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Ron Paul: "I am just really concerned that this is going to lead to hostilities". Putin warns against military action

By WcP.System.Thinker - Posted on 16 June 2008


*Update* Dec 15 2009
Statement of Congressman Ron Paul, United States House of Representatives, December 15, 2009

I rise in strongest opposition to this new round of sanctions on Iran, which is another significant step toward a US war on that country. I find it shocking that legislation this serious and consequential is brought up in such a cavalier manner. Suspending the normal rules of the House to pass legislation is a process generally reserved for “non-controversial” business such as the naming of post offices. Are we to believe that this House takes matters of war and peace as lightly as naming post offices?

This legislation seeks to bar from doing business in the United States any foreign entity that sells refined petroleum to Iran or otherwise enhances Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum such as financing, brokering, underwriting, or providing ships for such. Such sanctions also apply to any entity that provides goods or services that enhance Iran’s ability to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum. This casts the sanctions net worldwide, with enormous international economic implications.


Mr. Speaker, I am concerned that many of my colleagues opposing war on Iran will vote in favor of this legislation, seeing it as a step short of war to bring Iran into line with US demands. I would remind them that sanctions and the blockades that are required to enforce them are themselves acts of war according to international law. I urge my colleagues to reject this saber-rattling but ultimately counterproductive legislation.

Date: 12/15/2009
Location: Congress
Legislation: Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194)


Ron Paul: The chairman states that the main purpose of this bill is to prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. That isn’t even as powerful a statement as was made that enticed us into the Iraq war. There was the claim that they already had [weapons], but now this is a pretense. And yet here we are taking these drastic steps. My main reason for opposing this bill is that I think it’s detrimental to our national security. There is no other reason. It doesn’t serve our interests. So I am absolutely opposed to it.

In the late 1930s and the early 1940s the American people did not want to go into war. But there were some that were maneuvering us into war and they used the argument that you needed an event. So in June of 1941 sanctions were put against Japan, incidentally and ironically to prohibit oil products from going into Japan. Within 6 months there was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And there are now talks, there has been talk in the media and we’ve heard about it – “we need to bomb Iran.” And that’s what the people hear. The sanctions are a use of force. This is just not modest, this is very serious. And the way this is written, it literally could end up with a blockade, it could be trying to punish our friends and cut of trade. And this cannot help us in any way.

We would like to help the dissidents, we’d like to encourage them to overthrow their government. But hardly should we have our CIA with U.S. funded programs going in there with a policy of regime change. They know these kinds of things happen. We’ve been involved in this business in Iran since 1953, and it doesn’t serve us well. It backfires on us, it comes back to haunt us. One of the goals explicitly expressed by Al-Qaida and their leaders has been that they would like to draw us into the Middle East because it would cost us a lot of money and it could hurt us financially. And the second reason they wanted us over there is to get us bogged down in an endless war. And for the last decade that is what we’ve been doing. We are bogged down to the point where it is very discouraging to the American people, very frustrating, no signs of victory, no signs of peace. But we’re bogged down. These were precise goals of the Al-Qaida leadership.

And also, one of the purposes of enticing us over there and being involved is to give a greater incentive to recruit those individuals who become violent against us. And this has been unbelievably successful. So we’ve been involved in Iraq, we’ve been involved in Afghanistan, we’re bombing Pakistan. And this is almost like another bonus for those who want us to be attacked, is that we are over there and just fomenting this anger and hatred towards us. That is why I believe this is not in our best interest. It actually hurts us.

Once we say that we are going to do something like using force and prevent vital products to go in, it means that we’ve given up on diplomacy. Diplomacy is out of the window. And they’re not capable of attacking us. This idea that they’re on the verge of a bomb that our CIA said they haven’t been working on since 2003. And the other thing is, if you want to give him an incentive to have a bomb, just keep pestering them like this, just intimidate them, provoke them. This is provocative. They might have a greater incentive than ever. They can’t even make enough gasoline for themselves. I mean, they are not a threat. They don’t have an army worth anything. They don’t have a navy, they don’t have an airforce. They don’t have inter-continental ballistic missiles. So it is not a threat to our national security. I see the threat to our national security with this type of policy which could come and backfire and hurt us.

I want to read number 5 in the bill, that particular item because it makes my case. Rather than making the case for those who want these sanctions, I think this literally makes my case. Number 5 said:

(5) On October 7, 2008, then-Senator Obama stated, "Iran right now imports gasoline, even though it’s an oil producer, because its oil infrastructure has broken down. If we can prevent them from importing the gasoline that they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis. That starts putting the squeeze on them."

The squeeze on whom? On the people. This will unify the Iranian people against us. If we want to encourage true dissent and overthrow that government which is more spontaneous and honest, I would say this is doing exactly the opposite.


Ron Paul: I think the gentleman. If the gentleman from California didn’t like my analogy about how we were maneuvered into war in World War II, I think it might be much more appropriate to compare it to the sanctions on Iraq. There were those in the 1990s that wanted us to go to war with Iraq. They were looking for an excuse. We put strong sanctions, continued flying over their country and bombing. Thousands if not hundreds of thousands of kids died because of those sanctions. And eventually they got their war and we ended up in the war. Anybody who believes that taking gasoline away from the common person in Iran is going to motivate them to get rid of their Ayatollah … it’s the Ayatollah that carries the power. That’s not going to happen. It just does exactly the opposite. So this is why I believe this is a much greater threat to our national security. It does not help us. It doesn’t achieve the goals that are set out.

For instance, we now commonly say that the Iranians have no right to enrich. Well, they signed a non-proliferation treaty and they have not ever been told that they are making a bomb. And yet what we’re saying in this bill is they can’t enrich anymore. So, in a way, you’re violating international law by saying they can’t enrich – period. So that is just looking for trouble.

Now what else this bill will do is it is going to push the support of the Iranians in another direction. It’s going to push them towards India, towards China, Russia. And these countries have special associations with Iran. So we’re going to separate us. We’ll be isolated from that and they’re going to have a much closer alliance with these countries. That will not serve our interests. It’s going to serve the interests of one country mostly, and that’s China. China almost acts like a capitalist, they take our dollars they’ve earned from us and they’re spending the dollars over there. They would like to buy the oil and refine the oil and drill the oil. But here we assume that we have to do it through force, through sanctions and threats and intimidation and secret maneuvers to overthrow their regime. It just doesn’t work. It sounds good, it sounds easy, but it does backfire on us. You get too many unintended consequences. And besides, our national security does not depend on what we do in the Middle East. Our national security is threatened by this.

I mean, we are overstretched. We are broke. And this is part of the strategy, as I mentioned before. Our archenemies in that region want to bankrupt us. And they want to stir up hate against us and they want to bog us down and they’re achieving what their goals are.

Mr. Speaker: The gentleman’s time has expired.


Ron Paul: I talked to somebody today that would be voting for these, but admitted that they won’t work and it’s mere symbolism. So already they don’t think these will do much good, even those who will vote for it. It’s impossible to enforce is one reason and it will create a black market and these particular sanctions are most difficult to enforce just because of the nature of the way it’s written.

One must understand a little bit about the pressures put on this country to act in a defensive way. They happen to be surrounded by a lot of nuclear bombs. And they don’t have a history, the Iranians, as bad as they are for their leadership and how bad their regime is, they are not expansionist territorially. How many years has it been since they invaded another country for the purpose of taking over another country? It’s just not in recent history at all.

But the countries around them, India. India has nuclear weapons. China has nuclear weapons, Pakistan, Israel and the United States. I mean, they’re all around them so I’m sure they feel like a cornered rat.

But what I see here is propaganda. Propaganda to build fear in the people, to prepare the people for what is likely to come just as we did in the 1990s. Fear that there were weapons of mass destruction, but this one is, “well someday they might get a weapon of mass destruction”. And unfortunately I am just really concerned that this is going to lead to hostilities. Because this is the initiation, the fear is building up.

So too often in this country we talk of peace at the same time that we pursue war. We pursue war and we use these efforts to push our policies on others. And quite frankly, we don’t have any more money to pursue this policy; whether it’s used by the militarism or even try to buy friends by giving them a lot of money. It just doesn’t work. I urge a no vote on this resolution in the interest of the United States’ security.

Mr. Speaker: The gentleman’s time has expired.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran in Tehran

Russia is taking in an extra $11.4 billion a month above its normal oil revenues, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Russia's state-controlled oil firm, Rosneft, just reported that its revenues have tripled over those a year ago. That can only strengthen the confidence of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, analysts said. Putin has resisted the Iran sanctions, is rolling back democratic reforms at home and has threatened his neighbors with nuclear attacks and cut-offs of energy supplies.

"Any time you have a sudden change in the distribution of wealth, things become rocky," said Rachel Bronson, an international petroleum expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "The Persian Gulf states, Russia and Venezuela all of a sudden have huge cash surpluses. ... It's destabilizing. You see a bolder Putin, and an emboldened Chavez, who really didn't need to be emboldened," she said.

Back in Oct. 16, 2007, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said at a summit meeting of five Caspian Sea nations in Iran on Tuesday that any use of military force in the region was unacceptable. In a declaration, the countries agreed that none would allow their territories to be used as a base for military strikes against any of the others.

Times Magazine: 'Vladimir Putin, Tsar of the New Russia'

Mr. Putin was the first Kremlin leader to travel to Iran since 1943, when Stalin attended a wartime summit meeting with Churchill and Roosevelt.

“We should not even think of making use of force in this region,” Mr. Putin said. Mr. Putin’s comments and the declaration come at a time when the United States has refused to rule out military action to halt Iran’s nuclear energy program, which it believes masks a desire to develop nuclear weapons.

“Not only should we reject the use of force, but also the mention of force as a possibility,” Mr. Putin said.

With an on-going war with Iraq, Bush has refused to rule out any action in Iran, saying "all options" were on the table - a phrase he has used that has been interpreted as not precluding military strikes.


Images Courtesy of Mikhail Klimentyev/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images and Times Magazine

Original Source: The Baltimore Sun and The New York Times

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