Rand Paul Foreign Policy Speech Emphasizes Diplomacy with 'Relentless' Enemies

Rand Paul Foreign Policy Speech Emphasizes Diplomacy with 'Relentless' Enemies

Presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered a foreign policy speech at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday that relied on outdated Cold War policies at some points and incoherent assertions at others, all sprinkled with a quasi-pacifism. 

For example, in the speech, Sen. Paul made it clear that radical Islam poses great dangers. He described radial Islam as “no fleeting fad but a relentless force.” He spoke of how the radicals are supported by nations like Iran, and how they make up for their “lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal.”

Then, he turned on a dime and expressed his shock that “50% of Americans still believe Iraq attacked America on 9/11.” His answer to radical Islam was not confrontation but containment. 

Paul rhetorically asked, “Where are the [George] Kennans of our generation?”

Paul restated his more-diplomacy-less-military-action approach to Iran and seemed to suggest that containment would work against Iran as well. He said the enforcement of this will require “the commitment of Iran’s major trading partners, especially China, Russia, Japan, and India,” to get the job done.

Paul then returned to the topic radical Islam, likened it to communism, and focused on broad containment as a preferred option “to bombing countries [based] on what they might someday do.” In other words, pre-emptive strikes are a non-starter. 

As The Washington Post made clear, it would be unfair to charge Rand Paul with holding the same positions as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). However, “this was a naive, and in some ways, silly speech” that one would have expected the elder Paul to deliver.