'Fight Them Over There vs. Over Here' a False Choice

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by Ron Paul

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There is no area in which Republicans have further strayed from our traditions than in foreign affairs.

Generations of conservatives followed the great advice of our Founding Fathers and pursued a restrained foreign policy that rebuffed entangling alliances and advised America, in the words of John Quincy Adams, not to "go abroad looking for dragons to slay."

Sen. Robert Taft, the stalwart of the Old Right, urged America to stay out of NATO. Dwight Eisenhower was elected on a platform promising to get us out of the conflict in Korea. Richard Nixon promised to end the war in Vietnam.

Republicans were highly critical of Bill Clinton for his adventurism in Somalia and Kosovo. As recently as 2000, George W. Bush campaigned on a "humbler" foreign policy and decried nation-building.

But our foreign policy today looks starkly different.

Neoconservatives who have come to power in both the Democratic and Republican parties argue that the U.S. must ether confront every evil in every corner of the globe or risk danger at home. We need to "fight them over there" they say, so we don’t have to "fight them over here." This argument presents a false choice. We do not have to pick between interventionism and vulnerability. The complexity of our world is exactly why the lessons of our past should ring true and demand a return to a traditional, pro-American foreign policy: one of nonintervention.

Moving forward, I suggest that we as Americans adhere to these five principles:

1. We do not abdicate American sovereignty to global institutions. The purpose of the United States is to protect the liberty of the American people. We should never allow the WTO, NAFTA, the U.N. or the Law of the Sea Treaty to transfer power from America to an international body.

2. We provide a strong national defense, but we do not police the world. America should be armed with defensive weapons capable of repelling any attack. We should spend all appropriate money to make sure that no country in the world can credibly threaten us.

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Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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