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Rand Paul, war hawk ?

Rand Paul, war hawk ?

The Kentucky Senator advocates for foreign intervention to destroy ISIS.

Advocating for foreign intervention is not something you usually hear from libertarian poster children like Senator Paul. And yet, that seems to be what he’s preaching. From WaPo:

If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress,” Paul told the AP. “I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

Good. Someone should have a plan to deal with those monsters. But as WaPo points out, Paul is supposed to be the only non-interventionist in the bunch of potential 2016 contenders.

Compare Paul’s statement to the rest of the pack of GOP potential candidates, as compiled by WaPo:

Chris Christie: “”The ISIS situation is one that deserves a really detailed answer, which I’m not going to give you while walking down the boardwalk and taking selfies.”

Marco Rubio: “If we do not act now to assist our Iraqi partners and moderate Syrians who oppose ISIL, as well as utilize our own forces to directly target ISIL’s leadership, the result will be more suffering and tragedy for our people.”

Paul Ryan: ““What we need to have is a strategy to finish them off, to defeat ISIS. Not contain them, not to react, but to fundamentally finish them off.”

Ted Cruz: Said that the Islamic State is “mocking America” and “we ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Mike Huckabee: “[Obama] needs to be calling leaders of Arab states. We have got to demand of the Saudis and the people of Qatar and the UAE, look, this is your part of the world, it’s blown up in your face. We’re not going to shed American blood for what you guys ought to be helping us to contain and eradicate. You either get in the game or we’re done with you. That’s the kind of leadership we need to be exercising.”

Rick Perry: “American leadership is needed now, more than ever. Presidential leadership is needed now, more than ever.”

Mike Pence: “The president of the United States is the commander of chief of our armed forces. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what his military advisers counsel.”

National Review caught up with one of Senator Paul’s foreign policy advisors who had this to say:

Richard Burt, one of Rand Paul’s foreign policy advisers, says that the senator’s call to destroy the Islamic State is not merely a matter of political opportunity; he explains that it reflects the senator’s broader views about America’s role in the world. When I spoke with Burt, who served as ambassador to West Germany during Ronald Reagan’s second term, he was working with Paul’s team on an op-ed on the ISIS threat.

Paul, Burt says, “understands that the United States is a global power and that there are occasions where the United States has to use military force.”

“I think this is all based on an approach to foreign policy that thinks in terms of American interests,” he says. “The thing that makes ISIS a particularly serious challenge is that we do have interests” in the Middle East – in a thriving Kurdish minority and in ensuring the success of a stable Iraqi government including the strong ties that we’ve built up with the Kurds” and in an successful Iraqi government that integrates the country’s Sunni minority.

Burt tacitly suggests that what differentiates Paul from the neoconservatives who shaped policy at the top echelons of the Bush is his belief that the use of force should be “selective” and that leaders should think through the consequences of using force and have a strategy for bringing it to an end.

Though less idealistic that George W. Bush’s call to end tyranny in our time, Paul is embracing the conventional foreign policy stance of the pre-Bush era.

His latest comments are something of an about face. In a June interview, he told me that President Obama’s contention that the Islamic State might establish safe havens in Iraq from which it could launch attacks on the United States was “a bit of a stretch” and said of the group, “Their first objective isn’t getting to the United States, their first objective would be getting to Baghdad.”

Asked about those remarks, Burt says, “I don’t think two months ago any of us really had a clear understanding of the momentum this group had.”

Many Paul devotees and those who self-identify as libertarian (not all, no blanket generalizations here) take pride in being the only contingent on the right that’s adamantly anti-war.

How will the non-interventionists respond to Paul’s hawkishness? I don’t see a scenario where the Senator is excommunicated from the libertarian label, but expect Paul’s base to justify his comments, creating a new foreign policy caveat in modern libertarianism.

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Ted Cruz: Said that the Islamic State is “mocking America” and “we ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Like they’d notice?

I’m beginning to see Rand as an opportunist who says what he thinks people want to hear.

I have not forgotten how he reacted to Ferguson.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | September 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    I keep that possibility on the menu as well, regarding Rand Paul. There does seem to be a patchwork quilted set of positions he’s established, which is what you get if you’re chasing polls and public sentiments. But, I allow that might be a creature of his being a libertarian hybrid type candidate.

    Estragon in reply to Ragspierre. | September 4, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Like father, like son.

    Rand has never publicly differed with his father on any issue until he began running for Senate himself. It’s all calculated to pass over the more objectionable parts of libertarian philosophy while still clinging to the banner and the base.

    I give them both credit for sincerely opposing the libertarian position on abortion, which is no restrictions at all, and note Ron even mentioned it when accepting the Libertarian Party nomination in 1988. But he didn’t object to their Open Borders plank until he was trying to get back his seat in the House and found his district had soured on illegal immigration to the point he did a 180 on the issue.

    Ron didn’t sound quite as crazy a 9/11 Truther until he was retired, either.

    Only suckers think either Paul is “a different sort of politician.”

      Sendarius in reply to Estragon. | September 4, 2014 at 1:05 am

      “…he didn’t object to their Open Borders plank until he was trying to get back his seat in the House and found his district had soured on illegal immigration …”

      I don’t understand the problem here.

      If the electorate that an elected politician represents changes its views – your “… soured on illegal immigration…” point – I, for one, would expect and demand that their representative change along with them.

      Is this not how American representative democracy is supposed to work?

    NeoConScum in reply to Ragspierre. | September 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Just seeing and hearing the little dweeb gives me a rash.

i’m thinking Rand is more a clone of the Laup Nor block, than a chip off it…

i’m already tired of him, and he’s not even my Senator.

Those who do not learn from history, it has been said, are doomed to repeat it. Isolationist sentiment and fear of war of any kind kept the British and French from kicking Hitler out of the Rhineland when he began his aggressive career (which most likely would have ended if he’d been promptly booted out of the Rhineland). Wars should not be engaged in lightly but if Rand Paul could not see the danger that ISIS poses, he would be too blind to be a serious presidential candidate.

The need for military engagement of ISIS is such a ‘gimme’ even Elizabeth Warren, Diane Feinstein, et al, see it.

In keeping with the season, I’d call a press conference to say “ISIS, having won the toss, has elected to receive.” Then lob in as many missiles as we can.

h/t linkiest