In Part I of this two-part episode, Emma and Brittany discuss President Biden’s decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan, why this has been such a big deal, and how the entire situation shows that, once again, Ron Paul was right about foreign policy all along.
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Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hi, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: So we’re gonna do a special two-part series today, about Ron Paul. And why he was Right. So I guess that kind of answers the question in the beginning.
Brittany: Was Ron Paul, right Emma?
Emma: Was Ron Paul, right? I mean, I think, yes. So we’re gonna talk specifically about, foreign policy, which is something that gets really confusing really quickly because there are a lot of people out there who say, we need to just shut up and trust the experts. Yeah. We’ve heard that one before. on a few different things. So we’re gonna talk a bit about specifically the Middle East and how the United States has been involved with the Middle East and some of the predictions and warnings that Ron Paul had, and kind of how those play into what’s going on even today. So before we get into that, Brittany, do you wanna just to give a quick refresher on who Ron Paul is?
Brittany: I would love to. Now, our listeners might remember that Connor and I interviewed him last summer, so we’ll link to that episode and have you guys listen to that if you want to. But Ron Paul is a doctor. He delivered over 4,000 babies, which is pretty cool. That is cool. he’s a former congressman twice, so he was in for a little bit left and then came back. He was a congressman from Texas and he was a president presidential candidate three times, actually, once as a libertarian party and twice under the Republican party. And personally, he’s, you know, my hero. He’s the reason I got into politics and philosophy and economics, and he’s the reason that I’m here today. I took internships with organizations that he started and read everything he wrote. So, you know, everything I learned that wasn’t from college. So all the real education that I learned started with Ron Paul. So he’s just, I mean, he’s impacted so many of our lives. I think we all or many of us have this similar story. but Emma, you know, why are we talking about Ron Paul now? He retired in 2012. What does he have to do with anything going on in the world right now?
Emma: Yeah, well, for starters, you know, Ron Paul back in 2012, talked a lot about how we needed to leave Afghanistan.
Brittany: 2008 even.
Emma: Yeah. 2008 even. Cuz we were still there then. but in his farewell address that he gave to, when he was leaving Congress, he was resigning. He wasn’t running for office anymore. He talked about how important it was that we leave Afghanistan. And the reason why this is popping back up in the news today is that because you know, there’s been a lot of problems in Afghanistan. Even this week we’re gonna be publishing this episode a little quicker after recording than usual. So it might not be this week, but it’s still going to be recent by the time you guys are hearing this. basically what’s happening is our government or our military has had a presence in Afghanistan for 20 years, since 2001. So for a very long time. And basically what has happened is our forces left very quickly from Afghanistan, which leaving is overall a good thing. but our forces left very quickly and the Taliban has started advancing into Afghanistan and into Kabul, which is, I think I’m saying that right.
Brittany: Cabal, Kabul. Cabal.
Emma: I don’t, I don’t know, I’m not totally sure, I dunno. But, yeah. So they have moved in and the Taliban is a terrorist group, that is prominent in Afghanistan. And basically, they want to create a government that follows, you know, a very strict, very extreme set of laws based in, based in religion. So the Taliban has been moving in now that our military is gone, and the army that we have spent 20 years helping train and spending billions and billions of dollars giving them weapons, is laying down the weapons and surrendering to the Taliban. So now we’re in a very bad situation where a lot of our allies and our friends and even American citizens who were working there, working at the embassy, are having to flee Afghanistan. And at the same time, the Taliban is picking up weapons that the United States brought over there and put down. So, Brittany, do you wanna talk a little bit about why we’re there in the first place?
Brittany: I mean, I think a lot of us have questions on why we’re there in the first place. Yeah. Because, you know, recently things have come out saying, well, I’ll get into that in a second. So what happened on 9-11 is what sparked all this, right? and I know a lot of our listeners weren’t even born then. I was a sophomore in high school, so that was the hijacking of several airplanes. They flew into the Twin Towers, they flew into the Pentagon, and then one of them crashed in Pennsylvania. so this was, I mean, one of the darkest times in American history but it symbolized something even so much more than what actually happened because it was a complete change in how we lived our daily lives. Much like COVID, they’re different, but I think a lot of kids today listening to this are gonna remember pre–covid and a post covid time. Right? Where they, you know, seeing people in masks two years ago would’ve been crazy and scary. Now it’s just their, our way of life. You know, people asking for your vaccine passport seemed like a crazy idea two years ago. And now it might very well happen well before 9-11. You know, we could board airplanes without going through TSA. You didn’t, I mean, I’m sure they were spying on us in some capacity, but you didn’t have to worry about things like the Patriot Act. You know, you didn’t have to worry about being called a domestic terrorist in the capacity of today. We had so many more freedoms before 9-11 happened that we lost now. Yeah. The problem where it gets murky is now there’s stuff coming out saying maybe Saudi Arabia actually had, I think it’s Saudi Arabia I think. Yeah. Okay. Like, might have had a bigger role in this than we thought. And that we just kind of all of a sudden blamed Afghanistan because Osama Bin Laden, who was the leader of the Taliban or Cause there was Al-Qaeda, there were so many different.
Emma: He was Al-Qaeda. Yeah.
Brittany: Al-Qaeda. Yeah. So Al-Qaeda. So he, they were very quick to say like, yeah, let’s take credit for this. You know, we don’t like America. and then came this whole, they hate us for our freedoms, you know, rhetoric that we heard our government push and this began the war on terror and it wasn’t just Afghanistan and we went into Iraq. No one really knows why we were in Iraq. So it’s a whole mess because again, we’re not even entirely sure that Afghanistan did you know, was the main culprit. Yeah. So, it’s been, it’s been over two decades or about two decades of just, just chaos and it’s been nothing. But, you know, putting a little bit of a bandaid on the problem because look at, this was second we pull out Yeah. And everything’s backed how it started.
Emma: Yeah. And to get back to Ron Paul cuz I.
Brittany: Sorry I went on a tangent.
Emma: No, it’s okay. there’s so much to explain here guys. There’s a lot going on. We are not gonna be able even in two episodes to explain everything. So I would encourage you talk to your parents and do some research with them and read up on what actually has happened over the last 20 years in the Middle East because it’s very complicated. And this is something that Ron Paul talked about is how the Middle East is a very politically unstable region with a lot going on that America does not understand. And a big part of this has to do with religion. there are different religious branches of Islam in the Middle East that cause a lot of conflict and a lot of this stuff, like in America, a lot of times we fight between Republicans and Democrats and that’s kind of our battle line. But in the Middle East, it’s a lot more intense because it’s religious and a lot of these religious factions are very extreme and they basically want to set up a government that only enforces the laws of their religion, which is not how things work in America. We have a separation of the church in the state where, you know, the government can’t force people to follow a certain religion or to follow certain religious laws. That’s not how we do things here, but it is how things work in the Middle East a lot of the times. So something that Americans, you know, sort of would talk about when all of this was first starting to, happen when we were sending more and more troops over there, getting more involved is that we need to help spread democracy there. And there was this idea that we needed to help these countries, you know, learn about freedom and spread democracy and help them have fair elections and getting them all set up and starting these great little countries that can work just like America. But in reality, that was a very bad idea because, the reason why America worked, the reason why America still exists today is because people wanted it to happen so badly that they were willing to put their lives on the line and fight for it. And they cared so much about freedom and about liberty, that they set up a country where that is the core ethic in America is liberty and personal freedom because that was really important to the colonists who had to fight a war over it. And we made the mistake as a country, and this was, this was mostly, I mean, it was completely on politicians and on the Pentagon, which controls the military. they basically had this idea that they could go in and set up that sort of a situation in an area that just did not have the same background, did not totally have the same values or culture, and their culture did not put as much of an emphasis on personal liberty and on democracy. So going over there and trying to establish, you know, the way that we see things and the way that we think things should be, it did not work, to say the least. Yeah. So we went over into Iraq, we’re in Afghanistan all over the Middle East with this strong military presence and also training up militaries of basically, people who were sympathetic to the United States. People who kind of agreed with us on stuff, or at least they did on paper. And putting billions and billions of dollars into training them and giving them lots of high-tech American weapons and really, really giving them everything they needed to succeed. But what kind of happened instead is us being there actually really irritated a lot of people and caused a lot more extremism because we were the big bad military that was in town. And Ron Paul had a really great, moment, he talked about this in a presidential debate. Yes. Um, he was talking with Rudy Giuliani, who was very much, all for us being in the Middle East. So he, they were going at it. And this was for the 2008 election. And Ron Paul talks about, well, if China was doing to us what we are doing to Iraq, we would be very upset about it. And he said, we’re building a base the size of the Vatican, which is a huge city in Europe. We’re building a base the size of the Vatican in Iraq. And if someone was doing that to us in the Gulf of Mexico, if China was doing that to us in the Gulf of Mexico, we would be very upset and everyone would be very anti-China. Which it makes complete sense when you think about it. If there were another country coming in here and setting up a giant military base in the middle of our country, you know, even if they were saying, oh, we’re here to help you, we’re here to help with democracy, a lot of people would be pretty put off by that. And I think that actually does make a lot of sense. So, the question was Ron Paul Wright about blowback and this idea Yes. That we can cause things and cause reactions to our actions, that may not be so positive. That is what people are talking about when they say he was right.
Brittany: There’s a great video and I’ll post it in the show links, it’s called What If, and this was a video that really just kind of blew my mind and it’s a speech of Ron Paul’s, but it’s taken in like there’s graphics added to it and he basically says exactly that, what would we do if they were over here? You know, and we kind of already know what we would do because that’s how the American Revolution started. Yeah. The British came over here, they were basically leaving the American colonies alone and they came over here. But there was another great moment in 2008 with John McCain as well, where Ron Paul once again was saying, we need to, you know, pull out. And John McCain was telling he was anti-military cuz the military wants to be there and fight. And you know, Ron Paul basically told him what was really going on and, and we’ll post these clips in the show notes as well. Yeah. Because they’re just so important. But it’s funny now because last week or as of recording this week and last week and you’ll probably be listening to this a little bit sooner than most of the episodes that you hear, but Ron Paul Wright was trending on, Twitter and Google. Yeah. So that’s kind of why I titled this episode, but I titled it because all of a sudden people were like, oh my goodness, remember that old doctor who was always ranting and raving, you know, in Congress Yeah. And talking, it’s like, oh my goodness, he was right. He said exactly this thing and it’s taken well, 2008 was how many years ago, right? It’s taken a long time. But finally, you know, people with a sound foreign policy have been able to say, we were right.
Emma: We were right. And also people are finding out that the government has lied to us about a lot of what they said was happening over there. So, to just sum it up very quickly, we don’t have time to get into all the details. there were some papers released in the last, I wanna say the last 2 years.
Brittany: Afghanistan papers? Is that what they were called?
Emma: Afghanistan papers. Yes. And basically, they were papers that proved that the Pentagon had been misleading the government about how effective our relationships were with these armies on the ground in Afghanistan. And one of the big reasons why people have tried to say, well, we can’t leave Afghanistan, we can’t leave the Afghan army needs us. You know, they’re almost there. They’re almost ready for us to leave and for, for them to stand on their own and fight off the Taliban. And basically, the military leaders in the military had been lying about it. And there had been a lot of coverups and just corruption that was happening to mislead us into staying somewhere where we really had no business staying. So, that’s a whole different element of this. but we’re gonna talk a bit, we’re gonna cut it off here in a minute and get into another portion of this topic, about how, how these ideas can sort of play out more broadly and more on sort of what Ron Paul was saying and how we might think about this in the future. But we’re gonna wrap it up right here. We will link Ron Paul’s what if speech in the show notes for this episode. So be sure to check that out. it’s a really interesting way of thinking about how we interact with the world. but Brittany, I will continue this conversation with you and we’ll get into episode two here in a minute. Thank you.
Brittany: Sounds good, All right.
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