Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Liberalism, conservatism and natural law | Main | Your cinematic year in review »

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ron Paul on Gaza invasion: "No benefit for the US to be involved in this fight"

Republican Congressman Ron Paul addresses Israel's ground invasion of Gaza:

Glenn Greenwald, a civil libertarian and blogger for Salon.com captured Paul's point perfectly in a post last week:

Americans shouldn't be in the position of endlessly debating Israel's security situation and its endless religious and territorial conflicts with its neighbors.  That should be for Israeli citizens to do, not for Americans.  But that distinction -- between the U.S. and Israel -- barely exists because our political leaders have all but eliminated it, and have thus imposed on U.S. citizens responsibility for the acts of Israel.

In doing so, they have systematically ignored the unbelievably prescient warnings issued by George Washington in his 1796 Farewell Address, and have thereby provoked exactly the dangers he decried:

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? . . . . .

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.

It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. . . .

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

Uncritical support for someone's destructive behavior isn't "friendship"; it is, as Washington said, slavishness, and it does no good either for the party lending the blind support nor the party receiving it.  It's hard to overstate the good that would be achieved if the U.S. simply adhered to those basic and self-evidently compelling principles of George Washington, who actually knew a thing or two about the perils of war.

Ron Paul is a realist who believes that US foreign policy should advance the interests of Americans. He is not, like many commentators, reflexively anti-Israel, but instead consistently for non-intervention and non-interference in the affairs of other nations and firmly against the sort of "entangling alliances" that George Washington warned against in his Farewell Address; the US-Israel "special relationship," needless to say, is a paradigmatic example of just such an entanglement. Take this anecdote from a New York Times profile of the Texas Congressman as an example of his principled stance against interference:

Paul was in Congress when Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear plant in 1981 and — unlike the United Nations and the Reagan administration — defended its right to do so. He says Saudi Arabia has an influence on Washington equal to Israel’s. His votes against support for Israel follow quite naturally from his opposition to all foreign aid. There is no sign that they reflect any special animus against the Jewish state.

Shotgun blogger Omar Abu Hatem wrote a post about the reactions of the "antiwar right," within which he includes Ron Paul, to the initial Israeli bombing raids on Gaza and he's been keeping up with some excellent and admirably humanistic "Gazanalysis" at his own personal blog.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on January 4, 2009 | Permalink


I have little or no pity for either side. They both break any peace accord then blame the other. This fight over territory and recognition began 60 years ago and I believe it will never be resolved until they are made to sit down face to face and locked in a room. They should sit there until an agreement is reached with no food or water. 48 hours later there will be an agreement I bet. Then both groups must abide by it. If either break it then they both sides should be turned into a parking lot.

Only when an agreement is reached that as dire consequences for both will peace be reached

Varies groups in the middle east have been at each others throat for hundreds of years. Almost every country in the middle east have Religious/Ethnic fights. Resolve this issue then pick another. Iran, Iraq, Afganizstan, Lebanon etc.

The only things that have changed in the 60 years is the technology that allows for more death, and the use of teenagers and children to be the mouth pieces and do the suicide work of the radicals (cowards)

Posted by: Andy | 2009-01-04 6:07:48 AM

Ron Paul would have made a good president. Of course, we're now in the habit of electing spit-polished politicians that look and sound good on TV, instead of statesmen like George Washington.
Shame on us.

Posted by: Darryl Schmitz | 2009-01-04 6:49:15 AM

It all comes down to the systemic bastardization of the US Constitution over many generations and Presidencies. The shift from Americanism to Imperialism. And Ron Paul is still the only major political figure that seems willing to talk about it.
Its really a shame that (generally speaking) American values have become that of consumer's as opposed to patriots.
Our way of life has become a big screen a Cadillac in the driveway and Status...
So much for Liberty and the American way.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-04 9:01:37 AM

On another note, I believe Israel has every right in the world to defend itself.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-04 9:46:41 AM

Since Gaza is not a nation, and Ron Paul knows this, he is saying the United States should not interfere with the actions of Israel as there is no benefit for the US to be involved in this fight.

Gaza is not a state, and Hamas is not a state actor. What reasonable state would betray it's people by conducting actions as Hamas has done? What is Gaza and what is Hamas? Who knows?

Posted by: Canucklehead | 2009-01-04 9:56:13 AM


While Paul would not be in favour of preventing Israel from acting as it has or issuing any sort of condemnation, he does not want them to continue to do so at the expense of US taxpayers. The US subsidizes the Israeli military to the tune of billions of dollars per year (as it does to Egypt and other ME states), and derives little in the way of benefits and much in the way of harm.

The US *is* presently involved in the fight. Israel is using US weapons and US money and is acting with US permission and cover (if Israel didn't have the US on board, the US would not be blocking UN Security Council attempts to condemn Israel.) Everybody realizes that the US is involved in this fight just like Hamas and the IDF, and this sort of US involvement is the one unquestionable article of faith amongst the US political establishment.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-01-04 10:18:21 AM

Why are we supporting Israel.
We pay them millions of dollars a day to kill
Palestinians and create wars.
As a nurse in the USA I am protesting the lack of water, electricity, food, and especially medical supplies to innocent people!
I am sick of the USA politicians under Israel lobby control.
Support equality for ALL people in the Middle East and not just ISRAEL. Or do not question when they attack the USA or ISRAEL; you are making future haters of the true suppressors of freedom.
The USA and ISRAEL are the modern world NAZIS!
The UNSC and the World Court have ruled against Israel! The International Humanitarian Association has also spoke out against Israel!
Why do we continue to ignore World Court and UN
Rulings? Why do we continue to allow extremist Jews to build settlements?
Deborah Beaudoin-Zaki, RN, BSN
(a nurse and mother for freedom)

Posted by: Deborah Beaudoin-Zaki | 2009-01-04 11:01:38 AM

By all means get out of the UN, stop all foreign aid to all countries but lets not hide behind historically naive moral equivocations about avoiding foreign entanglements. Germany never declared war on the US. Was the US involvement there a mistake in Ron Paul's world? Should Canada not have followed Britain's lead in trying to stop Saddam, oops, I mean Hitler from gaining living space in Europe along with his preemptive work on eliminating the "Zionist threat"?

There will be in all likelihood a war between Iran and Israel, possibly involving nuclear weapons. Do we become value neutral and wait to see if our interests are affected or do we decide to help the friendlier country lose less, where friendlier is defined by the lack of influence of the current level of immigration? Or, Ron Paul forbid, should we take preemptive action to remove the (potential Iranian) nuclear threat and in doing so save a few million lives on both sides?

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-01-04 2:37:24 PM

"The US subsidizes the Israeli military to the tune of billions of dollars per year (as it does to Egypt and other ME states), and derives little in the way of benefits and much in the way of harm."

KK, It's not entirely true that the US receives "little in the way of benefits".

"Israel is one of the United State’s largest arms importers. In the last decade, the United States has sold Israel $7.2 billion in weaponry and military equipment, $762 million through Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), more than $6.5 billion through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program.

In fact, Israel is so devoted to U.S. military hardware that it has the world's largest fleet of F-16s outside the U.S., currently possessing more than 200 jets. Another 102 F-16s are on order from Lockheed Martin."

The U.S sells T-bills to the the US taxpayer and the world, grants the money to Israel with strings attached; a commitment to spend a certain portion on arms purchase which produces jobs for Americans.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-04 4:22:44 PM

Canucklehead is correct. Gaza is not a nation. Washington and J.S. Mill strictly emphasize nation. Mill because he believed that “the rules of ordinary international morality imply reciprocity”. Non states and not state actors are unable toreciprocate or to follow international law. There is no collective liberty in non states because there is no collective determination. If no liberty exists, how can there be encroachment upon liberty?

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-04 4:31:17 PM

I don't think corporate welfare for arms manufactures (or anyone else) is a benefit for Americans.

There are less costly ways of giving welfare to the military-industrial complex than giving money to Israel for them to spend on US military hardware.

The US-Israel relationship is like one between an abusive parent and a child, but worse because the US also makes new enemies and endangers its citizens by defending Israeli actions right or wrong. Another harmful aspect is the pervasive influence of the Israeli lobby which helped pushed the US towards a disastrous war in Iraq and is currently leading the charge towards a preemptive attack on Iran.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-01-04 4:33:59 PM

As long as jihadists are launching rockets into Israel, Israel has the right and even duty to fight back and destroy as much of the Hamas established terror network as they can. Don't forget (nurse Zaki) that Israel is not the only middle east country occupying land that supposedly is meant for Palestinians. Egypt and Jordan also do, yet no one screams bloody murder for them to stop the occupation. Kind of hypocritical, don't you think?

Posted by: Markalta | 2009-01-04 4:39:32 PM

Prophecy:[The need to fullfill what is written down.]Looks like the prophet's want their " end time" revelations to come true.

Posted by: glen | 2009-01-04 5:06:54 PM

KK, It's been benefiting Americans since the establishment of the Federal Reserve. The Fed sold liberty bonds to Americans and then lent the money to the Allied powers of WWI, finally entering the war to ensure their investment.

Ditto Saudi Arabia, another symbiotic relationship. The Saudis receive protection from the US, ensuring their oil gets to market and they stay atop the kingdom, and in return the Saudis buy billions in US weaponry and other goods.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-04 5:08:03 PM

The Anglo-American interests in the ME are at least a century old, since the new Queen Elizabeth-class dreadnoughts were designed to run exclusively on oil and Churchill negotiated the Anglo-Persian Oil Convention. The Brits invaded Mesopotamia in 1917, again in Iraq during WWII; Suez canal, Ike in Lebanon in 1957; Nixon/Kissinger planned invasion of Saudi Arabia if the mid-seventies oil embargo had not ended, Carter's threat to Iran, Gulf War I and then GWII. It runs as an undisturbed thread through Anglo-American administrations for over a hundred years.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-04 5:19:34 PM

Ditto Saudi Arabia, another symbiotic relationship. The Saudis receive protection from the US, ensuring their oil gets to market and they stay atop the kingdom, and in return the Saudis buy billions in US weaponry and other goods.

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-04 5:08:03 PM

As an aside to your point DY, The US supports a Saudi Dictatorship. One which isn't very kind to its own people, and one which produces (possibly )the majority of the terrorists. Coincidence?
The CIA calls this "blowback".
And the problem is fairly widespread and it makes an argumant for non intervention.
This isn't WW1 or 2.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-04 5:26:44 PM

Kalim, what Ron Paul is talking about is another way of presenting Franklin Delano Roosevelt's analogy about a offering a fire hose to a neighbour when they need it.

The United States wants to ensure there is an environment where personal liberty can flourish around the world. This usually results in a battle between Good and Evil. Hamas cannot be reasonably construed as being the posterboy for the Good side. As a result of their overplaying their diplomatic/cultural hand, they have reaped the wind they have sown.

Hamas has been lobbing rockets into Israel, looking for a reaction. Now they got it. There is an old saying ... If you play with the bull, expect the horns.

The world expects good things to flow from this IDF action.

Posted by: Canucklehead | 2009-01-04 5:27:04 PM

Sorry, that should read "DJ" not DY.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-04 5:27:10 PM


Mercantilism, interventionism and inflation may pay off in the short term, but on the whole it results in instability (we may well be seeing the beginning of a US currency collapse, dollar devaluation or debt repudiation) and less wealth creation. The American people have been getting steadily wealthier throughout most of the 20th century, that's a result of the extent to which they have a free enterprise system. No doubt, Americans would be even more prosperous had they capitalism, free trade and a government which limited itself to a strictly Constitutional role.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-01-04 5:42:27 PM

Hey Gaza-Zaki, why don't fellow arabs sit down and talk some sense into Hamas and the many other TERRORISTS in their neighborhood? Israel has given them plenty of space, time, and even resources to over-come their fears...but this isn't about fears, is it? It is about the annihilation of Jews off the face of this planet, period. Arabs know this, and they are willing participants in its' attempt, therefore they have as much blood on their hands(maybe more) than anyone in this battle. Crocodile tears make front page headlines, moonbats eat it up...

Posted by: prairie dog | 2009-01-04 5:53:05 PM

My, "a nurse and mother for freedom" no less. Then you should be working with the Arab mothers in the area to convince them it is not good to train, encourage and send their small children with bombs strapped to them to murder others. What about trying to convey the concept of freedom to the same population including freedom of religion. A people who love and worship death more than they love their children is in serious need of help.

You also bring to mind the young Arab woman whose life was saved in an Israeli (Jewish) hospital by Israeli (Jewish) doctors only to return later with explosives strapped to her body to murder the same people. So either get some help or save your bile for others.

The conflict is civilisation versus barbarism, so choosing sides should not be that difficult.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-04 6:40:09 PM

The United States wants to ensure there is an environment where personal liberty can flourish around the world.
Posted by: Canucklehead | 2009-01-04 5:27:04 PM

I'd like to believe that, and in fact I used to.
But it looks more like "The United States" is having enough trouble hanging on to personal liberty in the "United States", let alone wanting it to flourish all over the world.
I think they've (govt.) become Imperialists who want control by the United States (govt.) to flourish around the world.
I don't believ they have much interest in personal liberty anymore, at least their track record seems to say so.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-04 7:53:56 PM

JC, SA is an Islamic monarchy and governs via sharia law. They are challenged by Islamic resistance groups, which propose alternate visions of society in which sovereignty belongs to God alone. Mohamed transcended family/tribal ties by uniting the tribes into a collective, voluntary, single umma under the umbrella of a common God-given law (the sharia), which would regulate social order.

Europeans, especially Northern Europeans, developed a non-kinship based system of reciprocity. Contract and property law regulated social order, not religion. It also created a national affinity, which is absent from the ME. Thus Mill's assertion, interventionism was considered differently for national and non-national actors.

Hamas, as a religious, but non-state actor cannot offer reciprocity because sharia law states that Jews are dhimmi and undeserving of equal status in the Muslim world.

"Blow back" is an argument against state coercion and forced integration.

"From the fact that one does not want to associate with or live in the neighborhood of Blacks, Turks, Catholics or Hindus, etc., it does not follow that one does not want to trade with them from a distance. To the contrary, it is precisely the absolute voluntariness of human association and separation – the absence of any form of forced integration – that makes peaceful relationships – free trade – between culturally, racially, ethnically, or religiously distinct people possible."

Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-04 9:00:25 PM

Hamas is right to lob rockets into Israel! If Israel does not want these rockets to kill their children, then they would not steal land and build settlements, they would not arrest Palestinian leaders for no reason, they would not impose an embargo against Gaza denying them medical, food and other aid. No, Israel treated Palestinians like animals and then complains when they fire a few home made rockets at them.

The Israelis are viewed by many in the world as the New Nazis and rightfully so. As far as the commment that they just want to kill Jews, remember it is the Jews that invaded Palestinian land and displaced them, it was not the Muslim/Arabs who went to Europe and started attacking Jews!!! Just look at the numbers killed and you will see who the true Nazis are.

The stance of the US is truly pathetic. If Russia were to start building settlements in NYC or Texas, would the US not start firing missiles into Russia. Hell, they would use Nukes and kill millions yet they tell Palestinians to just stand there and take it. Hypocrites!!!!!

Posted by: G Ruddin | 2009-01-06 7:23:11 AM

G Ruddin supporting the new Nazis - the Islamo-fascists - along with the spreading of lies. Perhaps he or she is a member of the said group.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-06 6:10:17 PM

G Ruddin: It was the pali's who with their arab brothers decided to attack Isreal in '48, '67' and '73 and got their asses handed to them. Guess what? If you attack a country and get your ass kicked because they won't give you some of your land back...Tough luck, losers! Go cry to the Jordanians and Egyptians who also won't let the pali's have their land back. I never hear muslims complain about that!

Posted by: Markalta | 2009-01-06 6:35:42 PM

You make an important distinction and I appreciate it.

However I still believe the the US backed Saudi Royalty is a source of great resentment by the Arab people. And the hypocrisy of the association between SA and the US is astounding. I've actually seen telethons the object of which was to raise money for the Jihadists to fight the US. The telethon was held in Saudi Arabia.
Why in the name of God would the US want to court a relationship with these people?

Oh yeah! Oil....

The whole situation in the ME is so convoluted, manipulated, shady and generally insane that its my feeling we should leave and take our munitions and money with us. Whatever it was we started out to do, has failed.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-06 7:44:00 PM

G Ruddin:
"Hamas is right to lob rockets into Israel! If Israel does not want these rockets to kill their children, then they would not steal land and build settlements" (in case you haven't noticed, you idiot, Israel WITHDREW from Gaza and the west bank a few years ago, bringing the settlers with them)

"they would not arrest Palestinian leaders for no reason" (examples please)

"they would not impose an embargo against Gaza denying them medical, food and other aid"-(Uh, what about Egypt?? They share a border with Gaza as well, how much electricity do they send to Gaza? Food? Medical supplies? Last time I checked the Egyptions built a wall much larger than the one the Israeli's built to keep the Pali's OUT of Egypt)

"No, Israel treated Palestinians like animals and then complains when they fire a few home made rockets at them" (Uh, the rockets are mostly Iranian supplied/ Chinese made Katyusha copies, breaking a legal cease fire no less).

"The Israelis are viewed by many in the world as the New Nazis" (only by the hopelessly stupid and similar blind haters such as yourself)

Generally I try to be polite, but really, your points rank up there with some of the most STUPID I have ever read on this site. And I've seen some dumb stuff.

Posted by: Dave | 2009-01-06 8:27:34 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.