Last Thursday I watched a debate among seven republican candidates seeking the nomination for the presidency in 2012. In his response to a question about foreign policy, Ron Paul said that wars should be declared with the consent of congress; that there is no evidence that Iran has or is about to have a nuclear bomb; and that it makes no difference whether or not one more nation adds nuclear bombs to its arsenal of weapons. His overall position is that our perception of Iran as a danger to America is overblown.
I am generally more concerned about a president’s foreign policy than his domestic agenda. If we don’t have a sound foreign policy, domestic agendas will become academic. Since Mr. Paul’s views on foreign policy sharply differ from all the other Republican candidates and those of President Obama, I think we should think hard about his response to questions about foreign policy.
Declaration of War
When Ron Paul said that wars must be ‘declared,’ I instantly remembered that there hasn’t been a declaration of war from the United States since Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war on Japan the day after the attack on Pear Harbor. Several declarations of war between major powers followed within days after the attack, notably Hitler’s declaration of war against the United States four days after that attack. Declarations of war were still in style then. They have since been replaced by hostilities that simply erupt without formalities.
Atom Bomb Proliferation
Ron Paul asserted that Iran doesn’t have the bomb and that even if its intention is to have it, that’s only because Iran is “surrounded” (his word, not mine). Those assertions do not address the issue of Iran’s stated policy of wiping Israel off the map. Many ask the rhetorical question, “If we and other nations have the bomb, why are we concerned about Iran’s alleged development of it?” My response to that question is that there is an enormous difference between a bomb in the hands of a theocracy and those of a democracy. There is a much greater possibility that a totalitarian state will use the ‘final option’ than there is for a democracy to do so.
Overblown Perception of Danger
Ron Paul firmly believes that we are overreacting to Iran’s anti-American position. In that regard he is in accord with most American and Israeli liberals. Overlooked are the goose-stepping Iranian soldiers and ominous echoes of Hitler’s Meinkampf. World War Two was a secular war. This time we are dealing with a religious war as far as Iran is concerned. Western civilization played out its holy wars long ago. Theocracies are ugly relics of the past. Paradoxically, Iran’s secular leader denies the Holocaust but threatens the destruction of Israel!
Ron Paul should know better than to think that Iran is not a clear and present danger to the United States and ultimately to Western Civilization.