One of the great disappointments of my brief governmental experience, which included a stint at the White House, was the strategic vacuum at the top. No one was planning or even thinking about the decade ahead let alone the next hundred years. It was all about the next election. There were no meetings about what the real problems were but rather, what were the perceived problems, the ones that would dominate the evening news that night and therefore needed an immediate fix, or at least the pretense of a fix.
But if someone were to come from another planet and look at us and look at our society, they would not be impressed by our evening news. The most serious, obvious, societal problems are hardly mentioned. Take, for example, drunk driving. We are literally slaughtering thousands, needlessly, every year, a death toll that surpasses any recent war. It would alarm our imaginary interplanetary observer. Is it a type of societal suicide? But the real problems and the perceived problems, dictated by a fickle, easily bored public and placated by an irresponsible, entertainment, money driven, modern news establishment can’t think strategically either.
So it comes as a bit of shock to encounter an honest thinker, and one in government! And to find one in the United States House of Representatives, where the members are perpetually politicking for re-election, is astounding.
But listen to this. Fully a year before the events of September 11, 2001, Ron Paul expressed his alarm at American foreign policy arrogance, particularly how it was increasingly seen in Islamic countries.
“The cost in terms of liberties lost and the unnecessary exposure to terrorism are difficult to determine, but in time it will become apparent to all of us that foreign interventionism is of no benefit to American citizens, but is instead a threat to our liberties.” – Ron Paul (spoken in the year 2000.)
This is not a pro Arab or pro Islamic statement. To anyone who has traveled to Islamic countries, as I have for years, this is only common sense. It has been no help to us or our important allies, such as Israel, to unnecessarily provoke and ignore the sensibilities of so vast a people.
The idea that someone could see this, before it happened, and had the courage to speak up about it, is encouraging. The fact that none of us even knew it was said, that it didn’t rate mention on the evening news, and even now, after the fact, is still ignored by politicians and journalists alike, who can’t abide to be wrong about anything, is exasperating.
Here is the second one…