Senator Rand Paul has been making the rounds in recent days touting deeper U.S. engagement with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It’s often the case when Senator Paul talks about foreign policy his pronouncements are a curious admixture of odd conspiracy theories, pacifist banalities, and ahistorical analogies—all delivered with the confident condescension of someone who doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about.
So it is with Paul’s lonely effort to provide intellectual backing for Donald Trump’s instinctive desire to make nice with the increasingly provocative regime run by the anti-American former KGB agent. Examples of Paul’s foolishness are legion but the most revealing came in an interview that the senator conducted on August 16, 2018, with The Liberty Report,” an internet television show hosted by his father, libertarian gadfly and former congressman Ron Paul.
Senator Paul has lately made a cause of conciliation by concession—seeking to reverse sanctions on Russian lawmakers, blocking proposed sanctions on Russian oil interests, and more broadly, preventing punitive measures on Putin’s Russia in favor of dialogue and conversation. These efforts build on his past work downplaying Putin’s aggression and attacking those who highlight it.