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The Sensible And Constitutional Rand Paul Perspective On The Islamic State


Rand Paul

Last week Senator Rand Paul posted an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which he made the case that “Any actions we take today must be informed by what we've already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.”
 
Paul was immediately attacked as an “isolationist,” or worse, but he stood his ground and has gone on to clarify, as he told Sean Hannity, ““I'm neither an isolationist or interventionist. I'm someone that believes in the Constitution and believes that America should have a strong national defense and believes that we should defend ourselves, but when we do it, we should do it the way the Constitution intended.”

From our perspective here’s the key point Senator Paul made in his remarks to Hannity, as reported by Ian Hanchett of Breitbart TV:

Paul argued that ISIS was at war with the United States, and spelled out how he would deal with them, saying, “If I had been president, I would have called a joint session of Congress this August, brought everybody back from recess and said ‘this is why ISIS is a threat to the country. This is why I want to act, but I want to do it in a constitutional manner.’”
 
“I want to act, but I want to do it in a constitutional manner,” would, we might add also be in a manner that informed the American people about the threat ISIS and the rise of the Islamic State poses to the United States and indeed to all of western civilization.
 
Unfortunately for the DC foreign policy and national security establishment, it would, through hearings and open debate in Congress, also generate an uncomfortable look at the strategies the United States has pursued in dealing with the war radical Islam in its various forms has declared on us, and whether what we’ve been doing has worked or not worked.
 
And such a debate and look at results is what the DC establishment and the war hawks on both sides of the aisle, such as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, can’t abide.
 
Such a debate would force the uncomfortable question of whether or not the US-led interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have impeded or advanced the interests and security of the United States.

Senator Paul says “I think in Libya it's made the world less safe. It's made the jihadist groups more emboldened in Libya. I would say the same thing in Syria. I think that President Obama's support for the Islamic rebels as has allowed ISIS to grow stronger in Syria, and they never would have grown this strong without ... their allies getting weapons from both us, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, so really, we have done a disservice and created chaos that has allowed the jihadists to grow stronger.”
 
The answer from those who advocated these failed policies has been to call Senator Paul an “isolationist” and to paint him as being soft on terrorism, charges completely contrary to the plain meaning of what he wrote this summer in op-eds in Time and The Wall Street Journal.
 
“I still see war as the last resort. But I agree with Reagan’s idea that no country should mistake U.S. reluctance for war for a lack of resolve,” he said, reiterating his long-maintained position that his foreign policy views are in the mold of the former Republican president. “As Commander-in-Chief, I would not allow our enemies to kill our citizens or our ambassadors. ‘Peace through strength’ only works if you have and show strength.”
 
“Once we have decided that we have an enemy that requires destruction, we must have a comprehensive strategy — a realistic policy applying military power and [skillful] diplomacy to protect our national interests,” Paul wrote.
 
Senator Paul concluded his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by saying something that is irrefutably true, and thus bound to draw criticism from the entrenched interests of both political parties. “A reasonable degree of foresight should be a prerequisite for holding high office. So should basic hindsight. This administration has neither… But the same is true of hawkish members of my own party.”
 
As we understand where Senator Paul is coming from, far from being an "isolationist," he’s for what works.

Clearly what the DC war hawks have advocated for the past ten years hasn’t worked. It is about time we had the kind of open debate and truth-telling about the threat the rise of the Islamic State represents that Senator Paul’s “reasonable degree of foresight” and “basic hindsight” would require.

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OBAMA-PAUL FOREIGN POLICY

“The Arab Spring,” Benghazi, Egypt, Gaza, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, China, Japan, Philippines, Iraq, Syria, ISIS, ISISL, IS, James Foley, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Yazidis etc. Central American MS13 pouring over the American border at will, I don’t know about you but I find Obama’s use of “The Arab Spring,” Benghazi, Egypt, Gaza, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, China, Japan, Philippines, Iraq, Syria, ISIS, ISISL, IS, James Foley, Christians, Druze, Kurds, Yazidis etc. Central American MS13 pouring over the American border at will, I don’t know about you but I find Obama’s use of Rand Paul’s theory of U.S. international relations thoroughly amusing!

Our approach has clearly been lacking

When the actions of the past are examined, it is important to bear in mind that those who constructed the policies were doing their honest best, given their frameworks, to resolve the problems. Only when we leave contention off the table can we dispassionately examine the successes and failures and attempt to adjust as we move forward. Sen. Rand is right to desire this examination, and I applaud him for calling for it. That is definitely a sensible approach.

One thing that "radical Islam" offers... with some success... that the west has not offered is a viable alternative to the governance of the past that provided incubation for the "Arab Spring." Recall that the Arab Spring was not begun by radical Islamists. In fact, it was the result of popular outcries for more inclusive political and economic environments. Enabled by social media in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, the popular desire was not for a totalitarian Islamic state. It was actually more of a pro-democracy movement. Our lack of readiness to provide real help... other than militarily... has left a political vacuum that permitted the hijacking of the process of change by radicals.

The Arab Spring was the worst possible thing that could have happened to al Qaeda. Instead of a popular uprising fueled by religious fervor, it was fueled by a desire for freedom, for inclusion, for opportunity for all instead of a privileged few. The protesters had passion for an ideal, but no organization. They had a concept, but no plan.
THIS COMMENT WAS EDITED FOR LENGTH.