The Washington machine mocks him.
The mainstream media ignores him.
His own party seems embarrassed to acknowledge his very existence, and the Democrats continue to label him “extreme.”
Yet when it comes to understanding how a real free market is supposed to operate, there is no presidential candidate with more credibility than Ron Paul.
As well, his approach to international diplomacy is one that should be embraced by all free market thinkers.
As the Congressman wrote yesterday, “Nothing promotes peace better than free trade.”
Now, when I first sat down to write this piece today, I hesitated. I’m not a shill for politicians, and I have zero interest in campaigning for anyone.
But I’m also a concerned citizen who makes no apologies for drawing your attention to the very real connection between free trade and international diplomacy.
Because not only does this connection allow for economic freedom and peace… it allows for prosperity and opportunity — two things that we, as seekers of wealth and security, embrace.
We Don’t Need Your Stinkin’ Dictators!
When campaigning, there’s nothing politicians like to do more than rally their supporters.
History has taught us that one way to effectively do so is to pound your chest behind the safety of our military muscle.
During debates, we hear about replacing old dictators with new ones. We listen to media darlings cackle about how many troops we can send in to “protect our interests.” These are great talking points and make for superb sound bites.
But sadly, they keep to the unrealistic view that we can continue to be the world’s police without paying a hefty price.
I brought this point up to a colleague of mine recently, and he quickly pointed out that without some stability in the Middle East, higher oil prices and the potential loss of oil from that region would cripple the U.S.
And his point would only be valid — if we couldn’t survive without Middle East oil.
But that’s not the case at all…
As I’ve pointed out in the past, we can end our reliance on OPEC. It can’t happen overnight, but it can and will happen. And the cost will be significantly less than what we shell out to secure those supplies today.
Look, we can displace 2.5 million barrels per day by transitioning our domestic fleet of trucks and buses to natural gas. We can displace another 2.2 million barrels per day with the new 54.4 mpg average fuel economy standard. And at full capacity, the new Keystone XL Pipeline will bring in 700,000 barrels per day.
Combined, there’s enough new supply and displacement there to kick OPEC to the curb for good.
Yet despite this reality, the jumbled mess in the Middle East continues to wrap itself around the littered illusion that stability will come only with economic sanctions, really big guns, and a lot of tough talk from the comfort of the climate-controlled offices in the Hart Senate Office Building.
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Look, you want to bring stability to the Middle East? Don’t send more troops.
Send Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX)! Send a couple of Whole Foods stores (NASDAQ: WFM), maybe a few Chipotle restaurants (NYSE: CMG) and an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) store.
Good luck getting folks to rise up against the “evil empire” if they’re sucking down caramel macchiatos while downloading the latest Foo Fighters album on their iPads.
Perhaps I am simplifying things a bit. But the fact is, our economic freedom is eroding as we continue to invest our blood and treasure in the Middle East. This isn’t working. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
It’s acts of capitalism — not acts of war — that will enable both peace and opportunity.
As Congressman Paul has pointed out:
Countries that trade with each other generally do not make war on each other, as both countries gain economic benefits they do not want to jeopardize. China is a massive nuclear power yet it does not seek military confrontation with the United States.
Trade is much more profitable. Also trade and friendship applies much more effective persuasion to encourage better behavior, as does leading by example.
To date, Afghanistan and Iraq have cost us more than $2 trillion. And some estimates put the total cost at close to $5 trillion when you add future veterans’ support and the next ten years’ interest payments on these debt-financed wars.
Meanwhile, our bold leaders have the audacity to boast the elevation of incompetent committees to incompetent super committees in an effort to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit over a ten-year period.
Big shocker: The super committee proved to be a super failure!
A real free market — free of special interest influence — is the only rational solution…
And the quicker we can accept this, the quicker we can stop being forced to suffer through unacceptable wars, high unemployment, and economic uncertainty.
To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth…
Editor, Energy and Capital