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There is a certain feel-good aspect to Ron Paul that is undeniable. The claims that he will end war, end foreign aid, end American meddling in other nations’ affairs, end the artificial manipulation of the economy by the government, and lower the President’s salary to $39k per year are sweeping declarations of change that are designed to extricate us from a complex reality that is difficult to understand and difficult to engage with.

Unfortunately Ron Paul’s simplistic vision has several problems associated with it, not the least being it’s impossible to achieve.

Look at the current stock market mess: the market has fallen because of the European economic crisis. The reason is American financial companies are heavily invested in European debt. How will Ron Paul extricate us from this so we can return to the bliss of isolationism? By writing-off those bond holdings and causing those American companies to fail? Congress and its lobbyist masters will never let that happen.

What of the foreign investment in Middle Eastern oil? Right now western corporations are investing in Kurdish oil in a massive black gold rush. That investment ties us into the Kurdistan vs. Baghdad political wrangle – and puts us on the Kurdish side of the fence. When (not “if”) Iraq falls into civil war, will we just stand aside and watch this massive western investment go up in smoke? That seems unlikely.

What about China? They are building aircraft carriers and continue to rattle sabers over Taiwan’s existence as an independent state – a state the U.S. has supported for half a century. Will we simply renege on our commitments to the Taiwanese and let China absorb them?

Ron Paul’s vision is of an America that is free of its foreign entanglements, yet also fully invested in a capitalist free enterprise system that excludes all government regulation and control. He wants the “markets” to be free to decide our economic destiny. But this ignores the nature of 21st century corporate operations: there are no wholly “American” corporations anymore – they are firmly embedded in the world economy and their interests are global interests. The U.S. military is an arm of corporate policy, and will continue to be so in the future. Will Ron Paul dismantle the U.S. corporate/military complex?

No.

As with all our politicians, Ron Paul talks a lot and ignores reality. The President of the United States has no ability to effect long-term change of American policies because the position is temporary. The idea is that the President drives policy through the exercise of leadership – but leadership only works if there is a government willing to be led. We haven’t had that for some time.

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