Rand Paul Reax: ‘bizarre,’ ‘one of the major foreign policy speeches of this still young century,’ Just Like His Father, Not Enough Like His Father,…

61eerand paul at heritage 600x400 Rand Paul Reax: bizarre, one of the major foreign policy speeches of this still young century, Just Like His Father, Not Enough Like His Father,...

Rand Paul’s big foreign policy speech at Heritage
yesterday (read it
here; follow-up
here) has drawn a lot of interesting and disparate reaction.
Here’s a sampling:Washington Post political columnist Dana Milbank says
that “Rand
Paul is more like his father after all”:
[T]he only military intervention Paul explicitly supported in
his speech was attacking al-Qaeda in Afghanistan — a conflict even
his father voted to authorize. Later, in a conference call with
reporters, I asked Paul whether there was any other military
intervention in the past 30 or 40 years he would have supported.
That left a wide range of possibilities — Vietnam, Panama, Kuwait,
Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq, Libya — but he declined to name
The apple, it would appear, doesn’t fall far from the tree.
In his call with reporters later, he returned to a tone that
sounded more isolationist — or, as modern isolationists call
themselves, non-interventionists. “We supported a concept of
radical jihad against the Soviets, and it came back to bite us,” he
said. “Some people argue keeping the shah in power ultimately came
back to bite us.” Calling for the United States to “be more
hesitant,” he argued that in Syria “we shouldn’t be arming one side
or the other.” [...]
If this makes Rand Paul a foreign policy realist, so’s his old
Antiwar.com’s John Glaser, on the
other hand, says “Paul
tried to advocate a foreign policy of restraint, but couched it in
the rhetoric of interventionists”:
Paul suggested the United States reapply its Cold War strategies
of engagement, aggression, and containment to the 21st century’s
version of a Soviet threat: “Radical Islam.”
But does America really face such an overarching
threat? [...]
Few Americans will be persuaded of non-intervention if they are
constantly reminded of minor, indirect threats through the
oversimplified rhetoric of politicians.
The Washington Free Beacon quotes a
bunch of neoconservatives calling Sen. Paul naive:
Danielle Pletka, vice-president for foreign and defense policy
studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said Paul’s speech
failed to address the actual debates among foreign policy
“I respect the thoughtful tone and the enthusiastic research
that went into the senator’s speech,” said Pletka. “Unfortunately,
the restraint that he calls for in addressing the challenges of the
day is directed toward straw men. Who has suggested we invade Iran?
Or Syria? Or anywhere else?”
The speech may have also set back Paul’s outreach to the
pro-Israel community.
One senior official at a prominent D.C. Jewish organization
called it “frankly bizarre” and “outside the bipartisan political
and policy consensus.” [...]
“From looking at Sen. Paul’s speech, we’re not quite talking
about the same ideas of containment,” [said Lee] Smith[, a fellow
at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies].  “What
containment means for him is the same as what it means for the most
of the commentariat and probably most of the Obama administration.
‘Containment’ just means anything but the use of military
More reaction after the jump.The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison declares
himself “puzzled”
at Paul’s discussion of radical Islam:
Referring to “radical Islam” as if it were a unified movement or
cause obscures the different goals of varying jihadist groups, and
it potentially leads to the error of lumping together all Islamist
groups regardless of their goals and methods. This can lead to
confusing statements, such as one that Sen. Paul makes a little
later: “Though at times stateless, radical Islam is also supported
by radicalized nations such as Iran.” The Iranian regime supports
specific Islamist proxies, but it can’t be said to support a
generic “radical Islam.” Iran doesn’t sponsor the jihadist groups
most responsible for security threats to the U.S. and Europe. If
the goal is avoid making the mistake of early Cold War
anticommunists, who interpreted containment doctrine far too
broadly, it’s important to distinguish jihadist groups from one
another according to the political objectives of each one. It’s
also important to distinguish between jihadists’ theoretically
global ambitions and their normally very limited means. Containment
implies opposition to some form of expansionism, but in this case
there is no expansionism to be contained.
More from
Jennifer Rubin (“the speech is based on a giant fallacy”),

Ralph Z. Hallow (“this may go down as one of the major foreign
policy speeches of this still young century”),
Aaron Blake (“the difference between Rand Paul and his father
is that Rand is taking care to massage his message of limited
intervention and show Republicans how it fits into their existing
Jews 4 Rand Paul (“well thought out and had a lot of food for
thought”), and
David Freedlander (“I’m not my dad!”).

Jump to original – 

Rand Paul Reax: ‘bizarre,’ ‘one of the major foreign policy speeches of this still young century,’ Just Like His Father, Not Enough Like His Father,…

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