If one were to believe the western narrative, a political dissident is someone standing up against a political regime which has fallen out of favour with NATO. For example one could point to Ahmed Chalabi, the thieving Iraqi con-artist who authored many of the lies which were repeated by George Bush and Tony Blair in the run up to the disastrous war on Iraq.
But for those with a more expansive and honest lexicon, a political dissident is someone who stands against the status quo and fights for a totally new method of government against great odds. Ron Paul is a man who fits this definition and as such, he has become one of the most admirable political dissidents of the 21st century.
Initially trained as a medical doctor, Paul entered the US Congress first in 1977. Although he had two periods of absence from Congress first between 1977 and 1979 and then between 1985 and 1977, he is generally considered to have a long and notable Congressional career. However, his fame on an international level came during his two attempts at securing the presidential nomination of the Republican party, first in 2008 and then in 2012.
His attempts at becoming president introduced Paul as the only anti-war candidate of the two major American parties. This led to frequent clashes with the establishment of both parties which were and remain pro-war, so much so they are looking to start new wars before even contemplating how to end ongoing wars.
Although Donald Trump has brought a generally anti-interventionist and NATO-sceptic view to mainstream politics due to his personal profile, Ron Paul’s consistency in opposing US military action is long standing and based on clearly defined principles.
First of all, Paul has challenged the legality of recent wars under US law, deeming them to be unconstitutional abuses of power.
Secondly, Ron Paul challenges the pragmatism of war, questions the hidden motives for war and highlights the plethora of double standards which are rife in Washington and much of Europe.
Recently, Ron Paul has been speaking about western intentions in Ukraine. In a piece from 21 August, Paul warns about the US goading the putsch government in Kiev into waging war with Russia. In his piece, Paul gets the major points right, even whilst missing some of the subtler issues. His key statements are
–The US has a history of practicing ‘regime change’ in Kiev. First in 2005 when Viktor Yanukovych was ousted and again in 2014 when he was ousted even more violently during the ensuing coup.
–Diplomats from any country should not meddle in the affairs of foreign states but amongst US diplomats this no longer applies and there are no consequences of any kind for those who flagrantly violate the laws of international diplomacy.
–The referendum in Crimea was democratic and was won by a super-majority.
–Crimea is home to Russian people and is historically Russian.
–The email leak scandal in the Democratic party does not place American politicians on a high ground to lecture anyone on democracy.
In all of these points, Paul proves that he is a rare breed of western politician who has a comfortable relationship with reality.
He concludes his piece in the following way:
“What should we do about Ukraine and Russia? We should stop egging Ukraine on, we should stop subsidising the government in Kiev, we should stop NATO exercises on the Russian border, we should end sanctions, we should return to diplomacy, we should send the policy of “regime change” to the dustbin of history. The idea that we would be facing the prospect of World War III over which flag flies above a tiny finger of land that most US politicians couldn’t find on a map is utterly ridiculous. When are we going to come to our senses?”
When indeed is the West as a whole going to get to grips with the realities of the world it tries yet fails to rule?
Surprisingly for some, Ron Paul has not endorsed Donald Trump. Paul is not comfortable with Trump’s economic and trade policies (Paul is an ideological free trader whilst Trump is a protectionist), Paul has questioned Trump’s political pedigree but most crucially Paul claims he is waiting to see if Trump makes good on his promises to oppose war and hostilities with countries like Russia.
Trump who unlike Paul has a very realistic chance of becoming president, is a far preferable choice to Hillary Clinton. However Ron Paul deserves praise for helping to make the anti-war position popular.
Ron Paul is a true political dissident and whilst at times he has been a Voice in the Wilderness more and more people are hearing him and supporting his views.