“There are two things – whether or not we should be involved, with the intrigue of picking the next leader in a particular country, or whether or not we should take money from Americans and give it to somebody else. I don’t think we should be in the business of picking who should be running which country around the world,” Ron Paul, a former US Congressman and a long-time Federal Reserve critic, has said in an exclusive interview to the Voice of Russia, speaking about the Ukrainian crisis.
For radio VR in Washington, I’m Samir Shakhbaz. We’ll be discussing right now the situation in and around Ukraine with a man who doesn’t need long introductions – Dr. Ron Paul.
Dr. Paul, hello and welcome!
Hello! Nice to be with you.
Viktor Yanukovych made his second address to the press since his arrival in Russia. A very interesting point – he wants to appeal to the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court regarding the US plans to lend $1 billion to Kiev. He believes it is illegal and he refers to authorization of assistance article in the US law. Can you comment on that? Can he actually do that?
I don’t know exactly what he wants to do. I mean, he can give an opinion. Congress and the President generally do what they want to do. When you look at things the way I do, in a strict constitutional sense, in moral sense – all these programs are considered illegal and we shouldn’t be doing them. But that’s not the way they look at it. They rationalize and justify it.
So, they do almost what they want and if they can’t do it with the justification of law, they do it like they did on the bailouts during our emergency. They just go ahead and do it and the Federal Reserve provides funds and sums of money. So, I think this is sort of a ritual they go through to justify it by certain legislative sanctions and certain laws. But if they are destined to bailout somebody, they will do it, whether we know about it or not.
If it is bailing out, it sounds bad. But what if we call it a friendly assistance?
From the US to the various countries?
I don’t believe it, because I think nobody has the right to come and take the money from the American taxpayer. And because they are friends and they want a bailout, they want help and they want assistance or no matter how noble the purpose seems to be, I don’t think the end justifies the means.
So, I don’t think that we should redistribute wealth within our own country and I don’t believe we should redistribute wealth around the world with the use of force. I mean, there’s obviously a lot of debt in Ukraine, as there has been around the world. We were very much involved in the bailing out of Greece and propping up the banking system.
So, Ukraine is bankrupt, they don’t have the funds and the bankers are getting worried about this, and the various people who wrote money. So, if they can get a rescue, for various reasons they will come, because people still accept the dollar. The biggest question is the political question of who get the control of this money, who is going to be in charge. That’s what the arguing is about.
So, there are two things – whether or not we should be involved, with the intrigue of picking the next leader in a particular country, or whether or not we should take money from Americans and give it to somebody else. I would say that that is the real problem that we have to face. And then, again, I don’t think we should be in the business of picking who should be running which country around the world.
Also, Yanukovych said that he still considers himself to be the legitimate President and called the new Government illegitimate. Can you comment on that? Do you believe he is still a President?
Well, my personal viewpoint doesn’t matter that much. I can have an opinion and I tend to think that that is probably the case. But that doesn’t mean that I endorse everything he ever did or the system. But, yes, I think that we have evidence that the EU and our Government had contrived to orchestrate a change in government, and they were able to achieve this.
But the only position I speak strongly to is that we shouldn’t be involved, we shouldn’t participate. If there were only the eastern Ukrainians against the western Ukrainians, that would be a better way of solving problems. But if the Europeans get involved and the Russians get involved, then that’s something else. But certainly, my very determined position is that it would be best for that region, it would be best for America if we just stayed out of the argument.
The US, the EU, Russia – everyone is appealing to the international law and each of these players say that they are abiding to that international law. And so does the Crimea, that little autonomous entity which is holding a referendum this Sunday on its independence or, maybe, even joining Russia. Do you think such actions by the Crimean people are legal, in term of law?
Well, I think they are certainly moral. I’d like to argue the case that they are legal, and they have mentioned this, you know, we went into WWI with Woodrow Wilson shouting and screaming that we want to have self-determination for all people. So, it’s been going on for a long time, but a lot of times it is just talk. So, on principle, I want everybody to be able to have self-determination.
And quite frankly, I think the smaller the unit of governance, the better. So often, if you look at the problems in Iraq, which was an artificial country, and probably making three units out of it would have been a solution a long time ago. The same way with Ukraine. Maybe, there isn’t natural division that would occur, but I think international law protects that privilege, that people have their right of self-determination.
For some people to get up and all of a sudden say that the Russians are violating international law, at the same time, we as a country, unfortunately, we have violated international law quite frequently. I mean, we are in more countries than anybody else, we are in 130 countries. We’ve invaded a lot of countries. We use drones around the world. So, I wonder if there are any international laws broken when we do that.
What in your opinion could that desired compromise between the US and Russia on the Ukrainian issue be? We understand perfectly well that these are the two major players.
My goal has always been that you try to work things out, you are willing to talk and use diplomacy, never use threat and never use money. I’ve argued the case that, unfortunately, our foreign policy has been driven by threatening people and interfering in their elections and their internal affairs, which we were so strongly advised to avoid. So, I would say that if we did that, then we should have trade. Trade back and forth is very helpful.
Now that we trade with China, we are less likely to fight with China. Now that Russia and the US are much more trading partners, it is less likely that we would go to war. Even in the situation that we are facing now, it is good that there is some economic dependence on each other. Russia sells gas to Europe and Europe claims that they can take care of themselves, if necessary, but who knows. So, I think the more trade, the better.
In talking, I would be boosting up friendly relations, staying out of the internal affairs of nations. When there is a border dispute 6,000 miles from our border, I would say – look, that’s your business, you take care of it, but what we would like to do is maintain diplomatic relations, we would like to enhance trade, rather than threaten to punish people by putting on sanctions and stealing their money by freezing assets, I think that is wrong.
Can these sanctions that the US and the EU are threatening to impose on Russia actually backfire on them? How big is the trade turnover between the two countries?
Well, that remains to be seen, but it certainly could happen. If it really-really becomes a battle, America is very vulnerable on the dollar, because there’s been the illusion of trust in the dollar and in America’s supremacy, because we are the military power of the world and we still are the economic power. But it is all based on the fact that people are still wanting our dollars and they let our Fed create money forever and ever.
And even now, whether it is the EU needing help to deal with Greece or what is happening in Ukraine, people think – well, if America would just send them more money, it is going to work. But if China and Russia, and India would happen to get together and say that we are sick and tired of it, we are going to show you that we can weaken your dollar rather quickly. Right now, it is not in their interest they are still holding a lot of dollars.
So, it remains to be seen how this pans out. But if the West gets too aggressive, I believe that they can become more vulnerable. Sometimes these things happen, there are not intended consequences. Sometimes they are accidental and sometimes there are mistakes made in the field. And sometimes people get blamed for things that they didn’t do and, then the thing escalates before you know that it is much worse than anybody ever dreamed of.
How would you evaluate the way the English language media covers the situation in Ukraine? Are they being helpful at all? Are they provoking the situation? Your comments would be interesting.
I think they are totally biased. It is an example of what happens… you know, our media is supposed to be privately owned and theoretically it is, but why is it so uniform. We are supposed to have Republican stations and Democrat stations, or pretend. And yet, when it comes to getting an op on a country, they are very uniform. When it came to being uniform on going into war against Iraq, which I considered totally unconstitutional, illegal and immoral, and based on lies, all the media supported it. In the same way right now, everybody is supporting western Ukraine and I think it is very-very biased.
Dr. Paul, thank you very much for your time and comments. It is always a pleasure talking to you.
Reprinted from The Voice of Russia.