Taking a page straight out of the libertarian book, Rep. Ron Paul is sticking to his (nonviolent) guns on Iran.
Free trade and diplomacy, not sanctions, are the answer to U.S. concern over the Middle Eastern nation's developing nuclear weapons, Paul writes on his congressional website Monday afternoon.
And continuing the current sanctions or imposing new ones will lead the United States closer to war with Iran, according to Paul. "Sanctions were the first step in our wars against Iraq and Libya," he writes, "and now more sanctions planned against Syria and Iran are leading down the same destructive path."
Paul also writes that, based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran should be allowed to develop nuclear energy, as long as it is for peaceful purposes. Besides, Paul adds, U.S. sanctions simply allow regimes to blame problems on the U.S., maintaining power for themselves.
His libertarian ideas—especially on foreign policy—are considered far out of the Republican mainstream. But Paul's campaign so far has gotten the most donations from military personnel of all the 2012 candidates, something his team touts as a signal his foreign policy ideas are the right ones.
Here's more from Paul on Iran:
Unfortunately, U.S. foreign policy has boxed Iran into a corner where they may view development of a nuclear weapon as the only way to maintain sovereignty. They are surrounded by unfriendly nuclear powers and history has shown that having a nuclear weapon is the best way to avoid being bombed or invaded. The unintended consequences of our confrontational policies toward Iran may be to actually encourage them to seek nuclear weapons capabilities. We should be using diplomacy rather than threats and hostility.
Fortunately there is another way. Nothing promotes peace better than free trade. Countries that trade with each other generally do not make war on each other, as both countries gain economic benefits they do not want to jeopardize. China is a massive nuclear power yet it does not seek military confrontation with the United States. Trade is much more profitable. Also trade and friendship applies much more effective persuasion to encourage better behavior, as does leading by example.
We must change our foreign policy to one of economic freedom and diplomacy. That is the only way to promote peace and prosperity.