Channel: Russia Today
Dina Gusovsky: We’re talking to Congressman Ron Paul about how he thinks Barack Obama is doing, and other burning issues concerning the United States and the rest of the world. Congressman Paul, thank you so much for joining us. How would you grade Barack Obama in these hundred days?
Ron Paul: Well, I think his rhetoric is pretty good, his economics are lousy, I think his rhetoric on foreign policy is helpful. But it remains to be seen because he actually increased the DOD budget by 9%, so he can’t be very sincere about really bringing our troops home. And I think with the violence escalating in Iraq, he’s not going to be able to fulfill his promises. Although I think his tone is much better and I think that’s beneficial.
Dina Gusovsky: It seems like some of Barack Obama economic policies have divided the nation and now there is talk of secession. I’m speaking of course about our governor Rick Perry’s recent remarks that Texas may secede from the union. What do you think about those statements and is this at all likely to happen?
Ron Paul: I think that was pure politics. He wasn’t serious about secession but he did mention it as a principle and I think it is a worthy principle because I think that in a free country you should have the right to leave. If you came into the Union voluntarily you should be able to leave. But that has been long forgotten. A long time ago during the Civil War they virtually canceled that out. But I support the principle that you should. The United States, I think, endorses the principle because that’s how we formed our country. We essentially seceded from England, and we’ve been delighted with the secession of the republics around Russia. When they seceded from the Soviet Union we expressed a lot of support for that. So the principle of recession is good, and I would like to maintain this because if it becomes too expensive for us to be in the United Nations and the votes are going against us, we ought to have the right to leave and that’s a form of secession.
Dina Gusovsky: What do you think about the reactions, especially from the liberal media, calling him a traitor, using inappropriate remarks sometimes? What do you think about that reaction?
Ron Paul: Well, those are the people who love and are endeared to powerful central governments, and it means that they see that as a threat. The want to hold people together and under their thumb by force and that of course contradicts the whole notion of a free society.
Dina Gusovsky: Now moving over to foreign policy, we’re hearing talk from Washington that it wants to reset relations with Moscow. How can we turn that rhetoric into reality taking into consideration the issue of ABNs, the issue of NATO expansion, things that are very sensitive to Moscow?
Ron Paul: We just have to hope and see that this softened approach that this administration has followed is going to follow through with it. I think there is a chance that there is still a lot of noise coming from the administration, especially when it comes to Pakistan and Afghanistan, so we have to keep our fingers crossed. Certainly the language is much better. I think there is a better chance now than there is in the last administration and I think that is good. But to say that all of a sudden this policy is going to change dramatically, I think it’s too early to tell.
Dina Gusovsky: And speaking about a change in policy, can you comment on the NATO exercises in Georgia that are supposed to take place in early May? There’s already the bad blood between Russia, the U.S. and NATO. Is this going to exacerbate tensions? I mean, why is the United States spending so much money and effort in that region?
Ron Paul: And you’re right to say United States because NATO is United States, and that’s our policy. I think it’s a waste of money especially since we don’t have any. We have to borrow that from the Chinese in order to go and do these things and pretend it’s a NATO operation. But I think that is just antagonistic, I strongly oppose it. I don’t even think we belong in NATO. I think if they need a pack of countries in Europe then they should do it, but not with our help. Because my position is that not only should we back off from moving in that direction of getting involved in the countries and republics that are very close to the Russian border, I think we should leave Europe. And we’ll have to, just like how the Soviets had to break up their system for financial reasons, eventually the United States will have to do the same thing and that’s why I’ve always been preaching that the best way to follow fiscal conservative views is to change our foreign policy and not spend so much money just getting ourselves into more trouble.
Dina Gusovsky: Now, another burning issue in foreign policy right now is the issue of pirates; it’s really coming to the forefront recently. You seem to have an age-old solution on how to confront the Somali pirates. Can you elaborate on that?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s and age old in the sense that it’s couple of hundred years old, but it contradicts the really old age old solution which is when violence occurs, people want to go to war and they expand the problem. What I want to do is prevent the very old age solution of invading Somalia and solving these problems. So the process that I’m advocating is to look at our Constitution which advocates letters of Marque and Reprisal which gives limited power or deputizes the people who are in danger, and that is the ship owners and the ship captains, so that they can carry weapons and defend themselves.
It’s pretty silly to think that 4 or 5 teenagers or young men can take over a huge vessel worth hundreds of millions of dollars and they don’t even put up a fight. That’s what we used to do for terrorists taking over our airplanes. If there was a hijacking, the pilots weren’t allowed to have guns and you weren’t allowed to resist, and look what it led to. Same way with these ships, they should have at least a sanction, the government saying, “yes you were allowed, it’s up to you to defend yourself”. Don’t depend on the United States Navy to patrol every ocean line in the world. That’s impossible. We can’t do it practically and we can’t do it monetarily.
Dina Gusovsky: So you’re advocating switching the burden from tax payers to these private companies?
Ron Paul: That’s right, instead of doubling the size of our Navy which some people are suggesting, what we’re saying is you take responsibility yourself and we’re not going to hold you in contempt of the law. Right now it’s against the law to come into our port if you happen to have a gun. But if they had guns I think the pirates would think twice before they take on these projects.
Dina Gusovsky: Now switching over to someone who is no longer in power: Condoleezza Rice. You had grilled her before on policy and now a Senate report reveals that she actually gave the CIA the early go ahead for waterboarding. Now of course, the Obama administration is saying that that is torture. What do you think about this report and of Condoleezza Rice in general?
Ron Paul: I advocate full evaluation and investigation to find out who is responsible for us breaking international law and define what America stands for. So if she is responsible for that we need to find out and the penalty should be determined then.
Dina Gusovsky: What do you think of the policy that she implemented during the Bush administration? Did it serve to harm the United States or help the United States in terms of foreign policy?
Ron Paul: I think it undermined our foreign policy. We’ve lost a lot of credibility. We haven’t built friendships, we have spent a lot of money antagonizing a lot of people and we have gotten ourselves involved in many wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan. We threaten Iran, and to me it has not built up our prestige one bit and from the very practical viewpoint I think it’s been part of the contributing factor to our bankruptcy, and at the same time I think we’re less safe. We’re not more safe. Because we’re not living in the cold war where weapons meant everything. We live in an age where if you incite hatred against us, you incite these terrorist hate groups to be formed and then you’re always vulnerable to them.