To be clear, it isn’t a matter of him being against sending troops to Iran, or bombing Iran — he is even against imposing sanctions, or taking any other actions to attempt to stop them from getting nukes.
Imagine that! Not even sanctions! It’s almost as if he thinks it’s none of our business.
John Derbyshire had an interesting post earlier today that touched on this question. Since sanctions are an ineffective mechanism for preventing the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon (if there were a consensus inside the Iranian government in favor of building one, which there isn’t), Derbyshire asks why Paul’s “more honest” statement of the Iran policy all of the other candidates share comes in for so much criticism:
It seems clear to me that given Iran’s resources (and Chinese and Russian duplicity), any system of sanctions would leak like a sieve — as, in fact, pretty much all systems of sanctions against unpopular nations always have. The only way to prevent Iran from going nuclear if she wants to is therefore by military action. In fact, since one-off strikes would have uncertain effect, the only true way would be full-scale military invasion and long-term occupation.
Which Republican candidate advocates such a course of action?
If the answer is “None” (which of course it is), then what, in effect, is the difference between Dr. Paul’s Iran policy and that of Romney, Bachmann, Perry, and the rest?
If no U.S. leader or potential leader is willing to do the one thing sure to kill Iran’s nuclear ambitions, then how is it eccentric, much less worthy of mockery, for Dr. Paul to say we should leave them to it and rely on deterrence?
As Paul Pillar remarked after last week’s debate, no one has to be a Ron Paul enthusiast to recognize that he was speaking plain sense on Iran’s nuclear program:
Whatever else you may think about Paul and his candidacy, there is no refuting three truths he stated regarding the hysteria-inducing subject of Iran and its nuclear program. One, as Iranians look at what is surrounding them in their own neighborhood, they have good and understandable reasons to be interested in nuclear weapons. Two, even if they were to acquire a nuke, any capability they then had would pale in comparison with what the United States faced in the form of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, or China for that matter. Third, as U.S. dealings with the Soviets demonstrated, an adversary’s nuclear capability does not constitute a reason to stop talking and start making a war.
This means that even if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon, it would be a manageable, containable problem. It would not be ideal, but it would be vastly preferable to the escalation of tensions that would follow from a policy of increasing sanctions and confrontation.