Ron Paul on Russian airstrikes in Syria, the 2016 presidential race and Ben Bernanke.
Female News Anchor: Joining me now in a Fox Business Exclusive is former Republican congressman and three time presidential candidate, and host of The Liberty Report, Dr. Ron Paul. Dr. Paul, thank you so much for the time, we’re thrilled to have you with us.
Ron Paul: Thank you, it’s nice to be with you.
Female News Anchor: I hate to start on this heavier topic here. Senior U.S. officials are describing basically a nightmare scenario right now in Syria, saying we need one of two things: either clear policy from the U.S. that prevents Russia from bombing Syria, or that the U.S. should send anti-aircraft missiles to confront Russian planes directly. Another presidential candidate, Donald Trump, says Russia’s lack of respect for U.S. leadership is part of the problem.
Donald Trump: We owe a lot of this to lack of respect, Putin doesn’t respect our president, it’s purely lack of respect. Putin is a liar but is leading and Putin is somebody that people are respecting all over the world now. Our country is just the opposite, we can get the respect , I mean, to a certain extent you either have it or you don’t have it. You either have that ability to get that respect, you’re a leader or you’re not a leader.
Female News Anchor: So, Dr. Paul, is it a question of respect?
Ron Paul: Well, I think there is a need for respect, but it depends on what you are respecting. I would respect all our leaders if we would mind our business more often. I would respect our leaders and Obama a lot more if he hadn’t declared four years ago that our policy was to get rid of Assad and our goal was to get him out of the regime and change regimes. I don’t have any respect for that, I have respect for people who stand up and say that it’s in America’s best interest to mind our own business and not go look for another fight. We’ve had Libya, we’ve had Iraq, we’ve had Afghanistan, we’re messing around and inciting problems up in Ukraine. So I see no reason in the world for us to be involved in Syria, it’s not our business, it got worse since 2011 because of our position that Assad must go. Well, it looks like Assad isn’t going to go, and there is going to be a lot bigger chance that there’s going to be a conflict between Russia and the United States.
Female News Anchor: Dr. Paul, let me just take the opposite stance: if the U.S. does nothing, and I know you say you wish nobody was bombing Syria, which obviously is the humanitarian point of view, but here’s what our national security analyst, K. T. McFarland, told us.
K. T. McFarland: Russians have just run the table, the Russians have just totally outsmarted and out-foxed Obama at every step. And it’s a lot more than just, “Well, they were so much smarter and cleverer”. The Russians are now in a position where they’re going to take over the Middle East.
Female News Anchor: To K. T. Farland’s point, Dr. Paul, what does this mean if the U.S. doesn’t have a presence? Does that allow Russia, as many have described as a bully, to take over?
Ron Paul: Well, it certainly is a challenge to us, but our presence is in the Middle East is declaring that we’re the dictators of the world, and we have troops in 152 countries and we’re always involved in regime change, and that’s backfiring and bankrupting us. and we end up helping ISIS and Al-Qaida and Iran. I see that the policy is bad and it costs a lot of money and we’re involved in many, many other countries. If you ever look at the flags where we have military bases around the world compared to those of Russia, I don’t think we have to worry that Russia is coming to invade us. But right now, Russia has a lot to worry about us, because we put sanctions on them, we badger them, we threaten them, and now they’re sick and tired of it and they’re confronting us. They have an interest in Afghanistan, they have a treaty with Syria and they have a base there which is legal for them to have, so I don’t think it’s anything unusual. I just think that we should stay out of inciting so many problems around the world. Bombs won’t solve this problem, and have precipitated some antagonism around the world that we don’t need. The bombs didn’t solve the problem in Iraq.
Female News Anchor: Dr. Paul, when you hear a candidate such as Donald Trump saying it’s about respect and we need to fight fire with fire, you disagree?
Ron Paul: I disagree, if we fight fire with fire, it ought to be with our brains. Yes, we contest those who compete with us. But to say that because Russia does such a thing, we have to confront them … I think they’re fighting fire with fire, we’re the ones that are involved in their neighborhood, we’re the ones who take NATO and put surround their country with it, right up to their borders, so they’re fighting fire with fire. They’re striking back and people are hysterical because they’re asserting themselves. We’re the ones who decided that we’ll put on the sanctions and do all these things, if we were a weaker nation and they did this to us, we would consider it outright aggression. So yes, I think we ought to fight fire with fire, but we ought to use our brains about doing it, we ought to confront them by setting good standards and trading with them and out-performing them. We didn’t have to defeat the Soviet Union with weapons, we defeated them by out-performing them. We fought fire with fire with economic policies, at that time we were actually better.
Female News Anchor: But we do have sanctions on them now. Dr. Paul, looking at the candidates, I was assuming you have a big favorite in your son, Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul, but there are murmurs that he may soon drop out because his rating in the polling is down to 3%, is there any truth to this?
Ron Paul: I haven’t heard anything like that, and I talked to him just a couple of days ago and there was no hint of that. I think his strategy is fine and he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing. He’s organizing young people in campuses and they are the ones who are much more attuned to shrinking the government, and they’re concerned about civil liberties and a foreign policy that gives us no chance to negotiate with people and makes us too anxious for war. He’s the only one in the race that suggest, “Let’s stop and think about this before we stir up the trouble and see if we can compete with who drops the most bombs”. We’ve dropped enough bombs in the past 15 years, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, have died. Just last week, how many did we kill in Afghanistan in a medical unit, and everybody is outraged.
Female News Anchor: Doctors Without Borders is absolutely outraged with your point, and as a doctor, you probably identify with that at an even deeper level than most other people. I want to ask you, though, about the presidential race, because you’ve done it three times. At this juncture, what is your advice to your son?
Ron Paul: Keep doing what you’re doing, speak the truth and speak it loud and clearly, and stick to your principles. Because that’s what people want, they want to know the truth, and if you believe in liberty, present the cause for liberty. And that means something to a lot of people still, and once you talk about liberty and emphasis that, you exclude all the special interests and all the wheeling and dealing, because that is not liberty, that is special interests government and that’s why we’re in this mess. You don’t talk about liberty to groups, you don’t appeal to groups and say, “I’m going to give you this and give you that”, you appeal to an individual because liberty is individual and if you present the cause for liberty, believe me, people will rally. And if they know you’re telling the truth, they will vote for you.
Female News Anchor: Dr. Paul, there are many people who believe a 100% in your ideas, but I’m going to say they are fearful living without a kind of infrastructure. I cover the markets, I’m obsessed with investments, so I always think of the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke, in his recent vote came out and said, “You know why I am not a Republican anymore?” He said it was because they were constantly fighting, and he did actually call you out by name. He said you were constantly fighting forces against the institution of the Fed. Just to take the other side, many people said after 2008, the entire global financial system would have gone down without the Fed. We need some infrastructure, right?
Ron Paul: Well, it’s still going to go down. He postponed it a little bit, but a lot of people went down. The middle class went down. The middle class is paying all the bills and his friends got bailed out because he got a temporary reprieve for Wall Street. That doesn’t satisfy me one bit.
Female News Anchor: But he was nominated by George Would. Bush, and I know you take pleasure in being an outlier and you want to get your message across, but do you think sometimes moving just a little bit to a larger tents would help some of your ideas become more adopted?
Ron Paul: Absolutely, and this is why I get along very well with honest progressive Democrats who believe in civil liberties, they believe we ought to have a different foreign policy, they believe in balanced budgets, they believe in looking at the Federal Reserve and treating people as individuals. So the coalition […] has to come with two groups that have principles that blend together, and that is the progressive Democrats and the liberty constitutional Republicans, because we can’t agree on so much. But if you sell out and say, “Well, I’m going to give you a little bit of this interventionism of conservatisms, and interventionism around the welfare state by the liberals and put that together”, it’s the worse system that we can have, and that’s what we’ve been living with for a long time because we have one single party pushing interventionism, planned economy, interference in our personal privacy, and a foreign policy of intervention. It’s all coming to an end because we can’t afford it, and the Federal Reserve is not going to bail us out. They got us into this trouble and they pretend to get us out of it, but they caused the trouble by fixing interest rates and interfering with the market. They’re market manipulators and price fixers, and they created the mess that we have, and it’s on our doorstep and it’s not going away.
Female News Anchor: Wow, one very smart person who is a big fan of yourself, Jim Grant, cannot say enough good about your ideas. Dr. Paul, we thank you so much for your time, glad to have you with us.