Rand Paul

Rand Paul: 'Portraying me as being against Israel…is as nonfactual as it is offensive'

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Most interesting hair, for sure

There's an interesting back-and-forth over at Commentary magazine between Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Jonathan S. Tobin over whether the libertarian-minded Tea Party senator will (in the formulation of Tobin's original headline) "hijack the pro-Israel GOP." I think Paul gets the better of what is an important argument; you be the judge. First, an excerpt from Tobin:

As Eli Lake writes today in the Daily Beast, the coming civil war among Republicans over foreign policy will putt two traditional rival camps — the neoconservatives and the so-called "realists" — on the same side against what could be a rising tide of Rand Paul supporters who believe their small government credo ought to mandate massive defense cutbacks as well as the withdrawal of America from its place on the world stage.

Up until now, this wasn't much of a contest because although Ron Paul could get throngs of his youthful libertarian crowd to applaud his absurd rationalizations of rogue regimes, such as Iran, or his belief that American imperialism helped generate anti-American terrorism, most Republicans weren't buying it. But with a leader who doesn't come across like everybody's crazy uncle, the libertarian faction has reasonable hopes of doing much better. […]

Rand Paul will be far more of a force in the Republican Party in the coming years than his father ever was. That's a problem for conservatives who hope the GOP remains a bulwark of common sense about national defense and foreign policy. It will also mean that one of the party's most prominent spokesmen will not be someone who will be viewed as reliably pro-Israel.

Shot back Paul:

Israel is a strong and important ally of the United States, and we share many mutual security interests. I believe we should stand by our ally, but where I think sometimes American commentators get confused is that I do not think Israel should be dictated to by the United States. I think that has happened too often, and it has been to the detriment of Israel. Too often we have coerced Israel into trading land for peace, or other false bargains. When President Obama stood before the world in 2011 to demand that Israel act against her own strategic interest, I denounced this as unnecessary meddling. As I wrote in May of that year: "For President Obama to stand up today and insist that Israel should once again give up land, security and sovereignty for the possibility of peace shows an arrogance that is unmatched even in our rich history of foreign policy." […]

Mr. Tobin speculates that calls by me and others within the Republican Party for Pentagon cuts somehow would hurt our national defense. It is always sad to see conservatives making liberal arguments. Cutting waste in our military would no more hurt our defense than getting rid of No Child Left Behind would hurt education. Every government agency can withstand a little belt-tightening, especially if we scale back on our overseas presence and focus more on true defense and security. […]

Portraying me as being against Israel in any fashion, as Mr. Tobin's title implies, is as nonfactual as it is offensive. There are many differing opinions about both foreign and domestic policy within Israel. Any healthy, self-governing people necessarily must have robust debate. This is as true in Israel as it is in the United States. The notion that there is an unassailable consensus concerning Israel's best interests, within the Republican Party, the United States, and even Israel itself, is simple not true and never has been. It assumes too much and asks too little, to the detriment of both countries.

And from Tobin's response:

Though Paul would accompany an end to military aid to Israel with a ban on assistance to any country that is hostile to it, that wouldn't undo the harm that a stoppage from the country's only military ally would cause to a nation that is forced to spend exorbitant amounts on defense in order to cope with foes supported by Iran and even Russia. Nor would it offset the encouragement that such a measure would give Israel's enemies. […]

[J]ust as troubling are Paul's positions on U.S. defense and foreign policy, irrespective of the warm feelings he says he harbors for Israel.

An essential part of the U.S.-Israel alliance is the assumption that the United States will maintain its military strength as well as be willing to act to defend its interests abroad. Paul's isolationist wing of the party acts as if America can afford to more or less withdraw its forces to its own borders and ignore the rest of the world. Paul pretends that the draconian cuts he advocates will not materially affect America's defense capabilities, but that is mere rhetoric. Just as it would be impossible for the United States to assert its influence abroad in ways that are important to making Israel safer, so, too, will a diminished U.S. military undermine the strategic balance in the region in a way that will hurt it. […]

Barring an unexpected change of heart, Rand's higher profile must be considered bad news for Jewish Republicans.

Some related Reason content:

* "Ron Paul: 'I Agree With Those Two Basic Fundamental Premises of Zionism'"

* "Republican Jewish Coalition Bars Ron Paul From Presidential Debate, Saying He's Too 'misguided and extreme'" 

* "Rand Paul: End Aid to Israel"

* "The Most Interesting Man in the Senate"

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  1. It is always sad to see conservatives making liberal arguments.

    Ka-fucking-boom.

    1. Tobin got his ass-kicked. His entire ‘retort’ is wound-licking.

        1. Kicked in the nuts nut-licking. NTTAWT.

  2. I really hope Israel takes back the Sinai Peninsula after all this. It would be a breath of fresh air for the Merchant Mariners to stop paying Egypt to use the Suez..

  3. I love that polite “how long do I have to listen to this idiotic shit?” look Rand often sports.

    1. He’s like a walking meme generator.

  4. the withdrawal of America from its place on the world stage.

    I got a little choked up, reading this. Darkness and despair cover the earth like a scratchy old wool blanket.

    1. Notice how Tobin never specifies what that place is, or the why or the how. Never specifics, just delusion and grandeur.

      1. If you went for specifics from him, it would be like trying to nail down a piece of Jello.

  5. Paul pretends that the draconian cuts he advocates will not materially affect America’s defense capabilities, but that is mere rhetoric.

    He must have a different definition of defense than I do.

    1. Or of “draconion”.

  6. Get a fucking thesaurus, and start using different, more appropriate adjectives. Fucking Draco.

  7. I note that cuts are always “draconian”, but deficits or taxes never are. How odd.

    1. How “Ruling Class”, you mean?

  8. We have no business supporting any government but our own.

    1. Racist.

    2. I would rather not support those guys either.

  9. This is why Rand is the future. He will not back down from anyone regardless of who they are or what TEAM they play for.

    He calmly, collectedly presents his ideas and always makes the case for less government. I just cringe at the neocons and how they look at Ron…and then wonder why they get shalacked at the polls and someone like Gary Johnson gets over a million votes…

    Oh wait, like the liberal media on their own end, neocons will never even acknowledge that GJ exists.

  10. Since Rand is a United States Senator isn’t he suppose to be pro-American (specifically pro-Kentucky) not pro-foreign country?

    1. I can be pro-Kentucky… especially distilled Kentucky.

      1. Vote for Rand 2016, or we cut all you fuckers off.

        Hmmm…winning campaign strategy?

  11. Tobin got destroyed. Rand hit the nail on the head with his “conservatives making liberal arguments.” It’s pathetic how conservatives suddenly forget their beliefs about government waste and efficiency when it comes to the military, not to mention they suddenly view reduced increases as “cuts” just as liberals do on domestic programs. The rest of his argument is essentially the conservative equivalents of SOMALIA! and ROADZ!!!

    1. What are you, a terrist?

    2. Yeah, I always wonder how closing European bases no longer needed, scaling back in South Korea, etc is supposed to draw the inky blackness of an America-less world over the globe.

      F’ing hyperventilating Tobin.

  12. Rand’s higher profile must be considered bad news for Jewish Republicans

    All three of them?

      1. He will be here all week – try the veal and tipper your serves well!

  13. “Portraying me as being against Israel in any fashion, as Mr. Tobin’s title implies, is as nonfactual as it is offensive”

    “I resent being accused of failing to enjoy publically sucking Israels dick! I enjoy it more than *anyone*! I’m so gung-ho for Israel that I make my Jewish colleagues uncomfortable! I would never in anyone’s wildest dreams suggest that building settlements in occupied territories, or bombing gaza is anything but THEIR ETERNAL RIGHT!”…

    I keed.

    But seriously = at what point did a person’s view of Israel become some kind of political litmus test that everyone is supposed to care so deeply about? I appreciate that 1967-1982 they were basically at war perpetually… but c’mon. They are no longer threatened with ‘annihilation’. Do we need to hyperventilate in perpetuity?

    I mean the fricken Progressives are constantly harpin’ about the Palestinians and how sad it is how fucked they are… and arch Conservatives are constantly pledging their lives to defend every inch of the holy land…

    What about the “I could really give a flying-fuck”-school of thought? We got our own problems. Why we feel the need to piggy-back on someone else’s eludes me.

    1. Do we need to hyperventilate in perpetuity?

      Lack of oxygen improves understanding and belief in TEAM stances.

  14. Tobin, although he’s not as bad as some (e.g., hughhewitt) and the rest of the slavish, power apologists in the republican party are going to assure the ascendancy of team blue.

  15. Meh, I’m more with Obama on this. Israel continually violates their treaties and then complains when they get attacked. I’m tired of us enabling their BS and think it’s good that we finally have a president willing to call them out on it. It’s like Obama’s one redeeming quality.

    This map says it all for me.

    1. Hey, forget that series of maps, look at a series of maps of Germany dated 1913, 1937, and 1992 does. Isn’t it just awful the way the French, Danes, Russians, and Poles totally brutalized the Germans in the 20th century?

      1. Isn’t it just awful the way the French, Danes, Russians, and Poles totally brutalized the Germans in the 20th century?

        Bwa ha hahaha haha~!

        I was going to make the same point a different way- they handily omit what happened between 1967 and ‘today’. As though all this “land-loss” happened in a vacuum.

        I remember when I worked for a certain Swiss Bank, they gave an orientation film of their history. It went, “1933: a historic year of innovation…. then 1955!: We merged with Bank YZ!”

        You could leave to your imagination what they skipped:

        “1944-1945:! We liquidated large holdings of appropriated gold to help enable Nazi party leaders flee to South America!”

        1. Hey, not denying that Palestine brought on much of their own problems. The cycle is chicken-and-egg. The difference is that we’re not enabling the Palestinians to violate their side of the treaty by giving them billions of dollars in military aid and patting them on the back when the response to some unsanctioned Hamas dopes launching homemade rockets at their cities is to seize huge swaths of private property owned by innocent Palestinians and give it to Israelis to build provocative, tank-guarded compounds deep in Palestinian territory. Then when these settlements are “fired upon”, they can justify seizing all private property in any remotely nearby vicinity.

          Libertarians should be rightly outraged by how the Israeli government treats the Palestinian citizens. And don’t take that as anti-Jewish or even anti-Israeli state rhetoric. If one can criticize American government policy without being anti-American, surely one can do the same with brutal Israeli government policies?

      2. Germany occupied those other countries and thus initiated a war that they eventually lost. Israel occupied Palestine and thus initiated a war that they have mostly won. The victor writes the history books.

        And yes, the Russians’ treatment of East Germany for almost 50 years was pretty unforgivable.

        1. Western treatment of germany after WW1 was much the same.

  16. The neocons are sweating already…

    Rand Paul 2016

  17. Mr. Tobin should take the advice of then SecState John Quincy Adams.

    “[America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.
    She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all.
    She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” – 1821

  18. Dang, that Tobin really needs a bitch slap. What a freakin’ idiot.

  19. The man is a physician by trade, he has more common sense than his dad but still he is no expert. Expecting to save expenses by withdrawing US forces to within US borders is counter-factual, except when compared to the present strategy which is altruistic. Because then we would have to protect every possible domestic target 100% of the time, instead of striking at the enemy’s centers of power which are abroad, at a time and place of our choosing. Yet nation-building is about as bad, as it binds us to altruism and supposes that democracy will change predatory cultures.

    Instead the US should adopt a free enterprise approach to military protection, and charge user fees to our allies and international corporations. The US military could easily be self-financed if we charged fees to Japan, S. Korea, Europe, etc. and also for protection of “privatized” oil infrastructure, and mines or crops which are now prey to Jihadists.

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