Free Minds & Free Markets

Fear of a Rand Paul-Influenced Trump Foreign Policy

Such fear is a sign of an exhausted establishment that can't justify decades of expensive failure.

Josh Rogin, writing at the Washington Post, contemplates the supposedly frightening shadow of Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) hovering over some of President Donald Trump's recent foreign policy decisions. Rogin's piece adds to some unsourced musings from Beltway types that the most influential adviser to Trump on foreign policy right now is not anyone on his staff or a member of the Pentagon brass, but the Kentucky senator known for his skepticism about endless foreign adventuring.

Rogin thinks it fair to say that Paul, via informal communication with golfing buddy Trump, "is quietly steering U.S. foreign policy in a new direction." Among the public evidence for this is Trump tweet-quoting Paul after announcing his intention to pull U.S. troops from Syria on how "[it]t should not be the job of America to replace regimes around the world."

by kennethkonica on / CC BY-NDby kennethkonica on / CC BY-ND

Paul's influence is bad, Rogin maintains, because "Trump may be taking Paul's word over that of his own advisers. Moreover, Paul has a history of pushing false claims and theories."

The implication, against all evidence, is that government foreign policy experts somehow do not "push...false claims and theories," even though their beliefs about such matters as Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, and the supposedly positive aftereffects of toppling Middle Eastern dictators such as Saddam and Libyan Colonel Muammar Gadafi, have been disastrously wrong.

Paul is specifically accused of not quickly accepting claims that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime was definitively responsible for poison gas attacks in Syria. This is a hollow criticism considering that former Defense Secretary James Mattis publicly accused Assad while "the intelligence community was still assessing the evidence." To Rogin and the foreign policy establishment he speaks for, it's always better to err on the side of intervening first and getting answers later.

Rogin further falls back on a linkless assertion that "Trump should realize that most Republicans — and most Americans — favor a robust U.S. foreign policy. Most voters recognize that worldwide threats to our country are growing and believe now is a time for American leadership, not American retreat." This claim totally ignores strong recent evidence to the contrary. What we know about public sentiment in the last election says that foreign policy is a motivating issue mostly to people like Rogin and the Washingtonians responsible for decades of insanely ineffectual and destructive foreign interventionism; barring attacks, the American people are mostly (and rightly) concerned with domestic business.

Rogin chooses not to address any actual reason why Trump pulling back the troops, possibly under Paul's influence, should be alarming. He treats it as self-evident that American troops must stay indefinitely wherever we send them, and he ignores the dangers of overthrowing dictators in favor of Islamic revolutionaries. He also fails to acknowledges that America has failed many times over the last century to bring conflicts in other countries to permanent and happy ends.

It's not that I don't feel for Rogin. The reflexive defense of U.S. intervention everywhere and always is a hard game; merely asserting that it's a self-evident good because "expert advisers" said so is the best they can do. If Rand Paul's influence is, as the unnamed sources seem to believe, pushing Trump to actually make good on campaign promises to shrink America's military footprint overseas, then that is definitely for the good. Rogin fails to make the case that it's not.

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  • DenverJ||

    Huh. Go Rand? First?

  • Cranedoc||

    I'm confused. Is Orange Man even still Bad?

  • Trigger Warning||

    The wall is dumb and the tariffs are bad. The tweeting is undignified and petulant. The SC picks and ordering the military out of meaningless conflicts are fucking great. Driving The Hag and her drones insane is quality entertainment.

  • Sevo||

    "The wall is dumb and the tariffs are bad."

    "The tweeting is undignified and petulant."
    I can ignore this; I don't tweet. And don't care what anyone posts there.

  • Trigger Warning||

    Yeah man, I let it go. I don't like it, but it's not the end of days. I just think Shitter Twitter is, generally, fucking retarded.

  • Sevo||

    Re: the wall.
    In China 10-12 years ago, 'climb' (not walk) the Great Wall.
    Ask guide: 'Ya know, that's pretty impressive. HIH did the Mongols get through?'
    Guide: *shrug* 'They bribed somebody'.
    And of course modern bureaucrats are much more honest, right?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Only a small percentage can afford to bribe, or find the right person. The wall won't stop all the illegal traffic, but will greatly reduce it.

  • Sevo||

    Last of the Shitlords|12.29.18 @ 1:23AM|#
    "Only a small percentage can afford to bribe, or find the right person. The wall won't stop all the illegal traffic, but will greatly reduce it."

    Tell that to the Han Chinese.

  • Fancylad||

    When illegals get armed, organized and form mounted cavalries under Turkic warlords, then the US should worry about a similar fate.

  • XM||

    The mongols were among the greatest mobile fighting army in history. They either got around the wall or graciously accepted surrender from whatever fortification they laid siege on.

    The caravan is the lower class of failed societies, and only a few of them will even try to scale over it. A well designed wall will stop most of them.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The wall is supposed to be staged in layers. Getting over the first one won't do anything.

  • markm23||

    A civilized society next to a nomadic society usually suffers from continual small raids - not armies intending conquest, but small bands after loot and rape. The authorities usually would find out about such a raid too late to intercept Mongols, who could usually out-ride regular calvary.

    When it was manned properly, the wall stopped most raiding. A small raider party could often succeed in getting to the top of the wall and killing the nearest sentry - but that didn't get their horses across, so they couldn't loot farms or towns and get back before the wall's garrison was reinforced and mounted troops sent to hunt them. Their best chance would be to find a corrupt commander who could open a gate for them, but eventually higher authority would see a pattern of successful raids near one commander's sector.

    What the wall did not do, and no wall has ever done, was to stop an army without being backed up by a powerful mobile army. A hundred Mongols could seize a section of the wall by stealth, intimidation, and bribery, but not hold it for long if there were any Chinese cavalry and infantry to respond. An army of Mongols could seize a section of the wall and begin crossing, although the wall slowed them by a few days. _If_ there was a Chinese army to rush to the breach, most likely the incursion would be contained, but if a great Khan had united the tribes and the Chinese central government had weakened their mobile army in the area, the invaders could win.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    My understanding is that the brick and stone wall that attracts all the tourists and photographers was built during the Ming period after overthrowing the Mongol-backed Yuan dynasty, and that wall did a pretty good job of keeping Mongol raiders out. 300 years later it was the Manchus who got through, after they convinced one of the Ming generals to switch sides.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Twitter is the most aptly named of all the various social media services.

    Only twits tweet.

  • newshutz||

    Twitter is good common sense speech control.

    No one needs high capacity communication means.

    140 characters is enough.

  • Fancylad||

    "The tweeting is undignified and petulant."
    That's the bit I enjoy the most.
    In the age of Donald Trump, the melodrama and self-pity of the elite is nearly bottomless. They are humanity's enemies, and I love to see their anger and despair.

  • scooby509||

    For whatever reason, the people saying how undignified and petulant he is always seem hell bent on showing him they can be even more undignified and petulant.

    And then, "oh, but he's the President, he's supposed to be presidential." This isn't an aristocracy, if there are standards of behavior, we're all supposed to live up to him. He's not a king, he works for us.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The wall isn't dumb. It isn't anything; indeed, there will be no wall for the foreseeable future. And even the wall did exist it wouldn't be dumb. It would just be a wall.

    The people proposing a wall? They're dumb.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Arty, you're too stupid to understand what is being proposed. So fuck off.

  • scooby509||

    No, we have shitty fences already, shoring them up and completing them is as reasonable as building them in the first place, and as reasonable as having borders at all. Trump simply dumbed the idea down to where it could be expressed over our 8-bit media.

    And I agree it is all dumb, but is there a smarter, viable alternative?

    The wall's opponents have been letting people come in illegally and then be permanently stuck in immigration limbo, which is dumb and evil.

  • posmoo||

    the tarrifs are in service to free trade, not and end of themselves, and immigration restrictions including a border that is able to exclude who enters is essential for the perpetuation of a cradle to grave welfare state you fucking moron.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Tariffs are in no way a service to free trade. A tariff is literally a penalty one pays for purchasing a particular item. You don't penalize freedom in the name of freedom, idiot.

  • BigT||

    I think he means that tariffs are a negotiating ploy. If so, they better start working soon since they have already shaken up the financial world.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Saw a youtube from "The Amazing Atheist".

    "Of course Trump is the Devil, but he does a lot of stuff I like that Obama wouldn't do."

  • DarrenM||

    So, "The Amazing Atheist" still believes in the Devil?

  • Fancylad||

    I watched a few episodes.
    He's weirdly religious in the way many "I Fucking Love Science"-type anti-theists are. You know, how they view science as a set of beliefs rather than a method of inquiry. Or how they follow media personalities who play "scientist" on TV, like Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, like they're their pastors and priests. Or the astonishing ignorance of history that let's them fall so easily for the ahistorical "Jesus was cribbed from Mithras" stupidity or the "Mohammed never existed" nonsense.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Our atheists are pious people."

    -- Max Stirner

  • Sevo||

    "Rogin thinks it fair to say that Paul, via informal communication with golfing buddy Trump, "is quietly steering U.S. foreign policy in a new direction." Among the public evidence for this is Trump tweet-quoting Paul after announcing his intention to pull U.S. troops from Syria on how "[it]t should not be the job of America to replace regimes around the world.""

    This Trump guy is really amazing.
    He is, simultaneously, a master of 9D chess; witness his ability to keep his collusion with the Ruskis a secret fro the head of the fishing expedition for two years now.
    And then he's a witless pawn to a golfing buddy's opinions on the 19th hole.
    What a guy!

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and exit NATO at the same time please. Let the Euros pay for their own defense.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Exactly, saw that douchebag Sonnenfeld from Yale Biz school on CNBC claiming all his CEO buddies aren't worried about Chinee tariffs or the Fed and raising rates, but the market volatility is because Orange Man is being mean to our "friends" in Europe. These establishment fuckwads really are bipartisan nitwits. Easy to see why they hate and fear Trump upsetting the 'ol apple cart.

    But yeah, fuck NATO, why are we subsidizing the EU welfare state?

  • Sevo||

    "why are we subsidizing the EU welfare state?"

    As an American taxpayer, I cannot afford what the UK's NHS cost. Let 'em pay for it themselves.

  • Last of the Shitlords||


  • Trigger Warning||

    Quite a few leftards seem to believe Rand Paul is dangerous and unhinged, to the point where they are for real frightened of the man. I don't get it.

    Rogin is a typical armchair warrior. Yawn. Cumstains like him love battle as long as it's not his ass in the line of fire. Fuck him.

  • CE||

    Rand Paul is dangerous. To leftists. And their worldview. And their deal with Satan to rule the minds of the young.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Sen. Paul is dangerous to leftists, objectionable to libertarians.

    Must be a Republican.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Goddamn you're trash Arty.

  • Jerryskids||

    Paul's influence is bad, Rogin maintains, because "Trump may be taking Paul's word over that of his own advisers. Moreover, Paul has a history of pushing false claims and theories."

    Rogin thinks Trump has advisors? Trump has his gut and his very good brain, why would he need advisors when he's the world's foremost expert on absolutely everything? Trump has sycophants and people he doesn't listen to, he doesn't have advisors.

  • Sevo||

    Blaaa blaaa TRUMP!!!!!! blaaa blaaa TRUUUUUUMMMP!!!!
    Seek help.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Trump has his gut and his very good brain, why would he need advisors when he's the world's foremost expert on absolutely everything? Trump has sycophants and people he doesn't listen to, he doesn't have advisors."

    Yes, who can forget when Trump said, "I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director."? That dude is crazy, convinced he's the world's premier expert in everything, when he's just surrounded by suck-ups.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No he isn't. Nikki Haley was his UN ambassador. She didn't even endorse or support him in the primary. Plenty of tower examples like that. FFS, the article itself is about Trump,listening to Rand Paul, who is hardly a sycophant.

  • Rich||

    Paul's influence is bad, Rogin maintains, because "Trump may be taking Paul's word over that of his own advisers."

    Of course, if Trump took, say, Pelosi's advice -- hunky-dory.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Oh mang, Bre Payton died. Didn't she contrib an article or two on Reason?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Apparently not.

  • creech||

    An acquaintance was throwing around the meme that by placing American interests first, Trump was an isolationist. I asked if her kids came first in her life. "Sure they do. I'd do anything for my kids." So I said, "Does that mean you isolate your kids from all other kids, refuse play dates, homeschool them, not join Scouts, refuse to let them see their cousins?" "Don"t be absurd. That's different!" Like racist or Nazi, isolationist is another word they throw around without any awareness of what it means.

  • Eddy||

    I wouldn't recommend this with your friend, but how about:

    "I see your 'isolationist' and raise you a 'warmonger' and 'reckless blood-spiller.'"

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Well Wakanda was extremely isolationist for the longest time and Kamala Harris (D-Cal) would love to emulate them. I can't begin to imagine the tariffs they levied on foreign goods, secure in their position as the world's only source of vibranium.

  • Eddy||

    Vibranium? Sounds like something you get at one of those erotica stores.

  • CE||

    Wakanda was a fantasy land. No nation that isolates itself maintains technological superiority for long, it's impossible.

  • Echospinner||

    That exact problem is the major dynamic in the story of Black Panther and Wakanda.

    They have a highly functional society yet there is no way to keep out the rest of the world.

    The populist Trump trend is regressive. It will not work.

    There is no way back to Wakanda. It was never really there.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Oh bullshit. No one is being isolationist. Just prioritizing US interests first for a change.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Also, isolationist tends to be used largely to describe not going to war abroad.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Wakanda is the leading Alt-Right country in the world.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    What about Latveria?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Latverian far right groups are exploiting the situation over the border in neighboring Sokovia, recruiting and radicalizing the disaffected in the aftermath of Ultron's attack, and destabilizing the government there.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    This will surely trigger an automated response from the Doombots!

  • Trigger Warning||

    I know a guy from Cameroon who tells people he's from Wakanda. You'd shit yourself laughing if you saw how many people just believe him.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I love meatspace Kek!

  • John C. Randolph||

    isolationist is another word they throw around without any awareness of what it means.

    I remember all the bleating morons in the press calling Ron Paul an isolationist.


  • CE||

    The welfare-warfare state is still shaking in its boots over the ghost of Ron Paul, even while he's still alive.

  • Eddy||

    Trump may have put them into the shaking in their boots stage. Before, it was just a few Congressmen, and what influence do *they* have over war policy? But Trump...he's like the President and stuff and gets to make peace and war decisions.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Because Drumpf is definitely Putin's Puppet and Rand Paul may be similarly compromised, any Drumpf / Paul alliance on foreign policy should make all patriotic Americans suspicious. It's a terrifying thought that the most powerful military in the world is effectively under the control of a hostile foreign power. That's why Orange Hitler's recent irresponsible actions have me more proud than ever that I voted for Hillary Clinton. Since she's not a Russian intelligence asset, I know she'd be conducting foreign policy with America's best interests in mind.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You're missing the big picture. All of them are being manipulated by the Red Skull or alternately Victor Von Doom who are engaged in a battle for,world domination.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    After reading the latest leaks from the Rising Tide I am convinced that Hive is behind this. He already has infected all major world leaders and has them under his control.

  • DajjaI||

    Thank you Reason. Thank you Rand Paul. This makes me so happy I could weep. As for Syria, unless they support full freedom and equal rights for all, we should not be supporting them and need to get the hell out. (And having 'free' or 'democratic' in your name doesn't mean you have any idea what they stand for.) Next up: Israel and its "$4.5 billion".

    So glad I supported Trump!!!!! MAGA MOFOS!!!!!!!!!

  • Fancylad||

    Next up: Israel and its "$4.5 billion"
    It's actually $3.2 billion this year, but that's still a whopping amount.
    Also, don't forget the $80 billion in military and economic assistance over the past 30 years to Egypt. That's an average of $2.6 billion per year.
    Or the $1.4 billion per year to Jordan.
    Or the $3.7 billion to Iraq (aid, not occupation costs)
    Or the $500 million to Yemen
    Or the $400 million to the West Bank and Gaza
    Or the $900 million to Syria (aid only)
    Or the $500 million to Lebanon
    Or the $500 million to Morocco
    And $900 million to Pakistan
    Or the $6 billion to Afghanistan (aid, not occupation costs)

    That's $10.5 billion per year to the Arabs and almost $7 billion to the Indo-Iranians. Add the $3.2 billion to Israel and an additional $1 billion to the rest of the region, and the Middle East sucks back almost $22 billion per year in military and developmental aid. That's 44% of the global total.

    As the victors, I don't understand why you Americans aren't charging the Afghanis and Iraqis billions of dollars a year in reparations instead. That's been the tradition over the last 200k years of human history.

  • DarrenM||

    I just wonder how much foreign aid in each country to which we give it goes to the leadership to line the pockets of them and their cronies as opposed to something that actually benefits the population as a whole.

  • Nardz||

    The world's dominant empire paying tribute - so post modern!

  • TLBD||

    This is a pretty cognizant statement.

    It is no wonder they all think they are better than us.

  • Lowdog||

    It is so blatantly obvious that the welfare-warfare-surveillance state hates trump, solely for the fact that he doesn't seem to be beholden to them. Never mind that he is no ideologue, is a blowhard, and intellectually vapid. Nope, he isn't 100% in the can for American imperialism, and therefore must be stopped.

    His anti-trade policies are extremely retarded, but if he keeps pulling the US outta quagmires, he could easily become the best president of my lifetime.

  • Sevo||

    Lowdog|12.28.18 @ 11:22PM|#
    "It is so blatantly obvious that the welfare-warfare-surveillance state hates trump, solely for the fact that he doesn't seem to be beholden to them. Never mind that he is no ideologue, is a blowhard, and intellectually vapid. Nope, he isn't 100% in the can for American imperialism, and therefore must be stopped.
    His anti-trade policies are extremely retarded, but if he keeps pulling the US outta quagmires, he could easily become the best president of my lifetime."

    Might I ask you to post this everywhere you get a chance? Can I copy and paste this comment where ever I can?
    I do not recognize the handle, but please comment here more often.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Those are good points.

  • Danzig'sMother||

    Bad "journalism" but come on. Anyone involved in the government is a huge piece of shit. I mean huge. Lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie. Trump might do "good" but it's all evil in the end. People seem to have forgotten how to read history books. American progress will kill em all for a long time. But it's gonna die no matter what authoritarian pigs run it.

  • BigT||


    Another reason all of DC hates Trump is his vulgar, rude, plain-speaking manner. The Swamp creatures consider themselves to be erudite, educated crafters of sophisticated policies and nuanced thoughts. Trump calling out their obfuscation hurts their self images and upsets their world views. These strutting poofs are loathe to be associated with such lowlifes, much less exposed by them.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Trump's policies do not reflect Rand Paul's influence. They reflect the common Republican opinions of the Reagan and Bush Sr. eras. It's the Powell-Weinberger Doctrine. It's Reagan wisely withdrawing from Lebanon. It's Bush bugging out of Panama.

    Rand Paul's (or Ron Paul's) foreign policy isn't anything like that. The Pauls ideas are about avoiding blowback by not presenting yourself as an enemy and a threat. That isn't what Trump is doing at all. The Pauls have more in common with the neoconservatives than Trump's pragmatic Reaganesque foreign policy--especially as it pertains to making nice with vicious dictators. Neither the neoconservatives nor the Pauls want to see America making nice with foreign dictators.

    Trump, Reagan, Kirkpatrick, Bush Sr. ,et. al. would see us make friends with almost whomever--so long as doing so is in the best interests of American security. Trump was campaigning in that vein before he ever met Rand Paul.

  • Echospinner||

    That is spot on.

    Except the Reagan era folks did not disrespect and confuse allies in this way. They were willing to engage in realpolitik for sure.

    They drew brighter lines between allies and enemies. The lines could shift but you knew where you stood. In the Trump era it is not at all clear. It is a chaotic strategy if we can even call it one.

  • 5th Grader Voxpo||

    Interesting, substantive comments Echospinner and Ken. I'm glad I scrolled this far.

  • Fancylad||

    Except the Reagan era folks did not disrespect and confuse allies in this way.

    To be fair, none of those "allies" have behaved like allies with the exception of the UK and Australia.
    Every time some outrage would occur globally, my fellow Canadians and the Europeans, particularly the governments, would pule and moan about how something "Ought to be done, hint hint", or how "Children are dying, nudge nudge", and "If only America wouldn't ignore the problem, so hard-hearted and callous, the isolationist brutes".
    And then when the US does stumble in and invariably fuck-up, they start posturing and squealing "Imperialism!" and Warpigs!. The hypocrisy is astounding. They get to have their globalist imperialist cake, and wash their hands of the blood of innocents at the same time.

    The second trick is to not pay for our own defense, quietly request and facilitate American bases on our soil to do the job for us, and then act like we're oppressed and occupied while the US is doing the job we don't want to pay for. We get to pretend we're all peaceful and neutral but those awful Americans just won't leave. South Korea, Japan and the new Iraqi government also like this trick.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It seems to be a function of proximity. It was that way in the ancient world, too.

    Back in the days of the Delian League, the city-states near Athens would scream and cry about Athenian hegemony. Damn imperialists! The closer you get to the Persian Empire, the less you hear of that and the more support you get for the Athenians. Lesbos (off the coast of modern Turkey) might say, "You guys want to station your navy in our ports? Go ahead. Hell, we'll make room if we have to! Just come and station all the navy and troops you want".

    Nowadays, when you look at the countries who were meeting their required NATO contributions (even before Trump took office) and you'll conspicuously see Poland and Estonia on the list. They don't whine about Yankee imperialism, and they don't complain about paying their fair share for their NATO commitments either. It's the Mexicans and the Canadians who are always yelling about Yankee imperialism.

    Funny how that works.

  • markm23||

    The thing about the Delian League was that the Athenians taxed them heavily for the common defense, and then covered the Acropolis with expensive art and temples. It sure looked like the rest of the league was paying tribute to decorate Athens...

  • BigT||

    "Reagan wisely withdrawing from Lebanon" after some serious blowback.

    I don't see how this is materially different from Rand/Ron perspective on avoiding pissing off the ME by shrinking our footprint. Rand may speak more philosophically, but the tune seems very familiar. Could you explain further?

  • Ken Shultz||

    If you don't understand the differences between pragmatic realism, neoconservatism, and the Pauls, then you should go educate yourself.

  • TLBD||

    That is very unlike you, Ken.

    Pauls are isolationists, neocons are interventionist, Trump/Reagan are pragmatists.

    The pragmatist may overlap with the isolationist and interventionist, but when they do, it does not mean they subscribe to either ideology.

  • BigT||

    "That is very unlike you, Ken."

    Not really. Ken spit some ad hominem bs at me just a few days ago. Apparently he has issues.

    Rand has been a non-interventionist rather than isolationist. Reagan was not very interventionist either. The difference may be due to opportunity - Pres Rand could well find intervening in some situations to be necessary as Reagan did. Unfortunately we will never find out.

  • Ken Shultz||


    There isn't anything ad hominem about pointing out that you don't seem to understand the basics of something, and this is no exception.

    The things you're writing indicate that you have gaping holes in your knowledge on this subject. Even when you understand a term, you don't seem to understand the context.

    There's also nothing ad hominem with pointing out that if you want to learn this stuff, you'll need to go find it for yourself. No one is about to chase you down and push knowledge into your head, so you need to go find it for yourself.

    P.S. Reagan often worked through vicious proxies, and he did it all over the world. Calling him "not very interventionist" (especially during the Cold War) is absurd. Assuming you're being willfully dishonest might be an ad hominem fallacy. Assuming you don't know what you're talking about is actually giving you the benefit of the doubt.

  • BigT||

    Reagan intervened in Granada. Funding proxies in Nicaragua and Afghanistan is pretty mild stuff, and not a military intervention. Maybe you take his strident talk as intervention, or perhaps the sanctions. You can define the term as you like. Will you accuse me of intervening in Honduras when I donate to CARE?

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Here's my strategy on the Cold War: we win, they lose."

    ― Ronald Reagan, U.S.S.R. U.S.A. Summit, Moscow, May 29 June 2, 1988

    Reagan believed in fighting the USSR everywhere and every way. And then they were gone.

    Winning. Some Presidents believe in it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The pragmatist may overlap with the isolationist and interventionist, but when they do, it does not mean they subscribe to either ideology."

    Holy smoke, that was my point.

    Rand Paul's foreign policy isn't pragmatist/realist (like Trump), and they aren't neocons either--although they do share the neocons' aversion to making friends with vicious dictators.

    Meanwhile, there is no good reason to think that Trump's pragmatic/realist foreign policy has been influenced by Rand Paul, certainly not just because he's withdrawing from Syria. Pragmatists/realists will refrain from invading or withdraw for reasons like those in the Powell/Weinberger doctrine--which aren't what the Pauls are about at all. After all, pragmatists/realists will invade for the reasons in the Powell/Weinberger Doctrine, too, when the Pauls would still oppose invading for other reasons.

    That's basically what you're saying, and that's exactly what I said.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Meanwhile, there is no good reason to think that Trump's pragmatic/realist foreign policy has been influenced by Rand Paul"

    Did Rand want us to go back into Iraq and destroy ISIS? Then go to Syria? I'd guess not.

    Probably was negative about Trump's bellicosity toward NK, then positive about the peace overtures following.

    I think Trump is very old school. He will use the military/economy/diplomacy to destroy threats to the international order. In particular, threats to the international order that threaten *us*.

    What he's done was predictable from what he said on the campaign trail. "Bomb the shit out of ISIS." I doubt Rand approved. But I did. I also approve of getting out now that they've been largely destroyed.

    Getting out before they are *entirely* destroyed probably helps, in that maybe that gets the remaining players to cooperate to destroy them in ways that can build trust for the post ISIS period.

    If we stay to impose a peace, that just postpones all parties coming to grip with the facts on the ground.

  • buybuydandavis||

    An article about an article based in mindreading.

    Clown World.

    Destroy ISIS terrorist pseudo state. Get out.

    A reasonable expectation for a Trump foreign policy from his public statements. Use military to kill transnational bad guys, but not nation build.

  • Conchfritters||

    Bill Kristol now-cons and lefties crying themselves to sleep. Happy day.

  • Conchfritters||

    Neo-cons. Fuck you spell check.

  • Fancylad||

    Now-Cons works. There was always urgency in their demands.

  • Danzig'sMother||

    I'm over my head. I need oil strategically. Hey! Those are my points!

  • Danzig'sMother||

    The USSR is on the rise. Bring back the dancing bears! Nostalga for all!

  • Danzig'sMother||

    There is no right or wrong. I'm just glad we're protected by water.

  • A Lady of Reason||

    Trump is finally standing up for America rather than kowtowing to everyone else!

  • B Wilds||

    What else would we expect from the war mongering Washington Post which is owned by Amazon's CEO which has ties to the CIA and the NSA?

    Please remember that when America put Trump in office many of us were seeking a world where the leadership in Washington would focus on bringing both jobs and money home rather than squandering it on foreign wars. Simply put, Trump did not come across as a warmonger during the presidential campaign. If David Stockman is right it could be that the power of the swamp is too strong and simply cannot be drained.

    Stockman, who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, contends that President Trump has become a hostage of those occupying the very swamp he promised to drain.

  • BigT||

    Trump pulling out of Syria against the advice of the military-industrial complex is proof that he is willing to drain at least some of the swamp. He also seems to have learned that he needs some support from Congress to get anything done. If only he had understood this on Jan 20, 2017 we would be in much better shape and be rid of Obamacare.

  • Jerry B.||

    Interesting how liberals now want us to be Team America, World Police.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's really not that different from policing racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. here in the U.S.

    Obama and Secretary of State Clinton's objections to Putin were largely focused on his hostility to the rights of LGBTQI+. Maybe we could collaborate with Putin to fight ISIS, but how can we selfishly consider the best interests of the United States, in that regard, when Putin is actively denying LGBTQI+ their right to get married?

    Same thing in Syria. Making Syria safe for its minorities using the military is much like using the police to save minority communities on the eastern seaboard from the ravages of marijuana by way of the drug war. The push to legalize marijuana didn't come from politicians in blue states. That mostly came to blue states by way of popular referendums over the objections of progressives politicians.

    Obama raided medical marijuana dispensaries that were in compliance with state laws over 100 times in his first term. Hell, in New York, progressives don't want to let people drink sugary soft drinks. Why would they want to let people use cannabis? Why not invade Syria? Don't they need some of that progressive love, too?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just for the record:

    "The Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."

  • Eddy||

    Perhaps the one subject on which Rolling Stone may be considered reliable.

  • Echospinner||

    Well they trashed Led Zeppelin. Yeesh

  • librich||

    The only flavor of leadership Americans recognize today is demagoguery. We don't want level-headed deliberation, and we don't have much of it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Anything the mass of people like is "demagoguery".

    When the ruling class sells the people down the river, that's "level-headed deliberation".

  • XM||

    Rand is the son of Ron Paul, the noted white nationalist. He wanted to close down the departments of anything and send us back to the stone age.

    Come on, we all know why the left fears a Rand Paul influence on Trump. They never cared about intervention. If Obama proposed Syria pullout 4 years ago Time Magazine would have put him on the cover as "deity in human flesh".

  • Hank Phillips||

    Speaking of coercive mystics wanting to steer policy for others, when is Stephanie going to finish the article 'splaining how un-libertarian it was for Irish voters to repeal the amendment forcing women into unwanted labor? That's the very Amendment the Republican Party--including Randal Paul and his daddy--wants, in its CURRENT platform, to force on the Supreme Court and all women in These States and Dominions, as in Syria. This Amendment-pushing has been going on since the platforms of 1976, the first election after the LP plank became Roe v Wade. Surely there's a story there.

  • Trigger Warning||

    The fuck are you babbling about?

  • Fancylad||

    I'm starting to think "Hank Phillips" is some sort of new AI bot experiment by Media Matters to inject prog platitudes into comment threads, so that they don't have to pay fifty-centers like Tony, Kirkland and Chemjeff anymore.

    The words are somewhat relevant to the topic but nothing really makes sense. The algorithm's still learning basic grammar I guess.

  • Echospinner||

    Because of the shutdown they closed the National Zoo

    Last report several lions and an antelope looking for shelter were spotted near the Lincoln Memorial....update forget the antelope, several lions.

    Someone help these poor furloughed homeless animals.

  • LeaveTrumpAloneLiberal-tarian||

    Hey Brian,

    I've been telling all my libtard friends that Obama sucked because he was merely following the status of forces agreement signed by peacenik President GWB, but now Lindsey Graham is telling me that Obama sucked because the status of forces agreement was bullshit. I'm so confused now... what do I tell my libtard friends now??? So confused.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Shit-tier OBL is back!

  • IMissLiberty||

    Not to forget: End. The. Fed.
    Rand used to work in his father's congressional office, resulting in his having an inside track on how things work (or don't), and history. Not to mention economics. No one is perfect, but it is nice when somebody has common sense and is able to apply it.

  • Scott Boddy||

    Why do we focus on the failures?

    Ask yourself if the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein? If so.... who was going to do the dirty work? Anyone? Anyone?
    Don't criticize the end result and how you got there unless you offer a solution. Isolation is not a viable solution.

  • ZanderfromNOLA||

    Bullshit article. Mattis went on record several times saying there was no proof Assad used Chemical weapons. "We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it's been used," Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. "We do not have evidence of it." Feb 18 AP


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