Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani, Who’s Right?

The slapping match between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani at Tuesday night’s Republican debate has ignited a debate on foreign policy. Ron Paul made his controversial remarks ,which I have to disagree with my fellow contributor Doug about, that can be interpreted by a reasonable person as showing moral equivalence between the enforcement of the no fly zones by bombing anti-aircraft positions and radar towers in Iraq from 1991-2003 and the mass murder of over 3,000 civilians in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Having said though, I do not believe that Ron Paul was trying to show moral equivalence instead he was making his point about blowback but was very inarticulate, to say the least.

Ron Paul’s position on the causes of terrorism, to paraphrase, is that terrorism is the result of American intervention in the Middle East. Rudy Giuliani’s position on the causes of terrorism, again to paraphrase, is that terrorism is the result of religious fanatics who hate our freedoms. Suffice to say, both men are right on certain aspects and both men are wrong about other aspects.

To examine Al-Qaeda’s casus belli we need to examine a document, Osama Bin Laden’s first fatwa against America. In this document, he lays out several grievances he has against the United States as paraphrased by James Joyner:

1) The end of U.S. aid to Israel and the ultimate elimination of that state

2) The removal of U.S. and Western forces from the Arabian peninsula

3) The removal of U.S. and Western military forces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Muslim lands

4) The end of U.S. support for the oppression of Muslims by Russia, China, and India

5) The end of U.S. protection for repressive, apostate Muslim regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, et cetera

6) The conservation of the Muslim world’s energy resource and their sale at higher prices

Just by these demands alone, we can dismiss Rudy Giuliani’s rhetoric of “they hate us for our freedom” as absurd. We can further dismiss the rhetoric by pointing out that there have been no terrorist attacks in Canada, which is even more socially liberal than the United States; and only isolated incidents in places like Holland which is one of the most hedonistic countries on the Earth. By this lack of depth on such a serious subject, Rudy Giuliani is simply not qualified to be president.

Al-Qaeda is motivated by a jihad ideology that calls for the following:

Jihad ideology separates humanity into two hostile blocs: the community of Muslims (Dar ul-Islam), and the infidel non-Muslims (Dar ul-Harb). Allah commands the Muslims to conquer the entire world in order to rule it according to Koranic law. Hence Muslims must wage a perpetual war against those infidels who refuse to submit. This is the motivation for jihad. It is based on the inequality between the community of Allah and the infidels, as was re-emphasized in the Cairo Declaration. The first is a superior group, which must rule the world; the second must submit.

Only by learning the ideology can we study the grievances more in depth. We can dismiss the fourth grievance out of hand. The United States has not supported China, India, or Russia in their actions against Islamic insurgencies in their countries. The purpose of the fourth grievance is the same as the grievance against the UN sanctions on Iraq, even though Saddam and UN bureaucrats siphoned off money that should have gone for food and medicine. It is a propaganda ploy designed to increase recruitment from the Arab street.

While we do need to point out that there are legitimate grievances against American foreign policy (mostly the support for tyrannical Arab regimes); the main reason why Al-Qaeda is targeting the United States is that the United States is the only country that can stop them from forming the Islamic Caliphate they want. As long as the United States supports “moderate” Arab regimes and Israel, Al-Qaeda will fail to topple them.

The question is, should we step out of the way of Al-Qaeda. The answer is clearly, no. To do so will condemn in the short term, the Jews in Israel to another Holocaust and secularists and non-Muslims in the Arab world to virtual slavery. In the long term, Al-Qaeda intends to reconquer first the lands previously held by the Islamic world and then conquer the remaining nations of the House of War. Ron Paul is absolutely wrong when he suggests we should withdrawal from the world, because as the lessons of Pearl Harbor show, the world will eventually come to us.

Finally, to leave the Middle East to Al-Qaeda will only tell others that you can change American policy by committing mass murder against American citizens. While you may have grievances against American policy, mass murder is never an acceptable means of expression. That’s what Ron Paul is saying, even though he may not mean to, when he suggests the only solution for terrorism is to give in to terrorist demands. For these naive views of the world, Ron Paul is simply not fit to be president.

America, like all nations, has the right to act in its own self-interest and according to its own values. Defeating Islamofascism is in America’s best interest because they will not stop until they rule the world. Just listen to them. However, Ron Paul is correct when he says we cannot be the world’s policeman. We must factor that in when developing the post-Cold War foreign policy.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.