Some of the loudest voices on the right continue to categorize Ron Paul’s foreign policy views as “leftist.” It is true that like many on the left, Paul has been a staunch opponent of the Iraq War, our decade-long presence in Afghanistan and the recent intervention in Libya.
Paul believes that the only just war is a war of defense. When America was attacked on 9/11, Paul supported going into Afghanistan because he believed what most Americans believed — that the Taliban was harboring those behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. When America is attacked, she defends herself. This is what most Americans think of as “national defense.”
But what Paul’s critics on the right call “national defense” is often something quite different. The concept of preventive war — that is, going to war with nations that “might” be a threat at some point — is something new and without precedent in our history. This part of the Bush Doctrine, coupled with the notion that America can — and must — spread democracy throughout the globe, has become many conservatives’ default foreign policy position.
But this is a strange position for conservatives, because it is not conservative...
...Is Barack Obama a “conservative” for having a foreign policy similar to Bush’s? If “Bush kept us safe” was a mantra conservatives were comfortable using to obscure his big-government record, has “Obama kept us safe” by carrying on with the same wars, starting a new one in Libya and taking out Osama bin Laden? Ron Paul now attacks Obama’s foreign policy just as viciously as he did Bush’s and on the same grounds.
Is Obama the conservative and Paul the liberal?