Newt Gingrich is the self-proclaimed candidate of “grandiose ideas.” One of the most grandiose is his proposal that U.S. taxpayers spend untold trillions of dollars to establish a permanent base on the moon. Oh, and not only put a base there, but someday have it join our union as the 51st State.
Yes, that one is a lulu. But at least it’s relatively harmless, since there’s not a chance it will actually happen in our lifetime. Some of Gingrich’s other schemes aren’t nearly as benign. One that really worries me is his proposal that the United States government use any means necessary — overt or covert — to topple the Castro regime, because I suspect he would have the support of a majority of his countrymen for such a quest.
I yield to no one in my desire to see that unhappy nation, just 90 miles from our shores, overthrow the communist regime that has enslaved it for more than 50 years. Some of you may recall that my family was in Cuba when Fidel Castro and his bearded ones marched into Havana on Jan. 1, 1959. The experience turned me into a lifelong anti-communist. It led my mother to write a book about her experiences; I wrote a column about her last year that included a link to her story. Click here if you’d like to read her book.
I am still a passionate anti-communist. I believe that the heart of man yearns to be free, but I don’t believe it is our government’s job to decide which rulers deserve to stay in office and which ones should be overthrown. And neither should you, if you believe that this country is (or should be) a Constitutional Republic.
We have meddled in the affairs of other countries far too much and for far too long. We have troops stationed in more countries than you can name. I can’t recite them all, either, because the exact number and locations are a State secret. But it’s a bunch.
More than 60 years after the end of World War II, we still have tens of thousands of troops and dozens of bases in Germany and Japan. Why? The Korean “police action” ended more than 50 years ago, but we still have enough troops and bases in South Korea to fight it all over again. Again, why? Does anyone believe that all these forces are keeping our country safer or making attacks on us less likely?
Of course I would like to see Cuba become free. It would be wonderful if the Cuban people could experience the incredible prosperity that freedom and free enterprise would produce. It is amazing what free people will do when they are allowed to keep the fruits of their labors, instead of suffering under the poverty and rationing of an all-powerful state.
Nothing is more destructive of peace or prosperity than the Marxist version of government that tries to enforce its vision of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” I could even argue that the right to own property and to dispose of it as you wish is even more important than the right to vote.
But with all of that said, is it our job to determine which governments are “good enough” to remain in power and which ones deserve to be toppled? If we start to make such a list, I suspect that more than half of the governments around the world would get a failing grade. Many of them have committed some truly heinous crimes against their people. But is it our job to bring them to justice or to set their people free?
This is an incredibly slippery slope that Gingrich would take America down. We’ve tried it many times before, from an aborted invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs to overthrowing the Shah in Iran and President Ngo Dinh Diem of SouthVietnam. All of those experiments in nation building and many more I could name ended in utter disaster — not just for us, but also for the hapless citizens of those countries.
If it’s not our job to “free Cuba” or any other country, what should we do?
We should set an example that other countries could honor and emulate. By that, I mean we should mind our own business and not interfere with theirs. That’s the policy that made us the hope, the inspiration and the envy of the world. It worked for more than 100 years. It will work again now.
If we really want to help some countries, let’s send them copies of our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers and a bunch of other books that could teach and inspire them. What a great project for some private patriotic charities to undertake.
Let’s send them our ideas, but not our interference. Let’s lead by example, not by arms or coercion.
Let’s once again follow a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations. And let’s leave it to others to see some of those “presidents for life” get the justice they deserve.
Is there any candidate out there who feels the same way I do about this? Yes. His name is Ron Paul. And seeing the growing numbers of his supporters (including an enormous number of enthusiastic and dedicated young people) is one of the most encouraging things I’ve seen in many years.
Not only do I think Gingrich is wrong, but I think his ideas of nation building are downright dangerous. I don’t want to see him become anyone’s policeman or nanny.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.