Ron Paul's Shovel Ready Foreign Policy

Much was said during President Obama’s big-government stimulus spending about shovel ready projects helping to rebuild the American economy, infrastructure, and workforce. Thus far many would argue that there has not been a visible nationwide benefit from the billions of dollars spent piecemeal in this endeavor. But one of the candidates for the Republican nomination has a plan that truly is shovel ready and will help Main-Street America recover from economic melt-down..

Many equate Ron Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy with isolationism. I can understand this misunderstanding. Growing up in a military family, in a town that is supported by military spending, and having also served my country; my initial 2007 reaction to the idea of bringing home troops from all over the world was also one of disagreement. But as with many of Paul’s ideas the logic of one policy often dovetails nicely with another. Like many of Paul’s supporters I have read as much as possible about him online because the traditional sources of news tend to ignore, marginalize, or outright misrepresent his views. Through my discovery and analysis of Paul’s philosophies I have found them to be the only rational, achievable method of returning America to the greatness of the shining city upon the hill.

So what is this shovel ready project I mentioned? Simply stated, it is returning American troops from the more than nine-hundred bases that we have overseas and rebuilding the American military infrastructure that has been shrunk, eliminated (by BRAC since 1989), or shipped overseas (by our foreign policy since the Spanish American War).  Instead of pouring money into foreign economies that host our bases we should spend money supporting local economies on Main-Street America.  We can re-open dozens of shuttered or shrunken military bases all across this country and spur growth in jobs for civil service workers, contract workers, large businesses, and small business. It will also open up countless jobs in the service industry to provide for the needs of those filling the new base positions. Rebuilding these bases will be an honest boom for housing and infrastructure construction. As I said many of these policies dovetail together; while yes many federal jobs will be trimmed if President Paul eliminates the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development, these same employees will  under current rules have the possibility of Hiring Preference for other civil service jobs (including the thousands created by re-building American military bases).

The best part is that all of these improvements to the economy will be paid for by saving money that otherwise would have been spent supporting military forces thousands of miles from our sovereign soil. It will give Main-Street, USA an economic boost that will SAVE taxpayers money.  The savings can be used to rebuild our military strength and fund requirements that are currently unfunded (by anything but borrowing).   Even better the job growth from bringing our trooops home to American bases will increase over-burdened local and state tax bases.

Some will claim that we “need” overseas bases to uphold our interests overseas. The real question is whose interests are these bases protecting? A recent news story claimed that after 66 years we will finally be removing troops from Okinawa (after years of local protests) only to move them to Australia. I submit that short of an active conventional war with an Asian super-power there is absolutely no rational reason to waste money building, supplying, and maintaining American bases in Australia. Who will be the beneficiary of such an arangement? Surely it will not be the American People.

These American bases will also have a very real benefit to our security. Strategic placement of several of these bases in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California will also make securing the border a much more feasible plan.  One might even go so far as to say it is the only plan put forth by a candidate that can truly secure our Southern border. This will give us a powerful force to punish any Narco-Terrorists who have the huevos to stray across the border. That is assuming of course that they are still a threat after another one of Paul’s policies (ending the war on drugs) dovetails into defunding the narcotics traffickers throughout Central and South America.

Another wonderful benefit of bringing our troops home is the added strength to our ability to respond to natural or man-made disasters. I often tell people to imagine if the 281 helicopters that equip the 101st Screaming Eagles at Ft Campbell, KY were stateside and available to deploy the 600 miles (3-4 hours flight!) to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I can assure you there would not have been people on rooftops days after the levees had failed. Wildfires, Tornadoes, Floods, Earthquakes; having disciplined and trained boots on the ground in the event of disaster will provide a valued benefit to the American people.

Or we can take the worst-case scenario from the Republican field. What if a Chemical/Biological/Radiological/Nuclear weapon is smuggled into and unleashed in the United States? Wouldn’t it be better to have CBRN trained troops readily available to intervene, assist, or act as forward areas for additional reaction forces? I am sure that there are plenty who will disagree with me, but personally I would rather have our troops deployable for a disaster at home rather than kicking down doors and inadvertently creating a larger threat of blowback to Americans.

Many who haven’t studied Ron Paul’s policies mistakenly believe he is either anti-military, or anti-defense spending. That perception is mistaken. Paul just thinks that from a philosophical live and let live principal, and a fiscally conservative perspective, that we would be much better off putting bombs and equipment into inventory (for need in a congressionally declared war) rather than expending them on military adventurism and meddling. Among other things Paul doesn’t believe in turning mole hills into mountains; Iran has no potential of being a tactical threat to the United States. The strategic threat of a couple of nukes someday coming into Iranian control is nothing compared to the danger of global nuclear annihilation that we faced during the Cold War. Iran having a nuclear weapon or calls-to-war by fear-mongers is not enough to start a war of aggression in the view of Paul.  Any war on his watch will require a formal Declaration of War by congress, which is as it should be to prevent the connected few from controlling the destinies of the many.

Personally, I believe if we do follow the beat of the war drums and start a war of aggression to prevent Iran from becoming Nuclear armed we will be starting the Herculean task of striking off the heads of the Hydra.  For every threat we destroy two will rise up. Iran is also not the only “war” brewing. Scuttlebutt around Ft Knox now (fueled by whom/what I have no idea) is that our deployable troops will spend a year locally in training and then be sent to Somalia to intervene against Al Shabaab. This seems quite likely to me after hearing Somalia and Al Shabaab brought up in the CNN Foreign Policy Debate (in which they questioned Dr. Paul directly about his willingness to involve the United States).

Lastly and most importantly let’s not forget the troops themselves and their families. As I write this a member of the 3rd (Duke) Brigade, 1st ID is perusing wares in my shop. Thankfully he and most of his brigade are currently returning from Afghanistan. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know how many they lost while deployed, nor do I know how many were injured in body, mind, or soul. But I do know that I would rather they not get sent into harms’ way again over something as foolish as maintaining a foreign empire that we can scarcely afford either in blood or in treasure as that trite phrase goes. Less than one percent of this country is sharing the true burden of these foreign wars, and I think it is high time we bring them all home with honor. Perhaps if we follow Dr. Paul’s perscription and avoid getting entangled in conflicts that have no bearing on our security we might be able to start digging our country out of debt. Even better if we can return to the ideal of only waging just war we might have the luxury in a generation or so of reducing the standing armies that the Founding Fathers warned us about, and cutting a good chunk out of the 50+% of the Federal Budget that we spend on military expenditures.


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