A “larger crisis” is very easy to imagine, because just such as crisis happened already. Rubio would fill his White House with people who still regard the Iraq War as a good idea. Paul will tap people who believe it to have been an ill-conceived mistake. Rubio will ally with people who sing, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.” Paul represents the opposing foreign-policy faction in the GOP.
To present the difference between them in terms of the War in Libya is to minimize its importance. Libya didn’t cost much in blood or treasure, imprudent as it was, whereas Iraq is clarifying. Douthat may believe that a Rubio domestic agenda would serve America better than a Paul domestic agenda. But is the difference so great as to outweigh the risk of a Rubio war that kills 4,489 Americans, wounds tens of thousands, exposes hundreds to chemical agents, and triggers a PTSD epidemic? Is Rubio’s tax plan so good that its worth risking another $6 trillion war tab?
It’s too risky to put another Iraq hawk in the White House, especially when they’ve given no indication of having learned anything from that historic debacle. Every president makes mistakes. Every president favors some dumb policies. Rubio seems more likely than his rival to favor the sort of mistake that ends in a tear-stained wall where the names of dead 19-year-olds are engraved in polished stone.