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April 12, 2002

America’s Entangling Alliances in the Middle East


by Rep. Ron Paul

We were warned, and in the early years of our Republic, we heeded that warning. Today, though, we are entangled in everyone’s affairs throughout the world, and we are less safe as a result. The current Middle-East crisis is one that we helped create, and it is typical of how foreign intervention fails to serve our interests. Now we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a fight that will not soon end. No matter what the outcome, we lose.

By trying to support both sides we, in the end, will alienate both sides. We are forced, by domestic politics here at home, to support Israel at all costs, with billions of dollars of aid, sophisticated weapons, and a guarantee that America will do whatever is necessary for Israel’s security.

Political pressure compels us to support Israel, but it is oil that prompts us to guarantee security for the western puppet governments of the oil-rich Arab nations.

Since the Israeli-Arab fight will not soon be resolved, our policy of involving ourselves in a conflict unrelated to our security guarantees that we will suffer the consequences.

What a choice! We must choose between the character of Arafat versus that of Sharon.

The information the average American gets from the major media outlets, with their obvious bias, only makes the problem worse. Who would ever guess that the side that loses seven people to every one on the other side is portrayed as the sole aggressor and condemned as terrorists? We should remember that Palestinian deaths are seen by most Arabs as being American-inspired, since our weapons are being used against them, and they’re the ones whose land has been continuously taken from them.

Yet there are still some in this country who can’t understand why many in the Arab/Muslim world hate America.

Is it any wonder that the grassroots people in Arab nations, even in Kuwait, threaten their own governments that are totally dominated by American power and money?

The arguments against foreign intervention are many. The chaos in the current Middle-East crisis should be evidence enough for all Americans to reconsider our extensive role overseas and reaffirm the foreign policy of our early leaders – a policy that kept us out of the affairs of others.

But here we are in the middle of a war that has no end and serves only to divide us here at home, while the unbalanced slaughter continues with tanks and aircraft tearing up a country that does not even have an army.

It is amazing that the clamor of support for Israel here at home comes from men of deep religious conviction in the Christian faith, who are convinced they are doing the Lord’s work. That, quite frankly, is difficult for me as a Christian to comprehend. We need to remember the young people who will be on the front lines when the big war starts – which is something so many in this body seem intent on provoking.

Ironically, the biggest frustration in Washington, for those who eagerly resort to war to resolve differences, is that the violence in the Middle East has delayed plans for starting another war against Iraq.

Current policy prompts our government on one day to give the go-ahead to Sharon to do what he needs to do to combat terrorism (a term that now has little or no meaning); on the next day, however, our government tells him to quit, for fear that we may overly aggravate our oil pals in the Arab nations and jeopardize our oil supplies. This is an impossible policy that will inevitably lead to chaos.

Foreign interventionism is bad for America. Special interests control our policies, while true national security is ignored. Real defense needs, the defense of our borders, are ignored, and the financial interests of corporations, bankers, and the military-industrial complex gain control – and the American people lose.

It’s costly, to say the least. Already our military budget has sapped domestic spending and caused the deficit to explode. But the greatest danger is that one day these contained conflicts will get out of control. Certainly the stage is set for that to happen in the Middle East and south central Asia. A world war is a possibility that should not be ignored. Our policy of subsidizing both sides is ludicrous. We support Arabs and Jews, Pakistanis and Indians, Chinese and Russians. We have troops in 140 countries around the world just looking for trouble. Our policies have led us to support Al Qaeda in Kosovo and bomb their Serb adversaries. We have, in the past, allied ourselves with bin Laden, as well as Saddam Hussein, only to find out later the seriousness of our mistake. Will this foolishness ever end?

A non-interventionist foreign policy has a lot to say for itself, especially when one looks at the danger and inconsistency of our current policy in the Middle East.


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    Ron Paul is a Republican Congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President.

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