Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul Reiterates: Less Intervention Doesn't Mean No Intervention, Ever

|

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has definitely heard the criticism coming from some libertarians over his support of military action to fight ISIS, even as he is attempting to stand strong against more aggressive responses and the call to arm and train other Syrian rebels. That was the message from Paul when he stopped by Reason's Los Angeles office today briefly during a swing through the city.

Avoiding the bean bags chairs, a smart decision re: "optics."
Sen. Rand Paul

Paul's response to the criticism is to make it clear that he's a guy for less foreign intervention, not none, even though it puts him at odds with his father, Ron Paul. His remarks were short and generally reiterated points he made earlier this week in an interview with Nick Gillespie (read here) and from his 45-minute Senate floor speech yesterday opposing funding for arms and training for Syrian rebels (read here).

He said that his call for a certain level of intervention against ISIS through military strikes is a direct result of intervention that he doesn't support, toppling secular foreign leaders, even if they are dictators. Doing so creates the kind of chaos in the Middle East that allows groups like ISIS to thrive. Those comments were how he opened his Senate speech yesterday as well.

It's also clear that he's got Hillary Clinton in mind. As with his comments with Gillespie, he noted that criticizing Clinton's failure to protect the consulate in Benghazi comes then with a responsibility to protect diplomatic missions in foreign counties, and that calls for military presence. The difference, though, Rand explained, is making that important decision whether to have a diplomatic presence at all in certain extremely troubled countries.

And, in accordance with his previous comments, he remains steadfast that President Barack Obama (or any president) must get permission from Congress to wage war and lamented that Congressional leaders did not want to force the matter. "If this were a Republican president you would hear some squawking," he said and added that the legislative branch had been allowing the executive branch to claim more and more power for itself for the past 100 years.

Jacob Sullum critiqued Paul's Senate speech earlier today here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Proposed Ordinance Would Give Cops an Invitation to All the Cool Parties

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. he noted that criticizing Clinton’s failure to protect the consulate in Benghazi comes then with a responsibility to protect diplomatic missions in foreign counties, and that calls for military presence.

    Most countries are NOT going to allow you to station troops at an embassy within their territory. There’s no way on earth that we would allow foreign embassies and consulates in the US to do so, so why should we expect other countries to allow it.

    1. Most countries aren’t unstable shitholes with only minimal sovereignty over a population of people who are very hostile to the US. I agree that it would be offensive to ask such a thing to, say, France, Japan, Botswana, or any number of countries with the ability and willing to punish those who attack embassies and diplomats natively. Countries which lack such an ability must outsource to those who have the ability. The alternative is to not accept an embassy (which is also a decision that the US should respond to maturely by not forcing an embassy on a country that doesn’t want it). After what happened in Egypt, it was unwise (to say the least) to leave Benghazi with virtually no security, especially with the intel we had.

    2. I;m pretty sure that, given a massive gang of thugs attacking a foreign embassy on US soil, we would crush the thugs and protect the staff with all our might. Since Lybia (whomever was in charge, that day) couldn’t or wouldn’t, I’m sure we would have been justified in sending in the cavalry. Ditto Iraq.

      1. I’m a pussy/fascist non-interventionist rothbardian what-have-you , and I still agree with this statement.

    3. “Most countries are NOT going to allow you to station troops at an embassy within their territory. ”

      Really? I’m sure the Marine Guards found at every US Embassy on the planet will be surprised to hear about this.

  2. Although not by name, Paul also called McCain, his girlfriend Graham, and other aging hawks “moss covered” (c. 41 minutes into the speech). Pretty epically awesome.

    1. A rolling stone gathers no independent voters.

    2. I’d love to trade Senators with KY.

      Vastly prefer to have Rand Paul, but I’d even take McConnell at this point. Yes, that is how shameful having McCain as Senator is.

  3. Rand is right and wrong.

    He is right in the sense that the killing of our citizens, declaration of war against us, threats against our embassy and personnel, are — quite rightly — acts of hostility and aggression which justify a response. Libertarians cannot on the one hand argue the importance of a proper declaration of war, and then pretend that Middle Easterners halfway across the world don’t *really* mean it when they declare war on someone — it’s symbolic, like when an 8-year old says “I wish you would die”. While ISIS is evil, its leadership is not insane or stupid — they are literate, most are college-educated, and they run the affairs of ISIS soberly. They know what a declaration of war is, they know how far away the US is, and they know that they have plenty of fish to fry in the region — they went ahead and declared war on us anyways. Like it or not, this does mean something beyond expressing intense dislike.

    He is wrong in the sense that, while justified, action against ISIS should have some endgame and agreed-upon level of commitment and goals prior to undertaking action. If our goal is to clear ISIS out of territorial control and state power, why is that our goal? Who do we anticipate taking power, and is there some basis on which to evaluate the successor government as someone we can do business with or someone we must also oppose? What is the cost-benefit for the action as opposed to others, or to doing nothing?

    1. I fail to see what’s so wrong with just going in and killing a bunch of ISIS fighters in a punitive expedition, then leaving, and not giving a shit about what happens after. ISIS is operating openly, so there’s very little risk to innocent civilians from such an attack. — that problem ramps up when we start “running out of targets” and going after iffy ones because we’re trying to completely eradicate the threat.

      If we need to come back and do it again, so be it. If you have a roach infestation, you usually don’t kill all the roaches in the first sweep either.

      1. I still think we should consider it very carefully. But one of the options to consider,at least, should be just what you suggest.

        Lets think about some letters of fuckin marquee while we are at it too. For real.

    2. They know what a declaration of war is, they know how far away the US is, and they know that they have plenty of fish to fry in the region — they went ahead and declared war on us anyways. Like it or not, this does mean something beyond expressing intense dislike.

      It means they’re jockeying for position against al-Qaeda to become the big dogs in the world of radical Islam. It’s the equivalent of saying you’re going to beat up Mr. T. Absent a capability to attack us they’re just talking big.

  4. 45-minute Senate floor speech yesterday opposing funding for arms and training for Syrian rebels

    I’m proud of you, Rand. You’re still not as good as you could be, but still among the best hopes that we have.

  5. When are y’all gonna finish the ceiling in your L.A. office?

  6. Keep walkin’ that tightrope, Rand!

  7. my best friend’s sister-in-law makes $80 hourly on the computer . She has been laid off for 9 months but last month her income was $15529 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read More Here ….

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

  8. I think I would avoid libertarian bean bags because for the hygiene thing.

    I have seen more then one video of drunk people at reason offices.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.