President Obama is in Vietnam today, but the agenda seems less about trade than about hitching that country to the US empire. With the arms embargo lifted, Vietnam looks poised to join the US “pivot to Asia” which is in reality just a pivot to confrontation with China.
Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. With me today is co-host Daniel McAdams. Daniel, good to see you.
Daniel McAdams: Good morning Sir.
Ron Paul: Good. Our President has left the country. Today he is not the President of the United States, he is President of the world and now he is over improving relations with Vietnam. He is going to Vietnam and he is in the news and there is lots of things to discuss about it, because in a way it’s stated that he is on a diplomatic trip. He wants to improve trade with Vietnam. Maybe this is going to be good.
But, on second thought, I got to thinking about it, is this going to be number three for me, I have praised the opening up the door and communication with Cuba and then also with Iran. I thought that was good and is this going to be another one? I don’t think so, as a matter of fact, opening up the doors with Vietnam has already occurred a while ago and that of course was with a bilateral trade agreement with Vietnam by President George W. Bush. He started off his administration rather well.
Daniel McAdams: A great diplomat.
Ron Paul: That was good and I can remember so often in the ’08 and ’12 campaign, emphasizing the fact that things were so much better with Vietnam. Just think of the 20 years of French and the American killing the Vietnamese in war and I said we have been at peace and we are trading with them, we are talking with them and traveling, and just think how much more was achieved in peace, than at war.
But, this is a mixed bag right now. We want to get along with Vietnam, but quite frankly, I don’t see what he is doing today anywhere close to opening the doors in, let’s say, Cuba.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah and I think the huge difference is, believe it or not, we have to praise when necessary, what opened up under President George W. Bush, in terms of bilateral trade, business-to-business sorts of things, that is now improved upon by this current trade deal and here is what National Security Adviser Spokesman Ben Rhodes said about it, this is the big twist, “looking forward to a new chapter of partnership on a range of regional security issues, the US lifted the arms embargo on Vietnam.” So, this is very, very different than opening up to business, this is opening up to arms purchases.
Ron Paul: And it didn’t take too long for Senator from Arizona to speak up and really praise this and he emphasized the military part, they are going to be military allies and then we are going to sell more weapons or maybe loan them money for them to buy more weapons. But, obviously, this is a business deal, not in the free market, but it is a business deal for the arms manufacturers, the military industrial complex and they are delighted with this and of course the one world people who would like to see more big government.
He is traveling all over the Far East and he’ll be going to Japan I believe, but the Trans Pacific Partnership is a big deal and Vietnam wants to do this and Japan wants to participate, so this is more to do, this is more of an entangling alliance, rather than just bipartisan trade agreement with another country, which is technically I believe the way to go it should be, by the Congress rather than just the President, but nevertheless if the Congress authorizes it and you can have bilateral agreements. I think this is the way to go.
I got to thinking, I wonder throughout all of history, how much trade has occurred, maybe 3 or 4 thousand years of history, nobody had trade agreements, but there was a lot of interconnectedness, but when they had the greatest interconnectedness in those times, it was usually because it was a single currency, it was a gold standard and people knew about that and that brought people together. It wasn’t a world government that did it.
Daniel McAdams: And I think you are right, the TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership is a kind of a world government and it is sort of sucking Vietnam into it.
There was an interesting video a couple of weeks ago where a member of the European Parliament wanted to go and read a copy of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which neither you, nor I, nor any average American can read. It’s classified, it’s a classified trade deal and they followed him with a video where he had to sign away these non-disclosure agreements and he had to put in his fingerprints and all of these things and of course they had to cut the camera off, because he got in this secret room to read this secret deal. Doesn’t that sound like something that is going to open up trade for the world?
Ron Paul: Hardly and then you wonder, if it isn’t the people of this country clamoring that we do these things, as a matter of fact, I sense that the people are looking for something quite opposite then more of these trade agreements, because look who has been getting the largest crowd and it has been Trump with not a free trade policy, as well as Sanders and they are getting a lot of support. At the same time, this whole moment, this shift, a pivot to Asia, this is a big deal, so there is somebody who is pulling the strings behind the scenes and that of course is the deep state and I am sure there are many members that we can sort of guess that, but I don’t think they get together and meet, but they know how to use the system and they support these efforts and I don’t think it’s free trade that they are after.
Daniel McAdams: I think that the lifeblood of the deep state is money that is generated by permanent conflicts elsewhere, everywhere in the world. Here is a couple of stats about Vietnam. They have a 5 billion dollars military budget, it’s not big compared to ours, but it’s a very small country and it’s up, just in the past 10 years, it’s up from 1 billion to 5 billion dollars. 8% of the total government spending goes to the military in Vietnam.
But, here is the kicker, two things. First of all, Vietnam is joining us in our pivot toward aggression with China, not toward Asia, but the other thing is 80% of Vietnam’s military purchases come from Russia right now. So, this is less about Vietnam and more about the US confrontation with Russia and China.
Ron Paul: Yeah, this is a penalty to Russia that we are trying to cut them out and I don’t think there has really been a pivot. I think there has been an addition. We are still very engaged at the borders of Russia and now we are there engaged in annoying China and of course we pick sides, our President says we never pick sides, so we are on the side of Vietnam and trying to hold back China. I think that has a lot to do with this. We are hiring these people, they want the weapons to defend themselves and the American people don’t want us to send more troops, but we can send ships and planes over there to provoke things.
In this age when we shouldn’t even be close to having a major war break out, we have the Russians and the Americans and the Americans and the Chinese, just confronting each other and it’s sort of like I dare you in high school, I dare you to hit me or push me or something like that and we can just fly and see how close we can get. Why are they looking for trouble, other than the fact that maybe this does motivate some Americans, it’s very dangerous out there, we better nobody screaming and hollering, that the candidates all want to rebuild our military. We know how much we are spending, but the deep state wants more military spending. There is no doubt about that.
Daniel McAdams: And this is the theme that we keep hitting on, as the big rip-off of the American people. They are being lied to and told that all these threats are out there, so they won’t raise too much of a fuss when so much of their money is taken from them or inflated out of them. This is the huge rip-off, why people live so well.
The other thing that I saw, I was just looking at a few of the headlines about the trip and one of them is interesting, that struck me as funny is, I think it was Time magazine or one of them complained, this is terrible and there are human rights problems there and he shouldn’t be over there and look at the Chinese, look at the Vietnamese electoral system, the political parties choose the candidates and I thought it sounds kind of like the super-delegates.
Ron Paul: One question I am surprised I don’t get asked very often, but it’s something I think about and that is, we take a position of free trade and that means the individual, corporation, businessperson, individual, can spend his money where he wants and he can travel and buy and this sort of thing. Free trade is free trade. So, American companies can sell what they have to any country that they want and as long as they are not getting subsidies and they are not getting loans from the government, it’s not managed trade and protectionism, because this managed trade is really protectionism in disguise.
But, the whole thing is what about a company that has weapons and they are in a free trade and we are in a free trade, can they and should they be able to sell any weapons they want to anybody. I have come up with a position, which is sort of like if making a rifle is so mundane and regular that every country can and have them, for a private company to sell rifles to somebody, under those conditions I would say that there shouldn’t be a federal prohibition against selling something like that, but if it’s a major weapons system, something to do with nuclear submarines or some type of surveillance for security and things that we the taxpayers paid for.
It shouldn’t be owned by the corporations, they already got their subsidies and they already for paid for their developments way over and above what the market cost would be. So, I would say that I would support the position that a private company, even under total free trade should have the right to sell weapons that are highly sophisticated and have been developed by the American taxpayer.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah and if they are doing business with the government, with these weapon systems, they shouldn’t be allowed to sell them overseas, because they are privatizing the profits from the overseas arms sales, while they are socializing the costs of research and development.
Ron Paul: Right, and there has been a lot of that for a long time. But, the big question is what is the ultimate goal, the pivot? The pivot makes you think whether they are going to give up on what is going on in Eastern Europe, but I think it’s a two-front war going on and I think that it’s really, the goal is one world government, one way or the other and because it’s very clear. Even the so-called assimilation of Europe and how it happens here with government forces and subsidies and responding to conditions we create and all this. It’s more like an excuse why we need more government and I think everybody would know my position. I think the problems come from the fact that we’ve had too much government involvement, too much government spending and taking funds and livelihoods from the people and not allowing people to make these decisions, rather than the politicians.
I think one of the biggest threats to the country today is the deep state. I do not believe for a minute and despite the independence of some of our candidates, that they are dealing with the deep state. I think that the deep state is still there and that it is not going to go away, because they really don’t have answers, because if we decided we didn’t want any special interest government and we had the person slash.
I imagine you saw something on the Internet the other day, there was a young guy that said just don’t take away the food stamps from my mother, you are going to have trouble for me. The entitlement mentality, the entitlement mentality of the poor who have been taught that my livelihood comes from the government, I am entitled to it, I have a right to it, but the businessman is like that too. Do you think the people in the banking system and in the military industrial complex, if we made it tough to sell some of these weapons overseas and take away some of their protectionism that they have already built-in into the system through WTO?
They have a lot going on, but it is all sold as a bill. We need the TPP, because that is going to free up the market and just look recently some of the huge tariffs that have been placed on goods that are going back and forth between China and the United States. We put on huge tariffs, but I am sure that was in retaliation, so you don’t hear go to the WTO, they will give you permission to do this. To me it’s a real tragedy.
Daniel McAdams: I remember it was a kind of a wake up call back on the Hill in the early to mid 2000s, when you were very strong in the get out of the UN position and very vocal and taking the lead on that and you were and we were all surprised that the conservatives are not all that enthusiastic about such a thing. It came to dawn on me at least through the meetings that they didn’t have a problem with the UN, they wanted to gradually and eventually control the UN and use that as a global tool for US led one world government and that is why with the South China Sea thing, the US is citing the law of the sea treaty, which we refused to even sign.
Ron Paul: I had sort of an awakening after 1994, the Republicans were in charge, so it gave me the incentive to go back and see maybe there were serious about, so in ’96 I ran again and the Republicans were in charge of the Congress, so when the foreign aid bill would come up, that was always a big deal. The Republicans hadn’t been in office for 40 years, foreign aid, foreign aid, foreign aid, so when it comes up I’d offer amendments and they wouldn’t cut any foreign aid and there was one time and the bill came up and it was a large increase and they were trying to get it through without even having a vote and I wasn’t one that was always a strategy guy to go down there and see if I can block something for a day, but I happened to be nearby and these people shouldn’t get away with it.
I had the toughest time. You may even remember, I asked for the vote and they totally ignored me and then I got a little bit annoyed, but finally I got a vote on it and this is pretense and they said foreign aid is different and it’s not a principle and that there is nothing wrong. They don’t argue, they don’t accept the idea that there is something wrong with taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in other countries. Some countries are more equal than others and some are more into the military aid and then the other.
But, the principle obviously should be in all this trade business, is that the money belongs to the people and there shouldn’t be the taking of the money from the people in order to subsidize and pass out money around the world. We are getting away with it because the dollar has been strong, but I believe that that condition is going to change.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah. They call this part of Obama’s farewell tour and that sounds nice. But, unfortunately his crowning achievement, one of the things he is doing there, he is having dinner with this fellow Anthony Bourdain who runs a travel show on CNN, he tries foreign foods and this sort of thing, so his farewell tour had to do with eating with Bourdain in Vietnam and visiting with officials and these sorts of things, that would be maybe a more appropriate crown on his achievements, than all of these things he is introducing.
Ron Paul: I do want to bring up one other subject, I don’t think we have patched it yet, because we need to close in a minute, but it has to do with human rights issues. The human rights issues is always a big issue in doing this and the instruction from the left, which is reasonable instruction to be concerned about the human rights in these countries, whether it’s China or Vietnam and if we are going to do all this for them, it should be conditions, treat your prisoners a little bit better, don’t have political prisoners. But, I always objected to that, mainly because I didn’t believe that we had the authority to do it, but then I also thought it was very hypocritical.
We are not angels when we treat our prisoners and when you think of how abusive we are in incarcerating people, due to insanity of the war on drugs and putting people who are non-violent and therefore they could be called political prisoners. We have 5% of the population, 25% of the incarcerations and more than anybody else, we can condemn them and we can go over to China and say you don’t treat your people right and you have too many people that have been treated.
But, what about our whistleblowers? Our whistleblowers get put in prison and they are incarcerated. People who stand on the Constitution and defend, make the position that the way our income tax is collected is unconstitutional, they can go to jail and kept there. That to me sounds like a political position and yet people just say that is different, we will just ignore that for now, but I think that is a horror, because it’s such a hypocrisy for us to go over. And besides, who is our best friends in the Middle East? I think it’s a country called Saudi Arabia and we never lecture them, as a matter of fact, because of our policies with Saudi Arabia, the abuse of our liberties here at home have been made much worse and it comes to the motivation of the Patriot Act and things like that also the ability of the Saudis to not be held accountable and also not find out exactly what they were up to in the Commission reports and the 28 pages.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah. Senator Tom Cotton disagrees with you. I don’t know if you saw this, but he said we need to incarcerate a lot more people in the US. That was his saying.
Maybe that is not too bad, if we started incarcerating politicians who didn’t obey the Constitution, that might be a little bit different. But, no, I don’t think we need to incarcerate more people who didn’t commit real crimes or a violent crime. What we need are a lot less laws and a lot less intervention overseas and a lot less theft from our government, in a moral sense our government is at the most guilt, because they think taking from one person and giving to another, whether it’s giving to rich or poor person, it is morally superior to allowing people to live on their own and have their freedom and choice on what kind of lifestyle they want. Freedom of choice on where they work and how they spend their money and to protect their property. But, that doesn’t seem to be of interest.
There is a lot of frustration out there and I am just hoping that we can help sort out the frustration of why the American people are so upset and annoyed with the conditions today and not say what we need is more authoritarianism in our government to punish and redistribute wealth, because the entitlement system is just not managed well. We need better and fairer managers of the entitlement system and that is going to take care. I think what we need in this country is more individuals, more people in the theoretical branch and also in our government to come in and realize what we need is more liberty and understand the important historical fact that the freer a country is, the more prosperous it is. That is what they don’t believe, they like this idea of thinking that they can get something for nothing. It hasn’t worked in the past, it is not going to work now.
I want to thank everybody for tuning in today to the Liberty Report and please come back soon.