The most simple rule of history, as Paul Kennedy unwittingly provides in the Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, is that if you don’t entangle, “they” will entangle you, and usually from a position of superiority and untapped aggression. The twentieth century was a depressing list of lost opportunities to confront extreme leviathans that were once just sea urchins — from Prussian militarism, fascism, and communism to Islamism. Mr. Paul and his allies would do well to understand that it is precisely those entanglements that must and will continue to enhance our security.

China is indefatigably on the rise with its finger on U.S. debt. North Korea is governed by a temperamental adolescent seeking ever more dangerous toys. Russia is rediscovering how to bully a country into submission with its paws firmly on the oil throttle. Pakistan (a big kid already with dangerous toys) is staring itself and the world into potential anarchic terrorist meltdown. Is Ron Paul seriously suggesting withdrawing and leaving the world “to it” in the belief that the U.S. will be unaffected by such regime lovelies?