June 16, 2024

Ron Paul and the attack on Pearl Harbor

In watching part of the GOP debate last night on Fox News, I got the opportunity to watch the response of Rep. Paul to questions about Iraq.  He is standing by his assertions that the War should have been declared (with which I agree…though to be honest the Authorization of the Use of Military Force is, for all intents and purposes (and legally),  a declaration of War, and the same holds true of the Iraq Authorization).  He also continues his story that one of the reasons that we were attacked is that we have troops on the Arabian peninsula.  I found Chris Matthew’s question on that to be very interesting.  His question to Rep. Paul was, in short, if we choose to retreat from the middle east, then are we not taking out foreign policy directives from Al Qaeda?  Rep. Paul’s response was an emphatic no…which he then followed up with an explanation about how we should only worry about the US itself and that we have no National Security interests in the middle east. 

This got me to thinking about how Rep. Paul would have felt about the attack on Pearl Harbor.  In 1941, Hawaii was not part of the United Sates.  Sure it was a protectorate, but it was not a State.  One of the primary arguments by the isolationists against going to War with Japan over Pearl Harbor was that it was thousands of miles from the US.  Couple that with the isolationist view that we were provoking the Japanese by having troops in the Philippines, Wake Island, Hawaii, etc. and you can start to see the similarities of Rep. Paul’s view to the “traditional” conservative viewpoints of the early 20th century.

Now, conventional wisdom tells us that we learned from our mistakes of 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles.  Instead of allowing an armistice, we demanded unconditional surrender.   After the end of WWII we then implemented the Marshall Plan and rebuild our enemies after we have completely devastated them.  One of the byproducts of WWII was the emergence of the US as a superpower on the world stage.  This allowed for the explosion of our economy to an extent that our economy dwarfs every other economy in the world.  To fuel that economic growth, and the lifestyle that it brings us, we have economic ties all over the world, and perhaps nowhere deeper then the middle east that provides the oil that fuels so much of the world’s economy.  After all, if you don’t have gas for your car, you won’t buy one.  You also need to gas for the trucks to get the products to the warehouses etc.  Thus, protecting that flow of oil is in the national interests of any country that uses oil (all of them).  I can only assume that Rep. Paul doesn’t understand that withdrawing ourselves into the US would devastate our economy…or perhaps he doesn’t care.


I am a Consultant in the IT world and have been doing that for the past decade or so. My work has given me a passion for seeing problems and wanting to solve them (or at least suggest solutions). Politically, I fall on the Conservative +6.1, Authoritarian +1.6 scale using the PoliticalCompass.org test. I vote Republican and eschew the Libertarians mostly due to their lack of a realistic foreign policy.

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One thought on “Ron Paul and the attack on Pearl Harbor

  1. We’ll never know – we can’t go back and see what would have happened if we had stayed at home.

    It seems to me that the U.S. presence on the sacred desert is only the terrorists’ justification, not their reason, for their attacks on us. Their radical Islam is completely incompatible with our way of life. As with Communism, war was inevitable once they achieved sufficient power to strike at us.

    Ironically, it’s our dependence on cheap oil from the Middle East is what gives them that power.

    They hate us because our economy threatens the current form of Middle Eastern existence. The vibrant, growing, ever-changing nature of the west and the U.S. in particular is the antithesis of the closed, stagnant Muslim way of life. Even the money that we send to their countries is despised because it breeds contempt for the traditional Muslim way of life.

    So is Paul right? Not when considered from the purely capitalistic perspective, that of the short-term P&L bottom line.

    But if we consider the true cost of having used Saudi oil for the last 40 years instead of developing resources and relationships in our own hemisphere, Paul may very well be right.

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