When I was a teenager, I used to have long political discussions with my best friend’s mother. Betty Baum would lie on her living room couch grinning as I pontificated about my latest revelation. One of my hobby horses that she found particularly amusing was my ardent defense of pacifism. Somehow she couldn’t agree with me that if everyone would just renounce war, there would never be any more wars.
But I was in high school at the time and so she indulged my naiveté. Indeed, she probably considered me a bit precocious. Fortunately, by my mid-twenties I came to realize that nations which unilaterally disarm invite aggression. Their insistence on refusing to defend themselves provides welcome mat for belligerent states.
Now we are being treated to the spectacle of congressman Ron Paul making arguments similar to the ones I made back then. But Paul is 76 years old. Where has he been? How can he have remained such a superannuated teenager?
Today Paul tells us that the Iranians do not have, and are not seeking, an atomic bomb. But how does he know? According to him, the Iranians only wish to defend themselves. They do not envy us or our freedoms. They are merely acting as they are because we bombed them.
But has Paul been paying attention. We did not bombIran. Yes, we dropped weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan. And yes, these are Muslim countries. Hence Paul seems to be saying if you drop a bomb on one Muslim, you are dropping bombs on all Muslims. This is the only interpretation of his claim that we are intentionally picking a fight with over a billion Muslims that makes any sense.
Still, doesn’t Paul remember that it was the Iranians who promised to wipeIsraeloff the map? And doesn’t he realize that all it will take for them to do the job is two or three nuclear bombs?
If that happens, what will Paul say? I can almost hear his words now. I predict they will be a version of: “Well, I just didn’t see that coming.” We, however, can do better.
Paul, unfortunately, has a poor track record of foreseeing the implications of his policy recommendations. He is so much the ideologue that he lives in a fantasy world where if you are nice to people, they are automatically nice to you. While I learned decades ago that this is not true, he assures us that the way to handle the Iranians is to stop threatening them.
A significant number of college students seem to believe this. But then again, they are young. As such, they are allowed to be enthusiastically naïve. What is Paul’s excuse? Has he been in suspended animation? Why hasn’t he learned the facts of life in the half century he has been an adult?
And as to the good people ofIowa, are they seriously going to make him their favorite candidate in the upcoming caucuses? If they do, they will be a national laughing stock. They will have demonstrated that they are as immature as Paul himself.