Why Ron Paul's Foreign Policy Makes Sense (or Not)

Foreign policy experts explain why the 2012 candidate's ideas make sense, and why they don't.

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TAKE TWO: Ron Paul and others with so-called "isolationist" tendencies don't want the United States to do much in the world, Fly explains. "They want us to hide behind the oceans, I guess, and defend ourselves here," he says. "But I think as we've seen from September 11 and other incidents, that's just not possible in this day and age in a very globalized world."

[Ron Paul's $1 trillion spending-cut plan targets five cabinet departments.]

Paul: Be nice to Iran, don't sanction them.

TAKE ONE: Diplomacy doesn't mean countries must be friends, Preble explains. "We had diplomacy with the Soviet Union when we were fighting the common enemy of Nazi Germany, for example," Preble says. "True diplomacy is being able to relate to countries with whom we might disagree." And in Iran, according to Preble, the sanctions haven't worked anyway. "The object of U.S. policy since 1979, which is no diplomatic or economic relations," was to change the regime itself or alter the existing regime's behavior, Preble says. "And neither has occurred."

TAKE TWO: Iran supports terrorism and is working to become a regional power with a nuclear weapon, says Fly, and sanctions are "one of the few tools short of military action we can pursue." It is not in U.S. interests for Iran to procure nuclear weapons, Fly explains, adding that if they did, the balance of power in the Middle East would shift, and more countries would seek such weapons. "It's not the sort of thing where if we suddenly withdraw the sanctions, Iran is going to say that the Americans are nicer people than we thought, so we'll stop all of our illicit activities," Fly says.

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