What Is Normal?
December 2, 2011 by Bob Livingston
“I like Ron Paul’s ideas on the economy, but I can’t vote for him because he’s an isolationist on foreign policy. He’s a kook (or naïve, or nuts or insert your own word) on foreign affairs.” That’s a common theme heard in discussions about the Republican Presidential aspirants.
What that means is that pushing Middle Eastern countries around and imposing our will on them is more important to so-called conservatives than getting our financial house in order. They — they being so-called conservatives — have decided that our national security can be served only by bullying smaller countries and installing dictators “friendly” to the United States. And it’s perfectly normal to believe this way, they think.
Americans are being terrorized by their own government. How? The constant drumbeat about Iran’s nuclear efforts. The same people who so vehemently declared that Iraq was close to having “the Bomb” — the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations, the CIA, Israel, etc. — are telling us the same thing about Iran. The GOP beauty contestants — save one — are promising one of or a combination of regime change, sanctions, the freezing of assets and/or no-fly zones for Iran should they be elected. These are all acts of war or preludes to war.
When the Hosni Mubarak regime began cracking down on anti-government protesters in Egypt, Americans expressed outrage. Mubarak, who was friendly to Israel and the U.S. and had benefited from billions of U.S. dollars, was suddenly persona non grata. President Barack Obama told him it was time to step down. Mubarak was tossed aside like a used table napkin.
A military government took over. Protesters are again occupying Egypt’s Tahrir Square.
When protesters — who we now know were members of al-Qaida — began protesting in Libya, Obama joined with NATO to quash President Moammar Gadhafi’s military and throw him out of office. A similar thing is about to happen in Syria.
In 1860 in the United States, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Six States soon followed. After the Battle of Fort Sumter, four more joined the Confederacy. President Abraham Lincoln attacked the Southern States to force them back into subjection. Most Americans see Lincoln’s actions as just and necessary. But they have a dichotomy. While they support Lincoln’s actions to “preserve” America, they oppose the actions of foreign rulers to keep their governments in power.
In Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is running for Russian President. What if he said he was advocating regime change in a former Soviet state: Georgia for instance? What would be the reaction of Americans? We know that Russian actions there in the South Ossetia war were highly condemned in 2008 by neocon hawks like Senator John McCain.
What if China suddenly acted on its designs toward Taiwan? What would be the reaction of Americans?
For most Americans, it was good and just for the American government to use military action to quash a rebellion 151 years ago, but other governments can’t do that today. And for most Republicans, America’s foreign policy should remain that we push around Middle Eastern, African and Persian countries — or anyone else, for that matter — and install our chosen dictators because we have some moral obligation to “spread democracy.” But other countries should not be allowed to spread their preferred form of government or install their own preferred dictators.
Republican voters believe this way and see this as a normal policy. What about this is normal?
Ron Paul wants to end foreign entanglements, maintain a strong national defense and get our financial house in order; but Republicans believe him to be the kook.
Which is the more rational, less kooky policy? What is normal?