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President Trump: Cancel Your Saudi Trip, Play More Golf – Article by Ron Paul

President Trump: Cancel Your Saudi Trip, Play More Golf – Article by Ron Paul


The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
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President Trump is about to embark on his first foreign trip, where he will stop in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, before attending a NATO meeting in Brussels and the G-7 summit in Sicily. The media and pundits have loudly wondered why hasn’t he gone on a foreign trip sooner. I wonder why go at all?

What does the president hope to achieve with these meetings? This is a president who came into office with promises that we would finally start to mind our own business overseas. In December, he said that the policy of US “intervention and chaos” overseas must come to an end. Instead, he is jumping into a region – the Middle East – that has consumed the presidencies of numerous of his predecessors.

On Saudi Arabia, President Trump has shifted his position from criticism of the Saudi regime to a seemingly warm friendship with Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. He has approved weapons sales to Saudi Arabia that President Obama had halted due to Saudi human rights abuses, particularly in its horrific war on Yemen.

While visiting Saudi Arabia, one of the most extreme theocracies on earth – where conversion to Christianity can bring the death penalty – President Trump will attend a meeting of Muslim leaders to discuss the threats of terrorism and religious extremism. No, not in Saudi Arabia, but in Iran, where Christianity is legal and thriving!

Perhaps President Trump’s flip-flop on Saudi Arabia was inspired by the ten separate Washington, D.C. public relations firms the Kingdom keeps on the payroll, at a cost of $1.3 million per month. That kind of money can really grease the policy wheels in Washington.

From there, the US President will travel to Israel. Does he believe he will finally be able to solve the 70 year old Israel-Palestine conflict by negotiating a good deal? If so, he’s in for a surprise.

The problem persists partly because we have been meddling in the region for so long. Doing more of the same is pretty unlikely to bring about a different result. How many billions have we spent propping up “allies” and bribing others, and we’re no closer to peace now than when we started. Maybe it’s time for a new approach. Maybe it’s time for the countries in the Middle East to solve their own problems. They have much more incentive to reach some kind of deal in their own neighborhood.

Likewise his attendance at the NATO meeting is not very encouraging to those of us who were pleased to hear candidate Trump speak the truth about the outdated military alliance. We don’t need to strong-arm NATO members to spend more money on their own defense. We need to worry about our own defense. Our military empire – of which NATO is an arm – makes us weaker and more vulnerable. Minding our own business and rejecting militarism would make us safer.

Many pundits complain that President Trump spends too much time golfing. I would rather he spend a lot more time golfing and less time trying to solve the rest of the world’s problems. We cannot afford to be the policeman or nursemaid to the rest of the world, particularly when we have such a lousy record of success.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Trump’s Foreign Policy: An Unwise Inconsistency? – Article by Ron Paul

Trump’s Foreign Policy: An Unwise Inconsistency? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
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Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s foreign policy positions have been anything but consistent. One day we heard that NATO was obsolete and the US needs to pursue better relations with Russia. But the next time he spoke, these sensible positions were abandoned or an opposite position was taken. Trump’s inconsistent rhetoric left us wondering exactly what kind of foreign policy he would pursue if elected.

The President’s inaugural speech was no different. On the one hand it was very encouraging when he said that under his Administration the US would “seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world,” and that he understands the “right of all nations to put their own interests first.” He sounded even better when he said that under Trump the US would “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” That truly would be a first step toward peace and prosperity.

However in the very next line he promised a worldwide war against not a country, but an ideology, when he said he would, “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” This inconsistent and dangerous hawkishess will not defeat “radical Islamic terrorism,” but rather it will increase it. Terrorism is not a place, it is a tactic in reaction to invasion and occupation by outsiders, as Professor Robert Pape explained in his important book, Dying to Win.

The neocons repeat the lie that ISIS was formed because the US military pulled out of Iraq instead of continuing its occupation. But where was ISIS before the US attack on Iraq? Nowhere. ISIS was a reaction to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The same phenomenon has been repeated wherever US interventionist actions have destabilized countries and societies.

Radical Islamic terrorism is for the most part a reaction to foreign interventionism. It will never be defeated until this simple truth is understood.

We also heard reassuring reports that President Trump was planning a major shake-up of the US intelligence community. With a budget probably approaching $100 billion, the intelligence community is the secret arm of the US empire. The CIA and other US agencies subvert elections and overthrow governments overseas, while billions are spent spying on American citizens at home. Neither of these make us safer or more prosperous.

But all the talk about a major shake-up at the CIA under Trump was quickly dispelled when the President visited the CIA on his first full working day in office. Did he tell them a new sheriff was in town and that they would face a major and long-overdue reform? No. He merely said he was with them “1000 percent.”

One reason Trump sounds so inconsistent in his policy positions is that he does not have a governing philosophy. He is not philosophically opposed to a US military empire so sometimes he sounds in favor of more war and sometimes he sounds like he opposes it. Will President Trump in this case be more influenced by those he has chosen to serve him in senior positions? We can hope not, judging from their hawkishness in recent Senate hearings. Trump cannot be for war and against war simultaneously. Let us hope that once the weight of the office settles on him he will understand that the prosperity he is promising can only come about through a consistently peaceful foreign policy.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire of US Interventions – Article by Ron Paul

As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire of US Interventions – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
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On Sunday Ukrainian prime minister Yatsenyuk resigned, just four days after the Dutch voted against Ukraine joining the European Union. Taken together, these two events are clear signals that the US-backed coup in Ukraine has not given that country freedom and democracy. They also suggest a deeper dissatisfaction among Europeans over Washington’s addiction to interventionism.

According to US and EU governments – and repeated without question by the mainstream media – the Ukrainian people stood up on their own in 2014 to throw off the chains of a corrupt government in the back pocket of Moscow and finally plant themselves in the pro-west camp. According to these people, US government personnel who handed out cookies and even took the stage in Kiev to urge the people to overthrow their government had nothing at all to do with the coup.

When Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was videotaped bragging about how the US government spent $5 billion to “promote democracy” in Ukraine, it had nothing to do with the overthrow of the Yanukovich government. When Nuland was recorded telling the US Ambassador in Kiev that Yatsenyuk is the US choice for prime minister, it was not US interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. In fact, the neocons still consider it a “conspiracy theory” to suggest the US had anything to do with the overthrow.

I have no doubt that the previous government was corrupt. […] But according to Transparency International, corruption in the Ukrainian government is about the same after the US-backed coup as it was before. So the intervention failed to improve anything, and now the US-installed government is falling apart. Is a Ukraine in chaos to be considered a Washington success story?

This brings us back to the Dutch vote. The overwhelming rejection of the EU plan for Ukrainian membership demonstrates the deep level of frustration and anger in Europe over EU leadership following Washington’s interventionist foreign policy at the expense of European security and prosperity. The other EU member countries did not even dare hold popular referenda on the matter – their parliaments rubber-stamped the agreement.

Brussels backs US bombing in the Middle East and hundreds of thousands of refugees produced by the bombing overwhelm Europe. The people are told they must be taxed even more to pay for the victims of Washington’s foreign policy.

Brussels backs US regime change plans for Ukraine and EU citizens are told they must bear the burden of bringing an economic basket case up to European standards. How much would it cost EU citizens to bring in Ukraine as a member? No one dares mention it. But Europeans are rightly angry with their leaders blindly following Washington and then leaving them holding the bag.

The anger is rising and there is no telling where it will end. In June, the United Kingdom will vote on whether to exit the European Union. The campaign for an exit is broad-based, bringing in conservatives, populists, and progressives. Regardless of the outcome, the vote should be considered very important. Europeans are tired of their unelected leaders in Brussels pushing them around and destroying their financial and personal security by following Washington’s foolish interventionism. No one can call any of these recent interventions a success, and the Europeans know it.

One way or the other, the US empire is coming to an end. Either the money will go or the allies will go, but it cannot be sustained. The sooner the American people demand an end to these foolish policies the better.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

What Are The Chances For Peace in 2016? – Article by Ron Paul

What Are The Chances For Peace in 2016? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
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Each year more than one trillion dollars goes up in smoke. More accurately, it is stolen from the middle and working classes and shipped off to the one percent. I am talking about the massive yearly bill to maintain the US empire. Washington’s warmongers have sold the lie that the military budget has been gutted under President Obama, but even when the “Sequester” was in effect, military spending continued to increase. Only the pace of increase was reduced, not actual spending.

None of this trillion dollars taken from us is spent to keep us safe, despite what politicians say. In fact, this great rip-off actually makes us less safe and more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, thanks to resentment overseas at our interventions and to the blowback they produce.

The money is spent to maintain existing conflicts and to create new areas of conflict overseas that in turn feed the demands for more military spending. It is an endless cycle of theft and deceit.

Billions were spent not long ago overthrowing an elected government in Ukraine and provoking Russia. A new Cold War is a bonanza for the military-industrial complex, the pro-war think tanks, and the politicians. NATO is on the move in eastern Europe, placing heavy weapons right on Russia’s border and then blaming the Russians when they complain about the rising militarism. NATO military exercises on Russia’s border have increased and become more confrontational.

In the Middle East, more billions have been spent attempting to overthrow the secular government of Syria over the past five years. The big winners in this grand scheme have been the Islamist extremists, who are funded directly and indirectly by the US and its allies. NATO is planning to go back into Libya, an admission that its 2011 “liberation” of that country has been a disaster.

In Asia, the US empire challenges and provokes China, sending military ships and aircraft into territory China claims in the South China Sea. How much will the US continue to escalate before China gets fed up?

The more money sent to the Pentagon and other parts of the Washington war apparatus, the more danger we are in.

Meanwhile, almost all of the presidential candidates promise more military spending and more war if they are elected. Did no one tell them we are broke and making enemies fast with our interventions? Do they think Fed-created money will really continue to fuel the US empire indefinitely?

What are the prospects for a U-turn toward peace and prosperity in 2016? We must be realistic. Presently the numbers are not on our side. But the good news is we do not need a majority to succeed in our fight for peace and liberty. We need only a dedicated and uncompromising critical mass to make great headway.

What can we do to work for peace in 2016? First we must tune out the lying propaganda served up by the US mainstream media. We must educate ourselves so that we can help educate others. We can be sure to tune in and support alternative sources of news and analysis like the Ron Paul Liberty Report, LewRockwell.com, Antiwar.com, and many others. We can tell others about the wealth of truth available to those who seek and question. We must not compromise and never accept the lesser of two evils.

If the people demand peace, the politicians will follow. Let’s demand peace in 2016!

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The New Militarism – Who Profits? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Militarism – Who Profits? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
April 14, 2015
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Militarism and military spending are everywhere on the rise, as the new Cold War propaganda seems to be paying off. The new “threats” that are being hyped bring big profits to military contractors and the network of think tanks they pay to produce pro-war propaganda. Here are just a few examples:
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The German government announced last week that it would purchase 100 more “Leopard” tanks – a 45 percent increase in the country’s inventory. Germany had greatly reduced its inventory of tanks as the end of the Cold War meant the end of any threat of a Soviet ground invasion of Europe. The German government now claims these 100 new tanks, which may cost nearly half a billion dollars, are necessary to respond to the new Russian assertiveness in the region. Never mind that Russia has neither invaded nor threatened any country in the region, much less a NATO member country.

The US Cold War-era nuclear bunker under Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, which was all but shut down in the 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, is being brought back to life. The Pentagon has committed nearly a billion dollars to upgrading the facility to its previous Cold War-level of operations. US defense contractor Raytheon will be the prime beneficiary of this contract. Raytheon is a major financial sponsor of think tanks like the Institute for the Study of War, which continuously churn out pro-war propaganda. I am sure these big contracts are a good return on that investment.

NATO, which I believe should have been shut down after the Cold War ended, is also getting its own massively expensive upgrade. The Alliance commissioned a new headquarters building in Brussels, Belgium, in 2010, which is supposed to be completed in 2016. The building looks like a hideous claw, and the final cost – if it is ever finished – will be well over one billion dollars. That is more than twice what was originally budgeted. What a boondoggle! Is it any surprise that NATO bureaucrats and generals continuously try to terrify us with tales of the new Russian threat? They need to justify their expansion plans!

So who is the real enemy? The Russians?

No, the real enemy is the taxpayer. The real enemy is the middle class and the productive sectors of the economy. We are the victims of this new runaway military spending. Every dollar or euro spent on a contrived threat is a dollar or euro taken out of the real economy and wasted on military Keynesianism. It is a dollar stolen from a small business owner that will not be invested in innovation, spent on research to combat disease, or even donated to charities that help the needy.

One of the most pervasive and dangerous myths of our time is that military spending benefits an economy. This could not be further from the truth. Such spending benefits a thin layer of well-connected and well-paid elites. It diverts scarce resources from meeting the needs and desires of a population and channels them into manufacturing tools of destruction. The costs may be hidden by the money-printing of the central banks, but they are eventually realized in the steady destruction of a currency.

The elites are terrified that peace may finally break out, which will be bad for their profits. That is why they are trying to scuttle the Iran deal, nix the Cuba thaw, and drum up a new “Red Scare” coming from Moscow. We must not be fooled into believing their lies.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

No Doubt: US Taxpayers Will be Robbed to Arm Poroshenko – Article by Ron Paul

No Doubt: US Taxpayers Will be Robbed to Arm Poroshenko – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
February 5, 2015
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President Petro Poroshenko, who the US, along with the Europeans and NATO, helped place in power after last year’s coup, has declared that he has “no doubt” America’s taxpayers will provide the lethal weapons he desires to fight the separatists in eastern Ukraine. I never had any doubt, either. Of course it’s all to stop “Russian aggression.” NATO’s expansionism is never considered an important issue in the very dangerous war.

Our policy in Ukraine is a far cry from “neutrality,” staying out of the internal affairs of others, or avoiding entangling alliances. It is more like being the policeman of the world and claiming the title of the greatest arms manufacturer of all history. The military-industrial complex must be pleased with its repeated successes.

I’m sure the neo-cons are also ecstatic. And sadly it looks like Sen. Lindsey Graham may get his way and get US troops further involved.

The claimed need for our sending lethal weapons to Ukraine is to combat the Russian troops supposedly already in Ukraine. Yet the propagandists never provide any evidence to verify this assertion.

Both sides are now recruiting and even drafting the young to prepare them to do the fighting. There’s evidence that resistance is building to this effort. It would be nice if the young victims of wars started by old people and foreigners would just go on strike and refuse to fight. Let the instigators of the war put their own “boots on the ground.”

Reprinted with permission from author’s Facebook page.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The VA Scandal is Just the Tip of the Military-Abuse Iceberg – Article by Ron Paul

The VA Scandal is Just the Tip of the Military-Abuse Iceberg – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
May 25, 2014
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President Obama held a press conference last week to express his outrage over reports that the Veterans Administration was routinely delaying treatment to veterans, with some veterans even dying while on alleged secret waiting lists. The president said that, “if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.” He vowed that, together with Congress, he would “make sure we’re doing right by our veterans across the board.”

The president is right to be upset over the mistreatment of US military veterans, especially those who return home with so many physical and mental injuries.  Veterans should not be abused when they seek the treatment promised them when they enlisted. But his outrage over military abuse is selective. He ignores the most egregious abuse of the US armed forces: sending them off to fight, become maimed, and die in endless conflicts overseas that have no connection to US national security.

It is ironic that the same week the president condemned the alleged mistreatment of veterans by the VA, he announced that he was sending 80 armed troops to Chad to help look for a group of girls kidnapped by the Nigerian Islamist organization Boko Haram. Is there any mistreatment worse than sending the US military into a violent and unstable part of the world to conduct a search operation that is in no way connected to the defense of the United States?

As Judge Andrew Napolitano said last week, “Feeling sorry for somebody is not a sufficient basis for sending American men and women into harm’s way.”

We are naturally upset over reports that Nigerian girls have been kidnapped by this armed Islamist organization. Unfortunately, cruel and unjust acts are committed worldwide on a regular basis. What the media is not reporting about this terrible situation, however, is that it was US interventionism itself that strengthened Boko Haram, and inadvertently may have even helped the kidnappers commit their crime.

Back in early 2012, just months after the US-led attack on Libya overthrew Gaddafi and plunged the country into chaos, the UN issued a report warning about the proliferation of weapons from that bombed out country. UN investigators found – eight months before the attack that killed the US ambassador in Benghazi – that, “Some of the weapons … could be sold to terrorist groups like al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram or other criminal organizations.”

The US, NATO, and the UN are guilty of creating the unrest currently engulfing much of northern Africa, as they all pushed lies to promote an attack on Libya that destabilized the region. Now the president is launching an intervention in Chad and Nigeria to solve the problems created by his own intervention in Libya. This pattern is the same in places like Ukraine, where the US-backed coup in February has led to chaos and unrest that leads to even more intervention, including NATO’s saber-rattling on the Russian border. Has anyone in the Administration or Congress ever considered that interventionism itself might be the real problem?

As Americans celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, we should remember that though the VA’s alleged abuse and neglect of US veterans is scandalous, the worse abuse comes from a president and a compliant Congress that send the US military to cause harm and be harmed overseas in undeclared, unnecessary, and illegal interventions. The best way to honor the US military is to honor the Constitution, and to keep in mind the wise advice of our Founding Fathers to avoid all foreign interventionism.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

No Excuses for Militant Barbarism in Ukraine – But the West Should Stay Out – Article by G. Stolyarov II

No Excuses for Militant Barbarism in Ukraine – But the West Should Stay Out – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 26, 2014
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I was initially reluctant to accept the Ukrainian government’s reference to the pro-Putin separatists in Eastern Ukraine as “terrorists” – since terrorists deliberately target civilians in order to achieve political and ideological objectives. However, during the past week, it has become clear that at least a significant fraction of the separatists have engaged in exactly that: hostage-takings and killings of civilians in an effort to “secure bargaining chips” or “send a message” to their political enemies.

While very little news that comes out of Eastern Ukraine now can be trusted as being unaffected by propaganda for one interest or another, I do completely trust this account by Simon Ostrovsky, a VICE journalist who was captured by armed gunmen, beaten, held in captivity for four days, and subsequently released. His account relates the identities of some of the other prisoners; a few may themselves be militants working for the other ugly nationalist group in the mix – Right Sector – but many are completely innocent: journalists, political activists, and civilians. It is completely unacceptable to abduct and hold such people hostage, for political leverage or otherwise, no matter what one’s goals or objectives are.

The separatists have committed other crimes as well. The torture and murder of Vladimir Rybak, a councilman who supported the Ukrainian government, is the most heinous among them. Rybak was a peaceful man who spoke his mind; he was vocal and passionate, but never posed a physical threat to anyone. The fact that he would be whisked away in the middle of the night, mutilated, killed, and thrown into a river smacks of Stalin-era tactics to suppress political dissidents and critics.

A further travesty is the abduction of OSCE monitors and unarmed foreign military observers, who were clearly not in Eastern Ukraine to stoke up hostilities, but rather could have negotiated a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The fact that the separatists are inclined to take the observers hostage instead of speaking with them, expressing their grievances, and attempting a diplomatic solution, shows their true colors.

While I had hoped that the multilateral Geneva Statement would be the beginning of a de-escalation in Eastern Ukraine, this has, unfortunately, not come to pass. Vladimir Putin’s regime did not play its part. Putin could have easily defused tensions by publicly speaking about the need for separatists to vacate occupied government buildings in the Donetsk region and to engage OSCE monitors and other third-party negotiators peacefully and sincerely. The fact that he failed to do this, and continues to support the separatists rhetorically, in spite of their record of hostage-takings, murders, and intimidation, gives me substantial doubts regarding his good faith.

Then again, there are very few good people involved in this entire mess – apart from the innocent civilians who are trying to live and work in peace, and to speak their minds in civilized ways, instead of resorting to violence, brutality, and brinksmanship. The pro-Putin separatists and the Putin regime are not the only guilty parties here. This past weekend, Sergei Rodenko – a beloved figure in his community – and two other civilians who performed part-time duty at a checkpoint northwest of Slovyansk, were probably murdered by Right Sector thugs. This situation increasingly reminds me of the nightmare that has unfolded in Syria over the past two years, where the regime of the tyrant and murderer Bashar Assad is fighting a war of attrition against barbarous and often equally brutal Islamic fundamentalist fanatics. Once ancient hatreds – be they religious or nationalistic – are unleashed, all goodness is at risk of being washed away by rivers of blood. It is good that, in 2013, a major public outcry in the United States prevented the US government and military from becoming involved in a conflict where it is absolutely not clear who the greater evil is. (Nor is it ever justifiable to aid evil, period – all the misguided rhetoric regarding the “greater good” notwithstanding.) A similar public outcry is needed against intervention in Ukraine; American foreign policy is terrible at dealing with “gray areas” – especially where every side has clear evil elements. One can only hope that sanity and reason will prevail in Eastern Ukraine, and peace will somehow be achieved, before the body count approaches anywhere near the catastrophic levels it has reached in Syria. As for us in the West, we can only condemn – and hope.

What should the United States government do? This is vital: nothing – except condemnation of all atrocities and attempts to secure the release of all captured civilians. Diplomacy has unfortunately not succeeded in resolving the present mess, and further intervention of any sort will only reinforce the perception (held by the Putin regime and many of its sympathizers in Eastern Ukraine) that the Ukrainian government is simply a tool of Western and especially American geopolitical interests. While military occupation of Ukraine has thankfully been ruled out by the United States and NATO, economic sanctions would, too, be a grave folly. The free-market argument against sanctions includes the recognition that sanctions almost never harm the regime in power; they always harm ordinary civilians and rally them around the hostile regime. In the words of Frédéric Bastiat, “When goods don’t cross borders, armies will.” Economic sanctions always set up the scene for war, because they break the ties of commerce that enable peaceful cooperation, mutual understanding, and cosmopolitanism. As the great Ludwig von Mises put it, “Wars, foreign and domestic (revolutions, civil wars), are more likely to be avoided the closer the division of labor binds men.” Mises also said that military conflicts “are an outgrowth of the various governments’ interference with business, of trade and migration barriers and discrimination against foreign labor, foreign products, and foreign capital.” To the extent that advocates of sanctions depart from this understanding, they are sacrificing free-market principles to the desire to undermine and punish Putin and Russia. Putin may deserve punishment, but his innocent subjects certainly do not.

Do nothing and allow a local solution – fueled by what Friedrich Hayek called “knowledge of the circumstances of time and place” – to emerge. The United States and European Union cannot improve on any resolution that Ukrainians and Russians might be able to arrive at, even if that resolution would be grossly sub-optimal from any reasonable standpoint. For us Westerners to inject ourselves into this horrific mess would only risk dragging us down into the thick quagmire of hatreds, hostilities, and recriminations. This is not a part of the world that can be easily fixed, and it has always suffered from deep cultural maladies. The penetration of the 18th-century Enlightenment there is only superficial and limited to a small segment of society. Those who truly seek a better life are better off just leaving than attempting to resolve the deep problems that have persisted since at least the 13th-century Mongol conquests! They are better off just leaving – as I fortunately did during my childhood – and we are better off just staying out. By attempting to “solve” the problems of post-Soviet republics, the Western powers only risk importing those problems – nationalism, xenophobia, militarism, jingoism, propagandism, and economic isolationism, just to name a few – into their own countries.

War is the Worst Choice for Ukraine and the World – Article by G. Stolyarov II

War is the Worst Choice for Ukraine and the World – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 14, 2014
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As I write this, people have already been killed in the confrontation between pro-Putin militants of the self-proclaimed “Republic of Donetsk” in Eastern Ukraine and the “anti-terrorist” forces sent by the interim Ukrainian government to suppress the insurgents. (Calling them “rebels”, “separatists”, “militants”, even “provocateurs” may be legitimate – but the use of the label “terrorist” here only further eviscerates any meaning that term once had in referring to people who deliberately kill civilians to make a political or ideological point.) It is not precisely clear what is happening on the ground – who is prevailing, and who is responsible for the initiation of force. What is clear, however, is that a deadly tragedy may be about to occur – unless reason, common sense, and every longing for peace and civilization are marshaled against it.

I have no love for Vladimir Putin or his regime. He is clearly an authoritarian despot, with little respect for the rights of his own people or those of others. He will pursue an agenda of personal power and aggrandizement through nationalistic rhetoric and attempts to rekindle the alleged glory of Imperial and Soviet Russia. Yet, despotic as he may be, one would hope that Putin is not suicidally stupid. It was one matter to seize control of Crimea, with its majority Russian-speaking population and popular support for annexation by Russia. Occupying the rest of Ukraine – in which even many ethnic Russians have no enthusiasm for union with Russia – is another matter entirely. A protracted occupation of Ukraine, amidst an unsympathetic populace – to say the least! – would bog down the Russian military and imperil an already precarious economic situation.  It would also risk the lives of many Russian soldiers in a prolonged partisan uprising, much like the one that the Soviet regime had to deal with for decades in Ukraine during the last century.  A reasonable person would hope that Putin recognizes this and does not stray from his characteristic modus operandi – which, however ruthless, is nonetheless marked by caution and pragmatic calculation.

Until the uprisings that led to the declaration of the “Republic of Donetsk”, it seemed to me that Putin’s conduct of “military training exercises” on Ukraine’s Eastern border was a strategic bluff. While the cover of military exercises affords Putin plausible deniability, he could also sincerely agree to withdraw the troops in subsequent negotiations, in exchange for the West’s recognition of the legitimacy of the Crimea annexation and a more loosely federated Ukraine. If Putin had pursued this approach, he would have likely gotten away with annexing Crimea after nothing worse than some griping and minor sanctions levied by Western governments.

Yet it is now unclear whether the separatist uprisings in the Donetsk region were orchestrated by provocateurs employed by Putin’s regime (as many in the Ukrainian government and foreign-policy hawks in the West allege), or whether they largely arose from local Russian nationalists who were inspired by the Crimea annexation and sought to repeat it in Eastern Ukraine (as many of the separatists do appear to be ordinary civilians). Nonetheless, Putin’s regime has officially endeavored to maintain plausible deniability – which means that an escalation of military force against the separatists by the Ukrainian government would give Putin exactly the pretext he would need to invade Eastern Ukraine, if that is indeed his goal.

The “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukrainian government of President Oleksandr Turchynov and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk is – like any attempt by Putin to even consider an invasion of Eastern Ukraine – an act of suicidal folly. Not only do Turchynov and Yatseniuk undermine their own legitimacy in the eyes of Eastern Ukrainians by treating their own citizens as “terrorists” (), they also create the actual war that they accuse Putin of fomenting! Logic suggests only two possibilities: either the separatists are Russian provocateurs, or they are not. If they are indeed Russian provocateurs, then Turchynov and Yatseniuk have effectively initiated hostilities against Russian forces. If the separatists are not Russian provocateurs, then Turchynov and Yatseniuk are deploying military and “counter-terrorist” forces against their own people, instead of dealing with any insurgent or criminal behaviors via the police and the civilian justice system. Either way, the Ukrainian government is not doing itself any favors and is itself engaged in dangerous brinksmanship, which, unless restraint wins the day, could cost the lives of at least thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians.

If this crisis were merely an episode of competing follies between two Eastern European regimes, I might have left the matter at that. Unfortunately, prominent neoconservative war hawks such as John McCain and certain NATO generals, such as Supreme Allied Commander Philip Breedlove, remain unable to transcend the insane era of the Cold War, when the civilized world was never far from nuclear annihilation due to the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. They continue to call for “harsh” and “forceful” measures to be taken against Putin’s regime – whatever that means. Economic sanctions would, of course, be wholly counterproductive and would further impoverish Russian civilians, driving more of them, in desperation, to further embrace Putin’s nationalistic agenda. But military action of any sort by NATO or the United States would be an absolute calamity for human civilization – risking not just another cold war, but World War III between the world’s two major nuclear powers. Such a war would paralyze the progress of humankind for decades and lead to the eradication of much of the infrastructure needed to make comfortable, prosperous lives possible.

The neoconservative and NATO hawks are the Western mirror image of Putin’s nationalistic aggrandizement. They warn of the United States’ weakening image in foreign policy, of a perceived softness of the Obama administration’s response. They fear, in essence, a loss of American “national honor” and “national pride” if the United States were to withdraw from its role as global policeman and global human-rights enforcer. But they overlook the essential question: Why should the United States government be involved in the situation in Ukraine? There is no danger to American citizens, to whom the United States government’s duty of protection is owed, even in the worst-case scenario of Putin’s troops occupying all of Ukraine (which, as explained earlier, will not happen unless Putin is suicidally stupid). There is no compelling “national security” rationale of any sort for military or even extensive policy intervention in an area of the world separated from the United States by an ocean and most of the European continent!

The United States government is drowning in runaway debt, and the country is only beginning to recover from disastrous decade-long occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of American troops have been killed in the prior interventions of this millennium; tens of thousands more have come home physically and mentally scarred forever.  And the hawks want them to fight in yet another part of the world which most Americans understand nothing about, for no tangible gain, in the name of the geopolitical posturing of regimes whose leaders care not at all about them and will not bear a single physical cost of the massive killings, tortures, property destruction, and other atrocities that war inevitably brings with it? War is always fought at the behest of and for the benefit of corrupt, power-hungry leaders, and all the costs are always borne by innocent civilians and by very young armed men who know not what they fight for and who kill one another senselessly, even though they could have been good friends in other circumstances.

As the Wikileaks revelations about the conduct of some American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan showed the world, the US military is not uniquely righteous or humanitarian; torture, sadism, and perversity in the conduct of war marred the US military record, too.

The description of the horrors of war and the immense beneficence and moral imperative of peace by the great Renaissance humanist thinker Desiderius Erasmus is just as true today as it was in the early 16th century when these words were written:

Peace is at once the mother and the nurse of all that is good for man; war, on a sudden and at one stroke, overwhelms, extinguishes, abolishes, whatever is cheerful, whatever is happy and beautiful, and pours a foul torrent of disasters on the life of mortals. Peace shines upon human affairs like the vernal sun. The fields are cultivated, the gardens bloom, the cattle are fed upon a thousand hills, new buildings arise, riches flow, pleasures smile, humanity and charity increase, arts and manufactures feel the genial warmth of encouragement, and the gains of the poor are more plentiful.

But no sooner does the storm of war begin to lower, than what a deluge of miseries and misfortune seizes, inundates, and overwhelms all things within the sphere of its action! The flocks are scattered, the harvest trampled, the husbandman butchered, villas and villages burnt, cities and states that have been ages rising to their flourishing state subverted by the fury of one tempest, the storm of war. So much easier is the task of doing harm than of doing good — of destroying than of building up!

As with the remarkable surge of grassroots opposition that prevented US intervention in Syria in 2013, it is time for the American public to vociferously denounce any military intervention in Ukraine. It is not surprising, as a recent Washington Post article highlighted, that “The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want to intervene”! Education of Americans, not the inflammation of their zeal, should be the priority. The conflict in Ukraine today is a clash between two extremely ugly nationalisms – and ignorant neoconservative jingoists would add their own third flavor of nationalism to the mix. It is time for civilized individuals everywhere to reject all nationalism and all war. All of us humans – in Ukraine, Russia, the West, and everywhere else – face a choice for the next several decades. If we pursue the path of peace and non-intervention, we can become a spacefaring, cosmopolitan civilization. We are on the verge of major breakthroughs in life extension, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanoscale manufacturing, and ubiquitous, affordable energy. If we pursue the path of war, then humankind will instead become suffocated in the muck of jingoistic tribalism, with a promising future washed away by rivers of blood and consumed by an inferno of bombs.  The next few weeks will indicate which of these futures we face.

Consequences of an Interventionist Foreign Policy – Article by Ron Paul

Consequences of an Interventionist Foreign Policy – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
September 23, 2012
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The attack on the US consulate in Libya and the killing of the US Ambassador and several aides is another tragic example of how our interventionist foreign policy undermines our national security. The more the US tries to control the rest of the world, either by democracy promotion, aid to foreign governments, or by bombs, the more events spin out of control into chaos, unintended consequences, and blowback.

Unfortunately, what we saw in Libya last week is nothing new.

In 1980s Afghanistan, the US supported Islamic radicals in their efforts to expel the invading Soviet military. These radicals became what is known to be al-Qaeda, and our one-times allies turned on us most spectacularly on September 11, 2001.

Iraq did not have a significant al Qaeda presence before the 2003 US invasion, but our occupation of that country and attempt to remake it in our image caused a massive reaction that opened the door to al Qaeda, leading to thousands of US soldiers dead, a country destroyed, and instability that shows no sign of diminishing.

In Libya we worked with, among others, the rebel Libyan Fighting Group (LIFG) which included foreign elements of al-Qaeda. It has been pointed out that the al-Qaeda affiliated radicals we fought in Iraq were some of the same groups we worked with to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya. Last year in a television interview I predicted that the result of NATO’s bombing of Libya would likely be an increased al-Qaeda presence in the country. I said at the time that we may be delivering al-Qaeda another prize.

Not long after NATO overthrew Gaddafi, the al Qaeda flag was flown over the courthouse in Benghazi. Should we be surprised, then, that less than a year later there would be an attack on our consulate in Benghazi? We have been told for at least the past eleven years that these people are the enemy who seeks to do us harm.

There is danger in the belief we can remake the world by bribing some countries and bombing others. But that is precisely what the interventionists – be they liberal or conservative – seem to believe. When the world does not conform to their image, they seem genuinely shocked. The secretary of state’s reaction to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was one of confusion. “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction,” she asked.

The problem is that we do not know and we cannot know enough about these societies we are seeking to remake. We never try to see through the eyes of those we seek to liberate. Libya is in utter chaos, the infrastructure has been bombed to rubble, the economy has ceased to exist, gangs and militias rule by brutal force, the government is seen as a completely illegitimate and powerless US puppet.  How could anyone be shocked that the Libyans do not see our bombing their country as saving it from destruction?

Currently, the US is actively supporting rebels in Syria that even our CIA tells us are affiliated with al Qaeda. Many of these radical Islamist fighters in Syria were not long ago fighting in Libya.  We must learn from these mistakes and immediately cease all support for the Syrian rebels, lest history once again repeat itself. We are literally backing the same people in Syria that we are fighting in Afghanistan and that have just killed our ambassador in Libya! We must finally abandon the interventionist impulse before it is too late.

Representative Ron Paul (R – TX), MD, was a three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President. See his Congressional webpage and his official campaign website

This article has been released by Dr. Paul into the public domain and may be republished by anyone in any manner.