Ron Paul and Michael Steele: A Foreign Policy Fissure in the GOP

July 3rd, 2010 3:02 am  |  by  |  Published in Activism, Barry Goldwater, Big Government, Blowback, Commentary, congress, Constitution, Foreign Policy, Liberty, Maven Commentary, Neo-con, Politics, Ron Paul, terrorism, War  |  6 Responses

RNC Chairman, Michael Steele, made some comments that riled his fellow neo-conservatives regarding the war in Afghanistan. It riled them so much that many of them are playing the part of the Red Queen in Tim Burton’s, “Alice in Wonderland”. They are yelling, “Off with his head!

William Kristol and’s, Erick Erickson are among those calling for Steele’s resignation. Here is what Steele said that drew their ire:

“Keep in mind again, for our federal candidates, this was a war of Obama’s choosing,” Steele said. “This is not something the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

“It was the president who was trying to be cute by half by flipping a script demonizing Iraq, while saying the battle really should be in Afghanistan,” Steele said, referring to Obama’s insistence during the presidential campaign that the U.S. should be focused on Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

“Well, if he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right, because everyone who has tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed. And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”

First of all, these remarks seem quite benign to me, especially since Steele clearly does not want to bring the troops home. He just disagrees with the method by which the war is being fought. However, it also seems to me that he’s going a bit Ron Paul here. He did pick up a copy of Paul’s “End the Fed” at CPAC earlier this year. Perhaps that is what his fellow neo-conservatives hear in his words. We all know how much they despise the truth, er… I mean, Ron Paul.

The Left (and Right) are attacking Steele too, for saying “this was a war of Obama’s choosing.” As much as they may not want to admit it, that statement is also true. The U.S had a presence in Afghanistan during the Bush years, but all the effort was happening in Iraq. The U.S. was doing little more than occupying Afghanistan at the time Obama was campaigning on taking the “necessary” fight away from Iraq and into Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then he followed through on that promise by increasing the forces in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000. Calling Steele a liar for saying it was a war of Obama’s choosing is willful ignorance.

I suppose politics wouldn’t be politics if politicians didn’t get fired (or forced to resign) for telling the truth.

Kristol ends his “Steele must resign” public letter with the following words:

There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case. But one of them shouldn’t be the chairman of the Republican party.

Maybe one of them shouldn’t be the chairman of the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party, but one of them most certainly should be the chairman of the Republican Party as a whole.

Neo-conservatives are the domestic terrorists of politics. They hijacked the conservative and traditional “Old Right” Republican Party from Taft, Goldwater, and Reagan. They were able to culture a Wilsonian foreign policy within the GOP ranks in the aftermath of 9/11.  Having a GOP chairman who’d like to pull American troops out of Afghanistan would mark the end of this Wilsonian, neo-conservative, hijacking. Keep in mind Steele never said he wanted to “pull out of Afghanistan”. This is an intellectually dishonest pre-emptive attack by Kristol. How appropriate for a neo-conservative.

For your further consideration:

Below you will find audio of conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis excellently defending Steele and the “humble foreign policy” of our Founders on Independence Day (July 2nd). He even later name-drops Ron Paul as an example of a conservative who gets it.  If you’d like to listen to more of Lewis (and I highly recommend you do) see his “on demand” page. For those with little time, I’ve pulled some audio from his July 2nd show here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Some may take issue with myself or Lewis including Ronald Reagan as one who practiced a “humble foreign policy”. In fact, many neo-conservatives idolize Ronald Reagan as a war hawk. But was he really a hawk?

For your further consideration, Jack Hunter on Reagan’s “hawkishness”:

Even if Michael Steele is not going down the conversion process toward Ron Paul on foreign policy, the fact that these attacks and discussions are happening at all suggest the neo-conservatives may be shrinking in number with their backs against the wall.

Perhaps Obama’s plan for “change” will create change in a way he had not unintended. Maybe his brand of socialism and corporatism is clearing the way for  “Old Right” conservatives to grow in number and eventually wrestle the Republican Party back from its neo-conservative hijackers.

Yes, the day may come when we’ll see more and more lawmakers give speeches like this recent one from Ron Paul:


  1. Joshua says:

    July 3rd, 2010 at 2:34 pm (#)

    "Calling Steele a liar for saying it was a war of Obama’s choosing is willful ignorance."

    What a crock of shiite. Obama didn't order us to invade Afghanistan. To be fair, this War wasn't Bush's choice either; he was forced to respond after the Taliban (then the rulers of Afghanistan) and AlQaeda attacked -us-.

    That was over -7- years before Obama became president.

    You could argue somewhat that Obama escalated the number of troops there, similar to what JFK and especially LBJ did after Eisenhower sent the first US soldiers to prop up South Vietnam.

    But ironically enough, Obama wants to pull back starting next year. So why is Steele getting himself all lathered up about?

  2. marcg says:

    July 3rd, 2010 at 3:01 pm (#)

    I understand your point but consider:

    1 – Obama is the President right now. Not Bush.
    2 – Obama campaigned on taking the fight to Afghanistan.
    3 – Obama did just that.


    It is Obama's war and Steele is right. He may have inherited it from Bush, but it is his baby now. Steele nor I said that Obama "ordered us to invade Afghanistan". That doesn't matter. Obama is POTUS and he turned our Afghanistan occupation into a mini-surge (as Bush did in Iraq). He could have chosen to bring our troops home, but he escalated it instead.

    If we end up invading North Korea from South Korea I suppose you would call it Truman's war since he was the president when we entered into the Korean war (also undeclared) and we've had troops there since that time (1950). To me that would be what you term a "crock of shiite".

    Afghanistan is Obama's choice and his war.


  3. shakermaker says:

    July 3rd, 2010 at 7:10 pm (#)

    Obama tripled the troop level and 9 years in, we have no end in sight. It's his war, Obama chose Afghanistan as the necessity and Iraq as the "bad war".

    We need to be out of both as quickly as possible. Afghanistan isn't even a country which, to me, is why it is in the playbooks for the Neo-Con agenda to set up shop forever.

  4. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi says:

    July 4th, 2010 at 12:40 am (#)

    AIPAC goes out of their mind when truth slips out to the public.

  5. Big G says:

    July 4th, 2010 at 3:46 pm (#)

    It is Obama's war now and the only thing I agreed with him on his campaign was to end the foolishness in the name of terrorist or religion or whatever. We have our own border with millions and thousands daily breaking into our country and we are worried about some middle eastern people playing with rockets out in the remote mountains or in the desert. Let us worry a little more about ourselves for once. However much I want to feed my neighbors my immediate family comes first and then I can consider helping others.

    Obama also did vote for this war I believe back when he was in the senate? So how about putting in a resolution to fund it with the requirement to end it??? Oh yeh but people like Mccain needs to support his military industrial complex people of special interest to keep the war economy going. What are we going to do when China requests a Air Force Base in Yosemite National Park since we cannot pay them back the debt we owe? I am sure everyone will just love that….

  6. langa says:

    July 7th, 2010 at 6:06 am (#)

    Actually, if you'd been listening to the news lately, you'd know that Obama is already backpedaling on his "pull back", saying that it's not really a "deadline", but more of a "long-term goal", as one of his flunkies put it.

    The chances that Obama ever brings any significant number of troops home are slim to none.