“To the Muslim world: We get the message. My imperialistic predecessors have caused a sea of anger against the U.S. that has culminated in this disaster,”
President Ron Paul says as he addresses the nation on September 11, 2001.
Days later, President Paul visits the rubble of what was once known as the World Trade Center. Climbing on top of the rubble, he grabs a megaphone. The cheering firefighters and policemen nearby wait for their leader to speak their minds, personify their anger, and make the world shake with his words. Paul turns the megaphone on, and the high-pitch of his squeaky voice is magnified, resulting in a groan of pain from the nearby residents who have already suffered enough.
“We will offer a free trade agreement with Afghanistan in exchange for handing over all Al-Qaeda members guilty of attacking us,” President Paul says. “Should they refuse, we will target these terrorists with airstrikes and raids, but we will not be tricked into over-reacting and committing the same mistakes of aggression that got us here.”
Imagine if Ron Paul had been president on 9/11.
He may have bombed Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan after getting an official declaration of war from Congress, as even the most non-interventionist politician felt that was necessary. He may even have sent troops in to overthrow the Taliban once they refused to expel the terrorists on their soil, but things go wrong soon after that.
President Paul announces an immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan after Al-Qaeda’s forces are defeated in battle. “We will not engage in nation-building” is the mantra defending the retreat. Forces are withdrawn from the Gulf and everywhere else. With the Muslim world feeling that Al-Qaeda is vindicated by their apparent victory over the “Great Satan,” a firestorm of extremism results as more become convinced that they’ve found the way of Allah.
All democracy movements are weakened, having been abandoned by the West, and all dictatorships are strengthened by the U.S. withdrawals and increased trade. America becomes neutral and isn’t targeted for now, as there are bigger fish to fry. Without American support, numerous overseas governments coddle terrorists and extremists to save their own skin. Others fall as the Caliphate begins to be resurrected with Sharia Law as its constitution. A goal of eventually making the world an Islamic state is still openly proclaimed, except America is only to be targeted at a later stage—when it is less able to defend itself.
Ron Paul fails to see that the world is too interconnected for America to be completely non-interventionist. When chaos erupts overseas, it smashes our economy. When a totalitarian ideology grows overseas, we cannot sit back and watch it grow because we are not the ones immediately in danger of being enslaved by it. As the phenomenon of homegrown extremism shows, this overseas-born sickness can still reach our shores despite geographical distance.