Representative Ron Paul has carved a niche in this year’s Republican Primary election season by focusing on two major themes. The first theme is that we are desperately in need of cutting government spending due to the terrible amount of debt we are piling up. The second major theme is, what many would call, an isolationist foreign policy.

Of course, there are other issues that he is strong on, but these are the two that characterize him the most to me. While I don’t have a beef with him about the domestic spending, I do question his wisdom and his understanding of scripture in regard to our role in international affairs. Before I go too far, I want to make clear that I do not think that we have always conducted international relations in a godly or selfless or even a good way. There is much to be desired in our conduct of international affairs, but I do not think because we have not always conducted ourselves well, we should retreat from the field.

Now, regarding my concerns about Rep. Paul; recently Representative Paul used the idea of doing unto others what we would have them do unto us as a template for foreign policy, which is a good idea and one that should not be booed, but there are other commands from Jesus and scripture in general, that also need to be kept in mind and do seem to run counter to what Representative Paul advocates.

For example, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was clear that crossing the street on the other side of the road was not an acceptable response to a person in need. Would that be an acceptable response for a nation? If we are truly going to conduct foreign affairs based on biblical precepts, we need to keep that in mind also. Would that idea have put us in Iraq? Darfur? Afghanistan? Vietnam? Taiwan? The questions are yours to answer, but Representative Paul seems to answer in the negative: “In South Korea, they’re begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess.”

This is dangerous. Vietnam is united, but it is a unity under a repressive communist regime that quickly and violently swept to power as soon as we left in 1975. “After reunification, the government confiscated privately owned land and forced citizens to adopt collectivized agricultural practices. Hundreds of thousands of former South Vietnamese government and military officials, as well as intellectuals previously opposed to the communist cause, were sent to study socialist doctrine in re-education camps, where they remained for periods ranging from months to over 10 years.Vietnam’s 1978 invasion of Cambodia …in particular together with its increasingly tight alliance with the Soviet Union, appeared to confirm suspicions that Vietnam wanted to establish a Soviet-backed hegemony in Indochina.”

This is nothing to be proud of and not a foreign policy to be praised. Does Representative Paul support repression? We betrayed our South Vietnamese allies: “A bitter, tearful President Thieu resigns during a 90 minute rambling TV speech to the people of South Vietnam. Thieu reads from the letter sent by Nixon in 1972 pledging “severe retaliatory action” if South Vietnam was threatened. Thieu condemns the Paris Peace Accords, Henry Kissinger and the U.S. “The United States has not respected its promises. It is inhumane. It is untrustworthy. It is irresponsible.” He is then ushered into exile in Taiwan, aided by the CIA.”

Is this what Representative Paul wants for South Korea? He is misleading at best when he says South Koreans want re-unification but South Koreans know that the re-unification is not something to be taken lightly. Is Representative Paul prepared to abandon our South Korean friends as well?

There is a scripture, I John 3:17 that says “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” If we are truly to project a biblical foreign policy, how can we, being arguably the richest country in the world turn our backs on the rest of the world and their needs? I do agree with Representative Paul that our fiscal house is a disaster and we must get a reign on our domestic spending, but we would be foolhardy to turn our back on the world in order to do that. That strikes me as the personal equivalent of stopping our tithe until we pay off our credit cards.

There are a lot of things regarding foreign policy that Representative Paul says that make sense. We do prop up dictators to the harm of the citizens of the country and we do provide foreign aid that tends to make dictators and their families rich. We need to be better and allow our international influence to grow because we are a good and prosperous people at home with citizens that want to care for the worlds poor, but it is selfish to become strong and then watch the weak and oppressed of the world remain oppressed because they do not have the ability to stand for their own freedom. Do the free people of Taiwan deserve to be abandoned to the forceful takeover by China?

France may have had nefarious motives, but they were used by God in helping us to win our freedom from England. We would have had a much more difficult time attaining our freedom without their help. Should we turn our back on freedom loving people around the world because we are afraid of angering despotic regimes?

I think it is obvious that war is hell, a hell to which I confess I am completely inexperienced in, but I wonder if it is the worst thing. I recently read with our book club, the Notting Hill Napoleons, the latest Jeff Shaara book, “The Final Storm”. While he says he is not making a case either for or against the use of the atomic bomb against Japan, it is quite apparent as you read the unfolding story, that the dropping of the atomic bomb was a far better choice than continuing the war in the status quo. Even at that, though, the war was a far better thing than allowing the oppression of people that Japan was involved in prior to their bombing of Pearl Harbor. The war was hell, but as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, it was a time for war. Our peace at that time would have meant an ongoing hell for many people for many years to come. Maybe that hellish war was not the worst thing.

I bring that up only because, I wonder if our modern sensibilities about the hellishness of war will ever allow us to fight a war again as war has to be fought (They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword – Joshua 6:21) if it is going to be fought. I wonder if we can really be more merciful than God. Maybe Ron Paul is right about foreign policy, but I wonder if his desire to conduct foreign policy with an unbalanced biblical perspective will only lead to other more hellish outcomes. Proverbs 3:27 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.

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