Ron Paul spoke out in opposition to a resolution in the House Foreign Affairs Committee that would recognize as “genocide” the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Empire forces during World War I.
The Congressman argued that America should remain neutral on the subject and let the involved countries work it out themselves. He then encouraged other opponents of the resolution to apply their non-interventionist position not just to the past, but also to the present and the future.
The resolution was later approved 23-22.
Location: House Foreign Affairs Committee
Ron Paul: I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I find this vote difficult because voting yes or no would not represent my position. It has been mentioned by other speakers already that this does not serve American interests by even bringing this subject up. That would be what I would consider the best position: by not having issues like these come up.
The votes who spoke against it spoke eloquently about why neutrality on this issue serves American interests the best. I only wish that that same principle would be applied to our foreign policy. This is almost a compulsion on our part to always be involved in the internal affairs and the conflicts of other nations when it’s not necessary for us to do this. And this is more or less a reflection of this.
I don’t see there’s going to be any advantage to us to pass this, matter of fact I see a lot of disadvantages. It won’t resolve anything. There were a lot of tragedies in the 20th century. There were 262 million people killed by their own governments in the 20th century. There were 34 million people killed in armed conflict. So much tragedy, and our [...] to solve these problems and decide who gets the most blame, and governments that don’t exist any longer. I see no purpose in that, it doesn’t serve our benefit. It’s also disappointing to me that how these issues come up when the conflicts come.
One of my goals, long term goals, has always been to strive for eliminating hyphenated Americans. I don’t like the idea that we have so many groups that are hyphenated. They have lobbyist groups to serve the idea of this group of Americans against another group of Americans. Then we have foreign lobbyists come in, and foreign governments and represents one government over the other. Truly, if we had a republic, we wouldn’t be dealing with this kind of a problem being brought up constantly over many, many years. Decades we have been dealing with this.
The purpose that I see for this, is doing nothing, is the consequence will be nothing more than stirring the pot. We’re going to stir the pot and nothing is going to be settled, and it will come up again. And yet the evidence is rather clear. So many have spoken already that the two countries that are involved have been working and trying to work this out. That’s the way it should be.
And my argument for less intervention around the world, really fits into this argument. But those who are arguing, for the non-intervention and staying out of this and see so clearly how this does not serve our special interests, I would just suggest to them to look at our foreign policy as well. Because getting involved in the military conflicts of the world has an immediate consequence much worse than us getting involved in this.
Circumstances like this, I think we as congressmen have a perfect right to have personal opinions and historic opinions. But to try to solve the emotional conflicts that have gone on by legislation and taking one side over another, and having one hyphenated American group against another hyphenated American group, one country against another country, this does not serve our interest. It doesn’t serve the cause of peace, and it would be much better if we look forward rather than backwards. I think a resolution like this looks backwards. So I will be voting no. Not because I’m taking a position, but precisely because my position is that hopefully someday in the future we will have a lot less of this discussion and these resolutions coming up, not only dealing with the past, but also the current events that we have today as well as our future around the world.
I think the position that we look after our own interest and follow a policy where we don’t get involved in the internal affairs of other nations or the conflicts of other nations would serve our interests well. And that is not dropping out, that is not ignoring the world. Because there’s no reason why we can’t pursue a foreign policy where we talk with people, have diplomacy with people, trade with people, and friendship with people, without picking sides.
The squabbles should be dealt with by governments themselves and the people themselves within the country. At the same time, if there’s border disputes or disputes between countries, it should involve them rather than us believing that we can come in and settle the dispute and make the world better. I think if we take a position of neutrality and independence away from making these decisions, the better off the world would be.