Larison has a glowing column on Rand Paul's foreign policy views:
On foreign policy and defense, Paul has said, “One of the enumerated powers is defense. So I believe that the defense of our country may be the primary enumerated power. Does that mean I believe in a blank check for the military? No. Does that mean I believe we have to have troops in 130 countries and 750 bases? No.” If elected, Paul would arguably be the first Senator since Robert Taft to represent the foreign policy tradition of the pre-war Old Right, while also projecting the anti-war spirit of the progressive Republican Sen. Robert LaFollette.
Just to have a fiscal conservative who sees defense as somewhere that can be cut is a step forward for a wider and freer debate in this country. Greg
It's one thing to make the case to the American public that U.S. foreign policy is too meddlesome in other states' business, too quick to reach for punitive sticks and too grandiose in scope and ambition. If that was Paul's message, I suspect it would find a lot of takers. But this is only a piece of what is a larger, more radical frontal assault against the post WWII institutions that, for better or for worse, the U.S. has worked to shape and lead to our general betterment. Some, like NATO, have arguably outlived their usefulness. Others, like the IMF and World Bank, likely need reforms. But a blanket rejection of U.S. participation in all of them just seems ill considered.
Withdrawing from the UN would not act as a check on interventionism. If anything, given how vociferously hawks like John Bolton denounce it, I suspect it would lead to much more.
What we need is a moderate conservative understanding of defense and national security, aware of threats but not prone to messianism. You know: like Cheney, before he went mad.
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