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Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, And Intervenionism

by @ 11:25 am on May 16, 2007. Filed under 2008 Election, Politics, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani

Much has been written this morning about the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani during last night’s Presidential debate.

As I note over at The Liberty Papers, I think it’s fairly obvious that Giuliani distorted what Ron Paul said in order to make a quick and easy rhetorical point:

Did Paul really say that American foreign policy was to blame for 9/11 ? Personally, I don?t think so. What he said was that American foreign policy was a contributing factor to the formation of the forces that now seek to destroy us.


That, I think, is the point that Congressman Paul, somewhat inarticulately, was making last night. American intervention and adventure-ism in the Middle East, which has been marked mostly by a history of bungling and backing the wrong guy 9 times out of 10, has helped guys like bin Laden recruit from among the Arab masses.

Would al Qaeda still exist if we had acted differently ? Probably. bin Laden his ilk don?t need a justification for their murderous philosophy. But, because we?ve handed them one on a silver platter (and also because we?ve backed and propped up governments that have paid little respect to individual rights), it?s made it much easier for them to recruit followers from the Arab street.

Consider, for example, this excerpt from the debate:

REP. PAUL: I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the shah, yes, there was blowback. A reaction to that was the taking of our hostages and that persists. And if we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem.

They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there. I mean, what would we think if we were — if other foreign countries were doing that to us?

Perhaps Congressman Paul didn’t state the position as articulately as he should have, but it’s a legitimate question. The history of American foreign policy in the Middle East is a history of backing dictators like the Shah, propping up the Saudi Royal Family while ignoring their numerous and ongoing violations of human rights, and alternatively backing and then opposing Saddam Hussein when it suited our purposes.

Is it any wonder that there are Muslims who hate us ?

One comment to my post at The Liberty Papers put it nicely:

If we were to pull Thomas Jefferson through the time rift and drag him here, today. Put him on stage for the Republican ticket? what would the American people say after he explained that Ron Paul?s stance on our foreign policy is the same stance that the country was founded to have. And that ?terrorism? has been a constant factor throughout the world?s history.

While I don’t necessarily think that the foreign policy of 1801 can be applied to today’s world, I think that attitudes such as Giuliani’s — who seems to reject out of hand the very idea that the United States should not be the world’s policeman — are far more dangerous than they are productive. Which is one of the reasons I will neither support nor vote for him.

7 Responses to “Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, And Intervenionism”

  1. Alex Hammer says:

    See also:

    The Ron Paul Internet Dilemma

    Romney, Paul, Giuliani Won SC Debate – Fox News Viewers

    VIDEO: Ron Paul vs. Rudy Giuliani

    Blog This: Ron Paul Explodes Across Google, Campaign Site, YouTube,
    Technorati and more. The mainstream media (MSM) has been ignoring Ron Paul?s spectacular rise (see story for stats and details) across the Internet?s top websites.

  2. Adam says:

    I agree with your assessment. Ron Paul even said the American people aren’t to blame, but some of our past policies have contibuted in a significant way to 9/11. I think every guy on that panel agrees with Paul on that fact, but they will try to use his honesty against him and play toward the public’s guilt.

    It is important to note that Paul does not think the people in the buildings or any of the people killed or directly affected by 9/11 had any blame for those events. He would also admit that the people involved were the ones to blame. However, one way to help prevent future attacks would be to change our foreign policy to be less intervening, or at least more honest.

  3. Cam says:

    I think Giuliani and McCain embarrassed themselves in the debate (and post-debate), by demonstrating a 5-year-old level comprehension of a complex international conflict. Rudy, refusing to entertain the idea that the CIA, FBI, and 911 Commission might have a point about the precipitating factors to 911… and McCain, for explaining that they hate us because “they’re evil” and “they hate our freedoms”. Come on! Even Disney villains have more complex psyches than that.

    For anyone who is intellectually engaged in the issues around terrorism, Ron Paul was the only candidate willing to speak their language.

  4. Ugly American says:

    Ron Paul is the only real American up there.

    All the others are would be dictators.

  5. macrumpton says:

    Why are people afraid to say that our interventionist foreign policy has created our nemesis?
    It is totally obvious that it is. We only have to look at our own behavior when the USSR put missiles in Cuba to see that having a adversary place military assets within striking distance of our shores creates a bit of concern. So after we help overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran, did we thing that they were going to forget about it? Did we think that the rest of the middle east would not notice that we launched an unprovoked war against Iraq? Not to mention the way the US acts as though all the oil reserves are our sovereign right.
    If some country treated us the way we treat the rest of the world, we would consider them a mortal enemy.

  6. Lumen says:

    Ron Paul did make a point worth considering. I don’t think that U.S. foreign policy “created our nemesis,” but it has probably contributed to our enemies’ motivations to fight us. We would be wise to analyze the way our enemies think, in order to best combat them. Al Qaeda and others who would deliberately attack innocent civilians are evil and should be confronted and destroyed, no matter what their supposed justifications. For in-depth analysis of the debate last night, visit The Virginian Federalist at

  7. American Abroad says:

    A short time ago I knew nothing about Ron Paul. He is a modern day hero. I can only dream of the happiness I would feel to live in a nation that had a small federal government that stayed out of people’s lives, kept its army at home, protected our liberties and taxed us only on the services we used rather than prying into every aspect of our lives. Why is the major media against Ron Paul? I believe that what he proposes to the American people is truly revolutionary. Even his stance on the gold standard is brilliant. A government that is forced to live within its means and can’t print money in order to spend money would create massive wealth for Americans up and down the economic spectrum. As to his position on foreign adventurism, he is so obviously right that it is hardly worth debating.

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