the wisdom to figure out. I would like to have neutrality. That has been the tradition for America, at least a century ago, to be friends with everybody, trade with everybody, and be neutral unless someone declares war against us.

The perceptions are yes, we have solidarity with Israel. What is the opposite of solidarity? It is hostility. So if we have solidarity with Israel, then we have hostility to the Palestinians.

I have a proposal. We should start by defunding both sides. I think we can contribute by being more neutral.

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.177-178 , Dec 15, 2001

$140B to protect Europe creates competitive disadvantage

The ironies of our foreign policy are endless. We have troops in over 120 countries of the world and support, financially and militarily, both sides of most of the current military conflicts.

Our politicians’ enthusiasm for foreign aid is not shared by a majority of the American people, nor does it confirm to the Constitution.

We have 340,000 troops in Europe and over 200,000 elsewhere around the world. It costs $140 billion a year to protect Europe and $50 billion a year to defend Japan. It costs approximately $1000 to maintain each man per day overseas. This assistance permits a competitive edge for our allies, who are well ahead of us technologically, and contributes to our trade deficit. Our only response has been to promote protectionism, making the problem worse. Overall foreign policy has never been seriously considered as the basic flaw, like it someday must.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 53-54 , Dec 31, 1987

Foreign aid helps dictators, not the people of aided country

Officially, getting openly involved in the internal affairs of other nations is always at the host country’s request. Those interfering claim they do so by popular support, but the people are never consulted. Our foreign aid goes either to fascist or socialist nations, benefiting the rulers by solidifying their power and impeding the development of a free society and a free-market economy.

The outcome of even the best-motivated assistance is usually the opposite of that which was intended. When economic assistance is sent to other nations with the intention of helping the poor, the poor receive a small fraction of what is sent. But the worst part of all this is that the assistance perpetuates the entire system that causes the impoverishment in the first place and makes it more difficult than ever for the people of that country to achieve more liberty.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 56 , Dec 31, 1987


Ron Paul on Non-Interventionism

In Latin America, standing up for allies has meant military

SANTORUM: I'm not with Congressman Paul & I'm not with Barack Obama on [Latin American relations]: A consistent policy of siding with the leftists, siding with the Marxists, siding with those who don't support democracy. Not standing up for our friends who want to engage and support America

PAUL: The senator mentioned standing up for some of these nations, but he doesn't define it, but standing up for nations like this usually means that we impose ourselves, go and pick the dictators, undermine certain governments, also sending them a lot of money. It doesn't work. Most of the time, this backfires. They resent us. We can achieve what he wants in a much different way than us using the bully attitude that you will do it our way. This is not a benefit to us. Because you're talking about force.

SANTORUM: What I talked about is building strong national security relationships. No one's talking about force. Nobody's talking about going into Cuba or going into Venezuela.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary , Jan 26, 2012

Intervention in Arab Spring always backfires on us

Q: I never thought the Arab Spring was going to be the democracy movement that that they claimed it would be. You seem to believe that we are causing terrorism by being involved in any way.

A: I think it always backfires on us. Tunisia just had an election, they're going to have radicals Islamists in. Libya is probably going to end up with them. Look at all this buying of friendship with Egypt. Now we're going to have a government there that's less friendly to Israel. We have the Kurds under attack now by both the Turks and the Iranians. And we are driving these people into the arms of the Chinese. So, I think this hurts Israel. I think it hurts our national defense. I do not believe that we should be in nation building and we should not be involved in the entangling alliances and internal affairs of other nations. It's not part of our Constitution. And it was also strongly advised by our founders, and Eisenhower warned us to stay out of this entangling alliances.

Source: Sean Hannity 2012 presidential interviews "Hannity Primary" , Oct 24, 2011

We installed Shah in Iran; we should mind our own business

Q: [to Ron Paul]: Your policy towards Iran is: No sanctions?

PAUL: No, that makes it much worse. This whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions.

SANTORUM: Well, as the author of the Iran Freedom Support Act, which he is criticizing, it actually imposed sanctions on Iran because of their nuclear program--Iran is not Iceland, Ron. Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979. Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform than the Iraqis and the Afghanis have. The Iranians are the existential threat to the state of Israel, via funding of Hamas and Hezbollah and the support of Syria.

PAUL: The senator is wrong on his history. We've been at war in Iran for a lot longer than 1979. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah, and the blowback came in 1979. It's been going on and on because we just plain don't mind our own business. That's our problem.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Worldwide interventionism requires perpetual fear

A foreign policy that endorses worldwide intervention and occupation requires that people live in perpetual fear of supposed enemies. In the post-9/11 period, proponents of such policies have been able to promote the fear needed for the American people t accept policies they otherwise would have rebelled against. Fear has enabled permanent runaway domestic surveillance and the sacrifice of privacy through legislation such as the Patriot Act. A citizen walking through the airport today is bombarded with 1984-style propaganda messages that are designed to make us fear some amorphous threat and also be suspicious of others. The government designs these messages to make us feel dependent and heavily lorded over in every aspect of our lives. These messages are becoming ever more pervasive, hitting us even in the grocery stores when we are shopping. If we are fearful enough, we are willing to tolerate what might otherwise be regarded as immoral means of dealing with the enemy, such as the use of torture.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p. 10-11 , Apr 19, 2011

Exceptionalism shouldn't mean using force around the world

There's been talk lately about American exceptionalism; it's been the greatest country, most freedom, most prosperity. My concern is I'm afraid we're losing it, I'm afraid we've given up on our devotion to liberty, that's where our problem is. But where I think we go astray on this exceptionalism is there are some people and sometimes they're referred as neoconservatives and they're sort of neo-Jacobins where they believe that we have this moral responsibility to use force to go around the world and say "you will do it our way or else." Well, force doesn't work; it never works.

The best way to get people to act more like us if we're doing a good job, is for us to have a sound economy, a sound dollar, treat people decently, have a foreign policy that makes common sense, treat people like we want to be treated, and then maybe they would want to emulate us and say "freedom does work and we ought to try it." But we can't force it on other people.

Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 11, 2011

We spend $1 trillion a year overseas; it’s needed at home

We have to live within our means. That’s why I talk about foreign policy. We spend $1 trillion a year overseas. If you want to take care of people at home, you’ve got to cut someplace. But here we’re adding $700 billion to the budget, the national debt going up to $11.3 trillion.
Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Sep 21, 2008

Stop interfering with Latin America; talk & trade instead

Q: Venezuela rejected changes to the constitution, but President Hugo Chavez has insisted that he’s going to propose them again. Many consider him a threat to democracy in the region. How would you deal with Chavez?

A: Well, he’s not the easiest person to deal with, but we should deal with everybody around the world the same way: with friendship and opportunity to talk and try to trade with people. We talked to Stalin, we talked to Khrushchev, we’ve talked to Mao, and we’ve talked to the world, & we get along with people. Actually, I believe we’re at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba. We have a problem in South America and Central America: because we’ve been involved in their internal affairs for so long. We have been meddling in their business. We create the Chavezes of the world, we create the Castros of the world by interfering and creating chaos in their countries, and they respond by throwing out their leader.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Right to spread our values, but wrong to spread by force

Q: Pres. Bush said in his second inaugural address, “It is the policy of the US to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.” Has Pres. Bush’s policy been a success?

A: Our responsibility is to spread democracy here, make sure that we have it. This is a philosophic and foreign policy problem, because what the president was saying was just a continuation of Woodrow Wilson’s “making the world safe for democracy.” There’s nothing wrong with spreading our values around the world, but it is wrong to spread it by force. We should spread it by setting an example and going and doing a good job here. Threatening Pakistan and threatening Iran makes no sense whatsoever. I supported going after Al Qaida into Afghanistan--but, lo & behold, the neocons took over. They forgot about Bin Laden. And what they did, they went into nation-building, not only in Afghanistan, they went unjustifiably over into Iraq. And that’s why we’re in this mess today.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Interventionism perpetuated by politician’s false patriotism

There are several reasons that nations cling to a policy of foreign entanglements. Political power is an aphrodisiac for most politicians, and too many of those with power develop grandiose dreams of world conquest. In the US, private financial interests also influence our policies and relationships in world affairs.

Another reason people succumb to dangerous policies of war and conquest relates to the false sense of patriotism promoted by our politicians.

Thus the missionary zeal to spread American goodness, always promoted as altruism by neoconservatives, gains public support. Military adventurism seems justified to many, especially before the costs, the failures, and the deaths are widely recognized.

Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.361 , Jun 15, 2007

No foreign aid; no treaties that commit US to future wars

A policy of strategic independence is far better than international entanglements. Those who advocate the traditional policy of nonintervention are ridiculed as isolationists by the authoritarians who want the US to decide all disputes. Yet it’s their interventionist policies, especially in the last six years, that have isolated us, reduced our allies, and increased our enemies.

A republic that remains neutral in foreign affairs would not dispense foreign aid. It would seek diplomatic solutions to international disputes. No direct subsidies would be given to other governments, politicians, or factions involved in internal disputes abroad, and there would be no subsidized loans. There would be no sanctions or blockades placed on other countries, unless war was declared. There would be no threats to have our way in foreign affairs. There would be no treaties promising to commit later generations to war. There would be no CIA coups to overthrow governments.

Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.369 , Jun 15, 2007

Non-intervention is traditional American & Republican policy

We should have a foreign policy of non-intervention, the traditional American foreign policy and the Republican foreign policy. Throughout the 20th century, the Republican Party benefited from a non-interventionist foreign policy. How did we win the election in the year 2000? We talked about a humble foreign policy: No nation-building; don’t police the world. That’s conservative, it’s Republican, it’s pro-American--it follows the founding fathers. And, besides, it follows the Constitution.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

No nation-building; no world policeman; no pre-emptive war

Q: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine, or would you change it?

A: I certainly agreed with his foreign policy that he ran on and that we, as Republicans, won in year 2000. You know, the humble foreign policy, no nation building, don’t be the policeman of the world. Of course, the excuse is that 9/11 changed everything. But the Bush doctrine of preemptive war is not a minor change; this is huge. This is the first time we, as a nation, accept as our policy that we start the wars. I don’t understand this And that all options are on the table to go after Iran? This is not necessary. These are Third World nations. They’re not capable. But I think it’s the misunderstanding or the disagreements that we’ve had in this debate along the campaign trail is the nature of the threat. I’m as concerned about the nature of the threat of terrorism as anybody, if not more so. But they don’t attack us because we’re free and prosperous.

Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

UN membership leads to impractical military conflicts

I have argued for years against membership in the UN because it compromises our sovereignty. The US has always been expected to pay an unfair percentage of UN expenses. I content that membership in the UN has led to impractical military conflicts that were highly costly in both lives and dollars, and that were rarely resolved.

Over 58 years in Korea have seen 33,000 lives lost, 100,000 casualties, and over a trillion dollars spent. Korea is the most outrageous example of our fighting a UN war without declaration from Congress. And where are we today? On the verge of a nuclear confrontation with a North Korean regime nearly out of control.

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.248-249 , Feb 26, 2003

Policy of non-intervention, neutrality, & independence

Throughout the 20th century, the US has steadily drifted from the traditional policy of nonintervention, neutrality, and independence to one of interventionism in the internal affairs of other nations, covert foreign activity, and broad international commitments.

This dramatic shift in policy, one of the major US blunders of this century, is responsible for all of our overseas military conflicts of the past eight decades, which have resulted in more than 650,000 Americans killed and 1,130,000 Americans wounded. The last two major conflicts, Korea and Vietnam, were fought without a formal declaration of war. In modern language, they were “police actions.” Since war was not declared, there was no commitment to win. Clearly the efforts proved futile, serving only to tear at the seams of American society.

Policy shifts have since occurred, but reassessment of the overall foreign intervention policy has not taken place. Reassessment must occur if the senseless killing is to be stopped.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 41 , Dec 31, 1987


Ron Paul on Voting+Sponsorships

Avoid ratifying Law of the Sea Treaty

Q: Pres. Reagan rejected the Law of the Sea Treaty, because it gives International Seabed Authority dictatorial power to regulate all oceans and the riches at the bottom of the oceans, plus the power the levy international taxes, and it would make the US subject to the decisions of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Would you urge the Senate not to ratify this treaty?
Source: [Xref Keyes] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Voted NO on supporting democratic institutions in Pakistan.

Congressional Summary:Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE Act): Authorizes the President to provide assistance for Pakistan to support democratic institutions; economic development; human rights; health care; and public diplomacy.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. IKE SKELTON (D, MO-4): Pakistan is important to the Middle East and our intentions there. Their cooperation, of course, is so very, very important. This legislation gives economic and democratic development assistance to that country.

Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): We can't allow al Qaeda or any other terrorist group that threatens our national security to operate with impunity in the tribal regions or any other part of Pakistan. Nor can we permit the Pakistani state and its nuclear arsenal to be taken over by the Taliban. To help prevent this nightmare scenario, we need to forge a true strategic partnership with Pakistan and its people, strengthen Pakistan's democrat government, and work to make Pakistan a source of stability in a volatile region.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R, FL-18): This bill focuses on past actions and failures attributed to the Pakistani Government, punishing the new leadership for the sins of its predecessors. While the authors of H.R. 1886 may have sought to empower our Pakistani partners to undertake the formidable task of fighting and winning against violent extremists, it does the opposite. We have gone down this road before. I recall during the Iraq debate, Members sought to prejudge the surge strategy before it could even be implemented. Let us hope that this will not be repeated with respect to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reference: The PEACE Act; Bill H.R.1886 ; vote number 2009-H333 on Jun 11, 2009

Voted NO on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.

Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.

Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement; Bill HR.7081 ; vote number 2008-H662 on Sep 27, 2008

Voted NO on deterring foreign arms transfers to China.

To authorize measures to deter arms transfers by foreign countries to the People's Republic of China, A YES vote would grant the President the ability to place sanctions on any individual or country that violates the arms embargo, including:
Reference: East Asia Security Act; Bill HR 3100 ; vote number 2005-374 on Jul 14, 2005

Voted NO on reforming the UN by restricting US funding.

To reform the United Nations, by limiting the US contribution to the UN by up to one-half by the year 2007, if the following reforms are not made:
Reference: United Nations Reform Act; Bill HR 2745 ; vote number 2005-282 on Jun 17, 2005

Voted YES on keeping Cuba travel ban until political prisoners released.

Stop enforcing travel restrictions on US citizens to Cuba, only after the president has certified that Cuba has released all political prisoners, and extradited all individuals sought by the US on charges of air piracy, drug trafficking and murder.
Bill HR 2590 ; vote number 2001-270 on Jul 25, 2001

Voted YES on withholding $244M in UN Back Payments until US seat restored.

Vote to adopt an amendment that would require that the United States be restored to its seat on the UN Human Rights Commission before the payment of $244 million in funds already designated to pay UN back dues.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Hyde, R-IL; Bill HR 1646 ; vote number 2001-107 on May 10, 2001

Voted NO on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction.

Vote on an amendment that would transfer $156 million from foreign military financing to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries [HIPC] Trust Fund. The HIPC Trust fund is designed to help debtor countries pay off the money they owe to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Reference: Amendment sponsored by Waters, D-CA; Bill HR 4811 ; vote number 2000-397 on Jul 13, 2000

Voted NO on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.

Vote to give permanent Normal Trade Relations [NTR] status to China. Currently, NTR status for China is debated and voted on annually. The measure contains provisions designed to protect the United States from Chinese import surges and the administration would have to report annually on China's compliance with the trade agreement. The bill establishes a commission to monitor human rights, labor standards and religious freedom in China.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX; Bill HR 4444 ; vote number 2000-228 on May 24, 2000

Voted NO on $15.2 billion for foreign operations.

Vote on a bill to provide $15.2 billion for foreign operations in FY 2000. Among other provisions, the bill would provide $1.82 billion over three years for implementation of the Wye River peace accord in the Middle East. In addition, the measure would provide $123 million in multilateral debt relief and would contribute $25 million to the United National Population Fund.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Callahan, R-AL; Bill HR 3196 ; vote number 1999-572 on Nov 5, 1999

Allow Americans to travel to Cuba.

Paul co-sponsored allowing Americans to travel to Cuba

OnTheIssues.org explanation: The US government has forbidden US citizens from traveling to Cuba since the 1960s. Try booking a trip from Mexico City to Havana on travelocity.com (or any travel website) and it says, "Due to a U.S. government travel restriction we are unable to book this reservation." You can, however, purchase that same ticket while in Mexico City, or anywhere else in the world. Sanford's bill attempts to undo this long-standing situation.

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

EXCERPTS FROM BILL:

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on the Western Hemisphere; never called for a House vote.

Source: Cuba travel bill (H.R.4471) 00-HR4471 on May 16, 2000

Foreign aid often more harmful than helpful .

Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
  1. The United States should not be answerable to any governing body outside the United States for its trade policy.
  2. Foreign aid is often more harmful than helpful and should be curtailed.
  3. US military personnel should always be under US command.
Source: Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC12 on Dec 8, 2000

Ban foreign aid to oil-producers who restrict production.

Paul co-sponsored an amendment to the International Financial Institutions Act:

Title: To direct the International Monetary Fund to oppose any new loan to any country that is acting to restrict oil production to the detriment of the United States economy, except in emergency circumstances.

Summary: Amends the International Financial Institutions Act to direct the U.S. Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to use the U.S. voice, vote, and influence to oppose any new IMF loan to any country which the Secretary of Energy determines is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and is acting to restrict oil production to the detriment of the U.S. economy, or is acting in concert with OPEC to do so, unless the provision of the loan is necessary to address a systemic risk to the international financial system.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1688 on May 2, 2001

Sponsored bill invalidating International Criminal Court.

Paul sponsored that International Criminal Court decisions not valid for US

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Prohibits the use of appropriated funds for the establishment or operation of the International Criminal Court. Declares that any action taken by or on behalf of the Court: (1) against any member of the US armed forces shall be considered an act of aggression against the US; or (2) against any US citizen or national shall be considered an offense against the law of nations.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: This bill prohibits funds made available by the US Government from being used for the establishment or operation of the International Criminal Court. Perhaps the most significant part of the bill makes clear that any action taken by or on behalf of the Court against members of the US Armed Forces shall be considered an act of aggression against the US.

In May 2002, Pres. Bush took the commendable step of repudiating the Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Court is an illegitimate body even by the UN's own standards. The Statute of the International Criminal Court was enacted by the UN General Assembly, whereas according to the UN Charter, the authority to create such a body lies only in the UN Security Council.

The International Criminal Court puts US citizens in jeopardy of unlawful and unconstitutional criminal prosecution. The Court does not provide many of the Constitutional protections guaranteed every American citizen, including the right to trial by jury, the right to face your accuser, and the presumption of innocence, and the protection against double jeopardy.

Members of the US Armed Forces are particularly at risk for politically motivated arrests, prosecutions, fines, and imprisonment for acts engaged in for the protection of the US. I hope all members of this body will join me in opposing this illegitimate and illegal court.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on International Relations; never came to a vote.

Source: American Servicemember & Civilian Protection Act (H.R.1154) 03-HR1154 on Mar 6, 2003

Sponsored bill to end the Cuban embargo.

Paul sponsored ending the Cuban embargo

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: This bill lifts the harmful and counterproductive US embargo on Cuba. The sanctions have failed to remove Castro from power, and other nations are unwilling to respect the embargo.

I oppose economic sanctions for two very simple reasons. First, they don't work as effective foreign policy. Time after time, from Cuba to China to Iraq, we have failed to unseat despotic leaders by refusing to trade with the people of those nations. If anything, the anti-American sentiment aroused by sanctions often strengthens the popularity of such leaders. While sanctions may serve our patriotic fervor, they mostly harm innocent citizens and do nothing to displace the governments we claim as enemies.

Second, sanctions simply hurt American industries, particularly agriculture. Every market we close to our nation's farmers is a market exploited by foreign farmers. China, Russia, North Korea, and Cuba all represent huge markets for our farm products, yet many in Congress favor trade restrictions that prevent our farmers from selling to the billions of people in these countries.

I certainly understand the emotional feelings many Americans have toward nations such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Cuba. Yet we must not let our emotions overwhelm our judgment in foreign policy matters, because ultimately human lives are at stake. Economic common sense, self-interested foreign policy goals, and humanitarian ideals all point to the same conclusion: Congress should work to end economic sanctions against all nations immediately.

The legislation I introduce today is representative of true free trade in that while it opens trade, it prohibits the US taxpayer from being compelled to subsidize the US government, the Cuban government or individuals or entities that choose to trade with Cuban citizens.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on Immigration & Border Security; never came to a vote.

Source: Cuban Embargo bill (H.R.1698) 03-HR1698 on Apr 9, 2003

Sponsored resolution to withdraw from UNESCO.

Paul sponsored withdrawing from UNESCO

EXCERPTS OF RESOLUTION:

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives, That it is the sense of Congress that--
  1. the United States should formally withdraw from UNESCO; and
  2. any funds appropriated towards the US contribution to UNESCO, but not yet transferred to UNESCO, should be returned to the Treasury.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Committee on International Relations; never came to a vote.

Source: Resolution on UNESCO (H.CON.RES.443) 04-HCR443 on Jun 3, 2004

Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Paul is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs , also known as the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States. It is less powerful than its Senate counterpart, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, because the House committee does not consider the ratification of treaties or the confirmation of presidential appointments, such as are made for ambassador and Secretary of State.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives website, www.house.gov 11-HC-IR on Feb 3, 2011

Allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

Paul signed Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act

Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.

Source: S.428&HR.874 2009-S428 on Feb 12, 2009

Liberty Candidate: US abroad unconstitutional & unaffordable.

Paul signed 2010 Congressional endorsement list

A Liberty Candidate will Defend the Great American Principles of A Non-interventionist Foreign Policy and Sound Money, [such as the views of] Adam Kokesh, Congress 2010 candidate from New Mexico, on foreign Policy: "Taken as a whole, America’s current foreign policy is a grossly unconstitutional one that we cannot afford. It has put us in a situation where children born today are burdened with an impossible debt. It is premised on a twisted version of American exceptionalism which assumes we have the right to police the world without respect for the sovereignty of fellow nations. If we hope to be respected in the global community, we would be wise to heed the advice of Thomas Jefferson and seek, 'peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations--entangling alliances with none.' "

Source: 2010 Congressional endorsement list 2010-LC-FP on Sep 1, 2010

Other candidates on Foreign Policy: Ron Paul on other issues:
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Herman Cain(GA)
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012