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Public Statements

Why A ``No'' Vote Is The Right Vote On Sanctions For Iran

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PAUL. Today, the motion to instruct on the comprehensive Iranian sanction bill was passed overwhelmingly, 400-11. Eleven individuals said that this was not a good idea. I was one of those 11, and I would like to explain why I think the sanction bill against the Iranians is very, very dangerous and not well thought out.

Sanctions are very serious. Sanctions are literally an act of war. When you prevent certain goods and services going into a country, it's like a blockade. There is no advantage to us to do this. The sanction bill literally says that any country that trades or sends oil into Iran, we will no longer trade with them. So if Russia sends in oil or gasoline or refined products or China does, we are theoretically, under this bill, not to trade with them. Can you think of anything more chaotic than having a trade war with China at this particular time?

So often well-intentioned foreign policy procedures backfire. They have unintended consequences and there is too often blowback. Today, unbelievably, we are engaged in so many places in the world and we can't afford it. Our foreign policy costs us a trillion dollars a year to operate. We're in 135 countries. We have over 700 bases throughout the world. We are engaged in military confrontation in Iraq, Afghanistan, in Pakistan. We're bombing in Yemen, as well as having surrogates fighting in Somalia.

We're flat-out broke. The policy is driving our enemies into the hands of the Chinese, and here we are looking for another war. It makes no sense whatsoever.

The conversation today was nothing more than war propaganda on why we have to get ready to bomb the Iranians. There is no proof, according to our CIA, that they're actually working on a nuclear weapon. I'm sure they would like to. Why not. Everybody around them has it so it would be logical that if they're surrounded and threatened and intimidated with all of the people around them, why wouldn't they want one? Well, of course they do. But others have it.

They have never been found in violation of the nonproliferation treaty. Never. And yet Pakistan, India, and Israel, they don't even belong, and they're our friends and we give them money. Pakistan, they have gotten support from us. They have nuclear weapons and they have been known to send nuclear technology to North Korea.

So the whole process makes so little sense.

The language today was used that, well, we have to go in because of the weapons of mass destruction, they're going to have missiles and they're going to attack us. It's identical to the propaganda promoting in 2002 and 2001 before we attacked Iraq. So this same process is occurring trying to generate all of this excitement about the need to use hostilities.

Now, a lot of individuals vote for sanctions that are basically anti-war and they don't like the military option, and they think this is an alternative. I think that is deeply flawed thinking, because sanctions lead to hostilities. And if you commit to the sanctions, you're really committing to the next step. The sanctions of the 1990s and the year 2000, the sanctions on Iraq, eventually led to the hostilities and the war and the invasion.

So what did that invasion of Iraq do? Did we find any al Qaeda there? No. We found out that Saddam Hussein wouldn't allow the al Qaeda there. No weapons of mass destruction. We've turned the country upside down. Hundreds of thousands of people injured and killed. We have suffered devastating problems from this. And what has happened? We turned the Government of Iraq over to the Shiites, who are allies of the Iranians. So that whole policy has actually backfired.

So now what we're doing to the Iranians is driving them into the pockets of the Chinese. The Chinese are pretty good capitalists these days. They work hard, they produce, they sell us certain goods and services. We pay them, they save their money, and they're starting to invest. So they're investing around the world in natural resources. And what are we doing? All we're doing is trying to take over the world with natural resources so we have control of oil.

This is a mercantilistic idea, it's ancient, and it takes you back to almost colonial times.

So this, I think, shows that our policies are deeply flawed. I sure would have wished this vote would have come out differently. And I warn, this was a very dangerous vote.


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