Monday, August 18, 2014

TRAGIC Rand Paul Gives War a Chance

PAY ATTENTION libertarian Rand Paul fanboys. Olivia Nuzzi correctly identifies the position Rand Paul is taking on war:
[T]hese days, Paul is publicly entertaining the idea of bombing Iraq, while his advisers have touted him as the second coming of Cold Warriors like Dwight Eisenhower (who authorized coups in Guatemala and in Iran), George H.W. Bush (the Gulf War’s Commander-in-Chief), and Ronald Reagan (the president who presided over Iran-Contra, El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, and the Mujahideen insurgency in Afghanistan as part of his multi-pronged offensive against the Soviet “Evil Empire”).

If these don’t sound like the role models of an isolationist libertarian, you are paying attention. As the Republican convention nears, Paul is moving closer to a perceived conservative middle-ground on foreign policy. It is a recasting that is deeply at odds with how Paul is perceived by his enemies and by many of his supporters. But to hear his advisers tell it, he barely changed at all.

“To begin, I guess you could say what he’s not: he’s not a neoconservative, a unilateralist on the one hand; and he’s not what some people call a liberal interventionist on the other,” Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany and State Department adviser to Ronald Reagan, who acts as an unofficial foreign policy adviser to Paul, told me. “I would put him in the mold of a traditional, Republican internationalist—more along the lines of a kind of Dwight Eisenhower, to some extent, Ronald Reagan, and maybe George H.W. Bush, in the sense that he, I think, he certainly is not an isolationist.”

Burt is part of an informal, unpaid foreign policy team who regularly briefs Paul on international issues. In addition to Burt, the group includes Rob Givens, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general from Kentucky, and Elise Jordan, Condoleezza Rice’s one-time speechwriter, and Lorne Craner, a former John McCain staffer and the head of the International Republican Institute. Hardly a collection of pacifists.

Here is Nuzzi reporting on her conversation with Craner:
 Asked about Paul’s view of the previous administration, Craner explained: “I think the issue he has there is the Iraq War and how we got into it. He’s never criticized Cheney to me, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time with him. I think he’s spent some time with Bush 43 and is quite fond of him...

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