“If we have no more wars, we’ll have been successful.”
That is one of the lofty goals of a new “special project” called the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, which was launched on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., bearing the name of its chairman and founder, a former Republican presidential candidate and former Texas congressman.
The new group is under the auspices of Paul’s Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE), which Paul started in 1976 as a non-profit educational organization. It will limit itself to questions of foreign policy and civil liberties, and will not focus on writing long white papers, the executive director, Daniel McAdams, said at a press conference at the Capitol Hill Club. Instead, it will seek to be more dynamic, providing analysis and opinion on its website in a way that draws people in and responds to the fast-moving media culture.
“I haven’t had any young people come up to me and say, ‘You know what? We need more war,’” Paul said, speaking to a crowd of reporters.
McAdams, who was Representative Paul’s foreign-policy adviser for eleven years, said that the institute’s planned projects include creating a “peace and prosperity index” to record and rate the votes of members of Congress on foreign-policy issues. The website will also feature a “Neo-Con Watch” to “track the interventionists.”
The institute’s advisory board includes several current and former members of the House: Representative Walter Jones (R., N.C.), former congressman Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio), and Representative John Duncan (R., Tenn.). At the presser, Jones gave an intense speech, mentioning that he regards his vote in favor of the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq as his biggest mistake, and saying that former president George W. Bush should have been impeached for engaging in battle without a declaration of war.
Duncan, the only current Republican in the House to vote against the war in Iraq, spoke about the history of non-interventionism in the GOP, maintaining that the institute’s foreign policy is within the tradition of Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Taft. Freshman congressman Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) then praised the willingness of Paul and Kucinich to oppose their party when they felt that they needed to.
Near the end, Paul challenged the idea that war can repair broken economies, noting that state power tends to increase during wartime. Whereas “war is the health of the state,” Paul said, “peace is the health of the people.”