Former Texas Republican Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has dominated the talk shows and newspapers as of late with his consistent stance that the United States should not intervene in Eastern Europe because of a tiny piece of land that has nothing to do with the Land of the Free.
Writing an op-ed piece in the USA Today on Monday, Paul defended the weekend vote in Crimea which overwhelmingly supported seceding from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation, a move that has been done recently, including in Catalonia, Scotland and Venice (how many people know this is actually happening right now?)
The vote has angered many U.S. and European officials and, says Paul, has thus increased tensions between Western powers and Russia, something that has not been seen since the Cold War.
“What’s the big deal? Opponents of the Crimea vote like to point to the illegality of the referendum. But self-determination is a centerpiece of international law. Article I of the United Nations Charter points out clearly that the purpose of the U.N. is to ‘develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples,’” wrote Paul. “Why does the U.S. care which flag will be hoisted on a small piece of land thousands of miles away?
Due to Russian occupation of Crimea, politicos and pundits decried coercion and that Crimeans pretty much had a gun to their head to vote a certain way. Paul drew parallels that the same thing could be said in Iraq when U.S. troops occupied the country. It was classified as a “triumph of democracy” by the Bush administration.
The author of “End the Fed” and “The Revolution: A Manifesto” urged U.S. officials to read the American constitution – it does not cites that the U.S. government is permitted to overthrow governments and send aid – before plunging into another’s.
“Though the Obama administration has applied some minimal sanctions on selected Russian and Crimean individuals, neither the U.S. nor the EU can afford significant sanctions against Russia. Global trade provides too much economic benefit to both sides,” wrote Paul. “Indeed, international markets rallied on news that the sanctions would be thus far minimal. They understand that trade and economic engagement are the surest roads to peace and prosperity. Let’s hope governments will follow their lead.”
Since Paul’s comments, there has been a lot of backlash and harsh criticism of the founder of the Campaign for Liberty.
James Kirchick of the Daily Beast published a headline in hyperbole that Paul endorses Putin’s “illegal occupation of Crimea.” Before criticizing Paul’s position, he was sure to outline his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – based purely on violating private property rights and not on some fallacious racist reasoning – and noted of the racist newsletters (what does that have to do with Ukraine?)
“Paul and his supporters used to complain that the American media and political establishment never gave him a fair shake in his various presidential campaigns, so it is a little odd to see him and his denizens providing a democratic gloss to Sunday’s “referendum” on Crimea’s status,” wrote Kirchick.
Others, meanwhile, say that it was Ron Paul’s kind in the 20th century that led to the rise of Adolf Hitler. A lot of people argue that it was “isolationist policies” in the U.S. that allowed Hitler to take control of Europe. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was quite adamant in entering the war for a long time (see: Pretexts for War: How the public is deceived into fighting).
Although Keynesians and neo-conservatives would enjoy another regional war in order to stimulate the economy and rid the world of another evil, the U.S. is in terrible economic and financial shape: $17 trillion debt, $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities and expenditures and a $600 billion budget deficit. Also, didn’t the U.S. just fight wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen? Didn’t President Obama want to attack Syria? Why do U.S. officials salivate over wars?