And Huntsman got more time on Morning Joe than the polls suggest he's earned. Ron Paul is running second in Iowa and New Hampshire and yet no one talks about Ron Paul, and he doesn't get the deserved debate time. Media outlets love Huntsman at this point, and they're trying to propel him into the race, but Huntsman is still a blip on the primary screen. It's amazing.
The guests this morning on Morning Joe were Dan Senor, Steve Rattner, David Gregory, Wes Moore and more of the same old retreads. It would have been nice to get someone who understands libertarian thought on to discuss the popularity of Ron Paul and the media's refusal to pay attention to Paul's ideas. As it was, Scarborough and Senor had a mini-debate discussing old Republican ideas between neo-conservatives and faux-conservatives, with Senor representing the neo-cons and Scarborough as the faux-conservative. Scarborough is a political spinner who will say whatever to fit into where he thinks the most support lies. Because Scarborough thinks that the Republican base is war weary, he supports pulling out of Afghanistan, but because he believes the base is not ready to completely transform how we deal with terrorism, he supported Michelle Bachmann's rebuttal to Rick Perry in the Republican debate last night, that we need to maintain some kind of presence in the Pakistan region and continue to give them aid. Scarborough also believes we need to end Afghanistan and Iraq so we have enough money to deal with Iran.
Senor believes we need to stay in every mideast country we're in and do even more with Syria and Iran. Scarborough and Senor disagree over tactics, not philosophy. Senor compared Huntsman with Paul regarding foreign policy, bu Huntsman said in the debate last night that we should simply reduce our presence in Afghanistan, so Huntsman is in line with Senor and Scarborough, with only small differences regarding the level of involvement in the mideast. Paul wants a policy of non-interventionism, and this is much different than the Republican establishment position. Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Cain are in favor of mideast intervention. I'm not sure where Perry stands except he wants to reassess the aid we're giving Pakistan, unless Pakistan can prove it's an ally.
Bachmann told Perry that he's naive, because Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and that al qaeda can get those weapons and bomb America, so we must continue to give support to Pakistan and maintain a presence on the ground. If Scarborough had integrity, he would have supported Perry's position over Bachmann's, but Scarborough supported Bachmann's position. So, how long do we give aid to Pakistan and how long do we maintain a presence? What incentive does Pakistan have to change if it can blackmail us indefinitely? India and other countries in the region have more interests in the power shifts in that region than we have. This simplistic idea that terrorists are going to get nukes from Pakistan and bomb us is not only naive, it's pathetically gullible. Countries in the mideast have played this blackmail game against the US since Jefferson's time, and we continue to pay what they charge.
All the Republican candidates and the Morning Joe crew lean toward stopping Iran. How? We've helped Egypt and Libya open the way to Islamist governments, Turkey wants power in the region and Saudi Arabia is being squeezed between Islamist power and US alliance. If we bomb Iran, this will turn the region against the US, even if some of them are also afraid of a nuclear Iran. Bombing Iran will force countries to take sides, if it appears that the US and Israel are gaining control of the region. Turkey could even turn against us, although we think that Turkey would love to see a weakened Iran. Bombing Iran will not weaken Iran, it will strengthen the resolve of Islamists to resist US control, and then we'd be in the untenable position, like Britain was in the 20th century, of trying to control a region we don't understand and can't control. Mideast entanglements played a large role in destroying the British Empire, and if we try to play that role in a stirred up mideast, these entanglements will finish us off as well.
Ron Paul has the right idea -- let the countries of the mideast work out their own problems. Paul said we wouldn't like it if China began intervening in our affairs in North America, so why do we intervene in mideast affairs? Yes, we were bombed on 9/11. We responded with great force and destruction -- but, we should have left after responding. As it is now, we're getting deeper and deeper into a mess that will drain us, and it's a despicable misuse of our military and tax payer dollars. We don't need to risk another American life for countries that want us to destroy ourselves and who have bled us for years with bluster and threats. The one attack on 9/11 is not a justification for what we've done since 9/11 -- it's time to come home and build a 21st century defense like no other in the world, then mind our own business unless intelligence uncovers a true threat to national security. We have the technology and intelligence to create a nimble, much smaller defense system that doesn't clumsily trounce through the mideast making matters worse. Our military deserves better than what they've received from their leaders. Republican leaders need to wake up and stop the neo-con drift to destruction. Morning Joe needs to understand that political strategy should take a back seat to national defense.
Will the Republican base be smarter than the political class and support Paul's foreign policy positions? We'll see.