Rand Paul’s foreign policy speech: No to isolationism, no to neoconservatism, yes to containment

posted at 9:51 pm on February 6, 2013 by Allahpundit

Carve out time for the video or the transcript, as he’s already the GOP’s leading advocate after two short years in the Senate for less intervention abroad. If you’re not interested in it on the merits, watch it anyway as a sneak preview of a flashpoint in the 2016 primaries. Paul is already thinking about running and he’s very, very likely to clash with you know who on this subject if he does. But distinguishing himself from GOP hawks is only half the goal here; the other half, as is often true lately, is distinguishing himself from his pop. Which explains why the speech begins with an indictment of radical Islam, including this pointed comment:

As many are quick to note, the war is not with Islam but with a radical element of Islam – the problem is that this element is no small minority but a vibrant, often mainstream, vocal and numerous minority. Whole countries, such as Saudi Arabia, adhere to at least certain radical concepts such as the death penalty for blasphemy, conversion, or apostasy. A survey in Britain after the subway bombings showed 20% of the Muslim population in Britain approved of the violence.

Some libertarians argue that western occupation fans the flames of radical Islam – I agree. But I don’t agree that absent western occupation that radical Islam “goes quietly into that good night.” I don’t agree with FDR’s VP Henry Wallace that the Soviets (or Radical Islam in today’s case) can be discouraged by “the glad hand and the winning smile.”

The question about Paul for mainstream conservatives, now and for the next few years, is whether he really is qualitatively different from Ron in his view of international affairs or whether he’s simply a far, far savvier salesman of Paulism. Exit quotation:

During Wednesday’s conference call, he said in response to a question from the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Jim Carroll that the purpose of the speech was “separating myself.” He didn’t say from whom he was separating himself, but in a later question from The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, he said “there are definite differences” between the two Pauls, and “I think it’s better just to try to be my own person.”


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Given the fact he was willing to confront Hillary to her face, unlike most Republicans, I’m willing to let him be a Primary candidate. It will be fun watching him duke it out with the Christie RINO.

HopeHeFails on February 6, 2013 at 10:47 PM

I was traveling through Kentucky when the Republican Primary was going on, when he was a candidate. I listened to a radio interview he was giving that day.

I was impressed by what he had to say, and noticed immediately that there was a huge difference between him and his Father. And that is a “good thing”.

The UnPaulBot.

De Oppresso Liber on February 6, 2013 at 10:47 PM

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Oh, I still think boots look good on a lady.

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Now the video shows up. HA is screwing with the java script. More ads?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 10:50 PM

…I don’t have any of these computer problems when I go ‘down under’ and see if the Palin thread from late January is still going!…I’m still looking to see if Hot Air is going to move the thread to the left. (:->)

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 10:57 PM

For no other reason, he was willing to at least throw Madam DeFarce a few hard(er) questions during the Bhengazi hearings…

Surprise Surprise! It got very little play in the MSM…or at least not as much if her last name was Rice and not the last name of the Arkansas Lothario….

BlaxPac on February 6, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Looks like even Rand is tired of listening to his dad.

HellCat on February 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

No to isolationism, no to neoconservatism, yes to containment.

So basically Senator Paul is returning to a more Political Realist foreign policy. I can get behind this 100%.

Hostile Gospel on February 6, 2013 at 11:43 PM

On balance I liked this speech. A very Libertarian feel to it.

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 11:53 PM

Radical Islam is like Communism, but we never let people keep communism while we rebuilt their nation. We rebuild radical Islam nations, while letting them have their death for blasphemy, honor killings, and conversion under threat of death.

In America we use threats of death to conform people to the adulterers and homosexual agendas. This is radical secularism.

Mormontheman on February 7, 2013 at 12:02 AM

I would like to know what his views are on his father’s platform….

lovingmyUSA on February 7, 2013 at 12:11 AM

lovingmyUSA on February 7, 2013 at 12:11 AM

I don’t think he should have to answer for his father but stand on his own. I am sure he will get more scrutiny anyway.

Cindy Munford on February 7, 2013 at 12:45 AM

I would like to know what his views are on his father’s platform….

lovingmyUSA on February 7, 2013 at 12:11 AM

He seems to be placing some distance between himself and the elder. As well he should in my opinion. I’d like to hear him talk about immigration more. I will give himthis,he emails me 3 times each day.

Bmore on February 7, 2013 at 12:56 AM

The question about Paul for mainstream conservatives, now and for the next few years, is whether he really is qualitatively different from Ron in his view of international affairs or whether he’s simply a far, far savvier salesman of Paulism.

I’d guess it’s probably a bit of both, but closer to the latter. He’s definitely doing some interesting maneuvering though. And I agree with about 65 per cent of what he says here. One thing for sure is that our whole international military posture needs a complete overhaul. And he’s right on debt. And he’s certainly right about his criticism of neocon nation-building fiascos.

One of his biggest flaws here though is that he hangs a lot of this on a comparison of “radical Islam” (why are Conservatives so hesitant to just tell the truth and call it what it is — Islam as a whole) to Soviet Communism. Soviet Communism, as bad as it was, was not a religion. Obviously Islam is. Because of the religious element, Muzzies don’t give a crap about containment. If they have to wait another thousand years, they’ll do it. So while I don’t doubt that containment to various degrees should be part of our strategy arsenal, so to speak, that by itself won’t cut it. We’re going to have to be on the offense in various capacities as well. I wish it weren’t true, but that is the sad reality.

It also begs the question, How can you ‘contain’ people that you’re at the same time allowing to stream into your country as immigrants and various other types of visitors and domestic inhabitants? As long as that’s happening, the whole notion of a containment strategy is a joke from the start.

WhatSlushfund on February 7, 2013 at 1:28 AM

So basically Senator Paul is returning to a more Political Realist foreign policy. I can get behind this 100%.

Hostile Gospel on February 6, 2013 at 11:43 PM

Realism was a main point of his speech, and he quoted Dr. Realism, George Kennan very broadly…

JohnGalt23 on February 7, 2013 at 2:20 AM

Paul is already thinking about running and he’s very, very likely to clash with you know who on this subject if he does.

Rand Paul is an adult. John McCain Mini-Me Rubio is an immature child who seems determined to follow in the footsteps of Insane McCain.

VorDaj on February 7, 2013 at 2:42 AM

This is not an impressive speech. Basically he is stating, while stating he is not stating, that Iran’s nuke capability is something that can be contained.

It shows that Rand is not intellectually any stronger than Obama.

One minute…not a war, makes Rand’s view moot.

There is very little real probability that the US will do anything to stop Iran from nuking Israel. And in one minute the chimera of containment is gone

As for his note on Reagan, well, islamists murdered over 200 Marines in Lebanon and we did NOTHING. It is someone more understandable because he was focused on the Cold War…but that is no excuse. Reagan made a mistake, just like Bush 41 did, and Clinton did and Bush 43 did and now Obama is doing.

War requires you either detroy the enemies ability to make war or to pacify the belligerent. There is no way that, after over 1000 years of active jihad, that islamists will be pacified, so the only alternative is to take away the active beligerent’s ability to make war. Rand Paul totally fails to see this and that is why this speech totally fails

georgealbert on February 7, 2013 at 7:14 AM

How does one go about containing radical Islamism?

The 19th century concept was to knock down its outposts along the Barbary Coast, defeat the most radical elements by expanding Empires and performing military confrontations (against the Mahdists) and then try to put down a more egalitarian legal and social system wherever possible. The Belgians were horrible at it, the Spanish did pretty well once they removed Islam from their country, France was so-so and the UK did the best… and those social and legal changes are now all swept away in post-colonialism and the return of radicalized Islam. Mahdism shifted its center from Africa to Iran, the Sauds made a deal with the Wahhabists and these elements were prepared to re-emerge after the removal of outside interventionist systems.

Containment was what was tried before that: paying bribes and ransom to Pirates and Potentates. That didn’t work. Imperialism had its bits and pieces of advancement, but once the Empires receded did the wallpaper come off the walls.

Just how do you contain a belief system that believes it has a destiny to rule all of mankind because God told them so?

You want to change that? You can’t do it from the inside… and the West lost those parts of Christianity during the 30 Years War and the Treaty of Westphalia. In our interventions of the 21st century we have forgotten we are a Westphalian Nation that protects religious diversity as that is the later part of the Western tradition. It is unlikely that any sort of move by the US and its allies in Iraq or Afghanistan would have stuck, and we relied on a vestige of toleration in Iraq to help their condition during the initial rebuilding phases, which did work to a small degree circa 2007-08.

So what is the Libertarian answer to radical Islam? Are you prepared to have Paine, the Federalist Papers and various and sundry other works translated into Arabic and start preaching the rights of man as individual against a religion that seeks submission of the individual to God and then to follow the imperialistic tenets of the radicals? Something like that needs to happen… or you back trying to use the Islamic sectarian fears to sow strife so that they can undergo a Westphalian internal conflict.. because containment requires a response to the advance and I’m not getting the idea that Libertarians are ready to put their lives on the line to preach the freedom of man as individual in the worst corners of the planet that need it the MOST.

Yeah if you are going to take interventionism and isolationism off the map and put containment forward, then you had better be ready to define it, back it, say why it will work. Because trying to liquidate radical Islamic beliefs and their backer’s societies via technology and commercialism isn’t working, either, which was the Globalist approach to it on the Left and Right. You gots your choices. If you preach Libertarianism then the pedal must hit the metal at some point and the expansion of it beyond the West requires active advancement of the fundamentals of it. That changes Libertarians from critics to active proselytizing and bodily commitment to their beliefs.

ajacksonian on February 7, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Rand Paul is on the right track.

The problem is that the GOP as a whole is not on the right track.

David Blue on February 7, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Because trying to liquidate radical Islamic beliefs and their backer’s societies via technology and commercialism isn’t working, either, which was the Globalist approach to it on the Left and Right.

ajacksonian on February 7, 2013 at 7:48 AM

How can you say this? When the fall of the Soviet Union occurred – it was something that was UNPREDICTED only five years earlier. These kinds of things don’t rot – THEY COLLAPSE.

HondaV65 on February 7, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Just how do you contain a belief system that believes it has a destiny to rule all of mankind because God told them so?

ajacksonian on February 7, 2013 at 7:48 AM

The same way you contain a belief system that believes if has a destiny to rule all mankind because Karl Marx said so.

The Cold War playbook shows how we would act if we were genuine. There was no immigration allowed from Communist countries, and we certainly did not go around praising Socialism as “an ideology of peace”.

The War on Terror is phony, and it has been ever since 9/11, when George W. Bush refused to say the four words that should have been first out of his mouth: “We are at war.”

David Blue on February 7, 2013 at 8:18 AM

There is very little real probability that the US will do anything to stop Iran from nuking Israel. And in one minute the chimera of containment is gone

georgealbert on February 7, 2013 at 7:14 AM

No it’s not. You’re mischaracterizing “containment”. “Containment” can include force – as it did in Korea.

Personally – I favor a YAD policy toward Iran. It’s kind of the same thing as MAD was during the Cold War. MAD meant … Mutually Assured Destruction but now we have YAD capability …

YOUR ASSURED DESTRUCTION.

A positive statement from the U.S. to this effect …

If Iran ever launches a nuclear device at anyone – especially Israel – we’ll shoot it down and we shall retaliate with full, unmitigated, and unrestrained nuclear force. The bomb doesn’t have to land, it doesn’t have to go off – it only has to be launched and then we will throw every nuclear device we have at that nation.

HondaV65 on February 7, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Oh, I still think boots look good on a lady.

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Like these?

and then we will throw every nuclear device we have need to at that nation.

HondaV65 on February 7, 2013 at 8:22 AM

I don’t think Iran is big enough to require every one. It helps to keep some in reserve for the NorKs and such. I’m not averse to dropping enough to cover the country twice, though – just in case.

No politician is perfect but I really am interested in hearing more from me.

gophergirl on February 6, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Yeah, sounded a bit like Obama there! Heh.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Posting all those links to shoes and boots, the system is going to assume you’re a spammer! lol

Mormontheman on February 7, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Excellent point.

GWB on February 7, 2013 at 9:44 AM

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