Last week John Kerry traveled to Moscow and after meeting with Russian foreign minister Lavrov and president Putin he appeared to shift US policy away from regime change in Syria. Shortly afterward, President Obama re-affirmed that regime change in Syria was the goal. What exactly is US policy toward Syria? Does Washington have a clue?
Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. Daniel McAdams is with me today and it’s good to see you Daniel.
Daniel McAdams: Good morning Dr. Paul.
Ron Paul: Good. Last week Kerry, the great Secretary of State went to see Putin and they are going to solve the problems. A couple of years ago somebody helped create the problem, it was 2011, our policy became Assad has to go, that as our policy and then we wondered why it hasn’t happened and Syria is still a mess. There is a some headlines we always advocate diplomacy. Sometimes diplomacy seems to be ridiculous and I can imagine at times it would be, but I always thought certainly if we could have talked to the Soviets during the Cuban crisis, we are certainly able now to talk to them over Ukraine and Syria.
It looks like Putin might be in the drivers seat, because he is sort of getting attention of American politicians, but there is a couple of article about their meeting last week and one was Kerry backs down on ousting Assad. That sounds like that could be meaningful and the other said Assad can stay. For now, Kerry accepts the Russian stance. Are we moving in direction of seeing the stalemate breaking and maybe peace coming to Syria, or what do you think is going to happen here?
Daniel McAdams: It would be nice to see, and like you say diplomacy is always to be welcome. This is the second high level meeting between senior Russian and American officials in very, very recent time, so I think it is encouraging the two of them met. Perhaps I am a little cynical, but I do not believe U.S. foreign policy would change on the dime, he traveled together with Victoria Nuland and Celeste Wallander, two extremely anti-Russian personalities and the ambassador there, Ambassador Taft is still a very strong anti-Russian, so I don’t know if it changes on the dime.
It is encouraging. I wonder if it is not more of a tactical retreat on the US part, because things haven’t gone in Syria like they hoped and the facts on the ground have changed, since Russia became involved at the end of September. The US no longer controls the skies, can’t control who flies and who doesn’t fly, it can’t control who is on the ground necessarily. I think that might have pushed Washington into a corner and force them to rethink their tactics.
Ron Paul: Yeah and I saw one term, I don’t if they used these words, but they were going to use with Russia for now. Their position, for now, might be a very practical thing, which means that Russia is in a stronger position that the United States and they have more justification of course for being involved there, they have been invited, they are their neighbor and they have a naval base there and it is sort of like, us protecting Guantanamo or something, because it is over there.
But, it certainly indicates that it was not smooth sailing. Here we have this President who is supposed to end wars, has started a few and of course aggravated things in Ukraine and Libya is a mess and the other countries are by here and our current President is certainly responsible for a lot of the mess we have in Syria. But, it really is a serious problem, because there is so much potential things that could go wrong and there is so many different faction that are involved. We have the various terrorist groups and whose side they are on. This is at a higher level and it seems to me like at least for now, things are a little bit safer than they were a month ago, but it could change like that.
Daniel McAdams: And another confrontation between Russia and Turkey, for example, what is the US’s position in the Turkish shootdown of the plane and the various confrontations on the sea, but I think the other matter that the two of them had to discuss is this issue of there are these peace talks going on with the opposition and it is really the issue of which of the opposition groups would be accepted as legitimate moderates and the US has pushed for a couple of groups, a couple of factions to be included as moderates, that have been fighting alongside Al-Qaeda for a while and the Russians have rejected that. The Russians have actually worked with the free Syrian army against ISIS. It is also an issue who is going to be acceptable at the table and I am sure that came up as well.
Ron Paul: If we walked out of there, which will give every neocon a heart attack, if we walked out there, you are just giving it to the Russians they are going to control, but nothing guarantees tranquility if the Russians were running the whole country, they didn’t have tranquility in Afghanistan, which was a much more difficult task, but there’s how many groups that we think, three, four, five different groups that want their own control of the country and their faction and you have the Kurds that are involved too, the Turks aren’t going to walk away peacefully, so I do not think, my argument is it is so messy this isn’t working, why don’t they wise up, why don’t we leave before it gets much worse. Let somebody else get bogged down. Besides, it is costly and we are not getting any benefits from this, except people who sell weapons, the only people I see on the short time seem to get benefits.
Daniel McAdams: I think it is similar with Ukraine, I am not sure Russia would want to own a country in such a bad case, it would be very expensive and how are you going to rebuild this, what are you going to do to pacify things? The other thing we talked about a little bit before we came on camera, the other thing that is fairly disheartening, that we can accept at face value that the US position is now Assad can stay, that means for the past four years all of the destruction, all of the death, broken families, sorrow, grieving, it’s all really been for nothing, we are going back to square one. It just shows the insane folly of interventionism.
Ron Paul: But, can’t you say almost the same thing about our losses and our costs in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya? The conditions are not just back to where they were, they are much worse than what they were, minus a lot of American lives and minus a lot of American dollars that are going to continue, even if we came home tomorrow, some people estimate that in a lifetime of some of our injured veterans coming back, it can be a trillion dollars, just taking care of them for 20, 30, 40 years.
One of the arguments that they used to give me in the debates was that if we walked away, that means our men would have died in vain and that is tough and I remember having confronted somebody at the debate, someone who had lost somebody and tried to be as sympathetic as possible but explaining, having more Americans lives lost doesn’t replace any other lives, the lives that have been lost, but they say, no, they can’t die in vain, but I heard that argument all throughout the 60s, we can’t walk away now out of Vietnam. The amazing thing is with the neocons, if they were sitting here with us they would say you make a good point, we should never let men die in vain, the best way to prevent men dying in vain is not exposing them to no-win unconstitutional undeclared wars that have no purpose whatsoever to providing national security for us.
Daniel McAdams: What a preposterous idea it is that the US can get to a complex, an incredibly complex society like Syria where you have, as you point out so many factions, so many different religions and factions of religions, that we have the audacity to think that we can go there and sort the whole thing out, remake the whole society for them, hand it to them on a plate as a gift and everything will be hunky dory. It’s just preposterous.
Ron Paul: And they just might have a society that is different that our society. I happen to still endorse elections, even though they are rigged so often, but there is something to be said about some of the countries of the world that give them a pass on exactly what kind of government they have. I don’t give them a pass on what kind of economic system they have, or what kind of monetary policy they, or what kind of aggressive foreign policy they have. If you have the, say the central government in Switzerland is very different than any other central government. Who would want to go in there and try to change them?
Yet, this is what we do and there is social and religious and cultural differences and it’s just this intolerance that people have and of course intolerance is one of the things, it is the hardest thing for people who are look at the Libertarian message to accept, because you do have to tolerate other people and their social habits and their personal habits, but you only have to give up this idea of act of aggression against people, your neighbors, your friends, or countries and it works, but people do not like to give up an inch to people that they think act different and doing things that they do not approve of and therefore they have to fight and fume over it.
I see the only answer to moving us toward a more peaceful world is accepting the basic principle of libertarianism, which means nobody has the right to take somebody else’s property or interfere with another person’s life and that is not complex. Another factor that goes well with this and it’s an economic factor. Agree to everything you agreed to, follow through on your promises and pledges and those two things and no aggression and live up to your promises and believe me we could move in the right direction.
I think if you talk to a million people in many, many countries, most people say it makes a lot of sense, but then they get frightened and they are driven by fear, ISIS is coming and we have to go to war against somebody and that is how we got talked in to be complacent. Assad has to go, Assad has to go, our governments are out of control, we need to get control of our government by reducing their power and reducing their ability to take us to war without the full consent of the people. That would help us a whole lot.
I want to thank everybody today for tuning in to the Liberty Report and please come back soon.