In what is comically called "A History Lesson With Dr. Paul", the Paul campaign has reposted a Washington Post article highlighting Paul's views on isolationism (read here). Dr. Paul was rebutting John McCain's charge that Paul's anti-Iraq War stance is equivalent to those who advocated appeasement in response to Nazi aggression. This is a case where I disagree strongly with both sides in the argument, but that's not my focus here. What caught my eye was an admission by Ron Paul that he, despite numerous and constant denials of his isolationism by him and his campaign, still supports the isolationism of the 1930s that allowed Hitler to conquer most of Europe and plunge the world into chaos. Here's what he says on his website:
"'People in the 1930s who didn't want war didn't cause World War II. I think Hitler caused the war, not the Americans who argued for a pro-American foreign policy,' he said.
While it's true that Hitler and the Nazis (along with Japan) were ultimately to blame for the war, that is a long way from absolution for the isolationists who foolishly prevented the United States from making an appropriately strong response to Hitler's aggression. The original isolationists allowed the Nazis to have a free hand in expanding their military and invading their neighbors, and did their best to prevent the U.S. from preparing for the war that was to follow. Paul now admits that he thinks that the isolationists were just fine and says they were just advocating a "pro-American foreign policy". He does seem to prefer to call both himself and the original isolationists "non-interventionists", however. But now that he has associated himself so clearly with the original isolationist movement and has said that they as well as he should be called anti-interventionist, it's clear where he stands with respect to isolationist ideology and what he really means by the terminology he prefers. Paul's "non-interventionism" is just isolationism with a PR agent.
Paul's brand of isolationist "pro-American foreign policy" would surely be the undoing of the nation it purports to help. The only way it could be sold would be to call it something other than isolationist and to pray that Americans know nothing of their nation's history. That's really what Paul depends upon.
[Thanks to Deborah Lipstadt (read here) for correcting the original version of this post. The "History Lesson" was first published in the Washington Post (read here), then reposted by the Paul campaign website.]