Given all the hubbub surrounding Rand Paul’s foreign policy, I thought I’d post a quote from a speech he did last year at Heritage where he characterized his own foreign policy with respect to Iran:
I have voted for Iranian sanctions in the hope of preventing war and allowing for diplomacy. The sanctions have not been fully implemented but they do appear to have brought Iran back to the negotiating table.
I am persuaded, though, that for sanctions to change Iran’s behavior we must have the commitment of Iran’s major trading partners, especially China, Russia, Japan, and India.
Understandably no one wants to imagine what happens if Iran develops a nuclear weapon. But if we don’t have at least some of that discussion now, then the danger exists that war is the only remedy.
No one, myself included, wants to see a nuclear Iran. Iran does need to know that all options are on the table. But we should not pre-emptively announce that diplomacy or containment will never be an option.
Rand Paul believes diplomacy is an option with Iran and that sanctions can curb their behavior, even bringing Iran back to the negotiating table. This is the same belief of the Obama administration and has it stopped Iran from continuing their nuclear program?
Let me quote John Bolton with respect to diplomacy and sanctions on Iran back in 2010:
We have followed a course of carrots and sticks for the last eight years. The Obama administration’s policy fundamentally is not that much different from the Bush administration’s policy and that policy has failed. Diplomacy was never going to work and the sanctions have been borne by Iran. They’ve caused some incremental effect on them — I support the sanctions because someday I hope it will lead to regime change — but anybody who thinks these sanctions are going to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons doesn’t understand the determination of the Revolutionary Guard which really, effectively holds power in Iran today to achieve that objective.
The talking which has gone on for 8 years…is the umbrella which allows Iran to continue to make progress. The more legitimacy and the more time you give them, the more certain you are making it that they will have nuclear weapons to all of our detriment.
I think you can count on Iran getting nuclear weapons sooner rather than later. The only thing that stand between Iran and a nuclear weapon is a preemptive military strike against the nuclear program.
John Bolton gets it on Iran and their nuclear program, which is probably the biggest issue we have in foreign policy these days. He knows that the only thing that will stop Iran from getting nukes is military force. Israel understand this as well and if they didn’t feel the boot of the Obama administration on their necks, they would have likely have already responded militarily to Iran’s nuclear program.
But Rand Paul doesn’t understand this and seems to want to find any other option than to use military force. But there is no other option as Bolton has made clear.
At this point, under a Paul administration Iran would likely get nuclear weapons unless his admin decided to use military might to stop them. And that doesn’t look very promising based on his views on this. Thus, this is why I call this Rand Paul’s biggest problem on foreign policy.
And just a little more food for thought, this is what Paul said about our overall foreign policy strategy:
What the United States needs now is a policy that finds a middle path. A policy that is not rash or reckless. A foreign policy that is reluctant, restrained by Constitutional checks and balances but does not appease. A foreign policy that recognizes the danger of radical Islam but also the inherent weaknesses of radical Islam. A foreign policy that recognizes the danger of bombing countries on what they might someday do. A foreign policy that requires, as Kennan put it, “a long term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of . . . expansive tendencies.” A policy that understands the “distinction between vital and peripheral interests.”