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Friday, January 13, 2012

Hegemony or Survival

The title of this piece comes straight from the famous book by Noam Chomsky on America's role in this new century, in which he analyzes with relentless logic our "imperial" foreign policy.

Chomsky is probably one of the authors read by the presidential candidate Ron Paul, a man I really like and admire; he is a vet, like me, he is over 70, like me, but he is also a doctor, a medical doctor and apparently a successful father (no mean feat). His youthful following, the many young volunteers who are helping him in his successful campaign to the White House, are not blinded by the music of a rock star, or by the superficial beauty of a female singer, they are with him because they share his ideas and his vision of the future for our country. Ron Paul is a man who speaks his mind bluntly, without artifices and without a holier-than-thou attitude. That is quite refreshing in a politician.

Yes, Dr. Ron Paul is too old to become the next president and he is too extreme in his views to fit comfortably in either the Republican or Democratic party. He would normally be an ideal third party candidate and do as well or better than Ross Perot who put a scare in his two opponents in 1992. Some of his proposals would coincide with Paul's ideas. Both Perot and Paul are for balancing the federal budget for example and favoring American made products. Both are enjoying the support of those voters fed up with business as usual in Washington, with the cozy relationship between lobbyists and congressmen, and especially with our role as Policeman of the World.

Come Home

Congressman Paul, quite wisely, though no other Republican has repeated this position, states that we no longer need to spend billions on other countries; let's eliminate 90% of our military bases, let's bring back our troops from Afghanistan, and let's stop pretending that we have to fix the world's problems because our security interests are threatened. What interests in Iraq (aside from oil), what interests in Afghanistan, a nation never conquered and often invaded, what interests in Pakistan, now that bin Laden is no longer, and so many other countries where our presence is felt by pouring millions of dollars to their corrupt politicians.

World Super Power

It is true that we have the most powerful military, which makes us the Big Bully wherever we interfere with local politics. But when the atomic age came to light after WWII, it no longer was possible to risk an all-out world war which would annihilate civilization as we know it. So we made the tragic decision to send troops to Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Ira, and Afghanistan. Tragic because we lost many, many young American lives for very little gain. South Korea is perhaps the only jewel we can be proud of after witnessing the sad fate of North Korea and its totalitarian regime. Vietnam was no doubt the worst mistake ever made, fueled by a blatant lie by President Lyndon Johnson. It was also the only war the United States has ever lost.

New Military Strategy

President Obama recently said that we have to downsize the Armed Forces to rely more on small groups of highly specialized soldiers who would operate in regions of the world where American interests might be threatened. With our highly sophisticated planes and drones, we could send a clear message to would be terrorists that there was no place to hide on the planet. Ron Paul clearly embraces this strategy in foreign policy. The days of imperial dominance are clearly over for two important reasons: 1) The emergence of Russia and China as possible foes and 2) The sad state of our empty coffers and huge debt. Libya and Iran present two classic and ideal scenarios for our new military strategy: Air power and special forces can turn the tide without engaging thousands of boots on the ground.

Is our survival as a nation at stake or are our politicians still living the Monroe doctrine, albeit on a universal scale? Can't we just mind our own business and let other nations seek their own path, as long as it doesn't interfere with ours? Isn't it more practical and sensible to develop our own sources of fuel by investing heavily in research and development? Do we have to irritate great powers like Russia and China instead of negotiating win-win treaties? Do we have to continue favoring great corporations over the welfare of our citizens? Do we have to tolerate this great divide between republicans and democrats, all of whom are patriots and Americans?

Please let your voice be heard in this forum!

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