Last week the executive committee of the Alameda County (Calif) Republican Central Committee approved a resolution to be voted on by the full committee calling for a non-interventionist foreign policy. Alameda County covers the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, with about 1.5 million people.
Tuesday night the full committee met. The resolution failed to get the required 2/3 for approval, but it was a big step forward.
Here is a full report from committee vice-chair Walter Stanley:
There’s Nothing Conservative About War
This past Tuesday, during the November monthly meeting of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee, Elected Members’ of the Party did some soul searching on what it actually means to be a conservative.
The County Party leadership consisting of outgoing Chairman Jerry Salcido [AD-20 Fremont], Vice Chairman Walter Stanley [AD-15 Livermore] and Assistant Treasurer David LaTour [AD-18 Hayward] proposed a resolution that would have made a non-interventionist foreign policy the official position of the County GOP.
The proposed resolution was introduced from the podium by Salcido to his fellow Republicans’ on the committee. The wording of the resolution was largely inspired by a speech given on the House floor by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who has always been critical of past administrations’ aggressive foreign policy regardless of if it is Bush, Clinton or even President Obama as the Commander and Chief.
The foreign policy resolution was longer than all other resolutions considered by the committee during the first year of their two-year term. The proposed resolution declared that our [the United States] foreign policy of the past century is “deeply flawed and has not served our national security interests” and that “diplomacy is superior to bombs and bribes and the illusion of protecting America.” It also declared that, “the official positions for going to war are almost always based on lies and promoted by war propaganda in order to serve special interests.”
During the discussion, the wording of the resolution was attacked by several neo-conservatives on the committee. Local Republican, Rosann Slonsky-Breault [AD-16 Oakland] told Members’ of the Party that terrorists wanted to kill Americans because of the freedoms we have and called the proposed resolution “despicable.” Republican Anne Woodell [AD-16 Oakland] said it was “anti-George Bush” and “isolationist.” Both women support the undeclared war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and both voted against the resolution. In all, twenty Members’ on the committee opposed a non-interventionist foreign policy as set forth in the proposed resolution.
David LaTour argued in favor of the resolution, "In 2000, Bush ran on a humble foreign policy. Go back and look at the debates. He opposed Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo and then ended up being a nation-builder himself. The Republican registration in the county has sharply declined over the last 8-years. If you think that has nothing to do with this unconstitutional aggressive foreign policy, you’re kidding yourself."LaTour also rejected Woodell’s notion that a non-interventionist foreign policy means isolationism by responding, “We’re not saying that the United States shouldn’t communicate, trade, or have diplomatic relationships with other countries, we support all of that, those are all good things that promote prosperity. We’re saying that we need to embrace a constitutional foreign policy, stay out of entangling alliances and focus on securing our own borders’.”
John den Dulk [AD-16 Oakland] seemed to be confused during the discussion about what exactly a constitutional foreign policy is. He spoke about the enumerated powers’ listed in the U.S. Constitution and then contradicted himself by confessing his support for undeclared war and his opposition to the resolution.
Fellow GOP committee Member from neighboring Contra Costa County, Ted Hudacko, joined forces with Salcido, Stanley and LaTour backing the resolution and telling those in attendance, “There is no effective Declaration of War with Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.” Hudacko asked those who opposed the resolution, “Can any of you tell me by what criteria you would consider that victory has been achieved and when we could determine that our troops can come home?”
None of those who were opposed to the resolution addressed Hudacko’s question. For some reason, the argument coming from the neo-conservatives was that Republicans needed to ‘support the troops’ by being in favor of the conflicts in the Middle East.
LaTour said, "The neo-cons in Alameda County are living in fantasy land. They think our foreign policy is about freedom rather than empire and special interests. To them, 9/11 justifies anything and the moral, strategic, and financial repercussions of our actions mean nothing."
There were a total of 13 Republicans in favor of the non-interventionist foreign policy resolution. Not enough to pass with a two-thirds majority; however, it might be a good sign of things to come in the Republican Party.
Casey Fargo [AD-15 Livermore] said, “People are waking up in the Republican Party. It’s time for Republicans that believe in small-government to realize that there’s nothing conservative about war. Our troops are spread thin throughout the world and a common-sense individual can see that this makes us less safe here at home.”
Erika Lopez [AD-18 San Lorenzo] who voted in favor of the resolution said, “I believe in a strong national defense, but having troops stationed in countries all over the world is not a strong national defense. I support our troops, I want them here protecting our country, keeping us safe.”
Alameda County Republican Party Proposed Resolution
Status: Resolution in Support of a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy
Submitted by: Walter Stanley, David LaTour, and Jerry Salcido of the Alameda County Republican Party
Whereas, our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and has not served our national security interests; and
Whereas, the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in the affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous; and
Whereas, propping up repressive regimes in the Middle East endangers America and our allies; and
Whereas, occupying countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing Pakistan is directly related to the hatred directed toward us; and
Whereas, losing over 6,000 American Military personnel in the Middle East since September 11, 2001 is not a fair trade off for the loss of nearly 3,000 American citizens, no matter how many Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan people are killed or displaced; and
Whereas, torture, even if referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques"is self-destructive and produces no useful information and that contracting it out to a third world country or a corporation is just as evil; and
Whereas, war and military spending is always destructive to the economy; and
Whereas, war time spending is paid for through the deceitful process of inflating and borrowing; and
Whereas, war time conditions always undermine personal liberty; and
Whereas, we as small government conservatives see our government’s interventionist foreign policy providing the greatest incentive to expand the government; and
Whereas, the only logical, conservative position is to reject military intervention and managing an empire throughout the world; and
Whereas, the official positions for going to war are almost always based on lies and promoted by war propaganda in order to serve special interests; and
Whereas, the quest for empire eventually destroys all great nations; and
Whereas, our aggressive foreign policy and seemingly permanent presence in other countries throughout the world has served to weaken our national defense at home; and
Whereas, the borders’ of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are more secure than our own borders here at home; and
Whereas, our foreign policy has nothing to do with national security and never changes from one administration to the next; and
Whereas, Christianity teaches peace and not preventive wars of aggression; and
Whereas, diplomacy is superior to bombs and bribes and the illusion of protecting America; and
Whereas, the aggressive foreign policy of so called "neo-conservatives"is anything but conservative and has wasted more than $1 trillion on nation building and billions more on foreign aid; and
Whereas, there is a strong tradition of non-interventionism in the Republican Party that is exemplified by the legacy of Senator Robert Taft and the Old Right.
Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Alameda County Republican Party supports a non-interventionist foreign policy as advocated by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and believes costly undeclared wars and the occupation of other countries only serves to weaken our national defense and strengthen the resolve along with the ranks of our enemies.