Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rand Paul Versus Barack Obama

Last night, we saw two voices on today's U. S. foreign policy. One seemed unsure, defensive, and unable to answer the basic questions. The other charted out where our foreign policy will be going in the next several years whether we like it or not. I have always favored a muscular American foreign policy, along the lines of Reagan. In short, sometimes you have to use force in targeted situations to remind the world that you can. George Schultz used to say that force should never be the last resort. If it is, don't let anyone know. Obama used force against Libya without thinking it through. What does it mean to aid Libyan rebels, but not Syrian? Did we ever establish who these people are, or whether they deserve our help. Libya only produces 3% of the world's oil. Ramped up production in Alaska over the next year could compensate for that. There just seems to be no real reason to strike. Rand Paul took issue with Obama's use of force against a country that did not directly threaten us. I don't necessarily agree that we should always confine our use of force to such situations. He also argued that Obama should have, in some fashion, consulted Congress. At the very least, it is good politics to talk to congressional leaders of both parties before making such a move. Obama spoke to no one, except ESPN. The more restricted foreign policy guidelines laid out by Paul will have to be our national norm. We simply cannot afford to play as large a role as we have played. It is time to push Europe, India, Japan, and other responsible nations forward into shouldering some more of the burdens. We have a debt crisis at home that needs solved. That in itself is a world issue. If we default, and our economy collapses, we take down the world. It is time to get our house in order. If nothing else, we must be ready for the next major world challenge. Right now, we could not face it as we did in 1941. The Republican Party itself, by selecting Rand Paul as the response, is moving back to the less aggressive days of the 1920s. In essence we are moving away from Reagan's foreign policy (which is essentially that of Truman and Kennedy) and back towards Calvin Coolidge. This is no longer an option, given our debt crisis. We need to scale back on foreign policy and future military actions.

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