Few Republicans would deny that it’s difficult for Mitt Romney to sell himself as a fiscal conservative while sharing a stage with Ron Paul. The Texas congressman and physician, who has consistently scored among the top three GOP candidates in recent weeks, has proposed a comprehensive plan to axe $1 trillion in government spending during his first year in office and create a budget surplus by 2015, according to his official campaign website.
Though Republicans widely respect Paul’s fiscal target, the foreign policy that Paul would use to strike it is more contentious. Besides slashing five cabinet departments and federal welfare requirements, Paul would eliminate foreign aid and use U.S. troops to secure the border instead of policing the entire planet. Neoconservatives — big government Republicans who baldly promote increased foreign aid and gave us the Iraq War — attack Paul as an “isolationist.” More so than Romney, however, Paul, by always putting American interests before those of foreign countries, would ensure a militarily strong United States.
Not unlike the myriad fallen empires of history — potentially, America’s predecessors — our wasteful policy of overextension is leaving the U.S. increasingly ill-prepared to compete with its rivals on the world stage. China tasks its military with protecting China, Russia tasks its military with protecting Russia and we task our military with babysitting the whole world. By consolidating our armed forces, Paul would decisively protect America’s future from what should be a perplexing mistake of the distant past.
We’ve stretched our troops — who I’d venture to say generally enlist to protect America, not Uganda — across 150 countries around the globe, according to vetfriends.com. More of our soldiers are stationed in Germany than in Afghanistan. There are 28,500 U.S. troops guarding South Korea’s border with North Korea, according to a June 22, 2011, American Thinker column by Ethel C. Fenig. That’s at least 6,000 more than the number of agents employed by the entire U.S. Border Patrol.
CNN reports that on Dec. 20, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to cut the number of National Guard troops along our border with Mexico from 1,200 to 300. The same day, the Jerusalem Post reported that the U.S. is deploying thousands of soldiers halfway around the world for a missile-defense exercise in Israel, a country that already receives millions from beleaguered American taxpayers yearly.
Whatever immigration policy one supports, it isn’t hard to see that our military should be protecting America instead of, for example, Japan. Whether you methodically screen all who enter your home or affably welcome strangers in ski masks, it’s a good idea to have a security system. It certainly isn’t economical to go into debt securing 100 of your neighbors’ homes while neglecting your own.
Our military exists to protect the people whose tax dollars pay for its existence. If we’re required to contribute to a money pool, it stands to reason that it should benefit those who have paid into it. Draining it dry for the benefit of those who haven’t is theft by any measure. This is exactly what our current policy of needless interventionism and foreign aid does.
“I want an American character,” wrote George Washington, “that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home.” Like Washington, Ron Paul champions an America-first foreign policy that rejects subservience to international interests. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for the sovereign and pragmatic approach to national defense taken by the men who founded our country — a vote to revive our American character.
Ian Huyett is a junior in political science and anthropology. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.