Foreign Policy

Ron Paul: Praises Obama on Iran, Is "Dr. No" on Protestor Support Resolution

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From Rep. Paul's statement:

I rise in reluctant opposition to H Res 560, which condemns the Iranian government for its recent actions during the unrest in that country. While I never condone violence, much less the violence that governments are only too willing to mete out to their own citizens, I am always very cautious about "condemning" the actions of governments overseas. As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives…..I have admired President Obama's cautious approach to the situation in Iran and I would have preferred that we in the House had acted similarly.

I adhere to the foreign policy of our Founders, who advised that we not interfere in the internal affairs of countries overseas. I believe that is the best policy for the United States, for our national security and for our prosperity. I urge my colleagues to reject this and all similar meddling resolutions.

Unsurprisingly, he was the only "no" vote on H. Res 560.

Also unsurprisingly, the nuances of Paul's consistent constitutionalist and non-interventionist position on foreign policy, and the potential dangers of an atmosphere in which other nations democratic bonafides are being "supported" in any way by the U.S., are missed utterly over at Wonkette.

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  1. Wonkette is rude but also largely correct. Paul’s equating of a sentimental resolution with actual interference in other countries’ internal affairs is a stretch, and can lead to some pretty sketchy votes, such as his boneheaded vote on Darfur divestiture.

  2. Actually, this is the type of thing that’s supposed to be left to State and the president. If Congress wants to impose sanctions or declare war, that’s a different issue. But these kinds of resolutions are a waste of time.

  3. How does this view on foreign policy correspond with TJ’s support of the French Revolution? As SoS, he was pretty vocal in support of the Revolution, no? While as President he did indeed practice non-interventionism, leading to the Embargo Act, which was a total failure.

    I could agree with Ron Paul that this particular resolution demands “reluctant opposition” but you have to draw the line somewhere.

  4. He opposed the idea that Congress should “sit in judgment” of other governments actions. That easily follows as noninterference policy.

  5. “As an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, I have always questioned our constitutional authority to sit in judgment of the actions of foreign governments of which we are not representatives….”

    Paul went on to say, “That’s what the Berkeley City Council is for.”

  6. In the past, Congressman Paul has voted against resolutions condemning foreign governments because they included wording that could be used to authorize military action. If this was not the case here, I don’t see a problem voting a resolution giving moral support to anti-government protesters in other countries.

    Of course, a resolution by Congress or a statement by the President – could be used to attack Iranian democrats as lackeys of the U.S. government. But repressive governments will make such accusations whether based in fact or not.

    As for Wonkette, she was a a sensation at one time just for being a female geek. But I do not see why anyone would take such a rude, superficial person seriously as a social commentator.

  7. Hey dudes Wonkette is not a person, it’s a web site with multiple editors.

  8. It is interesting to contrast the muted response of the Iran authorities to the recent protests to Tiananmen Square, or to the recent Israeli Invasion in Palestine, where women and kids were bombed to death with impunity, not to mention our casual bombings of wedding parties in Afghanistan. If only U.S., Israeli, and Chinese troops showed as much restraint as the security people in Iran!

    Recently, a large number of Iranian Jews turned down an offer from the Israeli Government, involving a generous relocation fee
    for emigrating to Israel.

    Although Iran is a theocracy, it’s one of the few Middle East countries holding real elections, unlike regional monarchies or dictatorial states like Egypt where Hosni Mubarak has ruled for nearly 30 years and wins easily with well over 90% of the “vote”.

    It is so safe and easy for our Congress to waste its time on such pious resolutions instead of solving our own problems.

  9. Anonymous – it’s not a stretch. While the resolution is nothing but senseless posturing (and a waste of a few tax dollars), Congress doesn’t need to take a side on everything. If we are to become a neutral country and go back to minding our own business in preserving our prosperity, we have to BE neutral, even if the bill is just grandstanding. I personally don’t think one’s personal opinions on the matter does not necessarily therefore make it justifiable for government as a whole to make the same opinion, and I think it applies here. Ron Paul was pretty eloquent in his dissention.

    Oh yes, and fuck the Wonktard. It’s nothing but liberal collegiate snark completely devoid of anything valuable to read. But whatever.

  10. The Obama/Paul stance does more for the protesters’ cause than any amount of cheering them on will.

    Or perhaps we should listen to Paul Wolfowitz’s opinion on Iran policy. He’s always had their best interests in mind.

  11. Man, RP is one brave dude! You gotta admit that in taking such stances that do require a bit of nuance and thought to appreciate, the guy does not insult the intelligence of the American voter (perhaps why he did not become President), and that is very, very refreshing…

  12. “Hey dudes Wonkette is not a person, it’s a web site with multiple editors.”

    No linky no talky, Tony. No linky no talky.

  13. “or to the recent Israeli Invasion in Palestine, where women and kids were bombed to death with impunity”

    [citation needed]

  14. EAP shut the fuck up for christ’s sake. I could say shit falls down instead of up and you’d bitch about me not providing a link. Do you own this web site? No? Then shut the fuck up. I sometimes do know what I’m talking about.

  15. Douglas Gray,

    psssssst…your ass is showing.

  16. Geez, Wonkette commenters are even more smug, arrogant and self satisfied than Hit & Run commenters.*

    We’ve got our work cut out for us, boys and girls.

    * We still kick their butt in the humor department.

  17. “Do you own this web site? No?”

    [citation needed]

  18. “I sometimes do know what I’m talking about.”

    [citation needed]

  19. The Wonkette site refers to the resolution as an example of ‘cost-free moral support to democratic movements.’

    What those geniuses fail to recognize is that, if it’s cost-free, it will also be benefit-free. The only way a resolution can be cost-free is if it fails to do anything. And if it does nothing, if it’s just the House wasting time and taxpayer money to preen themselves, then that in itself is a reason to oppose it.

    If the resolution *does* mean something, it means that the U.S. should take an interest in the internal affairs of the Iran. This has consequences, and those who support such interference need to justify their position, not pretend that it’s cost-free.

  20. * We still kick their butt in the humor department.

    In this single instance, yes.

  21. J sub, you said it.

    And while they’re smugly missing the point, they also really love playing up the race stuff. From the Wonkette comments:

    If Congress had a resolution calling for Cute Puppy Day then Ron Paul would find a way to be a dick unless there was a mention in the Constitution and that none of the dogs had black or brown.

    Children, failure to comply with pointless feel-goodery is bad, and racially diverse puppies are good, mm’kay?

  22. I wonder if one can argue that it’s useful for Obama to be silent, but it’s also useful for US commentators to bash Obama for being silent and doing nothing, as that can only further Obama’s aim of convincing Iran that the US isn’t meddling.

  23. We should leave well enough alone,with resolutions or any other interference with Iran.
    Anything we do will only strengthen the illiberal elements in Iran. The government is already claiming we inciting the protesters, a resolution will only show them proof.

  24. Paul and Obama get it right, and everyone else, predictably, gets it wrong. It just shocks my socks off.

  25. Ele,

    I saw this and thought of you… and myself of course, but that made me feel all funny.

  26. LMNOP
    You’re giving too much credit to Obama I think, I heard on NPR that the “White House supports the resolution.”*

    *too lazy to look up a citation, so Enough About Palin can go look it up himself, or just continue to jerk off to bathing suit pics of Sarah, his call…

  27. MNG, just a couple of hours ago I was making the same points as Douglas Gray did to a friend who has almost exclusively voted for democrats all of her life but believes that the poor iranian people are being repressed by those mullahs and that something needs to be done about that.

  28. LM
    The tyranny and oppression of the rulers of Iran is not, imo, lessened one bit by the highly questionable acts of the IDF recently or the American military recently (I actually think the American military has for the most part acted quite well).

    I understand their being more sympathy for the Iranians as the Palestinian/Israel situation is morally very complex (there were rockets being fired on Israel; murderous thugs Hamas did get substantial support from the people of Gaza, etc), as is the Iraqi/Afghan situation (the Taliban was evil, as was Saddam’s regime, and their removal does mean that many people now live a better life than they did). The situation in Iran is not so complex: the people are being denied a free and fair vote and now are being brutally repressed for protesting it.

  29. Amazing how those on this site continue to offer pathetic rationalizations concerning Paul’s behavior. This was simply a resolution condemning the tyranny of the Iranian regime. The notion that Paul is opposing some foreign entanglement or that condemning a regime that is murdering protesters would undermine a freedom movement is total and utter bullshit.

    Seriously, is there any fuck up committed by Paul egregious enough to merit unqualified criticism on this site? When his racist newsletters were uncovered, we got incredulous assholes peddling patently absurd bullshit about how they were really ghostwritten. When he kept appearing on the loathsome Alex Jones’s radio show and refused to give a full-throated condemnation of 9/11 Truthers we got another round of bullshit with some praising Paul for his nuance.

    It is clowns like Paul and Jesse Ventura that make libertarians look like a bunch of nutjobs. The continuing refusal to sternly criticize him the way he deserves is a fucking disgrace and causes most Americans to further relegate libertarians to the fringe.

  30. “or to the recent Israeli Invasion in Palestine, where women and kids were bombed to death with impunity”

    Here let me rephrase that for you: or the recent Israeli invasion sparked by Hamas rocket attacks in which Hamas terrorists used women and children as human shields because they knew useful idiots on the left in the United States would reflexively blame Israel for the carnage Hamas initiated.

    There you go, I fixed it for you.

  31. When his racist newsletters were uncovered, we got incredulous assholes peddling patently absurd bullshit about how they were really ghostwritten.

    You’re thinking of LewRockwell.com, and I also think you mean “credulous”.

  32. “You’re thinking of LewRockwell.com, and I also think you mean “credulous”

    Yes, I did mean credulous. But believe me, there were a whole bunch of people on this site claiming that they were ghostwritten. In fact, I seem to remember quite a few threads debating who had actually done the ghostwriting.

  33. B
    You’re not much of what we would call a “thinker” are ya? If a killer runs into an occupied apartment building, it’s not kosher for the cops to just lob a bomb into the building, nor would it be kosher if the killer intentionally ran into an occupied apartment and the cops just lobbed a grenade in there. It’s amazing how you absolve all responsiblity of the IDF here. Ultimately its their responsiblity to shoot the missle, drop the bomb, etc., that kills the civilians…

    The gist of Paul’s statement is that these kinds of resolutions tend to embroil us in foriegn matters upon which those pushing the resolution are not adequately informed, that it is selective outrage, and often lead to entanglements. It’s at the least a courageous stance in keeping with his intellectual principles and at best dead on.

    I also never quite saw why it was so bad for Paul to not loudly denounce “9/11 Truthers” who may otherwise have supported his campaign.. AFAIK he never made such Truther claims.

  34. The comment section over at Wonkette is hilarious. I love how the left starts frothing at the mouth for confrontation, even if only verbal, now that a Republican is no longer in the White House.

    Ask any self-righteous left wing interventionist about Mousavi’s less than stellar record on human rights and you’ll get blank stares.

  35. LMNOP
    You’re giving too much credit to Obama I think, I heard on NPR that the “White House supports the resolution.”*

    That’s a shame if true. I was really hoping to like him on at least one issue.

  36. In the resolution, the House “expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law”. Sorry, I have no idea what this means. Maybe if the House would first do a similar resolution for *U.S.* citizens so we could see how it plays out locally?

  37. A lot of things are being “missed” over at Wonkette. Brain cells and certain important genes for a start.

  38. Couldn’t he have abstained? Voting “no” on a resolution supporting “freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law” as Rich repeats does not strike me as very libertarian.

    You would think, if he cared about liberty, that he’d be one of the first to vote for this resolution. But he seems to only really care about Americans. Foreign governments oppressing people? None of my business, he says.

    He strikes me as an isolationist and a nationalist. This is not what liberty means to me.

  39. Is Ron Paul the ONLY member of Congress with a triple-digit IQ?

  40. a resolution supporting “freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law”

    If they would devote their time to those ideals in this country, I would be more impressed.

  41. “You would think, if he cared about liberty, that he’d be one of the first to vote for this resolution. But he seems to only really care about Americans.”

    He would point out that what he “cares about” is irrelevant to his duty as a representative in Congress. The people in Iran have not cast a single vote in any of the elections he’s won, so he, correctly IMO, assumes that getting involved in their governance would be an abuse of his power.

  42. # Digby | June 19, 2009, 5:17pm | #

    # Paul went on to say, “That’s what the Berkeley
    # City Council is for.”

    Then RP is wrong. That is what the Santa Cruz City Council is for. Believe me, I know.

  43. B,

    Amazing how those on this site continue to offer pathetic rationalizations concerning Paul’s behavior.

    Even though I seem to recall this site being ultimately against Paul’s presidential campaign due his racist publications, whether ghost written or not?

    Paul was a nut job, but not for the reasons most often raised. He was a nut job because he could — and should if he wanted to be president — have talked about fiscal responsibility without beating the gold standard drum so loud and clear (a sure-fired way to make people think he’s a nut job). He also should not have walked into the middle of the RNC with his anti-Iraq stance, because it was obvious political suicide.

    I mean, if he wanted to be president he could have made his points a bit more deftly. Or should we say, he should have been more nuanced, as people are saying he was in this case? Instead he stepped up on the Republican stage and proceeded to shoot not one, but both of his own feet.

    This was simply a resolution condemning the tyranny of the Iranian regime.

    But, why is the US government taking a position on this at all, if there is no clear issue at stake for the US government (and there isn’t). Any American may personally condemn the Iranian government, but a formal and official condemnation by the US government is an entirely different (and unnecessary) matter.

    On this Ron Paul is right. Personal opinions are one thing. Official US government positions are another matter and should not be either generated or tossed around lightly. Official US government positions should especially not be tossed around at whim, when it comes to foreign countries which we are not at war with, but are clearly having problems with.

    Iran has a real stake in the final Iraq outcome. Also the final Afghanistan outcome. Iran is rightfully going to be a bit sensitive to official US government “position” statements.

    Which is not to defend Iran on any other particular issue. Just pointing out the fact that of all the things Uncle Sam should pick his words carefully about, a nation like Iran should be on the short list.

  44. B,

    The point is that rhetoric does matter, even when actions are something else.

    It’s hard to go to war with a country that doesn’t even say bad things about you. It’s much easier to end up at war if there’s a name-calling match going on.

    Why set the stage for something we don’t want? And why throw gas on a fire, when we ultimately have no choice but to cut some kind of deal with Iran over Iraq?

    More than anything else, stability in Iraq depends on Iran. But it seems the American people don’t want to face that hard little truth.

    At the same time, Iran really really doesn’t want the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, perhaps even less than we do.

    There are good reasons why we should want to at least be able to talk to the Iranian government.

  45. OBAMA RUNS FROM IRAN!!!

    I always thought our colors (flag) never runs?however obama proved me wrong!!!

  46. Why did Keith Ellison, the lone Muslim in Congress, vote “present”? Does he not support freedom for his fellow Muslims? Does he have a “nuanced approach”? (Or did he channel his inner Obama?)

    If voting “present” was a recusal due to his faith, then what other decisions is he unwilling to make?

  47. Note that the Wonkette comment is by Matt Welch’s idiot friend Ken Layne.

  48. ‘Couldn’t he have abstained? Voting “no” on a resolution supporting “freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law” as Rich repeats does not strike me as very libertarian.’

    That’s not the worst of it, either.

    Dr. Paul voted against a law called the USA PATRIOT Act. Voting against a law with patriotism in its very name doesn’t strike me as very patriotic.

    He also voted against a law called the No Child Left Behind Act. Voting against a law with that name indicates that he *wants* children to be left behind. Is that what libertarians want?

  49. ‘I mean, if he wanted to be president he could have made his points a bit more deftly. Or should we say, he should have been more nuanced, as people are saying he was in this case? Instead he stepped up on the Republican stage and proceeded to shoot not one, but both of his own feet.’

    Are you suggesting that he actually had a chance of winning the Republican nomination for President? If he’d believed that, he *would* have been delusional. To get that nomination in present political circumstances, you have to expressly disavow the kinds things Dr. Paul believes in. I don’t think Paul has the flexibility to do this.

    Was the Goldwater campaign a failure because Goldwater lost to LBJ? Is the lesson here that the Republicans should have nominated Nelson Rockefeller in 1964?

  50. No, I don’t think Paul would have gotten the nomination. But I believe he could have pulled in a much larger fraction of the vote if he’d done things a little differently.

    The financial accountability theme, just by itself, might have brought in (wild ass guess) 10%, if he’d played it right. That would have bought influence that we don’t have now.

    Why is it that libertarians can’t think like this? The fact that he wasn’t going to win is NOT justification for saying “screw it, I’m going the nut job avenue because I can’t win anyway”.

  51. And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and Shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind?

    Let our answer be this: America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.

    She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights.

    She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.

    She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.

    She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.

    Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

    But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

    She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

    She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

    She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

    She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

    The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force….

    She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….

    [America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.

  52. This is where libertarians get it right:

    Let natural selection take its course.

    Let Iran manage Iran, unless they’re actively doing something to endanger our interests.

    Democracy is not a magic bullet.

    Nor is it clear the scythe of natural selection will not fall on us.

  53. It looks like he was a little fast on the gun with the Obama praise. Last I heard the White House release a memo that expressed a half assed backing of the uprising in calling the Iran Gov. actions unjust. Not our fight, not his position. Let the American people support the people they want throughout the world and keep the government out of the situation.

  54. Iran looks pretty much ant farm. Who is to say that Ahmedinejabajinadebinadab didn’t win? Does not some fucking ant farm at the same time elect our president?

    I am not condoning this but it does appear so. Maybe in a supreme way this is what mr. Paul (Dr. or Honorable, yes he worked to hard to earn this title) meant. I don’t know. I disagree with the guy from time to time and when I do it may be in serious ways.

    but generally I find that I agree with the guy most of the time. I see his point in this particular case and agree. What shitty Iran does with itself is its own problem.

  55. Wonkette is rude but also largely correct.

    Bullshit. Those political groupie cunts over there have no understanding whatsoever of any of the topics they write about. They mock Ron Paul for his integrity, because they have none themselves.

    -jcr

  56. he could — and should if he wanted to be president — have talked about fiscal responsibility without beating the gold standard drum so loud and clear

    So, you’d have him ignore the obvious fact that it’s the inflation of a fiat currency that caused this crisis, and many before it?

    He talks about the gold standard because he believes in the rule of law, and the constitution forbids fiat money.

    -jcr

  57. Is Ron Paul the ONLY member of Congress with a triple-digit IQ?

    There are many smart people in congress. The problem is, they’re evil.

    -jcr

  58. This was simply a resolution condemning the tyranny of the Iranian regime.

    No, it was a resolution by the US Congress condemning the Iranian government. If there’s one thing that reformers in Iran don’t need, it’s the USA chiming in on their side.

    -jcr

  59. You’re attempts at being anonymous Mr. Rittberg are pretty pathetic. B? Can you do better than that?

  60. I would have voted against the resolution as well. As much as I admire the Iranian protesters, the very last thing that they need is any sort of official support (however symbolic) from the Great Satan or whatever they are calling us these days.

    Iranians are very, very nationalistic. If they feel the faintest whiff of foreign meddling, however real or imagined, they will stop throwing stones and start saying “I support my President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, because he prays.”

  61. Wonkette is a good site for K-streeters and Capital Hill workers who need tips on how far you have to go with a senator to get a free toaster, other than that it’s worse than useless.

    Good for Dr. Paul on the no vote, as I’m sure the Iranian government is looking for a US (or more specifically CIA) boogeyman to pin this rioting on.

  62. Mad Max: ‘Couldn’t he have abstained? Voting “no” on a resolution supporting “freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law” as Rich repeats does not strike me as very libertarian.’

    Sorry for the late response, Max. My concern (and perhaps that of Dr. P) is not over these nice libertarian values, but rather that the House should, um, more precisely define its terms (“expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values”), lest we step in it. Supreme Iranian Leader: ‘You talkin’ to *Me*?! May I assume, then, that the US is supplying blah blah …’

  63. Rich

    I don’t think Mad Max is saying that Paul should not have voted against the resolution.

    The sentence you attribute to him was originally posted by Robert Kelly (at June 19, 2009, 11:08pm). Mad Max was responding to Robert Kelly’s post with sarcastic opposition (appearently).

    So perhaps Robert Kelly is the poster you want to respond to.

  64. Man, what a self-righteous blowhard ol’ wRong Paul is! No, he doesn’t have enough IQ for three digits, only two; and you have to use one on each hand when counting. His brainwashed followers have only one digit.

    He voted against this resolution–which provided no military mandate, no material support to those protesters, nothing more “interventionist” than a mild scolding–“Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time-a!”–because it condemns an evil government and he loves evil governments (especially terrorist regimes that want to nuke us) and hates people who condemn evil governments.

    Moreover, he voted against it because he hates Iran’s people and loves anybody who oppresses them. See, he’s a total ignoramus about anything outside of the USA, so he thinks Iran is full of brown people; he hates brown people, so he hates these people too.

    WRong Paul: what a dick!

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