Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
The Ron Paul phenomenon always sounded like a 60s-era band to me, perhaps too reminiscent (and no insult intended) of the Jimi Hendrix Experience or the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
Here’s Paul, that is, Ron Paul on Iran, via CBS News:
“We have 12,000 diplomats. I’m suggesting that maybe we ought to use some of them,” Paul said. “I think the greatest danger now is for us to overreact. This is what I’m fearful of. Iran doesn’t have a bomb. There’s no proof. There’s no new information, regardless of this recent report. For us to overreact and talk about bombing Iran, that’s much more dangerous.”
Bombing Iran might well be dangerous, but more so to the Iranians than to the U.S. or Israeli military. Of course, there’s also the world economy which tends to freak out over any such discussion, pricing any and all thoughts of bad news into the market.
And Paul is a Navy fanman, it would appear.
“I think a submarine is a very worthwhile weapon,” Paul said. “I believe we can defend ourselves with submarines and [station] all our troops back at home. This whole idea that we have to be in 130 countries and 900 bases – now they’ve just invented a weapon that can hit any spot in the world in one hour. I mean, what’s this idea? This is old-fashioned idea that you have to keep troops on 900 bases around the world. Makes no sense at all. Besides, we’re bankrupt. We can’t afford it any longer.”
That whole submarine discussion is sadly reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s pre (and especially post) election befuddlement on the state of the world. For those who have forgotten, we must remember lest we repeat the clueless leadership of America’s worst living ex-president:
During his 1976 campaign, Carter had claimed that he could trim the existing military budget by five to seven billion dollars and still maintain “a tough, muscular, well-organized and effective fighting force.” He promised to fulfill this pledge by cutting “exotic” weapons systems like the B-1 bomber, streamlining the military bureaucracy, and reducing the American presence overseas. The President would use the resources saved from the military budget to combat unemployment, invigorate the economy, lower dependence on foreign oil, and hold down inflation.
Ah the days of the misery index, polyester, and Jimmy Carter. And the rise of Islamofascism in Iran.
Today, it’s true we may be spending too much and may be overextended on defense, but Paul’s simple-minded solutions like submarine-only based deterrence and ‘bringing all the troops home’ isn’t going to make our nation safer. Would even Carter’s intellectual heir, President Obama even suggest such a thing?
Never dismiss the power of experience, political and other.