Rand Paul

This Just in: Newt Gingrich, John Bolton, and Richard Perle Disagree With Rand Paul's Foreign Policy!

New York Times asserts that anti-ISIS hawkery 'could imperil' Paul's candidacy.


Also, he is a wizard. |||

The New York Times has an article up titled "Foreign Policy Ascends as Issue for Republican Presidential Contenders." Headline notwithstanding, the piece is not about how internationally inexperienced governors such as Chris Christie and Scott Walker are blank slates onto which interventionist elites are projecting their ideological visions of American power. Nor is it a deep dive into the messy, real-world complications of more aggressively fighting against the amorphously barbaric Islamic State. (The only relevant policy statement in this story comes from Jeb Bush: "Taking them out is the strategy." Thanks for clearing that up, Jeb!) The article is not even an entertaining romp through outsider darling Ben Carson's potentially controversial ideas about whether America is prophecized to form an apocalyptically disastrous alliance with the Roman Catholic Papacy.

No, the Times is basically concerned with how "the hawkishness now defining the early campaign could imperil the presidential hopes of Senator Rand Paul." Witnesses for the prosecution include three notable Iraq War enthusiasts:

"Just incompatible." |||

"The guy who's now got the biggest challenge because of this is Rand Paul," said Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker. "The Rand Paul worldview, which I suspect will change, is just incompatible with reality." […]

"I think most of the Republican candidates or prospective candidates are headed in the right direction? there's one who's headed in the wrong direction," said [John] Bolton, suggesting most Republicans would be "horrified" by Mr. Paul's views on international affairs. […]

With Republican candidates increasingly attacking Mr. Obama for what they see as his unwillingness to project American strength, Mr. Paul's support for the administration's policies on such issues as negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program will stand out—and force him into some awkward situations.

"You're not going to find any of the Republicans, even those who might well have behaved like Obama, standing up and defending Obama," said Richard Perle, a pro­interventionist defense official who served in the Reagan administration.

In fairness, Newt Gingrich is intimately familiar with foreign policy views that are "incompatible with reality," having asserted in March 2003 that "A hateful regime will be gone, and except for Saddam, French President Jacques Chirac and the media analysts, almost no one will have had the sky fall on the them."

And horrifying foreign policy views? I would definitely nominate Bolton's Orwell-mangling notion that to oppose an American-led war against a dictator is equivalent to being objectively pro-dictator. That kind of shoddy argumentation has a lousy track record in producing policy successes.

Even at this war-weary date, there are few penalties in American public life for being overly enthusiastic about military intervention. Intervention-skeptics, meanwhile (particularly though not only within the Republican Party), are treated like potentially radioactive aberrants, no matter how much their views line up with American public opinion. Mix that all up with the utter lack of concrete policy interest apparent in 95 percent of political reporting, and you get a lot of content-free chest-thumping about getting tough and facing down our enemies and so forth. (My favorite example with Bolton: After the Russians began biting off chunks of Ukraine, we asked him what he would concretely do different if he were president right now, and he said to go back in time and admit Ukraine into NATO.)

It's true that voters (and especially Republicans) are feeling more hawkish towards ISIS right now, that Rand Paul will be constantly put on the defensive, and that his own specific views on intervention can be worthy of criticism and difficult to pin down. (To see an attempt at the latter, read my January issue Q&A with the senator here.) But it's also true that Paul's foreign policy views have been persistently attacked for years, without knocking him far from the lead in the GOP field. Call me an optimistic realist (or something), but I think there's political space for a candidate to suggest that U.S. military interventions in the Middle East are fraught with unforeseen dangers, and should be approached less promiscuously than in the past. As Paul foreign advisor Richard Burt tells the Times,

He needs to talk through with primary voters the kinds of questions that need to be asked before we commit U.S. forces abroad: How we can't just have a visceral reaction. How does this impact American interests and security?

Imagine that.

Watch Reason TV on the Rand Paul/GOP foreign policy divide from the 2012 Republican National Convention:

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  1. After reading the headline I’m left asking: “WHAT YEAR IS IT?!”

    Also, I think we can all agree that something those fellas all disagree with can’t be all that bad.

    1. Except gingrich, Bolton, and the other guy are warmonger, military industrial machine psycho neo-cons.
      I think that is the point of the article and remember, that is what Rand Paul is talking about. Going into endless war to support your donors is a little dangerous.
      Where is the nationalist chant about bringing our soldiers home instead of constantly putting them under fire with no plan of ending the conflicts?
      Remember that George Washington was the biggest isolationist ever. People seemed to think he was pretty right.

  2. But, but, what about Newt’s war boner?! It’s not going to stroke itself!

    1. If your war boner lasts more than 4 presidential administrations, please consult a doctor.

      1. FDR just squeaked by.

        1. FDR just wanted his boner in Stalin.

        2. what do you think killed him?

  3. Fortunately for all of them, Jeb Bush is the establishment pick.

    1. Read that as “establishment prick”

      1. Pick, prick, dick. In the end, what difference does it make?

        1. What difference does any of this make?

        2. Are you implying he’s circumcised?

  4. Aw, the Chickenhawks of Team Red are scared. I feel for them, I truly do.

    1. The NYT is scared, too. That’s why the Grey Lady constantly reminds us Paul has “no chance” even among Republican voters.

  5. “The Rand Paul worldview, which I suspect will change, is just incompatible with reality.”

    Because the current model has worked so well.

    13 years of war, $1.8T and we are worse off than before we started.

    They aren’t called the stupid party for nothing.

    1. I really don’t understand their strategy. it seems so obviously flawed that ANYONE could come up with a better one. Their base doesn’t even really want what they’re selling- they just DON’T want what the other guy has to offer.

    2. I thought Paul was willing to consider action against ISIS (though I don’t recall the specifics). So I don’t have a clue what [Mi]Newt is blabbering about.

      1. Ah, but you see, Paul isn’t eager to commit U.S. ground troops to occupy the region indefinitely. Obviously, then, he’s a peacenik isolationist.

    3. Doesn’t Rand Paul’s current foreign policy look an awful lot like the Obama policy of 2007? But maybe a bit more consistent.

    4. Doesn’t Rand Paul’s current foreign policy look an awful lot like the Obama policy of 2007? But maybe a bit more consistent.

      1. Actually, it looks a lot more like Reagan or Bush pere’s foreign policy.

  6. The article is not even an entertaining romp through outsider darling Ben Carson’s potentially controversial ideas about whether America is prophecized to form an apolocalpytically [sic] disastrous alliance with the Roman Catholic Papacy.

    Wow, even Matt is trolling Eddie.

    1. “apolocalpytically”

      Is that a blend of Apocalypse, typically and political?

      1. Or Apologetic, Calypso and tragically?

        1. come mister tally man, tally me hysteria.

          1. Alliance come and me wan’ go Rome?

          2. Ha! Well done, lads, well done.

  7. Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
    Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
    Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
    Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
    For a charm of powerful trouble,
    Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

  8. “I think most of the Republican candidates or prospective candidates are headed in the right direction? there’s one who’s headed in the wrong direction,” said [John] Bolton

    Whew! OK, I feel better about Rand Paul now.

  9. Fastforward to the debates, why can’t Rand just ask all of his critics if they are willing to commit ground troops to fight ISIS? Seriously, put those fuckers on record as saying they’ll send in troops to fight ISIS by conventional means. And after that ask if they also would commit our military to fight Iran.

    Laying this out all so openly and plainly might make the insanity of their positions much more obvious to voters.

    1. The Establicans want to torpedo him before he could do such a thing.

      1. Didn’t Obama destroy the Dem establishment and take over the party? that was the narrative. Why not Rand?

        1. From your lips to God’s ear, Spencer.

      2. Switzy is right…they don’t want him anywhere near the debates.

        1. Well that won’t work because with his fundraising abilities, networking, and political recognition Paul is pretty much guaranteed to poll well enough to qualify for the pre-Iowa debates.

          If they let Ron Paul debate there’s no way they can’t let Rand in.

          1. They didn’t let Gary Johnson, and he polled well enough according to their own numbers.

          2. IIRC the debates are run by the media who also hate Rand. They will try their best to exclude him, even if they have to blatantly change the rules to do so.

  10. “Taking them out is the strategy.”

    Lots of folks can’t grasp the difference between strategy and tactics. This idiot does not know the difference between an objective and a strategy.

    1. I’m confused. Is “work up a number 6 on ’em” a strategy or tactic?

      1. +1 Rape the shit out of ’em at the Number 6 Dance

  11. “The Rand Paul worldview, which I suspect will change, is just incompatible with reality.”

    Gingrich is right: the Rand Paul worldview is incompatible with the truly crappy reality that neo-cons like Gingrich have created. It aspires to create a new reality that isn’t quite as crappy.

    1. I think come GOP debate time Rand Paul’s view are going to be found to be more in line with the voters and that his opponents will start moving more in that direction. The neocons will threaten to take there marbles and go to the dems at that point.

  12. Show me your War Face, Aquabudda!

    1. This is more of the “jump on board the winning team and come in for the bug win, son” speech in that movie.

      1. “bug win”
        Is that from ‘Starship Troopers’?

        1. Full Metal Troopers?

  13. Personally, I’d like to get Messrs. Gingrich, Bolton and Perle’s views on how they would characterize someone who suggested U.S. foreign policy be guided by the following principles:

    The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
    1. U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
    2. U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
    3. The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
    4. U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a “reasonable assurance” of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress.
    5. The commitment of U.S. troops should be considered only as a last resort.

    1. Good luck with that, Bill.

      …unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.

      That’s the problem. Their vital national interests are not always ours.

      1. That just it. If a country is identified as an ally in a war against a common enemy, that should be formalized by a pact agreed to by congress. And before the pact is agreed to, it should be abundantly clear that the pact is clearly in the national interest.

        If either country is attacked the other is committed to aid in the response. If done properly, it will be in the other country’s interest.

        1. No, as Pat Buchannan has reminded us, mutual defense pacts are for the benefit of the politicians, the munitions makers and all those who stand to gain by a steady state of warfare.

          Who the fuck cares about the survivability of a nation state? Not the free and peaceful.

    2. Add #1: Identify the enemy that has attacked or threatened you before starting a war. Terrorism is not an enemy, it is a strategy of war. Bush II could not even get that right. If he had properly identified the enemy, he would not have invaded Iraq.

      Otherwise, not a bad list, if by “commitment to…winning” you mean destroying the enemy. This is not the same as nation building, by the way.

    3. In case anyone is wondering, the above is simply a cut and paste (from Wikipedia) of the Weinberger Doctrine, the predecessor to the even more restrictive Powell Dcctrine. The thing that’s really striking here is I have little doubt that Messrs. Gingrich, Bolton or Perle would decry this as isolationism or excessive dovishness. But, it’s essentally the basis of Republican geostrategic thinking for the more than a decade. And not exactly a decade long, long ago.

      1. Too bad the Republican president did not use it after 911.

        1. Agreed.

    4. ISIS has clearly communicated its hostile position to the U.S. if eliminating them now before they can make good on those threats is not a vital national interest, wtf is?

      Point 1 is subjective I.E. “what constitutes winning”.

      Points 2&3 are the domain of the military not politicians and not Web Marshals.

      Point 4, those guys are counting on public opinion to be in their favor and they will probably be correct.

      Point 5, ISIS & Co. is beyond diplomacy and other regional powers are failing to contain them.

      There are two military campaign seasons left before the elections in 2016, if ISIS & Co. are not reduced or eliminated by then, American popular support will likely go to the Hawks.

  14. Last I checked, Rand Paul was pretty clear about the fact that he

    a) Wanted to officially ‘Declare War‘ against ISIS, which would be handing a lot of discretion over to the president on how to prosecute that conflict


    b) was in strong favor of a bombing campaign across both iraq and syria in the meantime

    people who seem confused by this apparent inconsistently with his sometime ‘anti-interventionist’ (not “non”) posturing were told this =

    “I’ve always said that I adhere to foreign policy realism?that you look at the facts as they exist, not as you wish them to be, as they exist?and that’s why you can have one position on ISIS three years ago, where you say, ‘you know, I don’t think they’re necessarily a threat,’ and you can have a different position three years later when they’re stronger. Things change on the ground, and so does the analysis as those things change on the ground.””

    What exactly are the Newt, Bolton, and “Prince of Darkenss” Pearle whining about? He’s stealing all their great ideas?

    1. Are you sure he just didn’t want to ‘force’ congress to adhere to the constitution?

      1. “Are you sure he just didn’t want to ‘force’ congress to adhere to the constitution?”

        its not any less “interventiony” if you’re doing it simply for the sake of procedural formality and propriety

        nevermind that the limitations he proposed in V1.0 of his Declare War idea would have never made it through congress – in fact, last i checked, congress really only has the power to either ‘declare war’ or not, and can’t impose much in the way of specifics on how the war is prosecuted other than a) via budget constraints and b) building in a sunset clause that limits the time of the validity of the declaration

        Point being = yes, i think he was trying to get congress to insist on its role. It doesn’t diminish in any way that he’s been more-aggressive than most about prosecuting an official ‘war-war’ vs. ISIS than just passively letting the ‘bomb arbitrarily’-policy continue

        the short of it is = i think Rand has certainly made a lot of speeches saying nice things about ‘avoiding foreign entanglement’, and that Middle East interventionism has lead to undesirable consequences…

        …but when actually presented with the very first ‘foreign policy’ issue of actual significance? Is diving in headfirst, guns blazing, as much as anyone.

        My point is that it seems the Hawks are attacking his past ‘rhetoric’ rather than his contemporary policy-view.

        1. Jefferson send troops to Tripoli.

            1. Just a similar historical example of what you were saying.

            2. I didn’t mention sleds at all.

    2. Re: Rand policy toward Iran

      Why negotiate with a country that has repeatedly stated their desire and intent to destroy you?. And otherwise indicated great hatred and antipathy–by supporting repeated attacks on you, supporting terrorist groups, etc. The Neocons that influenced Bush are flaming idiots, but that does not make Rand’s or libertarian of non-aggression positions correct/

      1. “David Wall|2.24.15 @ 12:53PM|#

        Re: Rand policy toward Iran”

        You seem to be responding to something no one was talking about.

        1. Granted. But it is Rand’s position on Iran that he is vulnerable the constituency he needs to win over. The positions you discussed seem non-controversial in that regard.

          1. tarran. You are not getting where I am coming from. I like Rand, but he has to distance himself from his father’s blow back theory to Republican voters and financial supporters. But appearing weak on Iran will lose that support.

            1. Crap. This should have been in response below.

              1. How often has Iran interfered with internal American policies?

                How often has Iran deposed democratically elected American presidents?

                Has Iran ever helped finance the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, the DHS or any other communist American secret police organizations a/k/a troubadors of terrorism?

                Does Iran have military installations in Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas?

                Has Iran recently launched wars or conducted military operations in Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas?

                Has Iran launched drone strikes in which thousands of children have died as a result in the last six years?

                Weak is the very essence of a Bolton or a Newt or any other neoconman.

      2. My goodness! You just explained why Iran shouldn’t negotiate with the U.S!!!!

        What was that about an eye for an eye making the whole world?

    3. What exactly are the Newt, Bolton, and “Prince of Darkenss” Pearle whining about?

      I think it’s the whole absence of a blank check to set policy thing. For these guys, a realist is little different from a non-interventionist. If you’re in the all-war-all-the-time camp, saying sometimes war isn’t the optimal policy is a no-go.

  15. I’ll take that as an endorsement.

  16. Man, this Rand Paul character…I’ll bet he doesn’t even think we should have a moon base.


  17. I love #RedEye but John Bolton is a giant toolbag. I don’t get the Greg love for him. What am I missing?

    1. He really knows how to wear a red tie.

    2. I think he can have moments of snarky humor that are accentuated by his otherwise starched and stodgy appearance. Largely though I think he puts forward a view that should encourage more libertarian-leaning guests to engage in debate. You don’t want everyone to have exactly the same ideas. Makes for a boring show. Having said that, I wish he would have Bolton on with someone that has a more informed libertarian policy perspective and a forceful personality.

  18. More stupid on this at American Thinker:


    Basically argues that in a HRC vs. Rand, HRC has the foreign policy cred.

    WFT??!! So having 4 or 5 years of incompetent, catastrophic experience as SecState makes you more qualified?

    1. I believe it’s was pointed out in the Dogbert Management guide that it is often the safest course of action to promote people who have spectacularly failed, since they aren’t nobodies (and nobody will say “where did you find the guy?”), and being failures they won’t show you to be an idiot by being right when you are wrong.

      1. Well, Dogbert is a genius.

  19. I’m kind of at a loss for what Rand Paul has said regarding foreign policy that is supposedly so radical and dangerous. On ISIS, for example, he hasn’t come down against intervention, only had the audacity to insist it be authorized by Congress.

    But then, these are the same people who think President “Drones Away” Obama is some kind of isolationist/pacifist and America has “retreated from the world” under his watch.

    1. It’s true that voters (and especially Republicans) are feeling more hawkish towards ISIS right now…

      Notice this article isn’t about what Rand Paul has said or the voters have said – it’s about what the NYT has said. The NYT is shilling for Hillary, nothing more. In any other context, the NYT would be reminding us that Newt, Bolton and Perle are Insane, Stupid and Evil but here they are glad to tell us what Great Minds these are all confirming the fact that Hillary is correct on this matter.

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    ????? http://www.work-mill.com

  21. OT = for those of you movie buffs who were left unimpressed by this year’s academy awards…

    here’s the latest from the internet’s finest cinema-connoisseur =

    Razorfist reviews Chuck Norris’ The Hitman

  22. With all his faults, Rand Paul is the only high-ranking official in DC who’s willing to dissent from the bipartisan uber-hawk establishmentarianism mind-set that’s been entrenched within the Beltway since Gulf War I made war look easy. Keep talking, Rand!

  23. I got accused of not liking or honoring the military because I am against intervening in the Middle East. I tried to explain that I literally don’t want you to get killed to no avail.

  24. “… against the amorphously barbaric Islamic State”

    Bzzzz. Wrong. Rookie error comparing the amorphous multi-headed hydra of Al-Qaeda with the very well defined Daesh Islamic State.

    The Daesh have a capital (Raqqa), run law courts, have state supervised schools, issue currency, collect taxes from an area the size of Britain and have a centrally controlled army. Barbaric yes, amorphous no.

  25. “Newt Gingrich, John Bolton, and Richard Perle Disagree With Rand Paul’s Foreign Policy!”

    Members of the Establishment GOP disagree with a Libertarian. Who ‘da thunk it?

  26. So many years of failed aggressive policies. We’ve won no wars since WW2. What does that say about the competence of these hawks who love ware as long as someone else gets to die?

    Why not try something new?

    1. Getting in Mr. Peabody’s wayback machine, it tells me that: They ought to call up the troops and lead the charge. Officers first! (a frequent Vietnam era locution)

  27. Rand has just a slightly better chance of becoming President than did his father.

  28. Just about NO ONE agrees with Rand’s FP. He is way more Ron than he is letting on. He will mask his true intentions just like Obama did.
    The Dems are wringing their hands (and all of the whack-a-doodle stuff Rand has been involved in), and waiting with audio, video, and mailers to boot.
    He will never be president – ever!!

  29. So nice to hear Gingrich, Bolton and Perle are continuing to receive the GOP talking points. And they wonder why their stale, non-working, evangelical/right wing view points no longer fly with the more mainstream, sensible, conservative, constituents. It’s pretty much all over for the GOP, isn’t it? If the Libertarian Party can’t gather enough of the voters and offer an alternative to socialism, the entire country is over with. We had a good run.

  30. Intervention-skeptics, meanwhile (particularly though not only within the Republican Party), are treated like potentially radioactive aberrants, no matter how much their views line up with American public opinion.

    How else can you get shot down in a helicopter like a true American hero if you’re not busy continuously advocating for and framing the issue such that any stance that dismisses the certainty of war is a looney position?

  31. Bring very circumspect regarding foriegn entanglements has a long history in US policy, commencing from the time of the founding. Sen. Paul is not out of the historical mainstream, the interventionists and those who would have us be the world’s policeman are.

  32. What is the strategy for the US going forward. Who or what is the US seems needed prior to any foreign policy. We have been ‘fundamentally transformed’ , now can we get back on track and be America once again.

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