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Rand Paul: Reagan Was No Isolationist

Rand Paul: Reagan Was No Isolationist

3 Mins
February 7, 2013

Just a few years ago, if someone would have told me that a member of Ron Paul’s family would have been invited to speak to an audience of over 200 at The Heritage Foundation on “Restoring the Founders’ vision of foreign policy,” I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have believed it. But at 11 AM this morning, that is exactly what Rand Paul did .

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Since being elected to the US Senate from Kentucky in 2010’s Tea Party takeover of the GOP, Sen. Paul has lead the charge for a return of common sense in American foreign policy. Whether suggesting that sending F-16’s, tanks, and other sophisticated weaponry to nations like Egypt who may use them against America or our allies isn’t a very good way to spend money we don’t even have, or that our military “could be somewhere, some of the time and do so while respecting our Constitution and the legal powers of Congress and the Presidency,” Paul is nothing if not reasonable.

In his speech today, Paul condemned neo-conservative tendencies to get involved in foreign military entanglements that have nothing to do with American interests and sacrifice American resources, while also erroneously wrapping themselves in the “mantle” of Ronald Reagan. However, Paul was equally successful in maintaining a strong anti-isolationist and Reaganesque position arguing for a return to the humble foreign policy encouraged by the Founders—a platform that George W. Bush was elected on in 2000.

"I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.”
-Sen. Rand Paul

Continuing his walk across the foreign policy tightrope he’s raised between two extremes, Paul stated that “foreign policy is uniquely an arena where we should base decisions on the landscape of the world as it is . . . not as we wish it to be. I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.”

Paul went on to draw comparisons between today’s threat of radical Islam and the Cold War Era’s threat of an expanding support of communism and proposed the former be understood as the latter was saying “radical Islam, like communism is an ideology with far reach and will require a firm and patient opposition.”

“Reagan’s foreign policy was much closer to what I am advocating than what we have today,” he said. “The former Chairman of the American Conservative Union David Keene noted that Reagan’s policy was much less interventionist than the presidents of both parties who came right before him and after him.”

If Sen. Paul does make a presidential bid in 2016, you had better believe the GOP will resume its quest to find a candidate who can fill Ronald Reagan’s shoe—it’s beginning to look like Rand Paul might be a good place for them to both begin and end their search.

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Foreign Affairs