Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

March 16, 1998
US should stop meddling in foreign wars
Faulty foreign policy often puts US in bad situations

Last week it was Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis. This week's devil is Slobodon Milosevic and the Serbs. Next week, who knows? Kim Jong Il and the North Koreans? Next year, who will it be, the Ayatollah and the Iranians?

Every week we must find a foreign infidel to slay; and, of course, keep the military-industrial complex humming. It is telling that while Congress cannot find a way to make serious tax cuts or reforms to the IRS, reduce spending or erase the bureaucratic red tape, our national leaders can daily find new hot-spots around the world send our military and our money.

Last week U.S. Special Envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard, while visiting Belgrade, praised Milosevic for his cooperation in Bosnia and called the separatists in Kosova "without question a terrorist group." So how should we expect a national government to treat its terrorists? Likewise, our Secretary of State in 1991 gave a signal to Milosevic by saying, `All Yugoslavia should remain a monolithic state.' What followed was to be expected: Serb oppression of the Croats and the Muslims.

All our wise counsel so freely given to so many in this region fails to recognize that the country of Yugoslavia was an artificial country created by the Soviet masters, just as the borders of most Middle Eastern countries were concocted by the British and U.N. resolutions.

The centuries old ethnic rivalries inherent in this region, and aggravated by persistent Western influence as far back as the Crusades, will never be resolved by arbitrary threats and use of force from the United States or the United Nations. All that is being accomplished is to further alienate the factions, festering hate and pushing the region into a war of which we need no part.

Planning any military involvement in Kosova is senseless. Our security is not threatened, and no one has the foggiest notion of whether Kofi Annan or Bill Clinton is in charge of our foreign policy. The two certainly do not speak in unison on Iraq.

But we cannot maintain two loyalties, one to a world government under the United Nations and the other to U.S. sovereignty protected by an American Congress. If we try, only chaos can result and we are moving rapidly in that direction.

Instead of bringing our troops home from Bosnia, as many Members of Congress have expressed an interest in doing, over the President's objection, we are rapidly preparing for sending more troops into Kosova. This obsession with worldwide military occupation by U.S. troops is occurring at the very time our troops lack adequate training and preparation.

This is not a result of too little money by a misdirected role for our military, a role that contradicts the policy of neutrality, friendship, trade and nonintervention in the affairs of other nations. The question we should ask is: are we entitled to, wealthy enough, or even wise enough to assume the role of world policemen and protector of the world's natural resources?

Under the Constitution, there is no such authority. Under rules of morality, we have no authority to force others to behave as we believe they should, and force American citizens to pay for it not only with dollars, but with life and limb as well. And by the rules of common sense, the role of world policemen is a dangerous game and not worth playing.

Acting as an honest broker, the U.S. may help bring warring factions to the peace table, but never with threats of war or bribes paid for by the American taxpayers. We should stop sending money and weapons to all factions. Too often our support finds its way into the hands of both warring factions and we never know how long it will be for our friends and allies of today to become our enemy and targets of tomorrow.

Concern for American security is a proper and necessary function of the U.S. Congress. The current policy, and one pursued for decades, threatens our security, drains our wallets, and worst of all, threatens the lives of young Americans to stand tall for Americans' defense, but not for Kofi Annan and the United Nations.

Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas in the United States House. He can be contacted at his Washington office, 203 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515, or at his web site (