May 16, 2007

Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani on the War on Terror

Ron Paul argues in favour of a non-interventionist foreign policy. He suggests that one of the reasons for September 11th 2001 was because of what he calls blowback from our interventions in the Middle East. Undoubtedly those interventions have made terrorism more attractive to people throughout the world.

Rudy Giuliani's riposte to him is beneath contempt because he doesn't pick up on the points that Paul makes (Paul didn't say that 9/11 was caused by Iraq) and seems not to beleive in blowback. Far more interesting would be for Mr Giuliani to take on the original argument that intervention provokes violence in return and show that actually in some circumstances like NATO in Western Europe actually intervention can be very benign. But he didn't make that argument- and stuck to a far more glib but intellectually incoherent comment about blowback not happening.


Lord Nazh said...

Why in the hell would anyone even Guiliani respond to the 'its all our fault' Paul?

His message was a democrat one in disguise as a republican 'candidate'. Not only will he cut and run faster than the dems will, he truly believes that all the violence from Islam since the 700's is the US's fault.

pommygranate said...

Agree with Nazh. I was appalled by Paul's comments that the US basically had it coming over 9/11.

Paul is an isolationist and an appeaser. His comments are not worthy of a reply.

Graeme said...

I didn't watch the YouTube video and I'm not familiar with Ron Paul, but I have to question the blowback theories. I guess it's not so much that I question that it happens as much as I question the actual mechanics of it. For all the talk about American foreign policy and the "Muslim World", it's worth recognising that Bosnian Muslims by and large love the Americans for their role (ie bombing Serbs) in the wars in the Balkans in the 90s. Of course, Bosnia isn't the Middle East, but what happened in Bosnia was instrumental in politicising a lot of Muslims. I imagine that these episodes, which may be anomalous, are glossed over in a low of discussions about blowback. What seems to be happening is that the grievance used to justify blowback is selective--this shouldn't come as a surprise--and so a non-interventionist viewpoint, insomuch as it is non-interventionist because of the threat that interventionism may pose to domestic security, is a lot more tenuous than it may first seem.

Gracchi said...

I'm not saying that he shouldn't have but that he didn't respond to the argument that Paul made. Paul is not a democrat- to say that is to misunderstand- he is an isolationist who doesn't beleive that the US should be involved in any foreign adventures like Senator Robert Taft, a great 20th Century Republican who opposed the League of Nations on the same grounds. Hence his point was entirely logical- if in my view entirely wrong- but Giuliani didn't deal with the point but brought up the charade of the argument (given to him by the Fox news presenter) that Paul was saying 9/11 was the Americans fault- he wasn't- he was saying something different.

What Paul was saying and to defend the concept of blowback- was that if you intervene in a foreign country it has consequences for yourselves. US intervention in the Middle East may if misdirected raise the chances of terrorism- given that Paul thinks all intervention won't work he thinks that it all raises the chances of terrorism- I disagree- but if you are going to have a sensible argument then don't shout democrat or appeaser at him, take on the argument, make the point against the point that he actually made and not some strawman.

Gracchi said...

Graeme I agree- I wasn't endorsing Paul's views- and perhaps should have stated that clearly- but was attacking his opponents attacks- personally I think US intervention in Europe say in the last fifty years has been fantastic- but I do get angry when people misrepresent other's arguments instead of taking them on- because that way lies disaster.

pommygranate said...


What Paul was saying and to defend the concept of blowback- was that if you intervene in a foreign country it has consequences for yourselves.

Entirely correct.

Likewise, if i see a girl getting harrassed by a guy on a bus, there will be no consequences for me if i choose to bury my head deeper in my newspaper.

That they are logical, does not make isolationists any less loathsome.

Gracchi said...

Fine and you rightly attack him for waht he is an isolationist. But Mr Guiliani was denying the very existance of blowback. Your example is interesting though given that the majority of the world's population are in the state of that girl- are you in favour of intervening in North Korea or even China with military force? Your criteria for not doing so are presumably prudential. I agree with you that Paul is wrong but I think we need a more nuanced theory of international relations than theone you provided

David B. Wildgoose said...

I think that Ron Paul is being misrepresented. I also believe he was largely correct - a non-interventionist policy would be the right one. Although I would qualify that comment by also saying that if attacked I would support massive retaliation in order to make it clear just how dangerous such attacks would be.

The only reason that the West is interfering in the Middle East is because it has Oil. If anybody thinks otherwise, then why haven't we liberated Zimbabwe?

A really sensible policy would be to follow Jerry Pournelle's suggestion of spending all the hundreds of billions spent on the Iraq War on developing alternative energy supplies and then letting them "drink their oil".

If the U.S. had had a non-interventionist policy then September 11 would have happened elsewhere, probably Europe. It would have happened on the same day though - am I the only one to notice that the previous high water mark of the Moslem invasions of Europe was September 11 1565 when the Ottomans beseiging Malta were forced to withdraw?

By the way Lord Nazh, I'm an English libertarian and I'm pretty sure that Ron Paul was initially elected as a Democrat. We libertarians don't really fit in either camp.

Lord Nazh said...

"By the way Lord Nazh, I'm an English libertarian and I'm pretty sure that Ron Paul was initially elected as a Democrat. We libertarians don't really fit in either camp."

What's that got to do with anything? :) I think he still IS a democrat.

We tried isolationism once. Didn't work as we wanted so we went back into the world. The only thing isolationism would do now is ensure that by the time we got the balls to act again, it would be the US against the Muslim Umma (unless you think Europe will wake up)

edmund said...

on a minor historical notes i dont think taft opposed the league of nations (he ceratinly supported the United Nations) and Ron paul is def8ioy more isolatnis than he was (though he was certainly more so than the current republican mainstream)

And Ron Paul has never been a Democrat to the best of my knowledge-certianly not as a poltiican-his twice been a Republican congressman (78-84 prevous.y he then lost the Senate primary to phill gramn whose bascallly an american version of John Redwood) and he was a liberatrian candaite for president in 88

edmund said...

i got the impreson ron paul did say there that 9/11 was caused in part by us actions in iraq

guia is a politi who had 5 seconds he'd stolen he can't give a foreing policy treatiste in faarines to him

Also i don't thik the us establishemtn wants to argue with isolatist-their views are just too popular giving them a debate will give them more support

Finally the problem wiht pauls thought is that it noes how dangou the world would be witnout us force-and also how other powers would take any such us retreat as a sign that presure on the us gains concessions

Abe said...

Lord Nazh- I see more of a correlation in Paul's views to old-guard cocktail conservative than democrat, especially his financial views.

And really- why is it that everybody here hates a more isolationist view? I certainly have not seen any justification for the attack aside from our rather unsavory recent involvement in the middle east, at least in select locations. And for the guy that came up with the 'woman on the bus' analogy-- if that was true, why didn't we go into Rwanda in the 90's? Darfur Now? We've more been consorting with the dealer crowd on the bus, getting our self prescribed dose of black gold.