Paulitical Ticker: Paul Ryan Needs to Follow Jack Kemp on Foreign Policy
When Reagan revolutionary and conservative icon Jack Kemp died in 2009, Ron Paul paid tribute on the House floor:
Madam Speaker, I support H.Res. 401, which honors the legacy of former Representative Jack Kemp. I became friends with Jack when we served together in the House of Representatives from 1976 to 1985…
In his later years, Jack was critical of the idea that the best way to promote human liberty was through an aggressively militaristic foreign policy. In his 1996 campaign for Vice President, Jack attacked the Clinton Administration’s aggressive foreign policy, famously quipping that the United States government should not “bomb before breakfast.” In my last conversation with Jack, he shared with me his opposition to the Iraq war…
Indeed. Wrote Kemp on January 21, 2003:
President Bush has played his cards well on Iraq, and we are so close to victory that it would be a tragedy if a few War Hawks pushed us into an unnecessary invasion and occupation of an Arab country. Much of the world believes the United States will go to war with Iraq no matter what Iraq does, no matter what the U.N. inspectors find. They believe this because they think, in the words of columnist Georgie Anne Geyer, that invading Iraq is not about weapons of mass destruction but rather “it’s the first step in remaking the entire Middle East.” I worry that the United States would be viewed as the aggressor if it undertakes military action in Iraq without providing clear and convincing evidence that Iraq has a nuclear weapons program or retains significant chem-bio weapons stocks that threaten its neighbors.
It is no surprise that Kemp, as a hero to economic conservatives, also possessed an aversion toward unnecessary wars that is alien to neoconservatives, or the “few War Hawks,” as Kemp described them.
For Kemp, not only was “remaking the entire Middle East” through mindless military intervention unwise, but true conservatives realize that limited government at home is virtually impossible so long as it is considered unlimited abroad. Wars cost money, no matter how much the neoconservatives try to pretend otherwise. Unnecessary wars cost money unnecessarily. Borrowing money from China to rebuild Afghanistan for a decade is not conservative by any reasonable measure.
Iraq might have been the most unnecessary war in American history, as Kemp predicted it would be.
Everyone is now comparing Paul Ryan to Jack Kemp. If Ryan really wants to be like Kemp, adopting Kemp’s foreign policy views will be essential to actually reducing the size of government.
Once again, it is Ron Paul who lights the right path for Republicans.
That is, if Republicans want to take it. If Paul Ryan wants to go down the old neocon route, Americans can expect Bush-Obama Part 2 – the same foreign policy with the same tragic cost, debt, despair and hopelessness.
It’s hard to imagine Jack Kemp approving.