The Arc of Crisis Today: Why Ron Paul Can’t Be President

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries. – Zbigniew Brzezinski

Thirty-three years ago, President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, described “an arc of crisis” in an area stretching from the Horn of Africa in the west to the Indian subcontinent in the east. Thirty-three years later, the region remains not only vital to U.S. interests, but also increasingly problematic. Though the specter of the Soviet Union and international communism no longer hangs over the region, there are a number of new challenges emerging which threaten to keep the region unstable for years to come. The most notable of these threats is the spread of radical Islam, whose antipathy for American values and interests was fully exposed to the world on the morning of September 11, 2001. Since that time, the U.S. has been actively engaging this threat on multiple fronts in the region, from a war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to post-invasion counter-insurgency operations in Iraq. There is no question that the area remains an “Arc of Crisis” which demands U.S. attention. Consequently, the next president must be ready to actively engage the many threats emanating from this region not only for the sake of protecting American interests in the region, but also preserving relative peace and stability.

It should be obvious to those who understand America’s national security concerns that complete military disengagement from the region is not a viable option. The area is far too important for the U.S. to withdraw to the extent that Ron Paul desires. Unfortunately for Paul, there is such a thing as a “strategic ally.” Israel, one of only two democratic countries in the region (including Iraq) and said strategic ally, remains at the epicenter of regional conflict. Its neighbors continue to deny its right to exist, and it faces significant threats from Islamic extremist organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah. Not to mention an extremely hostile and aggressive theocratic regime in Tehran which will go nuclear soon without decisive action (personally, I’m praying that Israel goes ahead and takes out the nuclear program like they did in Iraq in the 80’s). At the very least, the U.S. should maintain a military presence in the region if for no other reason than to ensure the safety of Israel. While Israel is relatively powerful militarily, should it see another coordinated attack by multiple neighbors, it will likely require U.S. assistance. Ditto Iraq (only replace “powerful” with “weak” and “likely” with “definitely”).

Ron Paul is certain that radical Islamic terrorists commit acts of terror against America because “we are bombing them.” He argued in that recent debate that we have “declare[d] war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say that all Muslims are the same.” Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Since the Bush administration, it has been very clear that our war is not with the entire global Muslim population. We are at war with militant, fundamentalist Islam. Its adherents do not hate and attack America because we are “prosperous” as Paul suggested. They attack us because we are infidels. They attack us because we do not practice Shari’a law. The ideals of democracy are anathema to them. They want to raise the Islamic flag over the White House and conquer the West, as one British cleric puts it. In case Representative Paul hasn’t noticed, the Muslim Brotherhood, the new de facto ruling party in Egypt, has effectively declared war on America. Tell me, Rep. Paul, how many people has the United States bombed in Egypt recently? How many fire missions was the United States running in the Middle East in 1993 when Ramzi Yousef first blew up the World Trade Center? How many bombing runs did the U.S. make in Saudi Arabia prior to 9/11, considering 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi?

If any more proof of Ron Paul’s foreign policy ineptitude is needed, this ad should suffice. This ad is a disgrace and an insult to the intelligence of the American people. The comparison between U.S. troops and Chinese troops is offensive to every man and woman to ever wear the uniform. There is a legitimate debate to be had about the current state of our involvement in Afghanistan and whether we should continue to nation or state-build in that country. But to compare our liberation of Iraq to a Chinese occupation of Texas is patently absurd. The United States has always fought on the side of liberty and has forsaken the atrocities associated with communism. Never mind the countless inaccurate suggestions contained in the ad, conveniently overlooking the foreign roots of most of the insurgents or the fact that we deposed a despot who was far worse for Iraqi citizens than American troops could ever be. There MUST be something wrong when The Daily Kos, of all publications, is endorsing an ad for a “Republican” candidate.

Keep in mind that this is the same guy who only voted for U.S. military action in Afghanistan because his staff threatened a mutiny, and it likely would have been political suicide. I wonder: how would an America under Ron Paul respond to a terrorist attack? Have a cup of tea and try to work out our differences? As much as I can’t believe that I’m saying this, I think Michele Bachmann perfectly summarized Paul’s foreign policy in that last debate: dangerous.

Kevin Reagan // George Washington University // @O_JoseCanYouSee



  1. Removal of our bill of rights and bankrupting the country will not help our security. Russia had a strong military but fell to money problems. Study the reason why the IRA attacked Great Brittan. The attack that finally got their message across was eerily similar to the attack on the world trade towers. Ron Paul does not make these things up he just reads them from the paperwork that congress would not want everyone to know about.

  2. 2alangroves says:

    Interesting, and very informative. It is eerie to even think that if Ron Paul won the nomination, on issues of national security he would effectively be running a campaign to the left of President Obama…would Ron Paul have had the persistance or strength needed to carry on the Bush policies that lead to the kill of Bin Laden? I think not.

  3. Rob Vincent says:

    So just what would a president Paul do is the Iranians blocked the Strait of Hormuz? IF he decided to use force to open it, how long would it take to move military troops to the theater?

  4. I hate to say this, but Ron Paul is a bumbling fool. Biden would be a better president than him! I couldn’t even finish watching the ad, it was so idiotic and out of touch with reality. Apparently, he’s never served his country in the military nor has he had dealings with those who have. He needs to put on a uniform and serve before making such ridiculous and outrageous statements.

  5. What is it about Ron Paul that really scares Kevin Reagan? Is he too Conservative for you? I’ll choose Ron Paul before I choose another RINO. I’m tired of the same old crap. Maybe we truly need to try something different. Same old bureaucrats. Reminds me of the Book/Movie “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. Nothing but bureaucrats/idiots running things or puppets for others. Congress can vote to Declare War without the president anyway. Let’s see there appears to be Newt and Romney. Newt is a corrupt politician who commits adultery/goes from wife to wife as if they are musical chairs so forget him and Romney created Romneycare in Mass. so he’s out too. I’d rather see Obama get re-elected than let another RINO in. Better the Devil you know than the one you don’t.
    I’ve served the in the U.S. Army for over 8 years on Active Duty and I’m tired of the politicians of using using us as if we merely Chess pieces to be moved about and discarded back to the box when not needed. I don’t think anyone deserves the presidency unless they served in the Armed Forces. Has the Author served any time in the Armed Forces?

    K. Reagan says, “As much as I can’t believe that I’m saying this, I think Michele Bachmann perfectly summarized Paul’s foreign policy in that last debate: dangerous.”

    Really Kevin? Do you even double check the facts? Are you one of those guys who forwards emails/spam of false stories about things? Got a website you can use called Michelle Bachmann is the one candidate with the worst record of exaggerations and misstatements out of all of them. Here’s one place I can back up my facts with:

  6. Paul is a clown. It is embarrassing to see him on stage with truly thoughtful conservatives like Bachmann and Santorum. Let there be no doubt, nominating him will set conservatism back for a decade.

  7. Lisa Smith says:

    This is written by someone in college, take that for what its worth. This article is a joke…

  8. @Stephanie – Ron Paul was a flight surgeon in the military for 5 years. He also receives more contributions from military service men and women than any other candidate (why do you think that is?). Maybe you’re the one who is out of touch with reality.

  9. Kelly Kafir says:

    Good job Kevin Reagan!! Spot on! And to take on the Paulbots in the process too!

    IvyKID – Comparing the IRA in Ireland to the Islamists is about the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Two TOTALLY different ideologies.

    I see the Paulbots are out enforce! They will not see the truth so don’t confuse them with facts.

    This article is spot on about the reason the militants are at war with us and Ron Paul’s naivety about Islam and the threat to our country (and the world) is dangerous and irresponsible. Funny how all the Paul bots are quoting liberal sources to “check the facts”… wah wah wah… try again…

    And ps – not all military support the looney Wrong Paul! I and most of my military friends do not! And I did 20 years in the military! So get off your “holier than thou because I served” high horse, Kyle…

    Paul is the real joke here, Lisa.

  10. I am a longtime Paul supporter, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, and this is your article – not the place to engage in a full-scale debate over the pros and cons of RP’s platform.

    But I do want to make one point about Egypt, since you mentioned it. You note that the Muslim Brotherhood has acted with hostility toward the U.S. since taking control. This is actually a great example of how our intervention abroad can come back and bite us. Hosni Mubarak was the previous ruler of Egypt (1981-2011), and we spent billions of dollars to support him and try to influence his policies. Since Mubarak was a repressive ruler, the Egyptian people naturally resented the fact that we propped him up. Now the radicals are in power, as you mentioned, and they’re using that anti-American anger to their advantage.

    By propping up a dictator who the Egyptian people hated, we inadvertently made it easier for a radical anti-American faction to seize power. There are ALWAYS unintended consequences for our actions, and we would be foolish to ignore this.

    Ron Paul is not at all opposed to defending this country – he just wants to do it the constitutional way. Go to Congress, get a declaration, WIN the war, and get out. Up until recently, this was the conservative approach.

  11. Also: The 9/11 Commission, the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit, and numerous other officials have agreed with Paul that our foreign policy (particularly military presence in Middle East and economic sanctions leading to numerous deaths in Iraq) is a major cause of terrorist anger toward us. Not the only cause, but it’s a big one. This is pretty much indisputable at this point.

  12. I had no intention of commenting until I read the above comments agreeing that this article sucked.

    I pretty much liked Paul before I realized his foreign policy is lacking. After watching that highly annoying ad, I agree with the few here in comments who think Kevin’s article is right on. Doesn’t matter anyway, Paul has no chance of ever being the candidate.

  13. This post has no historical context. Radical Islam is a modern invention that is a minor offshoot of one of the 3 historical branches of Islam. It is part of the more strict branch. The other two branches are the moderate branch that has often embraced Western Philosophy. You see this in that the West was re-introduced to Aristotle and other Greek thinkers from Islamic translations. The third branch is the liberal branch that is nominally Muslim and sides more with philosophical theories than theological ones.

    With that said, radical Islam was a reaction of the younger hardliners who thought everyone else was selling out when the British began to tinker around in Islamic lands. So to only go back 33 years is absurd.

    With that said Islam has always, as with every empire including the modern American one, sought to expand itself. I personally do not believe that we can just sit back and fall asleep. That would end in disaster long term. I am saying that these preemptive strikes are doing more harm than good in that it stirs the bee’s nests and the nuts come out of hiding. I think that is more or less the message of Ron Paul.

  14. jack black says:

    LMAO how does it feel to hate someone so much and despite all the media rhetoric and ignorant lies, he is unstoppable with more and more Americans jumping on board every day! this is a victory for America and the constitution!

  15. Mr. Reagan, you have missed some very glaring points. First our status quo is not working, we have more enemies now than ever. If a strong military presence around the world is what it takes for us to be safe from terrorist then why did 911 happen? We are spending trillions policing the world and for what? I hate to break it to you Mr. Reagan, there are bad people in this world that want to do bad things to other people. We have planes that can strike ANYWHERE in the wold with in 24 hours stationed in Missouri. There is NO need for any military installation outside our own borders.

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