By Nathan Tucker
Paraphrasing a plank found in the Libertarian Party platform, Section 11.8 of the proposed 2012 Iowa Republican Party platform states that “we support the elimination of foreign aid.” A long held position of Ron Paul, he maintained during the presidential primary that, “to me, foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries.” However, as his own actions have made abundantly clear, this plank is not about saving taxpayer money but about isolationism.
The current Iowa GOP platform calls for “a strong national defense” with “swift and severe…retribution for acts of war on the citizens of this great nation.” Insisting “upon a national defense policy and a foreign policy that is in the sole interest of the United States,” the platform calls “for continued economic and military support for Israel and its right to exist.”
11.8 We support the elimination of foreign aid.
19.1 The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during wartime.
19.5 We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempt to act as policeman for the world.
19.6 We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
In nearly identical language, the Libertarian Party platform provides:
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war…
We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid.
As the pilfered language reveals, the call for ending foreign aid has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with avoiding “foreign intervention” and “entangling alliances” in “attempts to act as policeman for the world.” Ron Paul himself illustrated this last year when he voted against a resolution that called on the suspension of foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continued in its efforts to circumvent the negotiation process with Israel.
Joining five colleagues to vote against the measure, Congressman Paul stated that: “I believe the best solution is to embrace non-interventionism, which allows those most directly involved to solve their own problems. This resolution not only further entangles the US in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute…while I prefer our disengagement from that conflict…”
Noticeably missing from his explanation was any denouncement of foreign aid as illegitimate theft of taxpayer money. Instead, though he had a chance to vote to end foreign aid to a terrorist-led PA, Ron Paul couldn’t bring himself to do so because it would constitute “interventionism.”
Though there are plenty of reasons to severally curtail the use of foreign aid, isolationism isn’t one of them. The world doesn’t become safer simply because we stick our head in the ground and pretend our enemies can’t see us. Our national defense requires our involvement on the international stage to safeguard our strategic interests from long-term and short-term threats.
However, foreign aid is only legitimate when it is reasonably calculated to securing our national defense. There is no constitutional provision authorizing the use of taxpayer money for the general welfare of the globe, or to make the world like us, or to redistribute wealth away from “white man’s greed.” When foreign aid moves away from self-defense, it engages in legal plunder—using the law to take from one person what belongs to them, and giving it to others to whom it does not belong.
But while much of it is entirely unjustifiable under these principles, the use of military and, in rare cases, economic aid is essential to our national security and must not be abandoned entirely.
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