While Jonathan Tobin is correct that “[Ron] Paul’s rationalization of the Taliban is disgusting,” Paul’s factual ignorance was astounding. The question he was answering was that posed by my colleague Katherine Zimmerman and was specifically about Ash-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate which has taken root in Somalia following the American withdrawal from that country. Paul’s answer? al-Qaeda exists in places where we keep bases. But we don’t keep bases in Somalia. The logic of Paul’s response was that al-Qaeda would disappear if we only withdrew from the world, but Zimmerman is right: the Ash-Shabaab case proves him wrong.
Paul may hit his stride when he discusses domestic libertarianism, but he really doesn’t understand anything about international relations or the outside world. Perhaps if he actually attended some of the meetings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which in theory he serves, he could distinguish himself as being more expert than Herman Cain.