Ron Paul discusses his preferred Korea policy in light of the North/South military clash: pull out all US forces and let the regional powers mediate if necessary; how Osama bin Laden’s plan to bankrupt the US empire (as he did to the USSR before) seems to be working perfectly; how government programs (like Obamacare) are incredibly difficult to repeal once enacted, the devastation wrought on Iraqi Christian communities since the US invasion and the groundswell of Americans who are angered by TSA screenings but fail to make the connection between US foreign policy and terrorism.
Scott Horton: Alright, welcome back to the show, it’s Anti War Radio, I’m Scott Horton, and our next guest on the show today is Dr. Ron Paul. He’s a congressman representing district 14 on the Texas Gulf Coast. He’s the author of ‘A Foreign Policy of Freedom’, ‘The Revolution: A Manifesto’, and ‘End the Fed’, among others. You can find his archives at www.LewRockwell.com and at www.AntiWar.com. I’m very happy to welcome him back to the show. Hey Ron, how are you doing?
Ron Paul: I’m doing well, Scott. Thank you.
Scott Horton: I’m very happy to have you here. So first things first, big news today, there’s a skirmish in Korea, apparently started by the North. The South retaliated, 2 are dead, 16 wounded. And I think the world wants to know if Ron Paul had won the presidency in 2008, what would your North Korea policy be, and how different might this situation be this morning?
Ron Paul: Well, I’d pretty much ignore the whole thing and I’d continue to work on bringing our troops home. By this time, though, if a good president had been elected, he would have had the troops out of Korea and we wouldn’t have been involved. This assumption that we’re automatically going to go to war if there’s a war over there, is ridiculous. You know, war is supposed to be very, very cautiously done and only done with a declaration. But this idea that we sign treaties, station troops and assume that no matter what happens we’re going to be in the midst of war. This whole idea that North Korea is going to be a danger to America or South Korea, is total nonsense. They’re having a little border skirmish there. And compared to the skirmishes going on between Mexico and the United States, it’s rather minor. So this whole idea that we have to show our muscle and come down hard … the neighborhood should take care of it. Maybe Japan wants to have something to say about it if something flares up, South Korea is so powerful that they can handle themselves, and China may have an interest in settling things down, too. But the United States has no business over there, it’s not in our best interest, and the sooner we realize that and get out of there, the better off we’d be.
Scott Horton: Alright, now if George Bush had not undone Bill Clinton’s agreed framework deal from 1994, which basically said, “We’ll give them light water reactors that won’t produce weapons-grade material, we’ll bribe them with fuel, oil and money if they will just promise to stay within the non-proliferation treaty and their safeguards agreement.” If that deal was still on, and you were the president right now, would you continue on that deal? Or you’d go ahead and write that off as well?
Ron Paul: Well, that’s messy too, you know. If they do what we tell them, we’re going to give them some benefits. If they don’t do what we tell them, we’re going to threaten them with bombs. I don’t like those options. But I would try to work towards normalizing things and talk to them and trade with them and if there’s something that can be done to develop peaceful use of nuclear power with guidelines, I think that’s worth talking about. But they have something to say, “Well, if you do this, we’re going to send you this and give you some benefits”, I don’t think we need to do that. I think that things have been worked out in other countries around the world, so I think we should have left that open, at least. But I think we should have this other option rather than just either bomb them or bribe them.
Scott Horton: So in other words, just promise not to go to war with them or promise not to start one, and drop all the sanctions, try to open up trade and just treat them like a normal country.
Ron Paul: Yea. And we should have done that with Cuba a long time ago. And I got some good statistics here, although we haven’t normalized things with Cuba, the amount of (?) in Cuba now is really doing pretty good. And we need to continue in that movement. So that’s being argued by many, especially the founders of our country, that if you trade with people you’re less likely to fight with them.
Scott Horton: Alright, we have a war on terrorism going on under the authorization to use military force, supposedly at least, from after the September 11 attack. But I was wondering, with your position in the House of Representatives, is there any way that you could try to pass a Boland type amendment that would forbid Barack Obama from spending American tax dollars or printed dollars waging war in Yemen or Somalia or Pakistan, since those are not official wars, but we seem to be waging them anyway?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, it’s a shame that the Boland Amendment had to be passed. I don’t think I was there when that was voted on, but I would have supported it. But that’s the constitution, they’re not supposed to do those things. You’re not supposed to be involved in war unless the Congress approves it. So another Boland Amendment dealing with the Middle East is not going to happen, because the Republican leadership and even their program that they circulated before the election was sort of bragging that they would support Obama on almost anything that they would do. So the Republicans would never bring up a Boland type of amendment. And the Democrats aren’t going to bring it up, and it couldn’t get passed. So it’s tragic that we even have to think along those terms. But it’s based on the assumption that our presidents are going to act outside the constitution, that they’re going to wage war secretly. And, you know, it’s so bad now that even if we deny them official funding, at times they can raise money in banking, in the drug war, they can raise money by finagling the Federal Reserve’s ability to subsidize foreign countries and all kinds of things that they can do. Government is out of control, but we should do our very best to try to get the control back.
Scott Horton: Well, if you were sitting on the National Security Council right now advising Obama, what would you tell him about Yemen and Somalia? There are bad guys there, apparently.
Ron Paul: You know, I’ll just say, “Come home”. Even if there are bad guys in Yemen, they have to deal with them. I mean, there are bad guys in the United States and they might even be foreign born. But if there’s somebody from Yemen here in the United States and he causes a crime, we don’t call up Yemen and say, “You all get over here and take care of this guy”. We arrest him and we try him. We don’t expect them to come over here and pick them up and take him back home. So if there are bad people over there, they should take care of it. And, of course, the hostility directed towards the United States would be greatly reduced if we realized and understood what blowback is all about and why people do want to harm us.
Scott Horton: Well, that’s a very important point, something we talked about at length with Tom Engelhardt about Chalmers Johnson and his book, “Blowback”, on show yesterday. And, of course, some people remember you confronting Rudy Giuliani about that. The simple truth is that history began before September 11, that wasn’t the start of this war, that was just one step in it.
Ron Paul: No, I think we’re in a 20 year war now, it’s up next year. I think we embarked on this after we sort of encouraged or at least we said we wouldn’t be concerned if Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait and settled their border dispute on who owns the oil wells down there. So when we invaded Kuwait and went up into Iraq and continued bombing them for 10 years and starved so many of their people, that’s the beginning. It’s being going on for 20 years now, and I’m in the process right now of trying to label exactly how much that cost was, which is hard, whether it’s the financial cost, lost jobs, debt that we had, our lives of our American soldiers that have been lost. So it’s being going on for a long time, and I think it’s expanding. Obama hasn’t slowed it up one bit. I mean, he’s taken us to Pakistan, he’s into Yemen and they want to go into Iran and they don’t hesitate to threaten North Korea. So it’s ongoing, and the real tragedy is I never believed that our leaders would actually be so bold as to say, “You know, war sometimes can help you get out of a bad economic situation”. We knew those ideas floated around, but they’re little bit more blunt than I like; that a war is actually helpful, which is insanity because it really doesn’t. War always hurts the economy.
Scott Horton: Well, David Broder, the Dean of the Washington Press Corps, ran an article in the Washington Post like that recently. And apparently George Bush had made a comment like that to the president of Argentina or something. But you pointed out that many times Osama Bin Laden said that his plan was to bleed us to bankruptcy. He understands real economics, apparently, and that’s what he said, right? He was trying to get a reaction out of us to bog us down and break out empire in Afghanistan, just like they did with our help against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, which you opposed that at that time.
Ron Paul: He even implied that they weren’t going to concentrate on coming to our shores. He said, “Fine, you come and we’ll fight you on our sand”. And I think he also made the statement …
Scott Horton: I’m sorry, Dr. Paul, hold it right there. Everybody, it’s Ron Paul, it’s Anti War Radio. We’ll be right back after this.
Alright, welcome back to the show. It’s Anti War Radio. I’m Scott Horton, I’m talking to my hero, Dr. Ron Paul. You might remember him back in 2008, he gave the greatest speaking tour on behalf of individual liberty and peace in the history of mankind. And we’re crossing our fingers and hoping he reprises that role in the next presidential term. I won’t make you answer me now, though, Dr. Paul, I’m sorry. So when the break kicked in, you were in the middle of a point about Osama Bin Laden trying to lure us into Afghanistan to bankrupt our empire.
Ron Paul: Yea, I think he was rather clear on that. At least to me he was implying that maybe they don’t have to plan another attack in this country because we’re right over there. And just think after we went over there, and to his surprise we went into the country wholesale, so there were a lot of targets. So he’s killed 6000 of our people. There were no Al-Qaida in Iraq before we got there. We pretended we were going in there, but Saddam Hussein didn’t permit Al-Qaida there. Now there is Al-Qaida in Iraq.
Scott Horton: Yea, there’s still a problem there.
Ron Paul: And, of course, the country is a mess. They say, “Oh, we’re on the verge. One of these days we’re going to have a government”, but we continue to build bases there. The resentment is strong. There were no weapons of mass destruction. They’re a close ally of Iran. As bad as Saddam Hussein was, his balance of powers said that he had to tolerate and protect Christians, so there were a million Christians that lived there peacefully. And now more than half have been routed, and they expect that the rest will be routed. So, our going in along with the help of the British, actually de-Christianized a place where Christians had lived for one of the longest times in all of history. So the achievement is a disaster and they’re bragging about how wonderful it is. And the expense in terms of dollars and lives lost and, of course, collateral damage over there is unbelievable. So I think Osama Bin Laden sits back and looks and says, “Well, …”. He’s still achieving and he’s bringing on our bankruptcy. And the Americans are stupid enough that they’re destroying their own liberties. It’s almost like Osama Bin Laden is enjoying what the TSA is doing to us. But it’s our fault, but also there’s a rising outcry right now, so I think the American people are beginning to wake up. And I think that’s something about what’s going on with the Tea Party Movement, there is a healthy resistance to what’s happening right now.
Scott Horton: After all, they’re Democrat-wars now, what’s to believe in there for a Republican, right?
Ron Paul: Yea.
Scott Horton: Well, I’m not sure if you saw this, but Rolling Stones published an interview with one of Osama Bin Laden’s sons just a couple of months back where he says in plain English, “This was my father’s dream, to lure the United States into Afghanistan to bleed them to bankruptcy and destroy them like the Soviet Union.”
Ron Paul: Wow. And you wonder why the American people wouldn’t pay attention to those kinds of statements and think that maybe our foreign policy is flawed. But no, there’s too much control on what the people see. Actually, as far as foreign policy goes, most Americans probably don’t even care. They don’t pay that much attention to it. That’s why I sort of like the TSA issues because the pictures of this groping and the abuse is front and center. It’s on our TVs today, and everybody’s heard about it. And it’s so abusive that I think the American people will say, “Boy, maybe things are as bad as some of us have been saying”. So I think that this helps wake up more people.
Scott Horton: Yea, I think that’s probably true. And you know this is a great entry way to talk about foreign policy, too. I remember especially when you were running for president before, they would ask you, “What departments would you abolish?” and you would surprise everybody by saying, “How about we abolish the department of Homeland Security”. And, of course, they said, “If Al-Qaida is going to attack us all day every day without the department of Homeland Security, then we need that thing. You’re crazy.” But then you can make your point and say, “No, all we have to do is change our foreign policy and we won’t need a national police force at all”.
Ron Paul: Yea, they were supposed to be protecting us. We were spending 40 billion dollars before 9/11 for gathering intelligence and there was a lot of information there that could have helped prevent 9/11. But now we’re spending 80 billion and they think, “Oh, we must be a lot safer”. Well, of course, there are more that would like to kill us than ever before. And we’re bankrupt and we’re undermining our liberties. So I would say to the famous question to all politicians: “Is the country going in the right direction or wrong direction”, I would firmly answer, “So far we’re going in the wrong direction. I’d sure like to help turn the direction around and go in a different direction”
Scott Horton: Yea. And the department of Homeland Security – just even the name of that thing – plus all the fusion centers and the operation is really kind of consolidating police power in this country. It seems like if we can’t get that thing repealed sometime soon, and Homeland Security is a permanent fixture of American society, then we’re going to have a lot of lost liberty, more even than we’ve being anticipating, perhaps.
Ron Paul: Yea, and that’s not going to be on the agenda. I think there were three of us that voted against it when they were establishing it. But we might be able to get them to back off on a couple of things. But you know how bad the Patriot Act was and people started complaining and campaigning against it and the Democrats didn’t like it. So as soon as they had the chance, Pelosi led the charge for renewing it making it more permanent. So it’s hard to cancel things out, that’s why it will not be easy to get rid of Obama’s medical care system, too, although that was a big issue in the last campaign. I just hope we can do some good on that. But the idea that 6 months from now that’s going to be repealed is just not going to happen because first off he’d veto it anyway.
Scott Horton: Well, Dr. Paul, I have a dream. Not that it will work out or anything, but here’s what I’d like to see. I’d like to see you run for president again but with Russ Feingold or Dennis Kucinich, a good progressive who’s good on peace and the Bill of Rights, and the most important thing, who’s for accountability for criminals in government, and on Wall Street, etc. And then we could redo the two-party system in America and we could have us versus them. Peace and freedom versus the war party and then you can just make your major talking point that Sarah Palin and Barack Obama ought to run together as the War and Inflation Party. And then we can just get rid of all this silly old left/right and have a real realignment and keep our Bill of Rights.
Ron Paul: Good point, I think that people ought to contemplate what you’ve said.
Scott Horton: I sure would like to see that. And your son has made such great inroads with, as you say, you call him a Tea Party Right – the new kind of populist, Republicans out of power (right wing) and it just seems like you’re the perfect one to finish that realignment with this upcoming campaign and get somebody like Feingold or somebody, who’s really good and see… you know, a lot of people on the left are really disappointed in Barack Obama for filling out George Bush’s third term. And it seems like if there really is the kind of crisis and emergency that you and I agree that it is, maybe now is the time for a real shakeup for a real realignment of American politics.
Ron Paul: Well, we certainly need it. And there are more people talking about it. But unfortunately the base becomes pretty loyal. But I think you’re right, I think there are a number of progressives that are breaking away. But in Washington I run into the people who are partisans before they believe even in their progressive ideas. They are not basically principled. But the people outside of Washington can see that Obama has come up short even in those areas.
Scott Horton: Yea, I’m afraid so. Well, thank you very much for your time on the show. I know you have to go, Dr., but I really appreciate you staying on with us here.
Scott Horton: Good, Scott. Good talking to you.
Scott Horton: We appreciate it. That is the heroic Dr. Ron Paul, congressman representing district 14 on the Texas Gulf Coast. Please read ‘A foreign policy of freedom’, it’s 30 years worth of speeches, such wisdom in that book, it’s really great stuff. And check out his archives originals at www.AntiWar.com/paul. We’ll be right back.