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Rand Paul’s Bumper Sticker Foreign Policy is Dangerous
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I and others have been noting that Senator Rand Paul is particularly prone to shoot from the lip when it comes to foreign policy, raising serious concerns about his judgment if he should ever be elected president. Paul has surrounded himself with his father’s former advisers, who failed Ron in his electoral bid, and are now trying to triangulate a cluster of policies that will appease various constituencies in or close to the Republican Party.

Rand Paul himself frequently appears to be poorly informed, prone to grandstanding on issues, and it has even been suggested that he lacks core beliefs, though he may indeed be at heart a non-interventionist like his father. The existence of an “inner Rand” who believes in all the right things is a point his supporters make when they try to explain his flips and flops. They observe that he will have to hold his nose and support policies that are not truly in the national interest to make himself electable, at which point he will morph into the libertarian that he has always secretly been. In a sense, they are saying that the end always justifies the means in politics, a position that father Ron Paul would never have taken.

I have never bought into the Rand boosters’ explanation because it suggests only two alternative possibilities: first that Rand is a congenital liar and has no core values at all or second that he sees all policies as tactical, subject to change depending on what kind or pressure he is under from interest groups. Neither position is ethically acceptable and I now believe that many other observers of the Rand Paul phenomenon are beginning to see the light, including some who have been either protective or supportive of Paul previously.

Rand’s fundamental problem is that he, an ophthalmologist by training, does not appear to understand that a country like the United States has actual global interests. If one regards the core function of government to be the enhancement of the wellbeing of the people who are governed, national interests are the benchmarks for what must be done in pursuit of that objective. In the Middle East, for example, Washington has a vital interest in encouraging overall political stability so oil continues to flow, avoiding an energy price rise shock to the world economy that would have devastating impact in the United States. It also has other interests in the region but they are secondary to maintenance of cheap energy.

Rand does not appear to understand that, inclining instead to make bumper sticker style pronouncements without any regard for possible consequences. His most recent foray into foreign policy was an over the top letter that appeared in the National Review Online on July 1st entitled “Tragedy in Israel: It’s time to end aid to the Palestinian Authority.” Rand asserts that the kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis was carried out by Hamas, that Israel is a “nation that was at war but desperately wanted peace,” and that “Israel has shown remarkable restraint.” He concludes that “enough is enough” so US aid to the Palestinians should be cut off lest taxpayer money go to “an entity kidnapping and murdering Israeli and US children.”

Rand Paul’s rant is full of half-truths and misrepresentations. No evidence has been produced by anyone demonstrating that Hamas carried out the kidnappings and Paul ignores the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is exploiting the deaths to collectively punish the Palestinians using mass arrests and home demolitions to destroy their unity government. Israel has demonstrated repeatedly that it has no interest in peace and continues to steal Arab land in defiance of United Nations resolutions while its unrestrained police and army have killed 1523 Palestinian children since the year 2000 as a by-product of the brutal occupation of the West Bank without any objection being voiced by Paul. Nor did Senator Paul find it expedient to comment on seventeen year old Mohamed Abu Khdeir, who was abducted by Israeli Jews and burned alive on July 2nd and he has not objected to the subsequent beating by Israeli police of Khdeir’s fifteen year old cousin, an American citizen.

Indeed Rand Paul’s foreign policy viewpoint is characterized by his persistent pandering to Israel in an apparent attempt to win the crucial evangelical votes that he will need for his presidential bid. In so doing he lessens the support he will receive from his father’s core supporters who were generally very cool on the Israel relationship and he does little to help his cause as suspicion of his father Ron among the friends of Israel runs deep. For them, like father like son and there will be other Republican candidates whose support for Israel might appear to be less opportunistic.

Paul’s National Review piece is in fact a follow-up to his late April introduction of the “Stand With Israel Act of 2014,” Senate Bill 2265. Randpac, where the bill is posted, describes it as halting “all U.S. aid to the Palestinian government until they (sic) agree to a ceasefire and recognize the right of Israel to exist.” But the bill also recognizes Israel as a Jewish State, which would delegitimize the Palestinian Christians and Muslims who live there and ask them to accept that European and American Jews were perfectly justified in destroying Palestinian society and putting their own state in its place. And it would legally recognize that Israel is a theocracy, not a democracy, while also punishing the Palestinians if they attempt to go to the United Nations or any other international body to obtain redress for the Israeli occupation.

Paul unsuccessfully sought unanimous approval for his “Stand With Israel Act” and subsequently commented how he felt “deeply disappointed and disturbed by the Senate’s inability to stand with me in defense of Israel today.” In reality, Paul did not obtain much support because the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) advocated continuing aid to the Palestinians so that Israel would not have to pick up the tab, suggesting that Paul may have misjudged his audience.

Rand Paul is certainly free to believe whatever he wants but his frequent expressions of affection for Israel coupled with his condemnation of “terrorist” Iran and denunciations of Arabs as burning “our flag and chanting ‘death to America’” reveals an awkward simplicity in his thinking that makes him something less than presidential. His persistence in advocating policies that are not in America’s interest to include “any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States” reveals a profound ignorance regarding what a foreign policy is supposed to achieve while his willingness to take center stage to say things that he surely must know to be untrue reflects an opportunism that is at a minimum unseemly. Like many ambitious politicians he has morphed into a legend in his own mind, believing that his relatively recent election as junior Senator from the State of Kentucky has somehow endowed him with a clear understanding of complex international issues. In reality he lacks experience and has avoided any exposure to alternative viewpoints that he considers to be politically toxic, to include any expression of sympathy for the Palestinians. When it comes to foreign policy he in reality differs little from a John McCain or a Mitt Romney and therein lies the tragedy.

• Category: Foreign Policy, Ideology • Tags: Israel Lobby, Rand Paul, Ron Paul 
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  1. Libertarians tend to this deficiency. Having little sense of national identity, they can have little sense of national purpose. What we need is a resurgence of nationalism. We will not get it from people who’s view of society comes from Ayn Rand. If one’s view of all government is as a source of oppression, how can you retain any principles while seeking office in the same system? Seriously, if Rand see’s himself as a sort of noble sell-out can he be trusted in anything?

    On another front, Rand has joined Senator Cory Booker in proposing a sort of ex-con’s bill of rights. This is reminiscent of the Bill Bradley-Jack Kemp foolishness of the eighties that accomplished nothing. Yes, by all means let’s get all the convicted dug dealers back on the voting roles. That’s just what our cities need!

    I had hope for Rand Paul but his simpleton’s guide to the panderverse act is too depressing. You just can’t be so against all systems of governance while attempting to govern and expect to govern well.

    This leaves patriots with no one on whom to pin our hopes. Depressing beyond words.

    • Replies: @Voltaire
  2. heath says:

    what you see as a deficiency ie the lack of national identity, we see as a positive boon as as the last couple of years have shown, a government with its own private objectives can wave the bloody shirt of attacks on that national identity to use the resulting hysteria to achive levels of power its couldn’t normally acheive.

  3. Don Nash says: • Website

    Rand Paul, the man who bailed on his own father back in 2012 to endorse and support Mitt Romney. Mr. Israel First loose cannon that runs to the sound of a photo op. Rand Paul in a word – feckless.

  4. I always get the impression that Rand is hypersensitive to criticism and that is why he goes out of his way to draw attention to his fear. He is a normal person trying to act like a psychopath and it doesn’t work that way. He can’t pull it off. He can’t pull off the angry disgruntled man act either like John McCain because his pre-9/11 foreign policy doesn’t appeal to the political class. If he wanted to defend Israel he should provide a platform for the views of respected members of Israel society that do think that peace with the Palestinians is important. He isn’t going to receive the Likudnik vote. He has already lost the Jennifer Rubins of the world when he went off script. He is threatening lively hoods of powerful and vocal people when he objects to interventions and doesn’t have anything to offer them other than joblessness. The medicine he offers for his pre-9/11 foreign policy is his father’s supporters. He tried to appeal to both groups on cutting foreign aid to the Palestinians and failed. I think he views himself as a right wing Obama who is going to pied piper his way to the oval office. If he was elected I fear he will bury his father’s philosophy by pandering. If we ever get a libertarian president he will be a neolibertarian with a neocon foreign policy as things are now. Libertarians will no longer be able to pretend that they are so virtuous if that happens and will be hypocrites when they attack the progressives on the warfare-welfare state. That argument will be broken by their very own warfare-austerity state no matter how much they cry that the neolibertarian president isn’t their own. The Republican Party is going to be a minority party because of demographics and Democrats are warmongers so why do they need Rand Paul the pied piper when Hillary will suffice and they can keep their jobs?

  5. Those of us naive enough back in 2008 to believe that Bronco Obama would put an end to the excesses of the Bush/Cheney administration will instantly see that Rand Paul is selling the same snake oil in 2014. After Obama voted for immunity for the telecoms, it was plain to anyone paying attention that, whatever you might be hoping for if the guy was eventually elected, once in office he’s prove to be the very thing you most feared: more of the same, only in Obama’s case he was in some ways even worse than Bush (thinking here primarily about transparency, and “the most transparent administration ever”). I see the same about-face coming from Dave Brat, who like most ambitious politicians don’t dare put principles ahead of next month’s fund-raising goals (I live in his district, incidentally). Nothing new here, of course, as politicians have been totally co-opted by a system that relies on corporate and interest-group money to fuel the “democratic” fantasy we live under, politicians bought and sold like livestock at the county fair… Rand Paul, for all the true believers’ hopes, is just another creature of this broken and corrupt system. He can’t fail to fail, if he wants to maintain his viability within the system…

  6. rod1963 says:

    Rand has to do this. Ever notice how all presidential candidates have to travel to Israel to get their approval as well?

    Jews may be a tiny percentage of the population but they wield a tremendous amount of political power in regards to Israel that very few in D.C. dare go against. It’s generally unstated for fear of being labeled a anti-Semite but given the way politicians go out of their way to say “I support Israel”, it’s all out there.

    Generally in terms of foreign policy unless a presidential contender today supports the Neo-Con grand strategy which what amounts to a perpetual war footing and destabilization of nations he is viewed as weak and will be pilloried by the press and the opposing party. Neo-Cons dominate our foreign policy pure and simple.

    Look at Obama, he took over right where the Bush43 people left off. Destabilizing Libya, Egypt and Syria. And now in the process of co-opting Ukraine so as to attack Russia. Just another Neo-Con puppet.

  7. VincentT says:

    I agree with rod1963. If you don’t support Israel 100%, and have a neo-con agenda, you will be crucified in national politics. You’ll end up like Cynthia McKinney and lose even in a district that is overwhelmingly hospitable to your views.

  8. John says:

    Ninety five percent of the time, family members of successful people are a bust, they are shallow compared to their famous relative. Clearly Rand Paul is no Ron Paul. Hillary is no Bill. W is half the man his father is.

    Rand Paul just sold his soul to the devil. Repeating Netanyahu’s words regarding the Palestinians is unforgivable. How intellectually and morally shallow can one be? Selling out the weak to curry favor with the powerful is as low as one can go.

    Write him off – he has crapped on his base supporters that have some sense of right and wrong.

  9. TomB says:

    This is just so unfortunate, if perfectly identified by Phil Giraldi. I.e., now is the time to stop forgiving Rand Paul for what one could just hope were his previous intellectual/political hiccups and say enough is enough.

    I don’t think he’s a congenital liar, but what he most certainly is is a political/ideological rube. A man with a fair and promising sheen of moderate libertarianism—no doubt gifted from his far deeper and more genuine father—but otherwise understanding nothing underneath that sheen.

    Should remind us more than a bit of our last President like that, Bush II. A conservative sheen, only a few millimeters thick, and without the least intellectual interest in its substance. Like Paul can appear then, at the mercy of whatever “advisors” are saying because he quite simply has no idea of his own. (And perhaps like Bush Paul sure sounds like he’s been listening to some neo-cons.)

    Unlike Reagan, the Bush’s and Rand Pauls don’t know their own minds … because their minds have never gone deeper than their sheen.

    This isn’t only sad vis a vis Paul, but also sad in terms of what it strongly suggests is the dire possibility of some … politico-intellectual amateur such as Paul ever rising up to save us. He’s not going anywhere with his now incoherent message, and the only way he could go somewhere is to go the Bush II route of … becoming a captive of the pragmatic political pros of the big organizations. With there then also being zero possibility of someone not intellectually corrupted by those big organizations rising up within same.

    “Depressing beyond words” as Thom Meehan put it is right, even if he’s wrong that libertarians are especially susceptible to forgetting or dismissing the validity of nationalism.

    In the first place it would really be something for *anyone* to equal either the modern liberals or modern conservatives in that race.

    But in the second look at the Framers and Founders: Absolutely no political label comes within a million miles of being so apt in describing them as libertarian, and yet out of consideration for their souls one is grateful they don’t have to see us venturing abroad as the world’s policeman, nor bailing out Wall Streeters, nor defaulting on one of the most basic obligations of government to protect and regulate its borders.

    You’re just wrong about that, Thom, it’s just the dynamic I noted before: There are good (moderate), intellectually solid libertarians out there, but they ain’t been welcome in the Republican Party trenches, and the only way the Republican or Democratic Party is going to get behind any libertarian-sounding person is if indeed they are just like Bush II or Rand Paul: I.e., fundamentally empty suits.

    But Thom’s surely right about how depressing this all is.

  10. Wolfgang says: • Website

    Johnny Ive above focuses on the most important issue of all when it comes to Rand:

    “If we ever get a libertarian president he will be a neolibertarian with a neocon foreign policy as things are now. Libertarians will no longer be able to pretend that they are so virtuous if that happens and will be hypocrites when they attack the progressives on the warfare-welfare state. That argument will be broken by their very own warfare-austerity state no matter how much they cry that the neolibertarian president isn’t their own.”

    This is why we most revive the Ron Paul momentum now while we still can. Otherwise, libertarianism will = fascism in the public minds forever. That means we have to draft somebody who is a true libertarian like Ron Paul and who is enough of a “made man” in the government mafia to be let into the republican debates to run against Rand and the rest of the republicans in 2016.

    My top 2 candidates that I can think of are Phil Giraldi and Karen Kwiaktowski. I think they have good enough prior government mafia credentials (CIA officer and Air Force Lt Colonel), so that with the Love-o-lution behind them, they’d have to let them in the debates.

    And then like Ron, all our candidate has to do is use his 89 seconds per hour to speak the unspeakable truth on national TV, wait for the media and other candidates to overreact, and we gotta love-o-lution all over again.

    • Replies: @Jeff Albertson
  11. If you think Rand “misjudged” his audience with regards to the Stand With Israel act, I think you underestimate Rand’s political acumen. His audience is not AIPAC. Rand will never have the support of AIPAC. His goal is not to win their support but rather to complicate their efforts to attack him in the future. Americans are reflexively pro-Israel, and the “Stand With Israel Act” is perfectly tailored to tap in to that sentiment. AIPAC may secretly hate it, but they can’t exactly make a stink about it either, can they? The American voter is not going to respond to the argument that we need to fund Hamas in order to help Israel after AIPAC has spent so much time demonizing Hamas over the years.

    Rand is in all likelyhood no less anti-Israel than his father, but from his father’s experience he learned the political danger in appearing anti-Israel to the GOP electorate. Symbolic bills like this are red meat to the Christian Evangelical supporters of Israel and make it extremely difficult for AIPAC to paint Rand as an enemy of the Jewish state. The fact that it has no chance of passing and Israel doesn’t view it as helpful anyway is besides the point.

    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
    , @Anonymous
  12. SteveM says:

    Re: “In the Middle East, for example, Washington has a vital interest in encouraging overall political stability so oil continues to flow”

    I don’t get that. How is Washington supposed to “encourage” overall political stability in the Islamic Arc of political and social dysfunction? Well one flavor of “stability” is the retrograde kleptocratic House of Saud. Is that the preferred archetype for how countries should be run in the Middle East? What would Phil Giraldi want Rand Paul or any other politician do to encourage stability apart from getting in bed with the local autocrats and selling them weapons systems supplied by the American Merchants of Death?

    The point is that whatever crackpot groups end up running those basket case countries, they are going to sell the oil. I mean what else have they got to make money? Whether Ukraine, North Africa or the Middle East, George Washington had in right in his Farewell Address about leading by example and letting the foreign entanglements stay foreign.

    • Replies: @Philip Giraldi
  13. @FatDrunkAndStupid

    FatDrunkAndStupid: Even if what you say is true, Rand has gone over the top in demonstrating his love for Israel and that is what others are observing (not just me) about his tactics. Who is arguing that we need to fund Hamas to help Israel in any event? The problem with Rand is that he does not demonstrate any core convictions and by aligning himself with neocons he will lost many of the supporters who adored his father. You are suggesting that Rand is actually a Trojan Horse and will be hostile or less submissive to Israel and its interests if he is elected, a common argument emanating from Rand boosters. I think that is bullshit. He has backed himself into a corner with his pledges to Israel and has bought into the nonsense and lies. He will be thumping that good old Bible while unwilling to confront Israel in any way if he is elected. Back in my youth in New Jersey we would have referred to Rand as a gutless wonder. Political acumen my ass. He is surrounded by people who screwed his father over, reaping large financial benefits personally while assuring that his campaign would fail.

  14. @SteveM

    SteveM – I was describing the American interest, not endorsing any particular regime. How you would pursue that is why we have a State Department and Intelligence Community.

  15. @Wolfgang

    yeah, except they’ve already moved to close the vulnerabilities that Ron exposed. I.e. all candidates will be pre-approved, including Democrats. Letting Ron get that much uncontrolled airtime was the biggest mistake they ever made, and unlikely to be repeated.

    I’d like to see a shadow constitutional cabinet and supreme court that would be to government what john Williams shadowstats is to econ., but as a constitutional President is mostly ceremonial, I’d rather see Phil at State or War dept. I assume there wouldn’t be a const. CIADIANSA, but if so, it’s his. Paul Craig Roberts gets state and treasury, kwiatkowski War, Rockwell HEW, etc.

    RP is already president of the internet.

  16. Wolfgang says: • Website

    “they’ve already moved to close the vulnerabilities that Ron exposed.”

    Yes, this is a big point.

    But I don’t think its necessarily a show stopper. The theme of both of Ron’s campaigns might well have been summed up as “Highlight What Fools and Thugs They Are By Forcing Them to Close the Vulnerabilities”.

    The best thing that can happen is:

    1. for Rand to figure out that the generals will never let him be president no matter what and regardless of how much loot he promises to shovel to Lockheed/Raytheon and be content to do his own thing running for re-election as a conservative Senator.

    2. And then for Ron to endorse somebody like Karen K. for President

    3. And then Albert J. Nock’s remnant will do the rest

    I was in the paper ballot counting area as a Ron delegate at the 2008 Nevada state convention when all they could do was turn the power breaker off to the convention floor when it became clear that we were going to win all of the national delegates.

    In 2012 they just folded their tents and let us win without a fight.

    They will continue to close vulnerabilities, but this time we will have the advantage of having actual libertarians run the campaign instead of the CIA.

    I always said that Ron should have run his whole campaign by sitting in on arena-size productions of the Scott Horton show and setting up a microphone and taking any and all follow up questions from the media, the voters, and Scott’s correspondants and guests for hours at a time.

    We can do this in 2016 and maybe save libertarianism from being smeared, twisted, neutered, and buried in a black hole for the rest of history.

  17. Voltaire says:
    @Thomas O. Meehan

    Ayn Rand lacking in nationalism. Are you sure?

    If memory serves me correct Ayn Rand was a rather fanatical supporter of Israel.

    google: alternet ayn-rand-was-virulent-anti-arab-racist

  18. @Kumquat

    You are confusing tribalism with nationalism.

    @ TomB

    The problem with libertarianism is that as an expression of radical individualism, its loyalty to the common good or society in general are never firm. The founders were motivated by impulses that we can see as libertarian. But they always operated within the framework of 18th century British Christianity. Many modern libertarians flirt with anarchic policy positions because they just take societal stability for granted.

  19. tz says:

    And the better alternative, aka the lesser evil?
    The question is if whomever is wrong, will they right themselves or double down?

  20. TomB says:

    Hi Thom (Meehan):

    Naw, it’s just an inversion of manifest reality to see the Founders as having mere libertarian “impulses” and to credit British Christianity with being their real Pole Star. After all in their very first start out of the gate, so to speak, in the Dec. of Independence, Jefferson noted the idea that governments are instituted by men, and derive their just powers not from any divine right of kings but from the “consent of the governed.” And from there the Constitution and Bill of Rights (not to mention the Civil War amendments too) aren’t just shot through with clear libertarian ideas, but indeed that if any ideology at all might define it a basic libertarianism was their Central Organizing and Operating Principle. And of course in their very first statement (Amendment) where they got the chance to make clearer what they meant, they noted their abhorrence to the idea of the establishment of *any* religion, right? (Accompanied of course by the libertarian notion of there being a freedom to *practice* any religion at all.)

    You’re just 180 degrees in the wrong on this my friend.

    I do think you have a point though about what can *seem* many current libertarians—esp. the loudly self-described sort—but not that they flirt with anarchy due to taking societal stability for granted, but because they see their version of libertarianism as allowing *refuge* from societal instability.

    Now, this isn’t totally non-sensical even if it damages what I see as the valid, moderate brand. In essence they have seen the incoherence and instability now that was forecast by yesterday’s more moderate libertarians, and have essentially given up on the idea of stability. And I suppose there’s a good argument they will have got it right in the end: The cat has been let out of the bag, the horse has fled, there’s just no way now that people are going to give back all the benefits they have gotten via socialization. For instance, I suspect it’s almost a certainty that if you tried, say, to really slash some even pure welfare benefit today—pure meaning absolutely charitable—that you would see significant if not massive violence break out demanding the retention of that charity. Hell, try to take away the free cell phones that are given out today and see what happens.

    But as regards those who haven’t given up I think those include simply tons and tons of moderate libertarians, who also are increasing all the time seeing the increasing instability and incoherence of where we are. *They just don’t identify as libertarian, that’s all.* They’re just ordinary people, including those who see themselves as Democrats or Republicans because they tend to vote that way.

    But go and make some fundamentally moderate libertarian argument about … damn near anything today and you’ll see all kinds of agreement I think from these folks. And if you refrain from calling it “libertarian” you’ll preserve that agreement due to preventing the inevitable, terrified denouncing of it from both sides of the present aisle, the Dems and the Republicans, the libs and conservs.

    Moreover, it’s more than just an issue-by-issue thing I think: People can smell rats, and they know when this or that liberal or conservative is being hypocritical and inconsistent and incoherent, and that’s what they see today. And consequently I think you also see some yearning for some movement that they can at least *respect* for being ideologically consistent.

    There’s tons of concerned-about-societal-stability-and-therefore-moderate libertarians out there today Thom—of the sort that I think lots of people hoped Rand Paul would be. Their kind of politics in fact is what I think represents the real centrism that’s out there.

    The problem is that for a million reasons centrism is the last thing that’s favored by our present system, and it’s just gotten worse. And the crisis-ridden results of that are then grist for it to be a self-reinforcing phenomenon: An extremist of one stripe causes hell and disaster, so only naturally after a time leading the people to want and believe that an extremist of the opposite stripe is needed.

    All because with extremists of different stripes being the apparently only ones around, their extremism—in terms of how clearly far they are from reasonable policies—goes unrecognized and … instead and indeed becomes the new centrism.

    And thus despite what we’ve obviously got for our troubles by intervening in the Middle East, it’s impossible to deny that the apparent “centric” view of our politicians is to just … keep on intervening. And the same goes for our border/immigration situation and a million others: While almost impossible to imagine, policies having long resulted in even the most spectacular failures share the most spectacular agreement to be continued.

    Our problem is that like the frog in the slowly heated kettle of water, we’ve become conditioned to believe that the hot is the new normal. Even if the hot is already producing blisters verging on the terminal.

  21. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Rand Paul ain’t no Ron Paul, but this article is unmitigated bullshit!!!!

  22. The people of the United States can get no more in the way of leadership than they collectively deserve. With apologies to Mencken, if sometime public opinion becomes something other than what in the face of apathy is mostly manufactured by special interests, then that might change. So don’t expect too much from anyone who can be ruled fit for higher office by the establishment.

  23. norm741 says:

    Rand knows who runs this country and the media by looking at what happened to his father in the last election.

  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This. Purist allegiance gets us nowhere. Rand is doing ALL the right things here. You need a few doses of pragmatism to get anywhere near the white house. Then – when and if he can win a couple early primaries – THEN he does in fact turn in to the ‘right wing Obama’ with regard to pied-piper-ing the grassroots into massive action which gives him an undeniable surge of genuine enthusiasm across all 50 states. You have to understand, folks, the only one to the right of Hillary Clinton who can win the presidency in 2016 has got to be someone who generates excitement outside of the traditional Republican party. Rand Paul is the ONLY one who does that. It’s not a perfect world, you don’t get perfect choices in life, and I strongly suggest all you newfound Rand-critics check yourselves.

  25. “What we need is a resurgence of nationalism.”

    Nationalism in the absence of an actual nation is just a word.

  26. Afunz says:

    UNZ keeps disappointing by quality of its commentary. Agree with Bob Minarik about this article: mishmash of pseudo-intellectual analysis plus a “healthy dose” of Jew hatred. I don’t trust Rand Paul on foreign policy but for different reasons than the author and disagree with each of his statements, so it is useless to even discuss including with the majority of the commenters

  27. fazsha says: • Website

    “If one regards the core function of government to be the enhancement of the wellbeing of the people who are governed” – this article falls off the rails at the moment it tries to define this as the core function of government. Why? Because government is not designed to enhance wellbeing; it is merely to attempt to ensure our safety, while we pursue our own well being. To state otherwise is to give carte blanche for any country to invade any other country to ‘enhance their citizens well being’. Would we want the Chinese Army invading NYC after 9/11 to ensure their Treasury bonds are safe? And what stability has the US fostered in Iraq? Also, the Middle East is not the only repository for oil; the oil would flow just as freely from Mexico, Venezuela, and the U.S. if the Middle East was shut down. And even if none of that were true, if oil prices go up – so what? We had house prices going way up, a much bigger chunk of people’s monthly cost, and no one was concerned; they were thrilled! People adapt. They would adapt to higher oil prices by doubling up on commutes, taking the bus, whatever.

    No, this article’s entire premise for criticizing Rand Paul is flawed. That said, is Rand Paul off base on supporting Israel? Yes and no. Yes because Israel is all the things the article says it is. No because you will not have a snowball’s chance of reaching the presidency unless you at least temporarily appear to side with Israel. That is just a fact; the chokehold on the American presidency and Washington is so tight, he is correctly game-planning how to win.

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