There is absolutely zero doubt that Rand Paul will be seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for president. The junior Senator from Kentucky began his campaign the day he took the oath of office in the Senate. There are questions about his policies and if he fits the definition of ‘Republican.’ In speeches Rand Paul is often vague and radical, and most recently liberal.
Senator Paul spoke before the Center for the National Interest’s on Thursday evening. Much of it was a speech I have heard before, and little of it contained exactly what actions he would take concerning foreign policy. It contained more hyperbole than substance.
However, what was more interesting is that the ideals he spoke of were slanted farther towards liberal viewpoints. He said that he believes our nation should not rush to war, and never fight any war which is unwinnable, or which might end in a draw. Although Mr. Paul rejects military action as the ‘cure all,’ he believes that our nation must be ready to go into battle if absolutely necessary.
He even used the question Nobel Prize winner Malala posed to President Obama. She asked him why he was using drone attacks against terrorists when each attack only encouraged 500 to 5,000 Muslims to join terrorist groups.
The word he used most frequently was dignity. He noted that dictators in the Middle East and around the world deny their own people respect, but that removing them has created occupation by jihadists and chaos in the region. He expressed the belief that by constantly using military action those same people are convinced that the United States denies their dignity as well.
Doug Stafford is Rand Paul’s senior advisor. He has amassed a corps of foreign policy advisors who have worked for notable Republicans such as Condoleezza Rice, John McCain, and Mitch McConnell.
Stafford admitted that Thursday evening’s speech would not be about specifics, but would be an overall view of Mr. Rand’s position.
When Mr. Rand was asked what situation would force America to go to war, he again answered more like a progressive than a conservative. He said that if America itself or its interests in the world were attacked, and all other channels had been used to avoid a military conflict, our nation must defend itself and its allies.
A continual war of words has occupied much of the conflict within the Republican Party itself. Senators Rand Paul and John McCain frequently attack each other verbally. They disagree on nearly everything, but especially regarding the use of physical force. McCain believes we should have had ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria months ago. Paul is opposed to arming the rebels on the ground or any other type of actual military intervention.
However, he did vote to allow the bombing of Syria, Iraq, and the ISIS terror group. Both Democrats and Republicans are often confused about where Mr. Rand stands. The one issue which has become more obvious in recent months is that he opposes the position of much of his own party. Will the expression of individual ideology hinder his chances for the Republican nomination? It may strengthen it. The Republican presidential hopefuls are considered a weak group at best. They will most likely include Rick Perry, and possibly Mitt Romney. As Paul is distancing himself from this tired and unimaginative group, he may be cementing his position with Republican voters who are displeased with the status quo.
By James Turnage