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The Disastrous Myth of Airpower Victory
President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS depends crucially on precision bombing by drones and airplanes. The heavy lifting on the ground is supposed to be accomplished by our "allies" in Iraq and the Syrian opposition, but as any reader of the news knows, these allies are, to put it charitably, unreliable and prone to panic and/or treachery. So, despite Obama’s rhetoric, our new war against ISIS will be an air power war.



20 September 2014read on...

Anarchy in Washington: Is Anybody in Charge?
Pentagon chief contradicts Obama on ground troops – Obama contradicts him back

The President pledges "no combat troops" in Iraq.

19 September 2014read on...

The Tower Of Babel Comes To Paris: The Folly Of Obama’s War On ISIS
US imperialism was once a fearsome force—mainly for ill. Under the latter heading, Washington’s savage destruction of Vietnam four decades ago comes readily to mind. But now the American Imperium has become just a gong show on the Potomac—even as its weapons have gotten more lethal and its purposes more  spurious and convoluted.

18 September 2014read on...

Poroshenko in Washington: A Marriage Made in Heaven?
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s visit to Washington tomorrow (Thursday) is the consummation of a marriage made back in February, when the Obama administration ripped up a compromise agreement between elected president Yanukovich and the rebels who were seeking to overthrow him. Overnight, the US government endorsed the rebels’ seizure of power, and it has not wavered in its support of the coup leadership from that point.

17 September 2014read on...

8 Reasons Why Congress Should Vote No on Training and Funding Syrian Rebels
Today Congress will vote on the McKeon Amendment, a piece of legislation most Americans haven't heard of. But the consequences of the vote today are grave: funding Syrian "rebels" will precipitate a new and wider war in the Middle East. Here are eight reasons why Congress should vote NO on the McKeon Amendment...

17 September 2014read on...

Ron Paul: War on ISIS is Foolish Continuation of 24 Years of US War in Middle East Ron Paul, speaking Monday with Erin Ade on RT, explained that it is “foolish” for the United States to wage war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, noting that the new war is a continuation of 24 years of foolish US war in the Middle East. Instead of extending the war another six or more years, Paul says "it’s time to quit” and bring the US military back home.

Paul, who is RPI’s chairman and founder, minces no words in explaining his opposition to the US war on ISIS...

16 September 2014read on...

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11 What a strange and harrowing road we’ve walked since September 11, 2001, littered with the debris of our once-vaunted liberties. We have gone from a nation that took great pride in being a model of a representative democracy to being a model of how to persuade a freedom-loving people to march in lockstep with a police state.

16 September 2014read on...

Under Cover of Ceasefire, NATO-Armed Kiev Poised to Attack
Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. According to the terms of the ceasefire, the pro-independence fighters were to lay down their arms, cease their offensive to regain lost territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk region, and disband. 



16 September 2014read on...

Washington's War Against Russia
The new sanctions against Russia announced by Washington and Europe do not make sense as merely economic measures. I would be surprised if Russian oil and military industries were dependent on European capital markets in a meaningful way. Such a dependence would indicate a failure in Russian strategic thinking. The Russian companies should be able to secure adequate financing from Russian Banks or from the Russian government. If foreign loans are needed, Russia can borrow from China.

15 September 2014read on...

Are You Going to LPAC?
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity will be flying the peace flag at the Liberty Political Action Conference again this year. If you are interested in Ron Paul, his post-Congress mission to promote peace and prosperity, and the Institute he created, please stop in at the Ron Paul Institute booth at the LPAC exhibition hall. I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can. I want to hear what you think about the Ron Paul Institute and what you think we can do to improve. Most of all, I want you to be a part of our efforts to make the case for non-interventionism overseas and protection of civil liberties at home!

14 September 2014read on...

Featured Articles

Syria and the Waning of American Hegemony


Obamasyria1

Once carried out, the Obama administration’s thoroughly telegraphed strike on Syria, ostensibly over alleged chemical weapons use there, will mark an important inflection point in the terminal decline of America’s Middle East empire.  Most importantly, it will confirm that America’s political class, including Obama himself, remains unwilling to face the political risks posed by any fundamental revision of Washington’s 20+-year, deeply self-damaging drive to dominate the region.

Obama initially ran for president pledging to end the “mindset” behind the strategic blunder of America’s 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq; in his first term, he committed to ending America’s war in Afghanistan, too, and to “rebalancing” toward Asia.  But Obama was never ready to spend the political capital required for thoroughgoing recasting of U.S. foreign policy; consequently, the dissipation of American power (hard and soft) evident under George W. Bush has accelerated under Obama.

Obama’s approach to Syria illustrates why.  Since conflict started there two and a half years ago, Washington has had openings for a negotiated resolution.  This, though, would entail power-sharing between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and oppositionists and cooperation with Russia, Iran, and China to fix a settlement.  Instead, Obama doubled down on reasserting American hegemony. 

When unrest began in Syria in March 2011, Obama and his team were desperate to show—after the loss of pro-Western regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and near-misses in Bahrain and Yemen—that the Arab Awakening did not just threaten authoritarian orders that subordinated their foreign policy to Washington.  They wanted to show that leaders committed to foreign policy independence—like Assad—were vulnerable, too.  They also calculated that Assad’s ouster would tilt the regional balance against Tehran, generating leverage to force Iran’s surrender of its right to an internationally safeguarded but indigenous nuclear fuel cycle.

Two years ago, Obama declared that Assad “must go,” eviscerating prospects for a political settlement.  Obama further damaged diplomatic prospects with three UN Security Council resolutions effectively authorizing coercive regime change in Damascus, which Russia and China vetoed.  His Syria strategy rested on the surreal proposition that a staggeringly fractious “opposition,” much of which publicly aligns with al-Qa’ida and is not supported by anything close to a majority of Syrians, would unseat Assad, who (according to polls and other evidence) enjoys support from at least half of Syrian society.

Obama compounded all this with an equally foolish declaration that chemical weapons use was a U.S. “red line”—giving those looking for U.S. intervention motive to gas innocent civilians.  Now that such weapons have been used, Obama cannot entertain that oppositionists may be responsible, for this would undercut his Syria strategy.  His administration has presented no evidence that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in Ghouta; when it alleged chemical weapons use at Khan al-Assal in March, it also offered no evidence of government responsibility.  By contrast, Russia publicly presented a detailed forensic analysis showing that neither the munitions used at Khan al-Assal nor the chemical agent in them had been industrially manufactured and that, “therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons.”  Washington rejected this—and, after trying to derail a UN investigation of more recent allegations about Ghouta, has preemptively dismissed whatever UN inspectors there now may conclude.

With these positions, Obama has left himself no option except using force to preserve U.S. “credibility.”  His planned strike, though, is illegal.  Even if chemical weapons were used, it does not justify U.S. aggression.  Syria is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); the 1925 Geneva Protocol, to which it is a party, only proscribes chemical weapons use in war against another state.  Neither designates Washington as its “enforcer.”  More broadly, the United Nations Charter, which America largely drafted, forbids using force except under two circumstances:    

  • “[I]f an armed attack occurs against a” member state; regardless of who used chemical weapons in Syria, no other state was attacked or threatened with attack, so the “right of individual or collective self-defense” posited in the Charter does not apply (unless one stretches the definition of “self-defense” to mean “anything Washington does not like”).    
  • When the Security Council authorizes force “to maintain or restore international peace and security”; no such resolution is in effect for Syria, and Russia and China will prevent the Council from adopting one.  

Lack of legality has undermined the willingness of the Arab League and even of usually reliable hangers-on like Britain to endorse a strike.  When Obama moves, he will have a smaller coalition than Bill Clinton or George W. Bush had for their illegal wars in, respectively, Kosovo and Iraq. 

Obama’s strike will further accelerate erosion of America’s position in the Middle East.  Assad will emerge with greater political support, not less; Russian and Chinese influence will be enhanced.  While backing Assad has cost Iran and Hizballah some of the popularity they accrued with Sunni Arab publics from their long records of “resistance” to Israel and America, both judge that, if either America or Israel becomes militarily involved in Syria, this will undercut Saudi-sponsored narratives depicting the conflict in sectarian terms, transforming it into more Iranian-led resistance.  Obama is about to oblige them—ushering in a regional balance increasingly tilted against the United States.
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