Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where Does Rand Paul Stand On Foreign Policy?

I wrote Dr. Rand Paul last week via his website to ask his position on U.S. support for Israel and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far, no reply.

Perhaps he is too busy counting dollars from his "money bomb." Still, for a campaign geared to fundraising from the Internet, it seems odd that he would not respond to an inquiry to his campaign website. That's my punishment for not including a credit card number.

Paul has energized a group of Americans who are outraged -- and frightened -- about government spending and its effect of ballooning the deficit and diminishing our liberty. He's passionate and articulate about the cause of limited government, and I agree with him on that issue.

What is less clear is where Paul stands on foreign policy. Is he an extreme isolationist from the Pat Buchanan wing of the party? His campaign website says he opposes surrendering U.S. sovereignty:

Rand Paul proposes that America can engage the world in free trade, develop lucrative commercial relationships with other nations, and defend its national interests without funding or joining international organizations.

To the extent that he means that U.S. courts should not apply foreign law and the like, I agree. Americans should only subject themselves to laws written by those whom we have elected.

But Paul doesn't go into great detail, and that worries me because I wonder if he is speaking in code. I agree that the U.N. has soaked America for every dollar we will give it. The U.N.'s lack of accountabilty has allowed it to use our taxdollars to fund corrupt schemes, like the oil-for-food scandal. I don't want to surrender sovereignty to the United Nations, but I am not at this point prepared to withdraw from it either, given the good work it does on disaster relief. Is he actually proposing that we stop funding the U.N. altogether?

Paul does indicate on his website that he supports free trade, which distinguishes him from Buchanan on at least that issue. It will be interesting to see if Paul hits the issue hard. He should -- free trade is a vital component of prosperity not just for America but for the world's poor.

Paul's position on foreign policy is of the utmost importance for a candidate who aspires to serve in the U.S. Senate, where he would be called upon to ratify treaties with foreign countries, confirm the appointments of ambassadors and maybe even declare war. So it is not enough for him to rest on his domestic platform.

Moreover, Paul's outlook on foreign policy may be the factor that distinguishes him in the Republican primary from Secretary of State Trey Grayson. I don't doubt that Grayson opposes government spending every bit as much as Paul, though he has been much less forceful in so stating. (Trey, you need to kick it up a notch here).

Grayson needs to watch how Paul discusses international relations and look for a way to distinguish himself. To that end, Grayson needs to make clear his unequivocal support for Israel and his opposition to appeasing an Iran bent on acquiring nuclear war heads to go with those missiles it has pointed at Israel. And he needs to opposes protectionism forcefully.

Grayson needs to state that Islamofascism is dangerous and immoral. Gitmo should remain open. Defense attorneys who "out" CIA operatives should be prosecuted, not the CIA agents who did the job they were instructed to do.

Grayson's website doesn't give any more guidance on where he stands on foreign policy than does Paul's. Nonetheless, I don't wonder if a Senator Grayson would introduce legislation to stop funding the U.N.

Because Grayson has a track record of elected service and has campaigned around the state, he is known and liked by many. For Grayson, the good news is that no one expects him to take any positions that will shock us. The bad news is that he probably won't take any positions that will awe us. For Paul, the expectations may be just the opposite.

That's why Paul must be explicit about where he stands on all issues including foreign policy, not just the issues that captivate him.

4 comments:

MLabreche said...

If you're wondering where Rand Paul stands on an issue, just go check what his father Ron Paul says on it. It's going to be the exact same thing.

You can start here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Ron_Paul

Ryan said...

Bridget,

Rand suggests that we should follow the Constitution. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were never declared, therefore they are unconstitutional. Congress should demand that a vote be held to declare them; otherwise, they aren’t doing their job. Rand would have voted for war with Afghanistan. He would have voted against war with Iraq.

A president should never have the power to declare open-ended war. He should have the power to take emergency actions-- even secretive actions, if alerting the people poses a security risk-- where sufficient time to declare war is unavailable. We have been in Iraq for a few years and we have been in Afghanistan even longer, all with no declaration. Rand would demand that any war be declared by the 535 men and women who are supposed to do this job, not the President.

You may very well disagree with Rand's stance on this, but I hope you will consider these things:

1) The President does not have the power to declare war, he only has the power to take emergency action. Any wars fought without the consent of Congress are unconstitutional. It is an irresponsibility on the part of Congress to allow such things to go on without a vote. We put them in office to do their jobs, right?

2) We MUST follow the Constitution. If we do not, we should not complain when people destroy the other half-- the half we like-- a few years down the road.

3) Since our troops take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, they are being forced to break that oath when the attend an unconstitutional war. We owe it to them to follow the Constitution on such a life-and-death matter.

4) Rand is running for a single Senate seat. How many Senators have suggested we should declare our wars? How many men in Washington care what the Constitution says? We should demand that they all follow the Constitution.

5) If the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are fine with our president, who spoke out against them during his Presidential campaign, it should be assumed that they would pass through his lapdog Congress with ease. Whether or not they would pass a vote should not even be a concern; Congress is just letting it slide because they know the wars are not popular.

6) Rand is a non-interventionist, not an isolationist. An isolationist believes in protectionism. Rand supports free trade with all countries, entangling alliances with none.

7) The troops donated overwhelmingly to Ron Paul's Presidential campaign; more than all other Republican candidates combined. If the troops overwhelmingly support Ron's unique stance, who are we to say that they are wrong?

8) The United Nations cedes our power by requiring that any war we declare be passed by them first (not that we follow that rule). We could achieve the same objectives without this massive organization, and we could save a lot of money and resources in exiting it.

Ryan said...

To the left, we have a man who MIGHT follow the Constitution, MIGHT be a real Conservative and MIGHT vote against tax increases and unbalanced budgets, but almost certainly WILL vote the status quo on foreign policy. To the right, we have a man who WILL put the Constitution first, WILL fight for Conservatism and WILL vote against all tax increases and unbalanced budgets, but has some questions about the way we’ve been handling foreign policy. Personally, I’m going right.

Let’s not forget that Rand has pledged the things you are hoping Grayson stands for. Let’s not forget that while Grayson was supporting Clinton, Rand was establishing Kentucky Taxpayers United. Let’s not forget the voting records of the 23 RINOs -- most supported TARP-- who are using the NRSC to raise money for Grayson; what is their motive in interfering with the primary? Let's not forget Grayson attended the leftist Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies with Michael Steele in 2005. Let’s not forget these things, because they are most certainly important.

Bridget M. Bush said...

I received the following email from the Rand Paul campaign:

Thanks for your interest in Dr. Rand Paul.


Our site received thousands of emails on August 20th, please forgive me for not quickly responding to yours. Dr. Paul looks forward to articulating his positions as the campaign develops.


Question number 1:
What is Dr. Paul's view on American support for Israel?


Answer:


Israel is a friend of America, he supports all allies with the United States.


Question number 2:


How about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?


Dr. Paul supports and would have voted for war against those responsible for the attacks on 9-11. The Taliban would not cooperate with us and turn over those responsible. Actions were taken that Dr. Paul would have supported. Looking back Dr. Paul feels we should have taken smaller strike forces in much faster to deal with the terrorist camps. It took so long to amass our forces many had time to escape.


Dr. Paul supports all troops serving in our Armed Forces, however, he would not have voted for the war in Iraq.


Please be patient with our issues section, we feel our website is much more informative than any other candidate in the race. I would hope you would use the same methods you used for your blog on other candidates to see how your responses go.


Sincerely,
Christopher Hightower