How Rand Paul can shed his isolationist image

“The irony,” Paul continued, “is that this crowd wants to ‘project power’ … but from inside an echo chamber that isolates itself from negotiation because ‘foreigners’ can’t be trusted.”

Paul didn’t just poke at members of his own party. In the speech, he also detailed his vision of functional diplomacy:

“In order for both parties to perceive victory,” Paul said, “I think both parties must save face or at the very least not lose face.”

That may sound obvious. But a central question for the Obama administration right now is figuring out how to convince Russia to de-escalate in Ukraine while still appearing relatively strong. Obama attempted to give Vladimir Putin an “off-ramp” by suggesting that EU officials take the place of Russian military in Crimea to protect Russia’s interests in the region. But it’s an offer that nobody, including administration officials, really thinks Putin will accept. Paul’s office, so far, hasn’t offered any alternatives.