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April 13, 2013 4:03 PM The news cycle and why Ron Paul’s new think tank should be welcomed by the left (spoiler alert: North Korea)

By Samuel Knight

Ron Paul is often the subject of much derision from the left — and deservedly so as he espouses crackpot economic theories that should be confined to books on the 19th century.

But yesterday, he announced an initiative that, I think, many on the left will (or should) deem worthwhile: a think-tank that will offer an academic alternative to the incessant Beltway Consensus drumbeat for military intervention.

A press release on his Facebook page heralded the foundation of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, declaring that “the neo-conservative era is dead.”

The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people. Multi-trillion dollar wars have not made the world a safer place; they have only bankrupted our economic future. The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.
Founder and Chairman, and CEO Dr. Paul has invited the Institute’s board of advisors to speak at the conference, including Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), Judge Andrew Napolitano, Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, and Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr.

How could a proper progressive argue that this is anything but positive after the New York Times, that supposed bastion of forward thinking, ran an op-ed on the same day entitled “Bomb North Korea Now, Before It’s Too Late”?

Oh, and to preempt bleating about the North Korea situation being different, all diplomatic channels have not been exhausted. The Obama administration refuses to directly and openly engage North Korea without preconditions — a result, no doubt, of our militaristic tunnel vision.

President Obama himself has decried this sort of refusal to engage in diplomacy before.

“If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time,” President Obama lectured Palestinians on Israeli settlements in March, “then there is no point for negotiations.”

That logic is typically pretty sound, although inappropriate when weighed against the need for a temporary cessation of ethnic cleansing to advance diplomacy (is that so much to ask?). But the principle somehow doesn’t apply to his own foreign policy.

I suspect that the Paul Institute would have no problem pointing out the hypocrisy.

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on April 13, 2013 5:18 PM:

    Father & son, both stopped clocks.

    Ask how they feel about anything except drugs and war, and they're indistinguishable from your run-of-the-mill Conservative/Republican.
    Women's rights?
    Abortion?
    Labor?
    Taxes?
    Health care?
    Education?
    Gay rights - especially marriage.
    And, don't even bring up Civil Rights for minorities.

    So, goody, goody, he's with a whole bunch of us on the left on pot and war.
    FECK HIM, on pretty much everything else!!!

  • martin on April 13, 2013 5:26 PM:

    As Charlie Pierce checks out on the weekend, I'll remind everyone of his Five Minute Rule regarding the Paul family:
    They make perfect sense for exactly five minutes, then at 5:01 something totally batsh*t crazy will come out of their mouths.
    I can pretty much assure you the Paul Institute's cue for everything will be "Let the international corporations take care of it and do whatever they want."

  • Col Bat Guano on April 13, 2013 5:39 PM:

    Founder and Chairman, and CEO Dr. Paul has invited the Institute’s board of advisors to speak at the conference, including Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), Judge Andrew Napolitano, Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, and Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr.

    What could go wrong with this distinguished group of scholars on board?

  • Matt on April 13, 2013 6:12 PM:

  • Matt on April 13, 2013 6:16 PM:

    Oh and to summarize the article, basically China has agreed to help denuclearize N. Korea. What that help entails is unclear, but even this small signal is a pretty helpful development.

  • c u n d gulag on April 13, 2013 6:26 PM:

    Matt,
    THANKS!!!

    This is what I had hoped would happen - China, looking at Lil' Kim, and saying, "Son, you ain't the Un to be messin' around here. We made your grandfather. We made your father. And we made YOU you. And we can UN-make you. So, sit down, and take a heaping helping of STFU Bulgogi!"

  • schtick on April 13, 2013 6:51 PM:

    If Ron Paul isn't going to promote constant war, he's going to be kicked out of the party for sure.

  • mb on April 13, 2013 11:13 PM:

    When has Ron Paul ever been shown to have any influence over the warmongers in his party?

  • cmdicely on April 14, 2013 3:38 AM:

    But yesterday, he announced an initiative that, I think, many on the left will (or should) deem worthwhile: a think-tank that will offer an academic alternative to the incessant Beltway Consensus drumbeat for military intervention.

    Bringing together crackpot isolationists from the left and the right, none of whom has ever offered a coherent, practical vision of foreign policy, isn't something that anyone (on the left or otherwise) should deem worthwhile.

    How could a proper progressive argue that this is anything but positive after the New York Times, that supposed bastion of forward thinking, ran an op-ed on the same day entitled "Bomb North Korea Now, Before It’s Too Late"?

    The New York Times hasn't been a bastion of forward thinking in decades, if it ever was; the deep involvement it had with advancing the second Bush Administration's war propaganda was fairly notorious here. But a proper progressive can note that the cause of improving foreign policy isn't going to be improved by a "think tank" headed by a group with a history of, at best, shallow, simplistic approaches to foreign policy. Even if one grants that the preconceived policy preference around which this group is organized is correct in outline, there's nothing to indicate that this group has any ability either to come up with useful specific solutions filling in that policy outline, or of selling any solutions it would come up with.

  • Anonymous on April 14, 2013 9:25 AM:

    Founder and Chairman, and CEO Dr. Paul ......

    My my. The Facebook page of this self-accredited eye doc left out "and Grand Poobah" after "CEO"

  • agentX on April 14, 2013 10:41 AM:

    I used to like Kuchinich, but he's gone and turned himself into a ham sandwich with this stunt.
    Pimping himself out to Faux News was OK in my book, but this is a bridge too far.
    He can go choke on a coke rock with the rest of the Firebaggers. I'll never trust another word out of his mouth again.

  • Steve M. on April 14, 2013 10:53 AM:

    How could a proper progressive argue that this is anything but positive...?

    Seriously? A think tank that includes Lew Rockwell, the guy who wrote Paul's racist newsletters? And Andrew Napolitano, a 9/11 truther? Yeah, that's going to really give skepticism about militarism a whole lot of respectability.

  • defecating warrior on April 14, 2013 4:32 PM:

    Ron Paul is the greatest living American. But now it's up to us to nullify every tyrannical regulation the elite imposes upon us. To those who say that nullification is impractical, there is secession. We have no excuse for our own damnation.

  • Crissa on April 14, 2013 5:02 PM:

    Saying hungry people should starve or die of horrible pollution is hardly a step up from saying they should be bombed.

    Ugh.

  • Jekyll on April 14, 2013 7:26 PM:

    "Saying hungry people should starve or die of horrible pollution is hardly a step up from saying they should be bombed."

    Wow - too funny!! How someone can misinterpret Ron Paul and Libertarianism that much, only proves that our public indoctrination school system is doing very well.

  • Jekyll on April 14, 2013 7:38 PM:

    agentX - so let me get this straight, because Kuchinich is standing up for one of his principles of being pro-peace, you won't trust him anymore?

    And we wonder why Congress can't get along, because when both sides finally do find common ground and build a coalition, people like agentX cry and stomp their feet. How sad!!

  • Col Bat Guano on April 14, 2013 8:59 PM:

    Kuchinich is one member, but any board with Walter Jones, Andrew Napolitano and Lew Rockwell on it is as likely to produce coherent foreign policy as I am to be the next great Olympic figure skater.

  • Steve on April 15, 2013 10:21 AM:

    “If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time,” President Obama lectured Palestinians on Israeli settlements in March, “then there is no point for negotiations.”

    I wish President Obama would apply this logic to "negotiating" with congressional Republicans.