29 August, 2010

Bitter tea

Ron Paul does a pretty good job of spelling out the connection between a small government at home and empire abroad.  from A Tea Party Foreign Policy in Foreign Policy:
As one who is opposed to centralization, I am wary of attempts to turn a grassroots movement against big government like the Tea Party into an adjunct of the Republican Party. I find it even more worrisome when I see those who willingly participated in the most egregious excesses of the most recent Republican Congress push their way into leadership roles of this movement without batting an eye -- or changing their policies!

As many frustrated Americans who have joined the Tea Party realize, we cannot stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs of maintaining an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than 120 foreign countries. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city swimming pool at home while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those of the rest of the world combined.
I can argue about particular policies and priorities, but it seems to me the basic point is unassailable: even if we want to have a traditional imperial engagement with the world--which I don't, for moral reasons and because of the distortions it imposes on domestic society--it is unsustainable and the attempts to sustain it as it is make the eventual failure all the more dangerous.

So why can't the politicians get the message? They subdivide the world into boxes that have little or no relation with one another. (I've noticed that cognitive dissonance is much less of a problem for career politicians than it would be for an average person in similar circumstances.) In the same issue:
Almost two dozen Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers cosponsored a new resolution late last week that expresses their support for Israel "to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force."
Note: Dr. Paul did not agree. He has also refused to join the new "tea party" caucus.

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