February 2, 2012

Letter to the Editor: In Defense of Ron Paul

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To the Editor:Re: “Army on Campus: Why Do Students Love Ron Paul?” Opinion, Jan. 31.Nathaniel Rosen asks why so many young people enthusiastically support Ron Paul for the 2012 presidency. The answer is simple: He believes in the seemingly radical notion that the role of government is to protect the liberty and freedom of its citizens, and his policies are not just talking points but actually reflect that idea. Unlike over 70 percent of Americans, Rosen doesn’t see the economy as the most pressing political issue of 2012. Instead, his biggest qualm with Ron Paul’s views appears to be his stance on foreign policy, which he considers to “exhibit dangerous moral equivalency.”Ron Paul is hardly an isolationist. In fact, a better term would be a non-interventionist. This means he supports free trade by way of an open and peaceful exchange of goods and services with other countries, while not meddling uninvited in their internal affairs and politics. Rosen believes Ron Paul’s restrained foreign policy would leave the US weak, but it is easy to forget the terrors of war when they are not on our own soil. We have been fortunate in being removed from current conflicts fought in the play yards of other nations’ schools and on the doorsteps of other nations’ homes. Meanwhile, there are US forces stationed in 150 countries, about a hundred thousand of them stationed in Afghanistan — a number approximately equal to that of Iraqi civilian deaths. These are not just “resource regions” or “strategic areas,” these are real lives and real people. While the events of Sept. 11 were certainly a shock and tragedy to everyone watching that day, I find it hard to believe that such a violent and terrifying action was taken with no prior offense or spark to motivate it. It is also baffling when politicians claim that these attacks were a result of foreign contempt for our “freedom.”One bad act does not justify another, and I do not claim to know all the intricacies of foreign relations. But some things do seem pretty simple: leaving troops, bases, bombs and drones and installing and then overthrowing rulers will cause some kind of blowback over the course of several decades.Sure, North Korea has nuclear capabilities, but they can also barely feed their own people. And the fact that Iran could be a concern today only proves Ron Paul’s point about blowback.Rosen should reconsider what he sees as a long term and short term policy solution — plugging a leak with more drones and bombs, or perhaps actually fixing the problem with diplomacy and trade.Mainstream media fear Ron Paul’s challenge to the status quo and have taken to either ignoring him altogether or labeling him as “crazy.” Rosen echoes both their historically shallow argument as well as their boorish name-calling. So let me ask Rosen: What is crazy about the idea of blowback? What is crazy about respecting other nations’ sovereignty? What is crazy about believing that our government should instead be more worried about protecting its own citizens’ liberty?

Kasey Ashford ’12

President, Cornell Libertarian Club