Of all the Democratic or Republican presidential aspirants for 2016, only U.S. Sen. Rand Paul can save us from ruination born of perpetual, purposeless, unfunded global wars and limitless presidential power.
Only the Kentucky senator grasps like President George Washington that entangling alliances are the fathers of danger and debt, not safety and security.
Only he salutes President Thomas Jefferson’s foreign policy of “[P]eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
Only Mr. Paul understands like James Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, that war is the nurse of executive aggrandizement that cripples the Constitution’s checks and balances.
Only he grasps like then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams that the glory of the United States is liberty, not the role of dictatress to the world, and, “It is not by the contrivance of agents of destruction that America wishes to commend her inventive genius to the admiration or the gratitude of after times.”
Only Mr. Paul recognizes that we accept risks that unfree peoples do not by enshrining the right to be let alone in the Fourth Amendment knowing that a risk-free existence entails vassalage or serfdom to a Leviathan state.
Only the Kentucky senator appreciates like renowned author Alexis de Tocqueville that war is the surest and shortest means of destroying the liberties of a democratic nation.
Only he endorses President Grover Cleveland’s foreign policy built on the traditions of Washington, Jefferson and President James Monroe as elaborated in his first inaugural: “It is the policy of independence … It is the policy of peace suitable to our interesets. It is the policy of neutrality, rejecting any share in foreign broils and ambitions upon other continents and repelling their intrustion here.”
Only he stands four square behind Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge Sr.’s opposition to President Woodrow Wilson’s misbegotten League of Nation’s Treaty which would have obligated the United States to defend the borders of every nation in the world without congressional authorization.
Only he takes heed of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s prescient warning of a vast military-industrial complex prone to inflate or invent national securitiy dangers for ulterior motives of status, money or power.
Mr. Paul is no more an isolationist than were his illustrious philosophical ancestors: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Cleveland, Lodge and Eisenhower. He believes in aggressive and invincible self-defense of the United States against aggression by any foreign state or non-state actor. The pre-eminent mission of the armed forces is to defend the lives and liberties of Americans, not to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy — endeavors which chronically make the United States less safe by awakening or creating enemies who would otherwise have slept or directed their malignities elsewhere.
The United States midwifed the creation of al Qaeda and the Taliban by funding and arming the mujahadeen in fighting to evict the Soviet Union from Afghanistan.
The United States made Iran a regional hegemon and created a power vacuum in Iraq which invited the creation of the Islamic State by gratuitously overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
The United States hardened the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea by overthrowing Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi soon after he had abandoned weapons of mass destruction. Gaddafi’s conventional arms fell into the hands of Islamic extremists who are now prospering amidst Libya’s internal convulsions.
The United States boosted the fortunes of al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula by funding, arming and militarily assisting a staggeringly corrupt, nepotistic, tribalistic, and inept government in Yemen.
The ongoing gratuitous war of the United States against the Islamic State (IS) has spiked its ranks by absurdly insinuating that IS could mushroom into an existential threat like the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The United States is not unique in its chronic myopia. Israel supported the creation of Hamas to undermine Yasser Arafat, but the creation proved worse than the disease it was intended to cure.
In contrast to Mr. Paul, his Republican and Democratic rivals believe in limitless presidential wars; presidential killings of American citizens based on secret evidence on his say-so alone; presidential agreements in lieu of treaties to station troops abroad; presidential signing statements to circumvent Congress; presidential surveillance of the entire population without judicial warrants; presidential imprisonments without accusations or trials; and, presidential subordination of the civil power to military authority.
In sum, Mr. Paul’s rivals covet kingship (or its queenly equivalent), not the rule of law as king. They probably would have aligned with King George III in the Revolutionary War.
Unlike his rivals but in emulation of George Washington, Mr. Paul repudiates kingship in favor of the Constitution’s separation of powers, checks and balances, and wars of self-defense authorized by Congress.
We thus confront an inflection point in the history of the United States in 2016.
We either support Mr. Paul and turn the nation’s direction toward liberty and the Constitution, or we proceed like Rome after Augustus down the path of empire and ultimate self-destruction.
For more information about Bruce Fein, visit www.brucefeinlaw.com.