But the real problem, as Paul made clear, isn’t the use of drones against US citizens on American soil; it is American foreign policy itself, under both this president and his predecessor.

His indictment was radical, sweeping, total, unconditional — and wildly overdrawn. Just to take one example, he said we are living in a state of perpetual and endless war, and used Iraq as an example — Iraq, from which we pulled out entirely in 2011. To listen to Paul, you’d think America was already a police state, and the planet its evil playground.

Yes, many people believe this, but that doesn’t make it true. It wasn’t true under Bush and it’s not true under Obama. Moreover, the logic of Paul’s view is that the United States is the aggressor in the war on Islamist terror rather than a bystander unwillingly drawn into a battle that has not yet been won.

Rand Paul, who turned 50 this year, is one of the most talented politicians of his generation. And one of the most dangerous.