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Tea Party foreign policy begins to take shape

by Wes Messamore, published

It appears as if a Tea Party foreign policy is starting to emerge. In 2009, a resurgent anti-tax/anti-bailout protest movement swept through cities across the United States, pulling together a broad coalition of conservative-minded activists dedicated to addressing Washington's budget crisis. Whatever their differences over foreign policy or social issues may have been, members of the Tea Party came together over their agreement on fiscal policy

But, how would an emphasis on fiscal responsibility translate into specific foreign policies? Senator Rand Paul, building on much of his father's platform, is beginning to paint a picture of how Tea Party principles would inform American foreign policy.

On foreign aid to Israel, for instance, Rand Paul says:

“I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel, but not with money you don’t have. We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries, even if they are our friends. I think they’re an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world. Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so.”

While many politicians in Washington- both Democrat and Republican- may consider sending taxpayer money to Israel as sacrosanct and beyond question, the Kentucky Senator's logic is sound. Being friendly with Israel or any other nation for that matter, hardly requires sending it millions or billions of dollars that we don't have to give, by promising that our children will pay for it, especially if that nation is already relatively affluent.

That same logic can be applied with equal validity to many other parts of the Federal budget that involve aid to foreign countries under the auspices of our national defense agencies. Why for instance, should American taxpayers be responsible for the military and missile defense of the affluent European Union, the largest economy in the world?

These nations should ostensibly be capable of funding their own defense against terrorist attacks or the lingering threat of a nuclear missle strike, but they can't do so while also funding the early retirements and lavish benefits doled out by the European entitlement state. So essentially, this aspect of Washington's foreign policy results in American taxpayers subsidizing French pensions.

This is how foreign policy is inseparable from domestic tax policy. If some Americans are feeling "Taxed Enough Already," a good place to start fixing the problem might be foreign policies that result in the transfer of American taxpayer money to countries that don't really need it. A necessary foundation of a sound foreign policy is a sound fiscal policy, and conversely, a sound fiscal policy is impossible without a responsible and restrained foreign policy. Both require discipline from our legislators.

As Rand Paul said recently in an interview with ABC News:

"There’s a disconnect between Republicans who want a balanced budget but aren’t maybe yet brave enough to talk about the cuts to come. I go to a tea party, and you know what they say to me? ‘It’s not enough. It’s not enough.'"

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