Assad Must Go; Assad Must Stay. Who’s Right?

As Russian airstrikes begin in Syria, the US and its Gulf Allies like Saudi Arabia are furious. Russia cannot bomb ISIS and al-Qaeda without also working to take out Assad, they claim. With so many jets and bombs in such a small space, how high is the danger of a tragic mistake…?

Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. With me today is Daniel McAdams, our co-host. Daniel good to see you.

Daniel McAdams: Good morning Dr. Paul.

Ron Paul: Good. Before we get started I wanted to make an announcement because we have bit of exciting news, we have been doing this program for six months and we have over a million viewers that went to YouTube to take a look at this, so I want to congratulate our audience for this and it really is encouraging to us, because we are trying to present some news that you don’t hear about on the evening news and I am very pleased with that and I think the growth is going to continue.

Daniel McAdams: Yeah. I’d like to thank a million people for watching our program in these past six months. I think it is amazing and tremendous and I feel so privileged to have them, but I would like to also to remind viewers that you can subscribe to the Liberty Report channel very easily and that way you won’t miss a live show and you can also catch up on the shows as they are posted. Ron Paul Liberty Report, go to youtube.com/ronpaullibertyreport and subscribe. Thanks.

Ron Paul: Good. Daniel, the subject for today’s report is going to be the hotspot in the world and everybody acknowledges it’s probably the hot spot and that of course is Syria and there’s been hints of escalation over there with the response of Russia with what we have been doing for so long over there and it looks like just recently the Russians have started doing some bombing. Now, the big argument is whose side are they on, who are they bombing and what is their purpose? Our position has been for four years, our explicit position has been and we have gotten the world to go along with this, Assad must go.

It looks to me that the Russians are saying Assad must stay. This is a contest and they are bombing and there’s a lot of hype, there’s a lot of lies that go into starting wars and then the propaganda persists and we’ve been through this so many times with what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and try to sort this out.

One thing that I do know as a fact, that none of these countries are better off, the United States is not better off with us participating in regime change. What about the story who is getting bombed, of course if we were non-interventionist it wouldn’t be as relevant, but since we are engaged there and we’re going to be a participant when it escalates, who are these people claiming exactly what Russia did? Do we know exactly what Russia did in the last couple of days?

Daniel McAdams: What’s interesting is that there is a group called The White Helmets and they are founded and funded by the U.S. government. They are supposed to be NGO do-gooders over in Syria. They kind of slipped because before the Russians even started bombing, they were tweeting photos of dead Syrian civilians saying this is the Russians have killed these people and this sort of thing and they were caught up doing it.

It is really information warfare, but from what we’ve seen actually I was looking up this is the neocon Institute for the Study of War, Kimberly Kagan’s group and she pointed out even that the Russians on the first day hit these towns that were occupied by Jabhat al-Nussra, which is an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. At first it seems that Russia is bombing Al-Qaeda, which we should be overjoyed about, they are supposedly our enemy, but the Pentagon has not been too thrilled about it.

Ron Paul: If they both are saying the real enemy is ISIS and Al-Qaeda and the radicals, it seems like all we’ve done is make things much worse. If that were the case we would be allies with Assad and we would be allies with the Russians, because the Russians right now I am sure they have sort of taken the argument we are in there to get rid of ISIS and hit the bad guys. I think their position can be twofold. It’s obvious they are sympathetic and allies of Assad and they have a naval base there, so they do want to save Assad. At the same time, saving Assad is preventing Al-Qaeda from taking over. You would think that our government be a little more sympathetic with this, but no we argue the case that Assad must go and I think this leads to nothing but confusion.

What I’m concerned about is now that we have bombs dropping and so many different factions there, that there’s going to be an accident or a false flag and then there’s going to be a blame and there’s a lot of weaponry over there. I don’t think we are on the verge of this thing totally exploding into World War III in that sense, but it could continue to escalate and it’s getting to be a hot spot because right now we haven’t heard too much from Israel.

The other thing that amazes me on this issue is the Saudi Arabia’s position on this. Here we are an ally of Saudi Arabia, we are bombing Yemen for months now, killed several thousand at the best count we have and Saudia is getting into this great debate that Assad has to go, Assad has to go, because he killed civilians.

My bet is that Assad has probably killed less civilians in the last six months or year than the Saudi Arabia. That is so hypocritical and yet this stuff just gets repeated on the news on a daily basis and they never give you a suggestion that there might be a balance to this.

Daniel McAdams: This is why the U.S. is so routinely criticized for its hypocrisy. The U.S. has been assisting Saudi Arabia in its attack on Yemen, over 4,500 people have been killed so far in Yemen, half of them civilians, just in the last 150 days and the U.S. has said nothing about this. Yet, this first airstrike was supposedly a few civilians were killed, even though as we spoke it is probably propaganda that all of a sudden the Saudis are now, I don’t know if you know this, they are now chairing the UN Human Rights Council. Now they are concerned with human rights in Syria as they bomb Yemen into the stone ages.

Ron Paul: Each side generally wants to claim the moral high ground and they are living within the law and that’s where a lot of hypocrisy comes in. You have to give Russia a little bit of credit in the fact that they were dealing with a country, which was there for a long time, they’ve had agreements, they’ve had a naval base there for a long time. I don’t think we are going to give up Guantanamo with a click of a switch and that’s essentially what they are asking Russia to do. Strategically that is pretty important for them.

My guess is that money and economics and oil still is playing a big part on this and I think it always plays a part in it, but you take the roots on these pipelines, strategically Syria is very important. They don’t have the oil wells, but they are close to oil and getting oil to Europe is one way that they might squeeze Russia. I know that we have a map of how we are trying to squeeze Russia militarily and then we have the sanctions economically we have them on there. I think this is it, I just don’t understand the lack of logic on our people to think that if it is economics, why don’t you just work it out and deal with it, have a little competition, why you have to go to war over all these things. They have so little confidence that markets can work some of these out, but I think the oil and the pipelines have a lot to do with why we’re involved and I think the Russians are involved for strategic reasons obviously. I think they are concerned about ISIS as well, not just in Syria, but in that whole region. They know what radical Islam can do.

Daniel McAdams: They’ve actually had thousands of fighters, Russians in caucuses have gone to Syria to fight and the Russians are worried that when these guys come home with all the skills they’ve learned in the radicalization they’ve received. That’s one of their concerns.

Back when this started you predicted that it would not go well, this U.S. bombing. We discussed it on the show that the U.S. strategy made no sense, you want to attack ISIS and you want to attack ISIS’s enemy Assad at the same time. I think the point you made is that we don’t have to love Assad to realize that he’s less of a threat to the U.S. than ISIS is.

I was wondering that the Russians in these two days, at least from what I’ve seen, have had more success than the U.S. has had in this past year. It seems to me as if because they are talking to Assad, they know the situation on the ground better. They are in communication with the troops on the ground, that they are better able to target. Would it have hurt, not that we would have supported these U.S. air strikes, but would it have hurt the U.S. at the time to say Assad we don’t like you, we are not supporting you, but we are going ahead in attacking what we view as a threat. Let’s talk and let’s organize this.

Ron Paul: The only thing what I would modify on what you said is that we haven’t had too many successes in this past year, but how many successes have we had since 2002, whether is it a pleasant place to live right now in Afghanistan? Look at what’s happening in Iraq, there was no Al-Qaeda there, but there surely is now. Libya is a chaos and now the same people come along and say what we need is regime change, we messed up all these other places. It’s so disgusting to see certain Senators get on the air right now and this of course too is a danger, because we are in the middle of an election and there’s so many demagogues going on here just saying more, more. It’s as bad as Obama is and as many problems he’s had, it hasn’t been the fact that he hasn’t killed enough people and that’s what they are saying.

It is pretty amazing to me how everybody agrees, no boots on the ground, no boots on the ground and yet the boots end up on the ground in these various countries, we have them there. It’s a powder keg and I think that we are going to be there for a while and things are going to get a lot worse.

Daniel McAdams: What’s scary, to follow up on a point you started with, Syria is really about the size of Oregon, as you said before the show probably a little bit bigger than your old district when it was a big one. This is a small amount of airspace that probably 6, 7, 8 countries are flying jets through. The potential for disaster is so high; I think it’s very, very disconcerting.

Ron Paul: Generally speaking on problems like this, I sort of look at this in a moral way. Do we have the moral imperative to involve ourselves both militarily and financially and I don’t see it. You say yes, but he was a bad guy and he kills people like Saddam Hussein and various others. But, what if we don’t have the moral authority to take money from American taxpayers and send troops over there and get killed over this and then make things worse. There is not moral imperative that we have to go over there and do these things. The evidence is on our side, it costs a lot of money, the results are always lousy and we ought to re-assess this.

Right now, the people who look at this from a local area and certainly the Russians have a moral justification, because it’s on their doorstep. What if the Russians or the Chinese were involved in the overthrow of a bad guy in Mexico and they were on the verge of getting rid of him and installing an anti-American vicious dictator? What would we say about that? We would say that we have a moral responsibility, this is on our doorstep, but nobody talks about it that way, nobody sees it in the same light.

Once again, some of these people, the dictators that we have supported and we turned on them, that is one thing, but when it comes to Putin, I don’t see Putin as any angel whatsoever, but right now I am suggesting to our leaders that he might have a little bit of a higher moral high ground on this and being in a strategically better place than we are, so the advise ought to be to our leaders to back off, it’s time to give up on this policy. It’s not working and it’s going to end badly. Yes, the Soviet Union learned their lesson in Afghanistan and they had to back off. Some people say Russia will get bogged down in Syria, but we are the ones that are getting bogged down and we have to wake up soon.

This is our argument for non-intervention, mind our own business, take care of our national security, take care of our finances, set an example for the world. Don’t try to spread our goodness around the world through force. Try to spread our goodness through setting a standard and set an example and hopefully other people will want to emulate us. I think that’s the goal we ought to have.

I want to thank everybody for tuning in today to the Liberty Report and please come back soon.

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  • Shawn Irwin

    I wonder if Bernie Sanders would consider having Ron Paul as vice-president!

    • hzane

      That would be an epic bipartisan move if he did.