January 3, 2012
By introducing moral imagination to the foreign-policy conversation, the Republican candidate is doing the nation an important service.
A dispute has broken out among fans of Ron Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy about whether he’s a strategic liability. Paul, says Kevin Drum, is such a “toxic, far-right, crackpot messenger” that “the only thing he’s accomplishing is to make non-interventionism even more of a fringe view in American politics than it already is.”
It’s certainly true that Paul’s hawkish critics are using his weirder ideas and checkered past to try and make non-interventionism synonymous with creepiness. But, whatever their success, Paul is making one contribution to the foreign policy debate that could have enduring value.
If a lack of moral imagination is indeed the core problem with America’s foreign policy, and Ron Paul is unique among presidential candidates in trying to fight it, I think you have to say he’s doing something great, notwithstanding the many non-great and opposite-of-great things about him (and notwithstanding the fact that he has in the past failed to extend moral imagination across all possible borders).
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