Pity that only poor neglected Ron Paul appears to be the only Republican candidate who hasn’t followed in the footsteps of George W. Bush by virtue of considering the reading of history to be anathema. Every time Ron Paul attempts to bring the conflict in the Middle East out of Dark Age absolutist supernaturalism to which Bush and his cronies have placed it (a war between good and evil), he is attacked by such intellectual giants as Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Recently, during a GOP candidate debate broadcast by ABC and moderated by the disgraceful Charlie Gibson, every single candidate but Ron Paul astonishingly voiced their collective opinion that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy. Rudy (I alone saved America on 9/11) Giuliani led the charge against Paul, but Thompson, Romney and even the pathetic McCain piled on.
Let’s begin with the forgotten man at the center of American politics and Islamic jihadism today; not Saddam Hussein, of course, but the man still roaming freely, Osama Bin Laden. What the GOP doesn’t like to mention is that when their God, Ronald Reagan, was President and his Vice President was the father of the current President, and his administration employed people like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, billions of dollars were sent to help Osama Bin Laden keep the Soviets entangled in what was then viewed as a Vietnam-like quagmire in Afghanistan. (Today it would be compared to an Iraq-like quagmire that drains their coffers while lining the pockets of defense contractors.) That was the beginning of direct foreign intervention into Islamic territory that began the process of creating the most important Islamic terrorism figure today. Bin Laden may be crazy, but he’s not stupid. He could surely have figured out that America only saw fit to show an interest in Islamic nations when their interests were at stake and as soon as those interests were met, they were out of there. But that’s not the foreign policy decision that did most to ignite Bin Laden’s jihadist dreams.
Remember the first time Americans were needlessly sent to Iraq, back during the Gulf War of the early 90s? Remember how Saudi Arabia gave permission for American troops to be stationed there as they fought, not for freedom, but to protect the vital oil interests in tiny Kuwait? Bin Laden, who is a Saudi himself lest you’ve been denied this information from such corporate shills as Charlie Gibson, nearly exploded in a rage of anger at this decision. He quickly asserted that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Middle East countries receiving the protection of the US were merely puppets being manipulated for the mercenary aims of the America. It was the decision by the U.S. to keep troops in Saudi Arabia after the war had ended that moved Osama bin Laden to condemn the United States as the “great Satan.” It was this foreign policy decision by the United States, and George W. Bush’s father in particular that energized Bin Laden. Before long he was seeking to create a powerful terrorist network that has been responsible for a number of attacks, including those of 9/11.
And yet all of the Republican candidates for President except Ron Paul explicitly declared their belief that Islamic terrorism has nothing, “nothing at all”, to do with US foreign policy. The resistance, unwillingness, or incapacity of the GOP nominees to analyze the complexities of Middle East geopolitics is frightening. The urge to boil the multiple factors that have converged over the course of a thousand years into the simplistic equation characterized by Giuliani’s idiotic statement “There’s an Islamic terrorism threat against us. It’s an existential threat. It has nothing to do with our foreign policy” represents the very real potential threat of another four years of a man sitting in the White House who constructs a foreign policy based solely on the delusions that exist within his small brain rather than attempting to exercise that brain by enlarging it through the accumulation of facts and the application of critical processes that synthesize those facts into a quantifiable analysis. Haven’t you had enough of a President who makes future policy decisions in complete ignorance of the lessons of history?