Rolling Stone on “How America Lost the War on Drugs” Álvaro Uribe vs. El Nuevo Herald
Dec 122007

We don’t have much nice to say about a politician who introduces legislation every year “To end membership of the United States in the United Nations.”

But it definitely takes guts – if not a suicidal impulse – get in front of a crowd of Miami Republican activists and say what Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said during Sunday’s Univision candidates’ debate (PDF):

MODERATOR: It’s the presidential forum, the Republican one. We’re going to talk about something else. Now we’re going to talk about Latin America. A week ago, exactly a week ago, Venezuela rejected changes to the constitution, but the president, Hugo Chavez…

(APPLAUSE)

President Hugo Chavez has insisted that he’s going to propose them again. Many consider him a threat to democracy in the region. If you were elected president, how would you deal with Chavez? Let’s start with Congressman John Paul — Ron Paul, sorry.

PAUL: Well, he’s not the easiest person to deal with, but we should deal with everybody around the world the same way: with friendship and opportunity to talk and try to trade with people.

(AUDIENCE BOOING)

PAUL: We talked to — we talked to Stalin, we talked to Khrushchev, we’ve talked to Mao, and we’ve talked to the world, and we get along with people.

PAUL: Actually, I believe we’re at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba.

(AUDIENCE BOOING)

(APPLAUSE)

But let me — let me tell you — let me tell you why — let me tell you why we have a problem in South America and Central America: because we’ve been involved in their internal affairs for so long. We have been meddling in their business.

(APPLAUSE)

We create the Chavezes of the world, we create the Castros of the world by interfering and creating chaos in their countries, and they respond by throwing out their leader.

(AUDIENCE BOOING)

7 Responses to “Can’t accuse him of pandering”

  1. Jaime Bustos Says:

    I think Mr. Paul is the most honorable and honest candidate, as per his speeches and declarations. If he really is as honest as he conveys through his declarations, chances are he won’t be in the favorite bunch of candidates to win the presidency, as his meager exposure to the American people by the mainstream media attests.

  2. Camilla Says:

    I think Ron Paul is a thoroughly disagreeable creature. A purported advocate of free markets and free trade, he voted down Peru’s entry into the free trade pact, saying such pacts weren’t necessary. What an ignoramus. Guy seems to think these pacts are only about dropping tariffs, not equalizing the terms of trade. Meanwhile, Hugo benefits and Ron is happy. Ron Paul is nothing but a moron and a hypocrite.

  3. Kyle Says:

    Ron Paul may have forgotten one of Machiavelli’s key lessons:
    Don’t try to please everyone because you will please no one.

    He is a classical liberal (it seems) and realist as well. That probably won’t fly in a lot of areas. Not even democratic realists (one branch of neo-cons) won’t like the idea of trading with Venezuela. Though, his analysis of why they aren’t big fans of us may get to part of the heart of the issue. I’m sure us meddling in their political systems (especially in such disastrous ways) doesn’t make them happy, but at the same time, there are other issues as well. One of them could be unequal trade.
    There is the key Camilla. As a classical liberal (I’m guessing he is by what he has said), one mustn’t equalize the terms of trade. It is not a zero-sum game. If the US gains and country-X gains, it is good for both, even if the US gains 1,000 times more than country X. But why an agreement with Peru wouldn’t be necessary? Not sure why he would posit that (or if he did).

    I’m sure he didn’t mind that John Paul name drop though.

  4. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Kyle, don’t guess anymore, cause you guessed wrong. Mr Paul always has been a conservative republican, and it’s that party he is running for.

  5. Sergio Méndez Says:

    Camilla:

    Well, I am not a fan or Ron Paul myself (specially for his position on illegal immigration and abortion, being the fist one explicitly anti libertarian and the second essentially anti libertarian), but I think he has a point with the free trade agreement. Free trade is about dropping down tarrifs, not pretending that there is an equalitation of an essentially asimetrical and mercantilist deal like the “TLC”…

  6. Camilla Says:

    I disagree, Sergio. Free trade is about way more than just dropping tariffs. It’s about equalizing terms of trade, scrapping nontrade barriers, eg chaebol, that kind of thing. It’s about leveling the playing field. it’s true a nation could just, like estonia or new zealand, unilaterally drop all trade barriers. But america has already done that with its free trade partners like peru and colombia. What’s needed is the pact, the glorious pact, to drop goods for US companies, number one, but better still, to create a platform for investment so that countries like Peru and Colombia can get oodles of foreign investment they need and thus create jobs. Businesses don’t like to invest in places without permanent pacts, you could one year have a truly excellent business-friendly, job-friendly president like Alvaro Uribe one year, but then get a Hugo Chavez lookalike the next. Only a pact, with its international guarantees, its international laws, its international arbitration, is really the guarantee you need if you are going to make a big investment like a factory, which will produce thousands of new jobs. Only that guarantee will really make you want to take the plunge. Guys like Ron Paul don’t know anything about this, they just assume that libertarianism will happen on its own instead of through engaging others and caring about them.

    One other point, not all free trade pacts are alike. If you want a Hugo-Chavez style free trade pact, like ALBA, it’s practically worthless. Not only do all its members produce little of value, they also have so many exceptions to their rules that it effectively amounts to mercantilism, the corporate state. Big groups guarding their privileges. By contrast, the US free trade pacts drop tariffs on everything – it’s why they are so valuable and so sought after. Plus, they give countries access to the world’s biggest $13 trillion market. Free trade pacts, as negotiated by the US, primarily benefit small businesses which can’t afford special deals or concessions from the governments. This is why they are so beautiful.

  7. Camilla Says:

    Error – I meant to say: What’s needed is the pact, the glorious pact, to drop tariffs for US…

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