"Conservative realist": Rand Paul redefines his non-interventionist approach to foreign policy

Perhaps the best way to understand Paul’s approach to the world is through Weinberger, who, in 1984, limited the use of American troops by ticking off a series of criteria that had to be met before they were deployed. In his speech, Paul does the same, arguing that wars must have a plan for victory, be authorized by Congress, and be worth the sacrifice of blood and treasure expended in them…

“We’ve had to deal with a lot of specifics over the last couple of years,” says Stafford. “There are a lot of misconceptions about [Paul’s] foreign policy — some of them are just honest misconceptions — and we wanted to have him explain who he is and what he believes in a well thought-out manner.”

As a result, Paul will leave questions unanswered. He will say it’s important that the U.S. and Iran find a diplomatic solution that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but not whether he would back a military solution if necessary. A Russian settlement with Ukraine, he will say, must take into account Russia’s longstanding ties with its neighbor, but he doesn’t make clear what that means. He will urge European governments to spend more on defense but remain silent on the matter of the U.S.’s military spending, which has been the subjected of heated debate over the past several years.