Thursday’s Fox News debate in Iowa came to a head when Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann clashed heatedly over foreign policy. The segment came after Fox News host Bret Baier tried repeatedly to trip up congressman Paul with hypothetical questions on intelligence of a fully nuclear Iran.
Ron Paul’s clear and compelling case against a war with Iran irritated his Fox News hosts (who have already expressed their disdain for Paul)
and painted him in stark contrast to his Republican rivals.
The greatest threat to America, Paul warned was not a nuclear Iran but rather an American overreaction to the perceived threat of Iranian nukes.
Bachmann called Paul’s comments dangerous.
“With all due respect to Ron Paul, I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul,” Bachmann said. “I’ll tell you the reason why, the reason why I would say that is because we know without a shadow of a doubt that Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map and they stated they will use it against the United States of America. Look no further than the Iranian constitution, which states unequivocally that their mission is to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up for worldwide caliphate. we would be fools to ignore their purpose and their plan.”
“Obviously, I would like to see a lot less nuclear weapons,” Paul responded. “I don’t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I would like to reduce them because there would be less chance of war. But to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this is dangerous talk. Yeah, there are some radicals. But they don’t come here to kill us because we’re free and prosperous. Do they go to Switzerland and Sweden? That is absurd.”
“They come here and explicitly explain it to us,” he continued. “The CIA has explained it to us. It said they come here and they want to do us harm because we are bombing them! What is the whole world about the drone being in Iran? And we’re begging and pleading and how are we going to start a war to get the drone back? Why were we flying a drone over Iran? Why do we have to bomb so many countries?
“Why are we — why do we have 900 bases in 130 countries and we’re totally bankrupt. How do you rebuild a military when we have no money? How are we going to take care of the people? I think this wild goal to have another war in the name of defense is the dangerous thing. the danger is really us overreacting. we need a strong national defense. and we need to only go to war with a declaration of war and carelessly flubbing it and starting these wars so often.”
Most Republican candidates share a similar worldview as Michele Bachmann – that simply talking tough and threatening war and sanctions will cripple the Iranian regime. Romney complained about the current president’s response to Iran and others used the threat to Israel as an example of Paul’s “dangerous” position. Paul was not deterred.
“This is another Iraq coming,” Paul warned. “This is war propaganda going on. And to me, the greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact and we will soon bomb Iran.”
A war with Iran would be devastating and costly. As Andrew Sullivan writes, “If you want to know why I endorse Ron Paul, this exchange clinches it. Most of these Republicans would launch a far more dangerous, reckless and counter-productive war than the one against Iraq. That is a huge issue. And only one candidate will oppose it.”
This is why I have endorsed Paul as well. I am voting for peace, not war; for restraint, not excess; and for civil liberties, not authoritarianism. In Paul, and in no other candidate save Gary Johnson, I see these qualities. We need leaders who will steer us toward peace and prosperity, not more military adventures in the Middle East.
Iran may indeed be a threat, but there are other ways to approach this threat than war, including working to bring Iran into the global economy, giving them a stake in the peace and prosperity of the world economy. The far greater threat, as Paul warned, is a costly and destructive overreaction.
Besides, Iran won’t nuke Israel or anyone else. The same threat of mutually assured destruction that applied in the Cold War applies in the Middle East conflict.http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/15/ron-paul-and-michele-bachmann-square-off-over-a-nuclear-iran/