Who’s the Isolationist Now?

Remember during the 2012 Presidential reality show elections and debates when Ron Paul, because he audaciously held to the idea that the American government has no moral or Constitutional authority to police the world, was smeared as an isolationist?  He constantly corrected his critics by pointing out that “noninterventionism” was the more appropriate label because his vision was not one where the United States would remain “isolated” from the rest of the world.  This is especially true given Paul’s commitment to free trade across borders.  He took Frederic Bastiat’s (1801-1850) observation seriously: “if goods don’t cross borders, armies will.”  An isolationist Ron Paul is not.

In fact, in a 2011 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Ron Paul explained that he was not an isolationist:

An isolationist is a protectionist that builds walls around their country, they don’t like the trade, they don’t like to travel about the world, and they like to put sanctions on different countries.

Well now we’ve got the establishmentarians throughout the government advocating for –and getting what they want –an ever increasing amount of anti-capitalist and anti-trade sanctions against Russia.  The western world is throwing a fit that they are not getting their way with Ukraine and so are revealing their true nature as vicious isolationists.  Here is the Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. and the European Union adopted sweeping economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday to punish Moscow’s unbending stance in the Ukraine conflict.

The question for the West now is whether the move will make Russian President Vladimir Putin more cooperative or prompt him to dig in.

The trade and investment restrictions that EU governments, after much agonizing, agreed upon mark a major escalation of sanctions against Russia, which so far have been mostly token measures targeting individuals. New measures hitting Russia’s banks, oil industry and military could increase financial strains in its already sluggish economy while withholding technology that the nation’s modernization relies on.

The U.S. followed the EU’s move by announcing similar sanctions against Russian banks as well as the energy, arms and shipping sectors. President Barack Obama hailed Europe’s adoption of its most significant sanctions yet against Moscow, saying the U.S. and EU steps would have “bigger bite.”

Despite this –and heaven knows that when it comes to sanctions and other anti-trade policies, this isn’t Washington’s first rodeo– we undoubtedly hear the ironic message that “libertarians are isolationists” simply because they are against world empire.

But it should be obvious who the real isolationists are.