Rand Paul on Foreign Policy
Republican Kentucky Senator
PAUL: This is a 1,000-year-old war in the Middle East between Sunni & Shia, and Saudi Arabia is pitted up against Iran. The biggest thing that destabilize the Middle East--and I think the president agrees with me on this--was the Iraq war. There was much more of a balance in the Middle East at that time, but if you look at military spending right now, the Saudis and the gulf sheikhdom that are their allies spend eight times more than Iran. And so, there is an arms race, but when we supply arms to Saudi Arabia, Iran responds. So when we complain about the Iranians having ballistic missiles that they are developing, they are doing that in response to the arming of the Saudis. It's a bilateral arms race that goes on and on. And so, I wouldn't continue it, I don't think we need the Saudis.
The Kurds deserve to be armed and I'll arm them. But the boots on the ground need to be the people who live there. Why are we always the world's patsies that we have to go over there and fight their wars for them? We need to defend American interests, but it is not in America's national security interests to have another war in Iraq.
PAUL: I've said I would cut spending, and I've said exactly where. Each one of my budgets has taken a meat axe to foreign aid, because I think we ought to quit sending it to countries that hate us. I think we ought to quit sending it to countries that burn our flag. Israel is not one of those. But even Benjamin Netanyahu said that ultimately, they will be stronger when they're independent. My position is exactly the same. We shouldn't borrow money from China to send it anywhere, but why don't we start with eliminating aid to our enemies.
Q: OK, but you still say that Israel could be one of the countries that is cut from financial aid?
PAUL: Out of your surplus, you can help your allies, and Israel is a great ally. And this is no particular animus of Israel, but we cannot give away money we don't have.
PAUL: Interestingly, many of the hawks in my party line right up with President Obama. The war that Hillary prominently promoted in Libya, many of the hawks in my party were right there with her. Their only difference was in degree. They wanted to go into Libya as well. Some of the hawks in my party, you can't find a place on the globe they don't want boots on the ground.
Q: And that's their point, that you're to the left of all them.
PAUL: No, my point is, is that they are actually agreeing with Hillary Clinton and agreeing with Pres. Obama that the war in Libya was a good idea. I'm not agreeing with either one of them. I'm saying that that war made us less safe, that it allowed radical Islam to rise up in Libya. There are now large segments of Libya that are pledging allegiance to ISIS, supplying arms to the Islamic rebels in the Syrian war.
A: I think the thing about the Clintons is that there's this grand hypocrisy in the sense that we've got this war on women thing that they like to talk about. And yet Hillary Clinton has taken money from countries that rape victims are publicly lashed. In Saudi Arabia, a woman was gang raped by seven men. She was publicly lashed 90 times. And then she was convicted of being in the car with an unmarried man. We should be voluntarily boycotting a country, not buying stuff from a country that does that to women.
Q: What would you say to Hillary on that?
A: I would expect Clinton--if she believes in women's rights--she should be calling for a boycott of Saudi Arabia. Instead, she's accepting tens of millions of dollars. And I think it looks unseemly. And there's going to be some explaining she's going to have to come up with.
That's why I proposed a bill called the "Stand with Israel Act" to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority. As long as the Palestinian Authority is allied with Hamas not one more tax dollar should flow to them.
Early in his Senate career, Paul was clearly influenced by his father's views. In 2011, he proposed eliminating all foreign aid, including to Israel, insisting: "I just don't think you can give other people's money away when we can't rebuild bridges in our country." As he seeks the presidency, facing a wide and varied GOP field that includes candidates with far more hawkish views, Paul has backed off on his past support for ending U.S. aid to Israel
Likewise, Iran--or any nation developing nuclear weaponry--should not doubt the military strength and unified approach of the American people toward the terrorizing of US citizens and allies. Nor should these nations doubt that international resolve will coalesce and extract harsh penalties on nations that pursue these activities. Ultimately, the US cannot and will not take any option off the table in order to protect Israel and other regional democracies.
|Where Ron Paul and Rand Paul agree on Foreign issues|
|Where they disagree:||Ron Paul||Rand Paul|
|Iran:||Stay out of Iran||Keep options on Iran|
|Israel:||Cut off all aid||Maintain alliance|
|Privacy vs National Security:||Privacy first against terrorism||Spying on terrorists ok|
|Foreign aid:||End foreign aid||Limit foreign aid|
|Military Spending:||Cut absolute defense spending||Cut relative defense spending|
Paul said in a radio interview that many younger Cuban Americans support opening up trade with Cuba. He also said many U.S. farmers would back Obama's moves because the country is a new market for their crops.
"The 50-year embargo just hasn't worked," Paul said. "If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship. In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea," he said. Paul's comments parallel those of Hillary Clinton.
Q: What are your thoughts on the president's deal here with Cuba?
PAUL: I grew up in a family that was about as anti-Communist as you could come by. And when we first opened up trade with China we were thinking it was a bad idea. But over time, I've come to believe that trading with China is the best way to actually, ultimately, defeat Communism. You know, the 50-year embargo with Cuba just hasn't worked. I mean, if the goal was regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working. And probably it punishes the people more than the regime, because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship. And if there's open trade, I think the people will see all the things that we produce under capitalism. So in the end, I think probably opening up Cuba is a good idea.
Paul then posted this message on Facebook: "Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba has been ineffective, yet he wants to continue perpetuating failed policies. After 50 years of conflict, why not try a new approach? I believe engaging Cuba can lead to positive change. Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism. Finally, let's be clear that Senator Rubio does not speak for the majority of Cuban-Americans. A recent poll demonstrates that a large majority of Cuban-Americans actually support normalizing relations between our countries.
PAUL: I think the president's biggest mistake was saying," oh, it's no big deal, you can't catch it if you're sitting on a bus. And we're not going to stop any travel." It's very contagious when someone is sick. I don't think anybody should be riding on a bus or coming from Liberia to visit when they could be contagious. So, I think a temporary stop of travel for elective travel, if you're coming to visit your relatives, couldn't that wait for a few months?
Do you think we ought to tighten the restrictions on who can come to this country?
PAUL: From the beginning of our country, we always had restrictions on infectious disease. That was one of the primary things we did at our border. Commercial travel for people who just want to visit the US, that really isn't a necessity, and we can wait few months on it. And it would make our problem a lot less if we were only thinking about health care workers coming back.
PAUL: It depends on your stage of the disease. Quarantine is a tough question, because the libertarian in me is horrified at the idea of indefinitely detaining anyone without a trial. One of our basic rights is habeas corpus: if anybody was detaining you, you have recourse to a lawyer and to a judgment.
Q: She had a lawyer. They filed suit to get her out of New Jersey. Now she's in Maine and again saying, "I am not contagious."
PAUL: Well, I think common sense would say that it makes a different whether or not you're febrile, afebrile or asymptomatic.
Q: She doesn't have a fever.
PAUL: Right. When you're febrile, you're beginning to be contagious. And so there is a reasonable public concern. I think that we have to be very careful of people's civil liberties, but I'm also not saying that the government doesn't have a role in trying to prevent contagion.
Paul often complains that his worldview is caricatured by people who are eager to cast him as a clone of his father, former Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who is deeply suspicious of American involvement overseas. "They start out with a mischaracterization of his point of view, bastardize it, make it worse," the senator said.
Part of Paul's strategy is to appear before audiences that are not necessarily friendly to him, such as the Heritage Foundation, where he left the impression that he knew he must evolve.
Some observers say this is the evolution of a savvy politician with presidential ambitions. Paul says it is more like a slow reveal. "I've been expressing gradually where my foreign policy is," he said. "Foreign policy isn't set in stone. It isn't either-or. And it isn't always right or wrong."
It wasn't immediately clear who Paul was attacking. He did not name names, but that may simply have been because he had too many targets. He could have been referring to several of his potential rivals for the presidency.
I believe the answers to most problems that confront us around the world can and should be approached by engaging both friend and foe in dialogue. No, I don't naively think that dialogue always works, but I believe we should avoid the rigidity of saying that dialogue never works. I believe we should approach diplomacy from the notion that dialogue is nearly always preferable to war but that potential enemies should never mistake, as Reagan put it, our reluctance for war, with a lack of resolve.
I consider foreign policy to be an unending process of learning and that I am very open to learning new ideas, whether they are indeed new, or maybe just new to me.
One of the most troubling aspects of the Benghazi attack is the complete disregard that State Department leadership gave to the repeated requests for enhanced security. Should funding have been an issue, the State Department always has the option available to come to Congress for approval to transfer funds within accounts. No requests for reprogramming were made by the State Department.
In addition to increasing diplomatic security accounts in this budget, I have supported legislation to provide the State Department transfer authority to prioritize diplomatic security at our embassies around the world. However, it is worth noting that this money will only be effective if it is responsibly managed by officials at the State Department.
Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run--persecuted or under fire--and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them. While they burn the American flag and the mobs chant "Death to America," more of your money is sent to these haters of Christianity.
Even if all the atrocities to Christians were not occurring in these countries, we simply don't have the money to engage in this foolishness. We must borrow the money from China to send it to Pakistan.
It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.
"The president's He's trying to do his fair share," Paul said. "But within a few days, the president finds an extra $250 million dollars to send to Egypt." Paul was referring to money appropriated by Congress to help the new government in Egypt where protests against the US have included burning the America flag, and "where mobs attacked out embassy and chanted 'Death to America,' [but Obama] found an extra $250 million to reward them," Paul said.
Pakistani leaders have made similar comments, that if the US goes to war with Iran, Pakistan will side with Iran. Yet we continue to send Pakistan billions of US taxpayer dollars. Why?
We cannot continue to try to bully allies or pay off our enemies. So many of the countries we send aid to dislike us, regularly disrespect us, and openly tell the world they will side with our enemies.
America doesn't even have the money to send them. We're borrowing the money from China to aid people who don't like us. This is illogical. It's an insult.
And it should end.
Due to a near criminal degree of corruption, abuse, and waste on the part of many recipients--not to mention the fact that we can't afford it--I had long been in favor of eliminating foreign aid altogether. But since the aid existed, I thought it gave Congress the perfect tool to help the detained Americans.
I attempted to freeze aid to Egypt. We had sent Mubarak's regime over $60 billion and now a member of that same regime was responsible for arresting and holding American citizens against their will--19 US nationals. I proposed an amendment to end ALL foreign aid to Egypt--economic aid, military aid, all aid--in 30 days unless the American citizens were released. We give over $1.5 billion to Egypt annually.
Palin wanted to know my position on Israel. I said that Israel was an important ally, the only democracy in the Middle East, and that I would not condemn Israel for defending herself. Later, after Palin's endorsement of me, she was grilled about it on FOX News. Of course, she defended it.
Q: Will you support legislation that forbids U.S. troops from serving under United Nations command?
Q: Will you support the American Sovereignty Act to restrict the Executive's ability to forge international agreements that lessen our sovereignty?
Q: Will you oppose the so-called "NAFTA Superhighway" and any move toward a North American Union?
The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.
A Liberty Candidate will Defend the Great American Principles of A Non-interventionist Foreign Policy and Sound Money, [such as the views of] Adam Kokesh, Congress 2010 candidate from New Mexico, on foreign Policy: "Taken as a whole, America’s current foreign policy is a grossly unconstitutional one that we cannot afford. It has put us in a situation where children born today are burdened with an impossible debt. It is premised on a twisted version of American exceptionalism which assumes we have the right to police the world without respect for the sovereignty of fellow nations. If we hope to be respected in the global community, we would be wise to heed the advice of Thomas Jefferson and seek, 'peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations--entangling alliances with none.' "
|Other candidates on Foreign Policy:||Rand Paul on other issues:|
C. Wesley Morgan
Mary Ann Tobin
Senate races 2019-20:
AK: Sullivan(R,incumbent) vs.Gross(I)
AL: Jones(D,incumbent) vs.Sessions(R) vs.Moore(R) vs.Mooney(R) vs.
AR: Cotton(R,incumbent) vs.
AZ: McSally(R,incumbent) vs.Kelly(D)
CO: Gardner(R,incumbent) vs.Hickenlooper(D) vs.
DE: Coons(D,incumbent) vs.Scarane(D)
GA-2: Isakson(R,resigned) Loeffler(R,appointed) vs.Lieberman(D) vs.Collins(R) vs.Carter(D)
GA-6: Perdue(R,incumbent) vs.Tomlinson(D) vs.Ossoff(D) vs.Terry(D)
IA: Ernst(R,incumbent) vs.Graham(D) vs.Mauro(D) vs.Greenfield(D)
ID: Risch(R,incumbent) vs.Harris(D) vs.Jordan(D)
IL: Durbin(D,incumbent) vs.Curran(R) vs.
KS: Roberts(R,retiring) vs.
KY: McConnell(R,incumbent) vs.McGrath(D) vs.Morgan(R) vs.Cox(D) vs.Tobin(D) vs.Booker(D)
LA: Cassidy(R,incumbent) vs.Pierce(D)
MA: Markey(D,incumbent) vs.
ME: Collins(R,incumbent) vs.Sweet(D) vs.Gideon(D) vs.
MI: Peters(D,incumbent) vs.James(R)
MN: Smith(D,incumbent) vs.
MS: Hyde-Smith(R,incumbent) vs.Espy(D) vs.Bohren(D)
MT: Daines(R,incumbent) vs.Bullock(D) vs.
NC: Tillis(R,incumbent) vs.E.Smith(D) vs.S.Smith(R) vs.Cunningham(D) vs.Tucker(R) vs.
NE: Sasse(R,incumbent) vs.Janicek(R)
NH: Shaheen(D,incumbent) vs.Martin(D) vs.Bolduc(R) vs.O'Brien(f)
NJ: Booker(D,incumbent) vs.Singh(R) vs.Meissner(R)
NM: Udall(D,retiring) vs.Clarkson(R) vs.
OK: Inhofe(R,incumbent) vs.Workman(D)
OR: Merkley(D,incumbent) vs.Romero(R) vs.Perkins(R)
RI: Reed(D,incumbent) vs.Waters(R)
SC: Graham(R,incumbent) vs.Tinubu(D) vs.Harrison(D)
SD: Rounds(R,incumbent) vs.Borglum(R) vs.Ahlers(D)
TN: Alexander(R,incumbent) vs.Sethi(R) vs.Mackler(D) vs.Hagerty(R)
TX: Cornyn(R,incumbent) vs.Hegar(D) vs.Hernandez(D) vs.Bell(D) vs.Ramirez(D) vs.West(D)
VA: Warner(D,incumbent) vs.
WV: Capito(R,incumbent) vs.Swearengin(D) vs.Ojeda(D)
WY: Enzi(R,incumbent) vs.Ludwig(D) vs.Lummis(R)
Senate Votes (analysis)