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Non-interventionism VS Isolationism and Iran’s Nuclear Potential

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Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has received criticism for “isolationism.” Paul denies that he is an isolationist by echoing the Thomas Jefferson line, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”

Only a position that endorses policies that deny such trade and honest friendship are more appropriately called, if nothing else, “isolationism.”

Paul’s principled approach to policy has lead him to support an number of issues outside the mainstream. His stance on Iran, for example, is particularly controversial. While the mainstream bangs war drums in an effort to deny Iran nuclear capabilities, Paul has voiced against military intervention.

The mainstream media and Republican Primary rivals have construed Paul’s stance to mean that Paul would “do nothing” in sight of the apparent threat to our national security.

Indeed, if all one uses is a hammer, then all the world appears a nail. Alternatively, Paul’s approach to national security is passive defense: that is, if we mind our own business, they will have no reason to attack us. If they do attack us, we respond accordingly, as we have in traditional American foreign policy — so long as we don’t start the war.

The issue of nuclear armament and “entangling alliances” is a special consideration. The Council on Foreign Relations had this to say about America’s precarious position in foreign alliances,

The United States leads a global network of alliances, a position that commits Washington to protecting countries all over the world. Many of its potential adversaries have acquired, or appear to be seeking, nuclear weapons. Unless the world’s major disputes are resolved — for example, on the Korean Peninsula, across the Taiwan Strait, and around the Persian Gulf — or the U.S. military pulls back from these regions, the United States will sooner or later find itself embroiled in conventional wars with nuclear-armed adversaries. (Citation).

Though Iran has threatened military action against the US, Barack Obama can be accused of the same when he said, “All options are on the table,” in regards to Iran.

It seems more likely that the excitable Iranian government is perusing nuclear capabilities to say, “Leave us alone,” than to actively initiate a military campaign against the US. Indeed, since the Bush administration, US military presence in the Middle East has increased, and though Obama has announced withdraw from Iraq, US forces still occupy Afghanistan, and the House of Representatives passed a bill this December that would secure Obama with the power to place sanctions on Iran, allowing the President to target any businesses dealing with Iran’s central bank. (Citation).

But the depth of the Iranian controversy is shallow to none in mainstream rhetoric, echoing variations of the Bush administration’s, “They attack us because we are free,” party line. Though the issue of the economy has topped many polls this last month, the issue of national security will continue to attract controversy during the Republican Primaries, while the pro-war solutions proposed by the mainstream, Republican or Democrat, are shadows of the same nonsense.


Written by Jonathan Mark

January 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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