I was born at the tail end of the Cold War. I remember when people thought that the Berlin wall would never come down. And yet it did. Less than twenty two years later, the world is changing again in dramatic way. A few years ago, it was unthinkable that protests for freedom would erupt across the Middle East in Iran, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Iraq. Even protests are erupting in China again.
Obama campaigned on a promise of hope and change. Yet, when the moment of real hope and change comes to the Middle East and other nations around the world, he's reluctant to support the people in other nations who want hope and change.
Prior to the the Iranian protests in 2009, President Obama stated that he did not want to interfere with Iran. He made good on that promise by doing nothing when the people of Iran protested. He continues to keep that promise even as cries for democracy sweep across the Middle East.
Even Democrats are flabbergasted by Obama's unwillingness to provide support for protesters on the fear that his Presidential actions would be seen as interfering with the affairs of another nation. Niall Ferguson explains that Obama has and continues to blow it when it comes to these historic events in the Middle East:
"The statesman can only wait and listen until he hears the footsteps of God resounding through events; then he must jump up and grasp the hem of His coat, that is all." Thus Otto von Bismarck, the great Prussian statesman who united Germany and thereby reshaped Europe's balance of power nearly a century and a half ago.Last week, for the second time in his presidency, Barack Obama heard those footsteps, jumped up to grasp a historic opportunity… and missed it completely.In Bismarck's case, it was not so much God's coattails he caught as the revolutionary wave of mid-19th-century German nationalism. And he did more than catch it; he managed to surf it in a direction of his own choosing. The wave Obama just missed—again—is the revolutionary wave of Middle Eastern democracy. It has surged through the region twice since he was elected: once in Iran in the summer of 2009, the second time right across North Africa, from Tunisia all the way down the Red Sea to Yemen. But the swell has been biggest in Egypt, the Middle East's most populous country."
The President's desire to follow a non-interventionist policy is the same policy that Ron Paul advocates. Some people think Ron Paul is an isolationist while others argue that he's merely a non-interventionist. Regardless of what you call Obama and Ron Paul's foreign policy decisions, the effect is the same. It is turning a blind eye to what is going on in the world and letting them unfold while withholding praise or condemnation for what is happening.
Refusing to get involved in the affairs of other nations is the most spineless position a President can take. If you cannot fight for a principle, then you have no principle to fight for. If you're not willing to fight for something you believe is wrong, then doing nothing about it is not equivalent to doing something about it. An attempt to be morally neutral is a moral evil.
The refusal to intervene demonstrates that whatever principle you claim to uphold doesn't really matter much to you if you're not willing to go to the mat for it. If one claims to champion liberty and freedom but is willing to be silent or to stand back while dictators beat, shoot and imprison people and not speak out for what is right and good, then freedom and liberty do not mean much to that person.
Furthermore, if someone is seeing evil unfolding before their very eyes and says nothing or doesn't do anything about it, what does it say about the person themselves? I would think that they are morally empty, weak or dysfunctional. Moreover, its hard to take someone seriously when the make an attempt to take a moral stand on a different or unrelated matter in the future. I think isolationism or non-interventionism undermines the credibility and reliability of the person.
President Barak Obama is a good example of both claims here. Since he was silent when the 2009 Iranian protest rolled around, he hasn't been very reliable or credible while a bigger wave of protests have been sweeping across the nation. Moreover, Obama has been morally dysfunctional and empty when it comes to the brutality and killings that the Middle East protesters have experienced. Even though he expressed remorse over the death of an Iranian protester in 2009, His attempt to be even handed, cool and detached is so odd in the face protesters who have been beaten or have been killed.
Ron Paul is well known for his position that America should not be involved in the affairs of other nations. For example, he was the only person to vote against the House Resolution to support Iranian dissenters and here is his explanation for why he voted the way he did:
"I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country. While I never condone violence, much less the violence that governments are only too willing to mete out to their own citizens, I am always very cautious about "condemning" the actions of governments overseas. As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives. I have always hesitated when my colleagues rush to pronounce final judgment on events thousands of miles away about which we know very little. And we know very little beyond limited press reports about what is happening in Iran.Of course I do not support attempts by foreign governments to suppress the democratic aspirations of their people, but when is the last time we condemned Saudi Arabia or Egypt or the many other countries where unlike in Iran there is no opportunity to exercise any substantial vote on political leadership? It seems our criticism is selective and applied when there are political points to be made. I have admired President Obama's cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly.I adhere to the foreign policy of our Founders, who advised that we not interfere in the internal affairs of countries overseas. I believe that is the best policy for the United States, for our national security and for our prosperity. I urge my colleagues to reject this and all similar meddling resolutions."
Its clear from this quote that Ron Paul admires Obama for his commitment to non-interventionism. If you want to see what Ron Paul would look like as President, you don't have to wait and find out because Ron Paul and Barak Obama have the same foreign policy goals.
Ron Paul's voting record clearly demonstrates his commitment to isolationism or non-interventionism. He was the only politician to vote no on a bill to condemn the Chinese government's religious persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Again, he was the lone "nay" voter in the House resolution honoring heroic Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
Its not surprising that he was the lone no vote two years ago on a resolution expressing condolences to the people of Burma after they were hit by a devastating cyclone or that he was the only member of the House to vote against a 2007 resolution “noting the disturbing pattern of killings of numerous independent journalists in Russia since 2000, and urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to authorize cooperation with outside investigators in solving those murders.”
He was also the lone voter on H.Res. 180, the "Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007" which would "require the identification of companies that conduct business operations in Sudan [and] prohibit United States Government contracts with such companies." Its amazing to me that Ron Paul would vote no on businesses who were making money in countries were mass genocide were taking place.
"The Obama administration also behaves as if the weight of the United States in world affairs is approximately the same as that of Switzerland. We await developments. We urge caution, even restraint. We hope for the formation of an international consensus. And, just as there is something despicable about the way in which Swiss bankers change horses, so there is something contemptible about the way in which Washington has been affecting—and perhaps helping to bring about—American impotence. Except that, whereas at least the Swiss have the excuse of cynicism, American policy manages to be both cynical and naive."