Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Ron Paul’s isolationist foreign policy views echo Neville Chamberlain

From Doug Ross at Director Blue, 10 fun facts about Ron Paul.

Here’s fact #7:

And so I asked Congressman Paul: if he were President of the United States during World War II, and as president he knew what we now know about the Holocaust, but the Third Reich presented no threat to the U.S., would he have sent American troops to Nazi Germany purely as a moral imperative to save the Jews?

And the Congressman answered:

“No, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t risk American lives to do that. If someone wants to do that on their own because they want to do that, well, that’s fine, but I wouldn’t do that.”

Paul then looked at me, and I politely thanked him for his time. He smiled at me again and nodded his head, and many of his young followers were also smiling, and nodding their heads in agreement. Clearly, I was the only one in the room who was disturbed by his response.

When I first presented the story of Paul’s comments about the Holocaust to major news media outlets two years ago, they were so stunned they were afraid to publish my story, and as a result it has remained unpublished until now.

I went to great lengths afterwards to learn more about the basis for Paul’s comments. I spoke to Eric Dondero, a former senior aide for Paul, in February 2010. Dondero is quoted in a Weekly Standard article today about Paul’s isolationist beliefs.

When I called Dondero again this morning, and told him I was finally going forward with the story, he told me that Paul had made similar comments to him.

“He told me numerous times it was not worth it to intervene to save the Jews in World War II,” Dondero said. “I don’t think that’s because he’s an antisemite. It’s because he’s an extreme isolationist and he’s trying to be 100% principled–he doesn’t think there’s any reason to intervene for human rights or any other reason anywhere on the planet.”

Calls to Rep. Paul’s congressional office and campaign office last week and this morning were not returned.

It’s not just the Holocaust, either. It’s the wholesale abandonment of the United Kingdom to conquest by Nazi Germany. And it’s not just the United Kingdom. It’s the complete takeover of the Asia-Pacific theater, and Australia, and New Zealand, by Imperial Japan. That’s what Ron Paul would have let happen.

Historians will tell you that Hitler could have been contained if Western leaders had responded militarily when he broke the Locarno treaties by remilitarizing the Rhineland in 1936. Do you think that Ron Paul would have gone to war in 1936 to stop Hitler – when he was still relatively weak? The Polyanna isolationism of Ron Paul is exactly what causes world wars. People like Ron Paul ignore aggressors when they make small invasions and then in a few years we have a world war on our hands. Ron Paul is a warmonger – his naive isolationism gets us into world wars by emboldening and coddling tyrants with a naive stick-your-head-in-the-sand foreign policy. Ron Paul doesn’t know anything about the threat of terrorism – his foreign policy is based on economics theories authored by people who died before nuclear weapons were invented. You can’t trust someone who makes foreign policy using theories, but who is ignorant of the real dangers we face.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
– George Santayana 

It’s not a surprise to me that Ron Paul is popular with young people who don’t understand military history and the threat of terrorism. They don’t know who Neville Chamberlain was, or they would recognize Ron Paul as the second coming of Neville Chamberlain.

Thomas Sowell explains what causes wars

Let’s take a look at the lessons of history and find out what really causes wars.

Here’s an article from Townhall.

Excerpt:

On the international scene, trying to assuage aggressors’ feelings and look at the world from their point of view has had an even more catastrophic track record. A typical sample of this kind of thinking can be found in a speech to the British Parliament by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938: “It has always seemed to me that in dealing with foreign countries we do not give ourselves a chance of success unless we try to understand their mentality, which is not always the same as our own, and it really is astonishing to contemplate how the identically same facts are regarded from two different angles.”

Like our former ambassador from the Carter era, Chamberlain sought to “remove the causes of strife or war.” He wanted “a general settlement of the grievances of the world without war.” In other words, the British prime minister approached Hitler with the attitude of someone negotiating a labor contract, where each side gives a little and everything gets worked out in the end. What Chamberlain did not understand was that all his concessions simply led to new demands from Hitler — and contempt for him by Hitler.

What Winston Churchill understood at the time, and Chamberlain did not, was that Hitler was driven by what Churchill called “currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them.” That was also what drove the men who drove the planes into the World Trade Center.

Pacifists of the 20th century had a lot of blood on their hands for weakening the Western democracies in the face of rising belligerence and military might in aggressor nations like Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. In Britain during the 1930s, Labor Party members of Parliament voted repeatedly against military spending, while Hitler built up the most powerful military machine in Europe. Students at leading British universities signed pledges to refuse to fight in the event of war.

All of this encouraged the Nazis and the Japanese toward war against countries that they knew had greater military potential than their own. Military potential only counts when there is the will to develop it and use it, and the fortitude to continue with a bloody war when it comes. This is what they did not believe the West had. And it was Western pacifists who led them to that belief.

Then as now, pacifism was a “statement” about one’s ideals that paid little attention to actual consequences. At a Labor Party rally where Britain was being urged to disarm “as an example to others,” economist Roy Harrod asked one of the pacifists: “You think our example will cause Hitler and Mussolini to disarm?”

The reply was: “Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?” In other words, the issue was about making a “statement” — that is, posturing on the edge of a volcano, with World War II threatening to erupt at any time. When disarmament advocate George Bernard Shaw was asked what Britons should do if the Nazis crossed the channel into Britain, the playwright replied, “Welcome them as tourists.”

Most people think that Thomas Sowell is a libertarian, but he isn’t a full libertarian. He just reports the evidence. If the evidence is pro-war, then he’s pro-war. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher called this view “peace through strength”. There is only one reason why evil people do not attack – because they think that good people have the firepower to make them pay dearly for their aggression, and – and this is very important – the will to use it. We need to be wary of people like Ron Paul who minimize patriotism and heroism, and charge proponents of military power with “imperialism”.

Here’s an article that explains it more.

Excerpt:

In France, after the First World War, the teachers’ unions launched a systematic purge of textbooks, in order to promote internationalism and pacifism.

Books that depicted the courage and self-sacrifice of soldiers who had defended France against the German invaders were called “bellicose” books to be banished from the schools.

Textbook publishers caved in to the power of the teachers’ unions, rather than lose a large market for their books. History books were sharply revised to conform to internationalism and pacifism.

The once epic story of the French soldiers’ heroic defense against the German invaders at Verdun, despite the massive casualties suffered by the French, was now transformed into a story of horrible suffering by all soldiers at Verdun— French and German alike.

In short, soldiers once depicted as national heroes were now depicted as victims— and just like victims in other nations’ armies.

[…]France, where pacifism and internationalism were strongest, became a classic example of how much it can matter.

During the First World War, France fought on against the German invaders for four long years, despite having more of its soldiers killed than all the American soldiers killed in all the wars in the history of the United States, put together.

But during the Second World War, France collapsed after just six weeks of fighting and surrendered to Nazi Germany.

At the bitter moment of defeat the head of the French teachers’ union was told, “You are partially responsible for the defeat.”

Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mauriac, and other Frenchmen blamed a lack of national will or general moral decay, for the sudden and humiliating collapse of France in 1940.

At the outset of the invasion, both German and French generals assessed French military forces as more likely to gain victory, and virtually no one expected France to collapse like a house of cards — except Adolf Hitler, who had studied French society instead of French military forces.

Did patriotism matter? It mattered more than superior French tanks and planes.

Everybody wants peace. Everyone – on both sides of the issue. But it is not weakness but strength that deters wars. Strength, and the will to defeat evil.

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5 Responses

  1. Wes Widner says:

    WWII was caused by the horrible conditions placed on Germany after WWI. Its silly to think that Hitler arose out of thin air but rather was an opportunist who gained power during the tumultuous conditions setup by the Allied powers’ terms of peace.

    To tell you the truth, its the warmongering of conservatives that makes me not identify as one but rather makes the libertarian position much more attractive to me, mostly because its defensible on so many levels. In fact, the only way you can really defend the conservative love affair with the military is if you distort history as in the case of WWII and if you pretend that complete pacifism is the same as non-aggression.

  2. respect2010 says:

    Seems the USA has forgotten that Chamberlain declared war on Germany in 1939, unlike the USA that sat quivering on the sidelines until they had no option when Japan/Germany declared war on the USA 2 years later.
    So whoexactlyy had the isolationist policy?

  3. jaran says:

    “The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with to deal with other nations with threats of violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity.” – Ron Paul

  4. Sure…our actions in WWII saved the Jews. However, how many American father’s were killed? How many husbands and sons? If we send our people to die everytime there is a human rights violation the results would be catastrophic. We can’t trade a US life for a Jewish life. All service members swear to, “Protect OUR country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Tell me where it says anything about sacrificing their life for somebody else’s enemy?

  5. Anna Armstrong says:

    Isn’t it the responsibility of Congress to declare war? Just because a president isn’t interested in declaring war, our government was designed to prevent any one person from dictating our most important decisions. Just because Ron Paul wouldn’t want to initiate war with Germany (in the hypothetical situation you’re describing) doesn’t mean the country wouldn’t have gone to war based on the desires of the people. Our country is in a terrible situation in part because of leaders who are far too eager to interfere with and go to war over other countries’ issues.

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