Rand: No-Fly Zone, Being Prepared to Use Force Against Russia ”Scary,’ The Wrong Approach’

Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said “the people in my party who are saying don’t talk to Putin, have a no-fly zone, be prepared to use force against Russia, that’s all very scary to me, and the wrong approach” on Wednesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.

Rand stated, “During the Cold War we had many altercations with Russia and the Soviet Union at a time when the tension was much greater, and much more potentially dangerous. What I think is reckless and irresponsible of some of my colleagues, who, on the presidential stages, to say, oh, we’re not going to talk to Putin. Well, having no relations or communic[ation] with Putin is exactly the wrong thing to do. Others have now been saying, we need to be prepared to use force against Russia, and it’s like my goodness, we avoided that for 70 years in the Cold War, I don’t think that’s a good idea. And others are saying, well, we need to draw a red line. We need to have a no-fly zone. Well, that’s also a recipe for disaster, for either an accidental, or a purposeful shooting down, by one country or the other. I think we have to look at how we got here. How did we get here? We used to have Saddam Hussein, a tyrant, who opposed Iran. He’s gone now. Iran is stronger. Iran is now allied with Iraq. Who gave flyover permission for Russia to go into Syria? Iraq. Who said today that they’re inviting Russia, and want Russia to attack ISIS? Iraq. It’s going to be a little hard for us to say ‘Russia go home’ when Syria, Iraq, and Iran are all saying they want Russia to be there.”

He added, “we need to stand up for our position, for our position in the world, but there’s not a position, what are we going to do? Do you want to drive Russia out of Syria? Do you want to have a land war with Russia? I mean, there is no sort of scenario in which America can just stand up and say, ‘Be gone Russia.’ I think what we need to do is make sure that an accident doesn’t happen, make sure that we have open lines of communication, make sure that Russia knows what our position is on this. So, we communicate our displeasure and we try to say, ‘This is not something we feel.’ But you know, is there a military solution do this? There isn’t a military solution.”

Rand also said, after panelist Ron Fournier said he wasn’t sure what Rand would do about Russia, that no one else really is sure, and “what I wouldn’t do is a no-fly zone. I think that’s a huge mistake, and endangers World War III. I would not close communications. So, I would diplomatically engage. I would express our opinion, but the thing is, is I think war with Russia is a really bad idea, and I can tell you that the people in my party who are saying don’t talk to Putin, have a no-fly zone, be prepared to use force against Russia, that’s all very scary to me, and the wrong approach.”

Regarding Department of Defense spending, Rand stated, “if you’re truly a conservative, yeah, you have to look at both the military and the domestic welfare. Instead, we do the opposite. We have an unholy alliance between right and left up here. The right wants more military spending. The left wants more domestic. What happens? The unholy alliance comes together and you get more spending for everything. But that’s also why we’re $18 trillion in debt, it’s also why, I’m frankly the only conservative running on either side, because I’d be willing to cut both.”

Rand added that “you have to be able to cut across the board” when asked if he would cut the DoD’s budget below $600 billion.

After the discussion turned back to Russia, Rand argued, “I think if you look at the region and you say, ‘Why is Syria now involved in the region?’ You might say, ‘Well, if we look back, had we had not gotten involved in the Iraq War to begin with, maybe Russia wouldn’t be so involved.’ So, maybe it’s an unintended consequence of the Iraq War. In the Ukraine, there was no real military solution to removing Crimea — removing the Russians from Crimea. There was no real military solution that anyone, even from the farthest right wing of our party was proposing to do as far as pushing them out of Ukraine. As far as arming Ukraine with self-defense. I actually favor that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett