Are Neocons that afraid of terrorists...or do they think WE are? Is RP's framing of foreign policy ALL WRONG!?Submitted by PTDM on Thu, 12/08/2011 - 16:27
If you listen to the other candidates talk about keeping america safe and about not letting the terrorists do us harm, it's easy to get the idea that they're afraid of terrorists. That's the impression I've always gotten, and my response has always tended to be something like (paraphrased): "You know, the terrorists are really not that good. A bunch of guys in a cave really aren't capable of destroying the US."
So it also made sense when Paul's campaign came out with that "keep America safe" ad. I thought: "That will show them that Paul is entirely capable of national defense."
But over the past couple of months I've had a nagging sense that this understanding of the neocon objection to Paul wasn't quite right. The other day it finally occurred to me:
I don't think the neocons are worried about America. No, they think Ron Paul is a pansy. When they hear withdraw our troops, they hear "Ron Paul wants to run away and hide."
What makes it even worse is the "blow-back" argument. The blow-back argument would make sense as an argument if the neocons were worried about stopping terrorism. But that's not really what they're worried about (they think we have stopped it and are stopping it). Their real concern is the appearance that the terrorists can tell the US what to do. So when they hear us say "Osama said the reason he attacked was because our troops in Saudi Arabia" - they don't hear what we're trying to tell them (why cause trouble for ourselves where we don't need it), they think:
"Oh - Osama said that? Well then F..K him! We'll send more troops! America doesn't take orders from some ass-holes in another country!"
In other words, I think, they think WE are afraid of terrorists. They think we want to run away and come home and be safe.
Set aside that their perception is silly for a moment. If that is their perception, then the way we've been talking about Ron Paul and his foreign policy, and the way the campaign has been talking about it, is all wrong. Every time the campaign uses the word "safe" - it reinforces the idea that Ron Paul is a pansy who is just worried about being safe. Blow-back is a terrible argument - because it emphasizes stopping terrorism. That's not what they care about! They care about preserving the dignity and "power" of the USA. I don't think they necessarily want or need us to bomb everyone, but they do like the idea that we're CAPABLE of bombing everyone.
I think a shift in how we frame foreign policy might be worth considering.