Released
19 April 2011

Ron Paul Quotes.com
1999 Ron Paul Chapter 29

U.S. Foreign Policy and NATO’s Involvement in Yugoslavia and Kosovo

Home Page   Contents   Congressional Record

21 April 1999


The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 6, 1999, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 60 minutes.

1999 Ron Paul 29:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, supporters of internationalism celebrated NATO’s 50th anniversary with the Senate’s 1998 overwhelming approval for expanding NATO to include Eastern European countries. This year’s official inclusion of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic made all NATO’s supporters proud, indeed. But in reality, NATO now is weaker and more chaotic than ever.

1999 Ron Paul 29:2
In the effort to expand NATO and promote internationalism, we see in reaction the rise of ugly nationalism. The U.S. and NATO policy of threats and intimidation to establish an autonomous Kosovo without true independence from Serbia, and protected by NATO’s forces for the foreseeable future, has been a recipe for disaster.

1999 Ron Paul 29:3
This policy of nation-building and interference in a civil war totally contradicts the mission of European defense set out in the NATO charter.

1999 Ron Paul 29:4
Without the Soviet enemy to justify the European military machine, NATO had to find enemies and humanitarian missions to justify its existence. The centuries-old ethnic hatreds found in Yugoslavia and the militant leaders on all sides have served this purpose well. Working hard to justify NATO’s policy in this region has totally obscured any objective analysis of the turmoil now raging.

1999 Ron Paul 29:5
Some specific policy positions of NATO guaranteed that the ongoing strife would erupt into a full-fledged and dangerous conflict. Once it was determined in the early 1990s that outsiders would indict and try Yugoslavian war criminals, it was certain that cooperation with western negotiators would involve risks. Fighting to the end became a practical alternative to a mock international trial. Forcing a treaty settlement on Serbia where Serbia would lose the sovereign territory of Kosovo guaranteed an escalation of the fighting and the forced removal of the Kosovars from their homes.

1999 Ron Paul 29:6
Ignoring the fact that more than 500,000 Serbs were uprooted from Croatia and Bosnia with the encouragement of NATO intervention did great harm to the regional effort to reestablish more stable borders.

1999 Ron Paul 29:7
The sympathy shown Albanian refugees by our government and our media, although justified, stirred the flames of hatred by refusing to admit that over a half million Serbs suffered the same fate and yet elicited no concern from the internationalists bent on waging war. No one is calling for the return of certain property and homes.

1999 Ron Paul 29:8
Threatening a country to do what we the outsiders tell them or their cities will be bombed is hardly considered good diplomacy. Arguing that the Serbs must obey and give up what they see as sovereign territory after suffering much themselves as well as face war crimes trials run by the West makes no sense. Anyone should have been able to predict what the results would be.

1999 Ron Paul 29:9
The argument that, because of humanitarian concerns for the refugees, we were forced to act is not plausible. Our efforts dramatically increased the refugee problem. Milosevic, as he felt cornered by the Western threats, reacted the only way he could to protect what he considered Serbia, a position he defends with international law while being supported by unified Serb people.

1999 Ron Paul 29:10
If it is the suffering and the refugees that truly motivate our actions, there is no answer to the perplexing question of why no action was taken to help the suffering in Rwanda, Sudan, East Timore, Tibet, Chechnya, Kurdish, Turkey, and for the Palestinians in Israel. This is not a reason; it is an excuse.

1999 Ron Paul 29:11
Instead, we give massive foreign aid to the likes of China and Russia, countries that have trampled on the rights of ethnic minorities.

1999 Ron Paul 29:12
How many refugees, how many children’s death has U.S. policy caused by our embargo and bombing for 9 years of a defenseless poverty-ridden Iraq. Just as our bombs in Iraq have caused untold misery and death, so have our bombs in Serbia killed the innocent on both sides, solidified support for the ruthless leaders, and spread the war.

1999 Ron Paul 29:13
This policy of intervention is paid for by the U.S. taxpayer and promoted illegally by our President without congressional authority, as is required by the Constitution.

1999 Ron Paul 29:14
The United States Government has in the past referred to the Kosovo Liberation Army leaders as thugs, terrorists, Marxists, and drug dealers. This current fight was initiated by Kosovo’s desire for independence from Serbia.

1999 Ron Paul 29:15
The KLA took on the Serbs, not the other way around. Whether or not one is sympathetic to Kosovo’s secession is not relevant. I for one prefer many small independent governments pledged not to aggress against their neighbors over the international special interest authoritarianism of NATO, the CIA, and the United Nations.

1999 Ron Paul 29:16
But my sympathies do not justify our taxing and sending young Americans to fight for Kosovo’s independence. It is wrong legally and morally; and besides, the KLA is not likely to institute a model nation respecting civil liberties of all its citizens.

1999 Ron Paul 29:17
The biggest irony of this entire mess is to see the interventionists, whose goal is one world government, so determined to defend a questionable group of local leaders, the KLA, bent on secession. This action will not go unnoticed and will provide the philosophic framework for the establishment of a Palestinian state, Kurdistan, and independent Tibet, and it will encourage many other ethnic minorities to demand independence.

1999 Ron Paul 29:18
Our policy of intervention in the internal affairs of other nations, and their border disputes is not one that comes from American tradition or constitutional law. It is a policy based on our current leaders’ belief that we are the policemen of the world, something we have earnestly and foolishly pursued since World War II and in a more aggressive fashion since the demise of the Soviet Union.

1999 Ron Paul 29:19
Interventionism is done with a pretense of wisdom believing we always know the good guys from the bad guys and that we will ignore the corporate and political special interests always agitating for influence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

1999 Ron Paul 29:20
Instead of being lucky enough on occasions to pick the right side of a conflict, we instead end up supporting both sides of nearly every conflict. In the 1980s, we helped arm, and allied ourselves with, the Iraqis against Iran. Also in the 1980s we supported the Afghan freedom fighters, which included Osama Bin Laden. Even in the current crisis in Yugoslavia, we have found ourselves on both sides.

1999 Ron Paul 29:21
The United States, along with the United Nations, in 1992 supported an arms embargo against Kosovo essentially making it impossible for the Kosovars to defend themselves against Serbia. Helping the Albanian Muslims is interpreted by some as token appeasement to the Arab oil countries unhappy with the advantage the Serbs got from the arms embargo.

1999 Ron Paul 29:22
This balancing act between three vicious warring factions was doomed to fail and has only led to more instability and the spreading of the war in the region.

1999 Ron Paul 29:23
Instead of pretending to be everything to everyone, while shifting alliances and blindly hoping for good to come of it, we should reconsider the advice of the Founders and take seriously the strict restraints on waging war placed in the Constitution.

1999 Ron Paul 29:24
Not much long-term good can come of a foreign policy designed to meddle and manipulate in places where we have no business or authority. It cannot help the cause of peace.

1999 Ron Paul 29:25
Unfortunately, our policies usually backfire and do more harm than good. When weaker nations are intimidated by more powerful ones, striking back very often can be done only through terrorism, a problem that will continue to threaten all Americans as our leaders incite those who oppose our aggressive stands throughout the world.

1999 Ron Paul 29:26
War has been used throughout history to enhance the state against the people. Taxes, conscription and inflation have been used as tools of the state to pursue wars not popular with the people. Government size and authority always grows with war, as the people are told that only the sacrifice of their liberties can save the nation. Propaganda and threats are used to coerce the people into this careless giving up of their liberties.

1999 Ron Paul 29:27
This has always been true with military wars, but the same can be said of the war mentality associated with the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war against illiteracy, or any other war proposed by some social do-gooder or intentional mischief maker.

1999 Ron Paul 29:28
But when a foreign war comes to our shores in the form of terrorism, we can be sure that our government will explain the need for further sacrifice of personal liberties to win this war against terrorism as well. Extensive preparations are already being made to fight urban and domestic violence, not by an enhanced local police force, but by a national police force with military characteristics.

1999 Ron Paul 29:29
Even the war against national disasters led by FEMA, usurps local authority while imposing restraints on movement and controlling recovery efforts that should be left to local police, private insurance, and voluntary groups.

1999 Ron Paul 29:30
Our overseas efforts to police the world implies that with or without success, resulting injuries and damage imposed by us and others will be rectified with U.S. tax dollars in the form of more foreign aid, as we always do. Nation building and international social work has replaced national defense as the proper responsibility of our government.

1999 Ron Paul 29:31
What will the fate of NATO be in the coming years? Many are fretting that NATO may dissolve over a poor showing in Yugoslavia, despite the 50th anniversary hype and its recent expansion. Fortunately for those who cherish liberty and limited government, NATO has a questionable future.

1999 Ron Paul 29:32
When our leaders sanctioned NATO in 1949, there were many patriotic Americans who questioned the wisdom and the constitutionality of this organization. It was by its charter to be strictly a defensive organization designed to defend Western Europe from any Soviet threat. The NATO charter clearly recognized the Security Council of the United Nations was responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.

1999 Ron Paul 29:33
Likewise, the legislative history and congressional testimony maintained NATO could not usurp from Congress and the people the power to wage war. We have drifted a long way from that acknowledgment, and the fears expressed by Robert Taft and others in 1949 were certainly justified.

1999 Ron Paul 29:34
United States and NATO, while deliberately avoiding a U.N. vote on the issue, have initiated war against a sovereign state in the middle of a civil war. A Civil War that caused thousands of casualties and refugees on both sides has been turned into a war with hundreds of thousands of casualties and refugees with NATO’s interference. The not-so-idle U.S. threats cast at Milosevic did not produce compliance. It only expanded the violence and the bloodshed.

1999 Ron Paul 29:35
The foolishness of this policy has become apparent, but Western leaders are quick to justify their warmongering. It was not peace or liberty or national security they sought as they sent the bombs flying. It was to save face for NATO.

1999 Ron Paul 29:36
Without the Soviets to worry about, NATO needed a mission, and stopping the evil Serbs fit the bill. It was convenient to ignore the evil Croates and the Kosovars, and it certainly was easy to forget the United Nations’, NATO’s, and the United States’ policies over the past decade that contributed to the mess in Yugoslavia.

1999 Ron Paul 29:37
It was soon apparent that bombing was no more a successful diplomatic tool than were the threats of dire consequences if the treaty, unfavorable to the Serbs, was not quickly signed by Milosevic. This drew demands that policy must be directed toward saving NATO by expanding the war. NATO’s credibility was now at stake and how could Europe, and the United States war machine, survive if NATO were to disintegrate.

1999 Ron Paul 29:38
Hopes as expressed by Ron Brown and his corporate friends were not extinguished by the unfortunate and mysterious Air Force crash while on their way to Bosnia to do business deals. Nobody even bothers to find out what U.S. policy condones business trips of our corporate leaders in a war zone on an Air Force aircraft. Corporate interests and the military-industrial complex continues to play a role in our Yugoslavian war policy. Corporate America loves NATO.

1999 Ron Paul 29:39
Most politicians and the public do not know what NATO’s real mission is, and today’s policy cannot be explained by reading its mission statement written in 1949. Certainly our vital interests and national security cannot justify our escalation of the war in Yugoslavia.

1999 Ron Paul 29:40
The excuse that we are the only superpower is hardly a moral reason to justify bombing nations that are seen as uncooperative. Military strength gives neither a right to bully nor a monopoly on wisdom. This strength too often, when held by large political entities, is used criminally to serve the powerful special interests.

1999 Ron Paul 29:41
The Persian Gulf and Yugoslavia obviously are much more economically intriguing than Rwanda and Sudan. There are clearly no business benefits for taking on the Chinese over its policy toward Tibet. Quite the contrary, we do business with China and subsidize her to boot.

1999 Ron Paul 29:42
In spite of the powerful political and industrial leaders’ support behind NATO, and the budgets of 19 Western countries, NATO’s days appear numbered. We shall not weep when NATO goes the way of the Soviet Empire and the Warsaw Pact. Managing a war with 19 vetoes makes it impossible for a coherent strategy to evolve. Chaos, bickering, bureaucratic blundering, waste and political infighting will surely result.

1999 Ron Paul 29:43
There is no natural tendency for big government to enjoy stability without excessive and brute force, as was used in the Soviet system. But eventually the natural tendency towards instability, as occurred in the Soviet Empire, will bring about NATO’s well-deserved demise. NATO, especially since it has embarked on a new and dangerous imperialistic mission, will find using brute force to impose its will on others is doomed to fail.

1999 Ron Paul 29:44
It has been said that, in numbers, there is strength. But in politics, it can also be said that, in numbers, there is confusion as differences become magnified.

1999 Ron Paul 29:45
Nationalism is alive and well even within the 19-member NATO group. When nationalism is non-militaristic, peace loving, and freedom oriented, it is a force that will always undermine big government planners, whether found in a Soviet system or a NATO/U.N. system.

1999 Ron Paul 29:46
The smaller the unit of government, the better it is for the welfare of all those who seek only peace and freedom. NATO no longer can hide its true intent behind an anti-communist commitment.

1999 Ron Paul 29:47
Some have wondered how a 1960s generation administration could be so proned to war. The 1960s were known for their rebellion against the Vietnam War and a preference for lovemaking and drugs over fighting, even Communists. In recent months four separate sovereign nations were bombed by the United States. This has to be some kind of a record. Bombing Belgrade on Easter has to tell us something about an administration that is still strangely seen by some as not having the determination to fight a real war. There is a big difference between being anti-war when one’s life is at risk as compared to when it is someone else’s. That may tell us something about character, but there is more to it than that.

1999 Ron Paul 29:48
Many who were opposed to the Persian Gulf and Vietnam Wars are now strongly supporting this so-called just and humanitarian war to punish those who are said to be totally responsible for the Yugoslavian refugee problem. The fact that Serbia is not Communist in the sense of North Vietnam may play a part for some in making the decision to support this war but not the war in Vietnam. But the Persian Gulf War was not at all about communism, it was about oil.

1999 Ron Paul 29:49
Some from the left, if strongly inclined toward internationalism, supported the Persian Gulf War, but for the most part the opposition came from those who chose not to support a president of the opposite party, while today, supporting one’s own party’s position to bomb the Serbs becomes politically correct.

1999 Ron Paul 29:50
The same can be said of those who are opposed to the Yugoslavian war. Where they supported the Persian Gulf War, this administration has not garnered their support for partisan reasons. The principle of interventionism, constitutionality and morality have not been applied consistently to each war effort by either political party, and there is a precise reason for this, over and above the petty partisanship of many.

1999 Ron Paul 29:51
The use of government force to mold personal behavior, manipulate the economy and interfere in the affairs of other nations is an acceptable practice endorsed by nearly everyone in Washington regardless of party affiliation. Once the principle of government force is acknowledged as legitimate, varying the when and to what degree becomes the only issue. It is okay to fight Communists overseas but not Serbs; it is okay to fight Serbs but not Arabs. The use of force becomes completely arbitrary and guided by the politician’s good judgment. And when it pleases one group to use constitutional restraint, it does, but forgets about the restraints when it is not convenient.

1999 Ron Paul 29:52
The 1960s crowd, although having a reputation for being anti-war due to their position on Vietnam, has never been bashful about its bold authoritarian use of force to mold economic conditions, welfare, housing, medical care, job discrimination, environment, wages and working conditions, combined with a love for taxes and inflation to pay the bills. When in general the principle of government force to mold society is endorsed, using force to punish Serbs is no great leap of faith, and for the interventionists is entirely consistent. Likewise, the interventionists who justified unconstitutional fighting in Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, Grenada, Libya and the Persian Gulf, even if they despise the current war in Yugoslavia, can easily justify using government force when it pleases them and their home constituency.

1999 Ron Paul 29:53
Philosophic interventionism is a politician’s dream. It allows arbitrary intervention, domestic or international, and when political circumstances demand opposition, it is easy to cite the Constitution which always and correctly rejects the use of government force, except for national self-defense and for the protection of life, liberty and property.

1999 Ron Paul 29:54
Politicians love interventionism and pragmatism, the prevailing philosophy of our age, a philosophy based on relative ethics. No rigid adherence to law or morality is required. Even the Constitution can be used in this delicate debate of just when and for whom we go to war. The trick is to grab the political moral high ground while rejecting the entire moral foundation upon which the law rests, natural rights, rejection of force and the requirement politicians be strictly bound by a contract for which all of us take an oath to uphold.

1999 Ron Paul 29:55
What does this hodgepodge philosophy here in the Congress mean for the future of peace and prosperity in general and NATO and the United Nations in particular? Pragmatism cannot prevail. Economically and socially it breeds instability, bankruptcy, economic turmoil and factionalism here at home. Internationally it will lead to the same results.

1999 Ron Paul 29:56
NATO’s days are surely numbered. That is the message of the current chaos in Yugoslavia. NATO may hold together in name only for a while, but its effectiveness is gone forever. The U.S. has the right to legally leave NATO with a 1-year’s notice. That we ought to do, but we will not. We will continue to allow ourselves to bleed financially and literally for many years to come before it is recognized that governance of diverse people is best done by diverse and small governments, not by a one-world government dependent on the arbitrary use of force determined by politically correct reasons and manipulated by the powerful financial interests around the world.

1999 Ron Paul 29:57
Our more immediate problem is the financing of the ongoing war in Yugoslavia. On February 9 of this year I introduced legislation to deny funds to the President to wage war in Yugoslavia. The Congress chose to ignore this suggestion and missed an opportunity to prevent the fiasco now ongoing in Yugoslavia.

1999 Ron Paul 29:58
The President, as so many other presidents have done since World War II, took it upon himself to wage an illegal war against Yugoslavia under NATO’s authority, and Congress again chose to do nothing. By ignoring our constitutional responsibility with regards to war power, the Congress implicitly endorsed the President’s participation in NATO’s illegal war against Yugoslavia. We neither declared war nor told the President to cease and desist.

1999 Ron Paul 29:59
Now we have a third chance, and maybe our last, before the war gets out of control. We are being asked to provide all necessary funding for the war. Once we provide funds for the war, the Congress becomes an explicit partner in this ill-conceived NATO-inspired intervention in the civil war of a sovereign nation, making Congress morally and legally culpable.

1999 Ron Paul 29:60
Appropriating funds to pursue this war is not the way to peace. We have been bombing, boycotting and killing thousands in Iraq for 9 years with no end in sight. We have been in Bosnia for 3 years, with no end in sight. And once Congress endorses the war in Yugoslavia with funding, it could take a decade, billions of dollars, and much suffering on both sides, before we put it to an end.

1999 Ron Paul 29:61
Bellicosity and jingoism associated with careless and illegal intervention can never replace a policy of peace and friendship whenever possible. And when it is not, at least neutrality. NATO’s aggressive war of destruction and vengeance can only make the situation worse. The sooner we disengage ourselves from this ugly civil war, the better. It is the right thing to do.
Notes:

1999 Ron Paul 29:10 East Timore probably should be East Timor.

1999 Ron Paul 29:10 Kurdish, Turkey probably should be either Kurdistan, Turkey or Kurdish Turkey (without the comma).

1999 Ron Paul 29:20 Osama Bin Laden probably should be uncapitalized: Osama bin Laden.

1999 Ron Paul 29:32 The NATO charter clearly recognized the Security Council of the United Nations was responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. probably should be The NATO charter clearly recognized that the Security Council of the United Nations was responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.

1999 Ron Paul 29:34 A Civil War that caused thousands of casualties probably should not be capitalized: A civil war that caused thousands of casualties.

1999 Ron Paul 29:36 the evil Croates probably should be the evil Croats.

1999 Ron Paul 29:57 On February 9 of this year I introduced legislation to deny funds to the President to wage war in Yugoslavia. See 1999 Ron Paul Chapter 6.

Previous     Next



Home Page   Contents   Concordance
  Links   Donate   E-mail list.