With libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at or near the top of GOP presidential polls for 2016, the principled noninterventionism of his father is colliding with the complications not just of the Islamic State (ISIS) but of Washington politics. If Ron's project is to spread the pure principles of anti-intervention, Rand's is to see how much anti-intervention he can sneak into the mainstream diet. These differing approaches—and the different men behind them—have triggered all sorts of fierce debates about what a libertarian foreign policy really looks like.
So who's right? And what should libertarian principles about foreign policy look like after colliding with messy reality? In the pages ahead, we have convened a forum of self-identified libertarians who have a range of informed opinions on U.S. foreign policy. The results are designed to start a debate rather than finish it, to take a thoroughgoing skepticism about intervention into the realm of the real. In short, it's a search for libertarian realism.