Alameda County GOP infights over foreign policy

Expect fireworks at tonight’s Alameda County Republican Central Committee meeting, as there’s a debate and vote on a proposed resolution endorsing a non-interventionist foreign policy – which in the short term means pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The resolution was introduced by committeemen Jerry Salcido, Walter Stanley III and David LaTour – the county GOP’s chairman, vice chairman and assistant treasurer, respectively. All three are “Constitutional Republicans” aligned with the Republican Liberty Caucus, a libertarian-leaning group often associated with former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. The county GOP’s executive committee last week voted 4-1, with one absention, to approve the resolution and send it to the full committee’s monthly meeting for a 2/3 vote.

The Alameda County GOP has been torn by strife for well over a year now, with a lawsuit still pending over these and other Ron Paul supporters’ election to the committee.

The California Court of Appeal in September reinstated the case, in which committeeman Paul Cummings Jr. of Oakland claims Stanley, of Livermore, and several other Constitutional Republicans were ineligible for election to the committee in June 2008 because they hadn’t been affiliated with the Republican Party for at least three months before their candidacy filing dates, and/or because they’d belonged to other parties within a year before filing, in violation of the state Elections Code.

This resolution is likely to deepen the rift. Among its many “whereases” are that our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and hasn’t served our national security interests; that “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 that “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.”

Incidentally, that’s not unlike the verbiage in a resolution approved last month by Berkeley City Council calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors for Afghanistan (or, for that matter, several other resolutions that council has approved in recent years).

Compare the county GOP’s proposed resolution also to an Afghanistan-withdrawal resolution approved Sunday by the California Democratic Party’s executive board.

And that’s not sitting well with GOP committee members other than the Constitutional Republicans.

“I’m certainly in knots about it,” Cummings said today. “I’m a retired Navy officer, and I’m shocked that while we have troops in the field, we would put together a document that is so disparaging of our policy in the war on terror. Some of the comments in it are beyond the pale.”

Read the full text of the resolution, after the jump…

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.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Republicans in Oakland and Berkeley? Their next caucus could take place in an airliner’s lavatory. As for the apparent coincidence of views shared by Berkeley’s politburo and Ron Paul’s followers, that’s no surprise. Go far enough in any direction politically and you’re bound to go in circles.

  • Ralph Hoffmann, Guest Columnist

    RR, these are Republicans in Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore. The rift is between neocons and Ron Paul’s followers.

  • I hope the resolution passes, because it reflects a return to the traditional American foreign policy of respecting our neighbors through peace and trade while also focusing on national DEFENSE rather than national offense.