Rep. Ron Paul on Libya

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is regarded as one of the most principled noninterventionists in Congress, as he has consistently supported the Founding Fathers’ opposition to entangling alliances, meddling in the affairs of other nations, and swaying internal politics in foreign governments.

Like other principled noninterventionists, Rep. Paul has declared his opposition to America’s intervention in Libya. Aside from it violating the principles of the Founding Fathers, President Obama’s use of American troops in Libya is also unconstitutional, since it is yet another undeclared war – that is, war that the nation entered without congressional approval – as were the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, invasion of Serbia, and current Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, like the war in Serbia and Kosovo (where American troops were subjected to serving under UN and NATO forces), and in Korea and Iraq (which were entered into under UN mandates), the current intervention in Libya is being fought with American troops under the command of NATO generals, yet another example of how America’s war-making power is being cast aside in favor of an international entity and America’s sovereignty compromised. Of course, the enormous cost associated with such military intervention poses another threat to America’ long-term viability, as the ever-increasing deficit continues to metastasize due to the continuation of the “welfare-warfare state,” in which the costs of defense spending rise exponentially.

Rep. Paul articulated these themes of constitutionalism, fiscal conservatism, and national sovereignty in his declared opposition to the military intervention in Libya in one of his latest television interviews on CNN.

On Monday, Paul appeared on CNN’s In The Arena with former New York Governor Elliott Spitzer, a Democrat. Spitzer began the interview by contrasting President Obama’s position to the position he espoused as Senator, and then noting that Paul agrees with Senator Obama. When Obama was a U.S. Senator, he believed that the country should only enter war under the constitutional grounds that unless the country is under immediate attack, only Congress maintains the authority to declare war.

Spitzer then asked Paul to "explain why you don’t think what’s going on in Libya, or, for that matter, the rest of North Africa is any of our business." According to Paul:

I don’t think they are up front with this. It is said that we are going there for humanitarian reasons. But have you ever noticed around the world, there are a lot of humanitarian problems. One, in gross abuse of rights, was in Rwanda. We didn’t care too much about that.

There’s abuse of demonstrators all through the Middle East right now. But – it’s being done by governments that we endorse. There are friendly dictators. So, I think they are being disingenuous when they say this is a mission for humanitarianism. It’s probably more related to oil than anything else.

Asked if he would have supported intervention in Rwanda, Paul said:

I don’t think it’s part of our Constitution that we should go around the world trying to solve every problem. And I think that it’s very difficult to help people who really need it. Even in Libya today, the chances of really helping the people is unknown.

But too often when you take money or even food and give it to these factions when they are fighting and at war, they become weapons of war. One faction will get it and use it against the other. And very rarely does it help the people.

So I don’t think it’s constitutional. I don’t think it accomplishes what it’s supposed to. And that the Founders were, I think, rather shrewd in giving us advice. Stay out of entangling alliances, stay out of the internal affairs of other nations.

But there’s every reason to help people and we are a generous nation. When people really suffer, whether there’s an earthquake or any type of tragedy, the American people are quite willing to help.

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