Ron Paul’s stances on foreign policy have distanced him from the rest of the Republican presidential field. He has been characterized as radical by some on the right -- and yet, he continues to poll strong in Iowa as the first-in-the-nation caucuses approach. Here are four key stances that Paul has staked out on foreign policy.
Paul opposes using sanctions or force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. During the last Republican debate in Sioux City, Iowa, last week, Paul warned of the “war propaganda” brewing over the possibility of a nuclear Iran.
“It’s another Iraq coming. There’s war propaganda going on ... The greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact and we will soon bomb Iran.”
Paul has said that diplomacy should be used to deal with the Iranian regime.
“We have 12,000 diplomats. I’m suggesting that maybe we ought to use some of them,” Paul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” last month.
Ending US foreign aid
Paul, who ran for president as a libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008, has advocated eliminating foreign aid to all countries, including Israel.
“Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?” Paul said in a November 21 Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN. “I think they’re quite capable of taking care of themselves.”
This position cost him an invitation the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential forum in Washington earlier this month.
“His views are what we feel are way outside the mainstream of the Republican Party,” Matt Brooks, the group’s executive director, told the Globe..
Linking 9/11 to US policies abroad
Paul’s campaign website states that he voted to allow the use of military force to hunt down Osama bin Laden. But he gave ammunition to his Republican rivals when he mentioned that US policies abroad had “an influence” on the 9/11 attacks.
“You talk to the people who committed it and those individuals who would like to do us harm, and they say we don’t like American bombs to be falling on our country, we don’t like the intervention we do in their nation,” Paul said on “Face the Nation.” in November.
On the same show, Paul went on to explain that “the average American didn’t cause it. But if you have a flawed policy, it may influence it... I’m saying policies have an effect but that’s a far cry from blaming America.”
Paul opposed the Patriot Act and the creation of new federal security agencies after 9/11, and has said he would scrap the Transportation Security Administration if elected president.
“You never have to give up liberty for security; you can still provide security without sacrificing our Bill of Rights,’’ Paul said at the November 21 debate.
Normalizing relations with Cuba:
The US has maintained a trade embargo on Cuba since 1960, when Fidel Castro’s government nationalized all US businesses. Speaking in Exeter, N.H., on Tuesday, Paul said “I think it’s time we ought to forget about (Fidel) Castro and start trading with Cuba,” according to the Union-Leader.
“History shows you’re more likely to get rid of a dictator if you undermine his support by trading with him,” Paul explained during an April visit to Florida, a state where US policy towards Cuba is a hot-button issue.