At the CNN sponsored Republican Presidential debate (9/13/2011), candidates’ discussions focused on a variety of topics, especially the U.S. economy and unemployment. However, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas made some remarks about the economy and he criticized U.S. foreign policy as a contributing negative factor to the U.S. Economy. He said that, “The U.S. is under a great threat because we occupy so many countries. We are in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We are going broke. The purpose of al-Qaeda was to attack us, invite us over there, where they can target us. And they have been doing it. They have more attacks against us and the American interests per month than occurred in all the years before 9/11. But we are there, occupying their lands. And if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we are kidding ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?”
After he made these remarks, Congressman Ron Paul drew boos from the crowd and rebuke from other candidates because he criticized U.S. foreign policy. It is regrettable to say that the majority of the American public is politically illiterate and in many cases, are even not aware of what is going on in neighboring states and don’t take the extra steps to be informed about American foreign policy. For that reason, American politicians in general are more influenced by lobbyists than their constituents.
Another important factor that lets American foreign policy makers get away with everything, including genocide, is “American national interest”. That slogan gives politicians the justification to do whatever their lobbyists want.
Based on the U.S. government’s foreign policy since the end of World War II, the national interest was used as a pretext to dismantle freely elected foreign governments. This happened in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. American politicians in general think they are entitled to control the wealth and natural resources of other countries, especially developing ones. A classic example is the oil resources in the Middle East. It is the only, and in some countries the main, source of income, and they have to sell it in order to survive. The issue here is the fact that American oil companies do not only want to buy oil, they want to control its production and distribution and even its prices. Such a strategy is demanded by the pressure these oil companies put on politicians through their lobbyists who use their political financial contributions as a means to shape policy in favor of their interests and not the American consumers.
Congressman Ron Paul was telling the American people the truth. American foreign policy for many decades has been influenced and shaped by lobbyist and interest groups and not by the American voters.
Another classic example reflecting the dishonesty of some leading American politicians are those who misled the nation to go to war by choice in 2003. They have manufactured false reports to present to the American people that claimed Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. It was claimed that Saddam Hussein’s WMD posed a threat to the security of the U.S., despite the fact that there was not a single piece of evidence to support President Bush’s war strategy. He started an unnecessary war that led to many negative consequences, in the U.S. and in Iraq.
Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, pointed out that, “The invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to al-Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive. This war was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit.” He further stated that government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion, or $17,000 for every U.S. household. For more information, read Stiglitz and Bilms’ book, “The Three Trillion Dollars War”.
I wonder how many people in the crowd who booed Congressman Ron Paul were aware that their household share of that unnecessary war is around $17,000? Most probably none of them were aware of that fact.