“I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist,” Paul began, immediately distancing himself from the GOP’s increasingly unpopular war wing and critics charging libertarian conservatism breeds isolationism.
Paul explained that considering past policy successes and failures while balancing present challenges for the 21st century is essential. Referencing Ronald Reagan’s era, he encouraged renewed suspicion of military alliances and a strong defensive military posture, but discouraged continued imperialism.su
Paul, quoting Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, linked foreign policy and the national debt crisis, “At some point fiscal insolvency at home translates into strategic insolvency abroad,” and this requires, “re-examining missions and capabilities,” and perhaps most importantly, “will entail going places that have been avoided by politicians in the past.”
He continued, reminding listeners that serious threats loom. “[Radical Islam] is no fleeting fad but a relentless force. These forces are supported by Iran and compensate for a “lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal”. Likening the fanaticism of radical Islam to ideological extremism of communism, Paul’s strategy then begins with containment, not invasion, occupation or pre-emptive attacks.
As for Iran and its rumored nuclear ambitions, maintaining strategic ambiguity is paramount. “No one, myself included, wants to see a nuclear Iran. Iran does need to know that all options are on the table. But we should not pre-emptively announce that diplomacy or containment will never be an option.”
Paul highlighted Israeli intelligence officials’ warnings that military strikes may be premature, or even cause Iran to accelerate their nuclear program. War, then, should be a last resort, not the first option.
The Senator’s speech was fairly well-received as most Americans feel the Iraq War was a mistake and 70% want immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. Most believe future conflicts should be absolutely necessary, not built on false intelligence for resource acquisition or spreading “democracy”. Paul challenged Washington to make commitments to national defense, not policing the world.
Career academics from pro-war, pro-intervention militarist outlets blanched at Paul’s advocacy for a constitutionally prudent, fiscally reasonable foreign policy. Writing for the National Review, Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute chastised Paul’s approach with alarmist threats and condescension.
To read the rest of this article: Conservative militarists bemoan Rand Paul’s diplomatic foreign policy | Washington Times Communities
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