Tag Archives: Rand Paul and conservatism

Refuting the myth of Reagan the Peacenik

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Ronald Reagan was such a successful President that, unsurprisingly, many people want to claim his legacy as their own. Many people, usually falsely, claim he would’ve supported their policy and ideology if he were alive today. Many falsely claim he implemented this or that policy instead of that one.

The Gipper was, depending on whom you ask, a neocon, a paleocon, an isolationist, an interventionist, a conservative, a liberal, a free-marketer, a welfare stater, a free trader, a protectionist, a warmonger, a peacenik, etc. The list goes on.

But if you read and listen to Reagan’s own words – rather than anyone else’s claims – and analyze’s Reagan’s real actions, a clear and correct image of Reagan prints itself.

Despite the Left’s, and a certain isolationist Senator’s, pathetic attempts to depict Reagan as a nuke-hating, pro-disarmament, war-weary pacifist, Ronald Reagan was very much a hawk, even though he was careful about when and where to intervene militarily in the first place.

But intervention was so rarely necessary BECAUSE Ronald Reagan had built up America’s military strength so much that America’s adversaries usually retreated in the face of that military might.

Rebutting Rand Paul’s Lies…

Writing recently in the leftist Politico magazine, Sen. Rand Paul claims that:

“This [foreign policy – ZM] is where many in my own party, similar to Perry, get it so wrong regarding Ronald Reagan’s doctrine of “peace through strength.” Strength does not always mean war. Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.

Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. Some of Reagan’s Republican champions today praise his rhetoric but forget his actions. Reagan was stern, but he wasn’t stupid. Reagan hated war, particularly the specter of nuclear war. Unlike his more hawkish critics—and there were many—Reagan was always thoughtful and cautious.”

Paul is attacking a straw man here, as well as conveniently omitting an important fact. The straw man attack is “Strength does not always mean war.” Nobody in the Republican Party wants war, Senator, or thinks that “strength” means war. In fact, it is the Democrats, not Republicans, who are most likely to involve America in wars and interventions around the world, usually for reasons unrelated to US national interests.

Need I remind you, Senators, that it was the Democrats who involved the US in two huge wars in Korea in Vietnam which they were not willing to win nor to end? Wars which Republican Presidents extricated the US out of?

Or that, more recently, Presidents Clinton and Obama involved the US in pointless humanitarian crusades in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya, and Obama wanted to do that in Syria as well?

Yes, Ronald Reagan was much more cautious than Democratic Presidents about intervening militarily abroad. But when such invasions WERE necessary, he did not shy away from them. He intervened to stop Communism’s spread in the Carribean. He sent US troops to Lebanon. (He made a huge error by withdrawing from there after the Beirut bombing of 1983; America’s retreat from there emboldened Islamic terrorists in the region.) And most importantly, he conducted powerful strikes against Qaddafi’s regime in Libya in 1986, despite the Left all around the world (including your own father) condemning him for it, and despite no US ally, excluding the UK, supporting him.

No, Ronald Reagan did not hate (nor love) war. When intervention was required, he did not shy away from it.

But most of the time, he didn’t need to launch military interventions, because despite the resistance from the Democrats and from your own father, Senator, he build the strongest military in world history (of which today’s US military is just a shadow). By the late 1980s, America’s military might was such that no adversary dared to challenge the US head-first.

In parallel, Reagan supported anti-Communist movements and insurgencies (“proxies”) all around the world, including Latin America and Afghanistan.

You, Senator, are conveniently ignoring the “strength” component of peace through strength. Peace was possible ONLY because of US strength. Without that strength, there would’ve been no peace. There would’ve been war.

Weakness invites war. Strength guarantees peace.

But that lesson is totally lost on you, Senator. You have advocated, and continue to advocate, deep, crippling cuts in America’s defenses – including and beyond sequestration (a monstrous mechanism which, if not repealed, will cut $550 bn from the defense budget over the next decade).

Yet, you advocate even deeper cuts – and the withdrawal of US troops from abroad. This in spite of the fact that foreign bases – of which the US has far fewer than your kooky father claims – are necessary for power projection over long distances and help deter adversaries and reassure allies.

You are a faux-Reaganite, Senator, despite your desperate and pathetic attempts to cast yourself as Gipper’s acolyte. Your policy is not Peace Through Strength. Your policy is Hoping For Peace by Unilateral Disarmament and Withdrawal From The World.

It is no coincidence you are completely isolated in the GOP on foreign policy. That’s what advocating isolationism leads to.

If you’re advocating such foolish policies in the vain hope that doing so will win you votes and perhaps the White House, stop dreaming. Despite what the leftist media and pseudo-pollsters tell you, there is no popular demand for isolationist and anti-defense policies today, in stark contrast to the 1930s and the 1970s, and nobody in the GOP except Congressmen Amash, Duncan (TN), Massie, and Labrador shares your views.

You should run for the Democratic nomination instead. In that party, a man with your views would be warmly welcomed.

… And Peter Beinart’s

Your Politico piece contains a link to an utterly ridiculous garbage screed from 4 years ago by Peter Beinart, wherein the author falsely claims that Ronald Reagan abandoned his hawkish policies in late 1983 and thereafter pursued a conciliatory, dovish policy towards the Soviet Union until the end of his administration. Beinart explicitly calls Reagan’s post-1984 policies “dovish.”

But this is completely false – like the rest of Beinart’s claims. As Professor Robert G. Kaufman nicely sums up:

When circumstances changed during Reagan’s second term, he adjusted his policies—but not the premises underlying them. He responded positively to the changes in the Soviet regime during Gorbachev’s tenure. Ultimately, Gorbachev and the Soviet Union agreed to end the Cold War not on their terms, but on Ronald Reagan’s.

American pressure on the Soviet Union did not abate at any point during the Reagan presidency, despite his view that engaging Gorbachev could facilitate the implosion of the regime. Reagan refused to abandon SDI or the Zero Option calling for the elimination of all intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe; Gorbachev capitulated. American defense spending continued to rise, peaking at $302 billion in 1988 (6.6 percent of GDP). The Reagan Administration continued to aid freedom fighters, draining Soviet resources in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Nor did Reagan relent in his assault on the moral legitimacy of the Soviet Regime. In June 1987, over the objection of his so-called more realistic advisers, he called on Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, excoriating it as the symbol of Soviet totalitarianism

Reagan’s understanding of himself also demolishes the revisionist interpretation of his motives and policies. Summing up his foreign policy legacy to students at the University of Virginia on December 16, 1988, he welcomed the improvement in Soviet–American relations but urged Americans to “keep our heads down” and “keep our skepticism” because “fundamental differences remain.” He attributed that improvement to his policy of firmness, not conciliation:

Plain talk, strong defenses, vibrant allies, and readiness to use American power when American power was needed helped prompt the reappraisal that the Soviet leaders have taken in their previous policies. Even more, Western resolve demonstrated that the hard line advocated by some within the Soviet Union would be fruitless, just as our economic success has set a shining example.

Reagan contrasted his policies with the more conciliatory policies of his predecessors during the 1970s:

We need to recall that in the years of détente we tended to forget the greatest weapon that democracies have in their struggle is public candor: the truth. We must never do this again. It is not an act of belligerence to speak of the fundamental differences between totalitarianism and democracy; it is a moral imperative…. Throughout history, we see evidence that adversaries negotiate seriously with democratic nations when they know democracies harbor no illusions about their adversaries.

Those are Reagan’s own words – not mine, and not Professor Kaufman’s.

It was in 1987, not 1981, that Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate and loudly challenged Gorbachev to “open this gate” and “tear down this wall.” And at the very end of his Presidency, in December 1988, he STILL urged Americans “keep our heads down” and “keep our skepticism” because “fundamental differences remain.”

Nor did Ronald Reagan abate in his defense buildup and pursuit of military pressure on the Soviet Union. In his 1986 speech on defense issues, he warned that:

tonight the security program that you and I launched to restore America’s strength is in jeopardy, threatened by those who would quit before the job is done. Any slackening now would invite the very dangers America must avoid and could fatally compromise our negotiating position. Our adversaries, the Soviets — we know from painful experience — respect only nations that negotiate from a position of strength. American power is the indispensable element of a peaceful world; it is America’s last, best hope of negotiating real reductions in nuclear arms. Just as we are sitting down at the bargaining table with the Soviet Union, let’s not throw America’s trump card away.

 

Our Armed Forces may be smaller in size than in the 1950’s, but they’re some of the finest young people this country has ever produced. And as long as I’m President, they’ll get the quality equipment they need to carry out their mission.

 

We set out to narrow the growing gaps in our strategic deterrent, and we’re beginning to do that. Our modernization program — the MX, the Trident submarine, the B-1 and stealth bombers — represents the first significant improvement in America’s strategic deterrent in 20 years. Those who speak so often about the so-called arms race ignore a central fact: In the decade before 1981, the Soviets were the only ones racing.”

Beinart also falsely claims that in 1983, Reagan suddenly had a change of heart about defense issues, military might, and nuclear weapons in particular, and began pursuing dovish defense policies and overruling the supposed “hawks” in his administration.

These are also blatant lies – just like everything else Beinart (a far-left propagandist) writes.

Reagan’s defense buildup NEVER abated at ANY point during Reagan’s presidency.

Throughout his presidency, the American defense buildup continued, peaking, as Professor Kaufman, noted, at $302 bn and 6.6% of GDP in 1988. In the late 1980s, at Reagan’s insistence, dozens of new weapon types (including new strategic delivery systems) joined the US military’s inventory: MX Peacekeeper ICBMs, the B-1 bomber, the F-15E strike jet, W84, W87 and W88 nuclear warheads, and the AH-64 Apache helicopter to name just a few.

Not to mention the many weapon systems the Reagan Administration (or its predecessors) developed and began deploying earlier: the Ohio class of ballistic missile submarines, Los Angeles class attack submarines, PATRIOT missile defense systems, F-15 and F-16 fighters, Black Hawk helicopters, Ticonderoga class cruisers, Nimitz class carriers (two were ordered in June 1988, in the last year of the Reagan Admin), Trident ballistic missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles (nuclear- and conventionally-armed variants alike) M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack jets, and so forth. These weapon systems, unlike those in the paragraph above, had already begun entering service in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it was only in the late 1980s when they joined the military’s inventory in really large numbers… thanks to the investment of the Reagan Admin and at the insistence of President Reagan.

Moreover, Reagan also developed other cutting-edge weapon systems that entered service in the 1990s: the B-2 stealth bomber, the F/A-18 Super Hornet naval jet, the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers, the Trident-II ballistic missile, and so on.

Image the US military today without these cutting edge weapon systems.

Imagine the US Air Force without B-1 and B-2 bombers, F-117 Nighthawk stealth attack jets, and F-15E Strike Eagles, and without significant numbers of F-16 fighters.

Imagine the US Navy without Ohio class ballistic missile subs and Trident missiles – which the Left wanted to cancel – and the two carriers the Reagan Admin ordered in 1988 – the USS John C. Stennis and the USS Harry S. Truman.

Imagine the US Army and Marine Corps with just a puny number of M1 Abrams tanks, still stuck with obsolete M60 Patton tanks as the Left wished.

And of course, the Reagan Admin never cancelled or even curtailed the Strategic Defense Initiative. Nor did the Bush Administration. It was the Clinton administration that killed it.

Reagan Did Not Join the Nuclear Freeze Movement – He Defeated It

Nor did Reagan had a change of heart about defense spending and nuclear weapons, as Beinart falsely claims. Nor did he cave in to supposed public pressure to cut defense spending and implement a nuclear freeze, contrary to Beinart’s blatant lies. On the contrary, Reagan resisted these stupid, suicidal policies with every fiber of his body for the entirety of his presidency – and America is safer now because of that.

In 1983, when the nuclear freeze movement, led by Congressman (now Senator) Ed Markey, was at its peak, and when the House passed a resolution demanding the freeze, Reagan completely rejected it and went to his Evangelical Friends in Texas to ask them to support his continued hawkish policies towards the Kremlin… and called the Soviet Union “the Evil Empire.”

In his 1984 reelection campaign, Reagan unequivocally rejected all “nuclear freeze” proposals and was rewarded with a 49-state landslide reelection victory, one of the greatest in US history, over Democratic candidate Walter Mondale, who advocated a nuclear freeze.

Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan Administration continued to develop, test, and produce more and more nuclear weapons and delivery systems of increasing sophistication. In 1986, it deployed the MX Peacekeeper missile and the B-1 strategic bomber.

As for defense spending, in 1985, Ronald Reagan relunctantly agreed to slow down its growth – but in real terms it continued to grow, peaking in 1988 (not 1985, as many falsely claim) at $302 bn in then-year dollars and 6.6% of the economy – levels not seen since then, and not seen at any point during the 1970s or early 1980s.

That’s because Reagan was very cautious about and weary of the Soviet Union – even Gorbachev’s Soviet Union. He wanted the US to maintain a strong, ever-modernizing military at all times.

In 1993, after the Cold War was over, when the Clinton administration cancelled the SDI, Reagan condemned that, exhorting the administration to “open its eyes” if it thought there were no more threats to America’s security.

All in all, all of the Left’s claims about Reagan are blatant lies.

No, Ronald Reagan was never a peacenik, nor did he ever relent in his enormous military, economic, and diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union at any point during his presidency. THAT is what ended the Cold War. On Reagan’s terms, not Gorbachev’s.

Rand Paul is a total fraud, a RINO, and a leftist libertarian

There appears to be a consensus on the Right that former Congressman Ron Paul (RINO-TX) is a leftist libertarian nut, a fruitcake, and a man totally unfit for public office. That consensus cost him three presidential elections in which he failed to win a single state (thus losing in all 50 states 3 times each): in 1988, 2008, and 2012.

However, many of my fellow right-wingers, including some of my good friends, are for some reason infatuated with his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and are open to voting for him if he runs for President. They have been fooled by him and the pseudoconservative media, and delude themselves, that Rand Paul is more reasonable, saner, and less extremist in his libertarian beliefs than his father.

This is the result of careful media efforts by Rand Paul himself and his staffers. Rand Paul, who apparently wants to be elected President someday, understood early on that to win, he’d need to get the votes of conservatives, and to receive them, he’d have to moderate his image.

But he also understood that he would not have to change the substance of his views and the policies he supports – merely the way he advocates them. In other words, he would have to soften only his style, not the substance. Only the rhetoric, not the policies themselves.

Compared to his loathsome father, he has changed only the style, not the substance.

The only difference is the STYLE, not the SUBSTANCE. His father was a wolf in wolf’s clothing; Rand is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Let’s look at what he has actually done and said.

Rand Paul, the defense weakling

Rand Paul, like his father, supports massive defense cuts. The difference between him and his father is that he pretends to support a strong defense – while supporting deep budgetary cuts.

He claims he’s for a strong defense, but he supports sequestration and possibly even deeper defense cuts. Sequestration, as I have already documented, means cutting $46 bn from the base defense budget in FY2013 alone, and $55 bn in every successive FY through FY2022. It means cutting the base defense budget from $525 bn pre-sequestration to $469 bn in FY2013 post-sequestration (while the OCO/war budget is also being cut significantly) and keeping it down for the remainder of the sequestration decade (if not longer). By FY2022, a decade from now, the defense budget will still be at a low, pathetic $493 bn – $32 bn LOWER than two weeks ago (before sequestration).

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And under sequestration, the DOD has NO latitude whatsoever about to where to make the cuts. The House and the Senate originally planned to give the DOD that latitude, but the Senate has now backtracked on that plan.

But Rand Paul doesn’t merely support the sequester. He thinks that not only should the sequester be kept, but that defense spending should be cut even further.

Simoultaneously, Paul has been spreading utterly false garbage propaganda from leftist libertarians (such as Veronique de Rugy and CATO Institute propagandists) claiming that sequestration would be a mere cut in the rate of growth of defense spending and not a real defense spending cut. But, as I have proven above, and many times on my blog, sequestration is not a mere cut in the rate of growth of defense spending; it is a REAL, DEEP, IMMEDIATE, and PERMANENT cut in defense spending.

He has also falsely claimed that defense spending has increased by 137% (when it has actually increased only by 67% since FY2001, has declined since its peak in FY2010, and that includes GWOT spending) and made other false claims about defense spending.

So not only does he support deep defense cuts, in concert with his CATO Institute buddies, he also spreads utterly false propaganda about US defense spending, thus misleading the public. A liar cannot and must not be entrusted with public office.

Rand preaches the Constitution, but doesn’t respect it himself

Rand Paul likes to lecture others about the need to respect the Constitution and says that “the Constitution should be our guide.” But he doesn’t respect it himself. Like all other politicians in Washington, DC, he has his pet issues and is willing to set his principles and the Constitution aside for the sake of these pet issues.

For example, he supports the National Right to Work bill, which, if passed, would overturn all state laws on the subject of employment and unionization (or the lack thereof) and mandate the right to work by federal statute. This would not only violate the 10th Amendment and state laws on the matter, it would also take away a key competitive advantage of conservative states (like Texas, Virginia, and Florida) away from them.

He also supports a federal ban on abortion, again disrespecting the Constitution, which reserves this issue (and millions of other issues) to the states. Don’t get me wrong: I’m firmly pro-life. But I believe in the Constitution first and foremost. And the Constitution reserves all issues not explicitly assigned to the federal government to the states. The federal government has no power to ban abortion, just like it doesn’t have any power to legalize it. The issue is up to the states to decide.

The problem with Roe v. Wade is not so much that it legalized abortion as that it took away the states’ right to settle this issue. The genius of the Constitution is that it reserves virtually all contentious issues (other than questions of war and peace) to state and local governments, thus allowing each state and each city/town to decide how to settle this issue in line with the wishes of their respective citizens. Thus, all states and their citizens can live in peace, because each state can settle an issue in line with what its citizens want, regardless of what other states or the federal government think.

Before Roe, there were 50 different state laws. The US still has 50 different state laws on issues such as marriage, road safety, drivers’ licensing, employment, construction, etc. And that is as it’s supposed to be.

Yet, Rand Paul wants to take away states’ rights to settle issues reserved to them as they see fit. He wants to set the federal government up as a policeman over the states. This is the last thing the Founding Fathers wanted.

Rand Paul and the Balanced Budget Amendment

But even that affront to the Constitution, to states’ rights, and to the people’s right to settle issues as they see fit is dwarfed by Sen. Paul’s (and all other GOP Senators’) endorsement of the Balanced Budget Amendment, which, if ratified (God forbid), would forever end the Constitutional limitations on the federal government.

As my fellow conservative blogger Publius Huldah has documented, the Constitution currently authorizes only a federal government of very limited, strictly enumerated powers. Accordingly, most annual federal spending (75% according to my analysis) is unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

But, as PH also documents, the BBA would transform the federal government into one of general, unlimited powers. It would legalize the current, illegal federal Leviathan forever. It would authorize the feds to spend money on anything they want – as long as their annual spending doesn’t exceed 20% of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

And what is GDP? It’s a computation produced by the Department of Commerce, an agency controlled by the President. In other words, the President would determine the basis on which to assess whether federal spending exceeds the BBA’s limit of 20% of GDP. (Under the BBA, the President would also write the budget, including determining both taxes and spending – powers reserved strictly to the Congress. Goodbye, Congressional power of the purse.)

So the BBA would change the Constitution beyond recognition – from one authorizing a limited government of enumerated powers to one authorizing an unlimited federal Leviathan of unlimited, general powers, and from one reserving the power of the purse (i.e. authority on taxes and spending) STRICTLY to the Congress to one delegating that authority to the President – the figure about whose accumulation of power Sen. Paul pretends to be concerned about. He thinks it’s wrong for the President to kill you with a drone or to detain you indefinitely, but it’s OK to give the President the power to tax you to death and to spend your money as he sees fit.

This is the scam that Sen. Paul supports – as do all other GOP Senators.

“Containing” a nuclear Iran

Sen. Paul also supports a policy of “containment” towards a nuclear Iran and adamantly opposes any notion of a preemptive strike on Iran, any talk about it, and even voted against a resolution merely stating the sense of Congress that a nuclear Iran would be unacceptable, falsely claiming that it was a blank check for war with Iran and an endorsement of the concept of preemptive war.

His claim is utterly false – the Senate was merely disapproving the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran – and voting for it was not an endorsement of war with Iran (preemptive or otherwise), let alone of the concept of preemptive war in general. Moreover, a nuclear-armed Iran, if it were to become a reality, could not be “contained” – it would spark a regional nuclear arms race in the Middle East, as other countries in that region – especially in the Gulf, where ballistic missile flight times are measured in single minutes – would race to develop their own nuclear arsenals. CENTCOM commander, Gen. James Mattis, has recently confirmed in a Congressional testimony that at least one Middle Eastern country has indicated to him that it would develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran goes nuclear.

In general, Rand Paul is hopelessly naive: he talks about “containing” Radical Islam, which, being Islam, cannot be contained: its goal is the conquest of the whole world. Islam divides the world into “Dar al-Islam” (“the House of Islam”), where Sharia already reigns supreme, and “Dar al-Harb” (“The House of War”), where Islam does not yet prevail, and commands its followers to wage a holy war (“jihad”) upon the “House of War” until it is subjugated to Islam.

Any person claiming that Radical Islam, or a nuclear-armed Iran, could be “contained” is hopelessly naive, if not worse.

A change in style, not in substance

It is surprising and astonishing how many conservatives Rand Paul has managed to fool. Make no mistake, he professes the SAME libertarian, anti-American, pro-weak-defense views as his father Ron Paul. The only thing that’s changed in comparison is the style, not the substance.

Ron Paul was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Rand Paul is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Conservatives must not be fooled by this pseudoconservative imposter. The GOP’s future depends on it.

And in general, conservatives must beware this libertarian tactic of trying to gain conservatives’ trust by agreeing with us on 95% of the issues so that we’ll overlook the other 5%. The 5% that counts most.

I, Zbigniew Mazurak, like everyone else, have some personal flaws. But all of them can be overlooked with just a little good will. But if I were to sell drugs to schoolchildren, that could NOT be overlooked. That would be a friendship breaker.

Similarly, Rand Paul’s and other libertarians’ advocacy of deep defense cuts, isolationism, a federal policeman over the states, and of the Balanced Budget Amendment cannot be overlooked. It MUST be a disqualifier.

No one should be fooled by Rand Paul.

Postscript: Libertarians, of course, wish for Rand Paul to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination and the White House, a goal that his father never even came close to accomplishing. But while Rand Paul may win the nomination, he will certainly fail to win the White House. There is NO Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 (or 2020). (Although part of me would like to see Rand Paul be nominated and then crushed by Hillary so that he and his libertarian fans would at least be taught a lesson.)