***UPDATE: VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT ADDED: Senator Rand Paul on Conservative Foreign Policy at Heritage


Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) visits Heritage this morning to deliver a much-anticipated speech about a constitutionally conservative foreign policy — one that respects the Founders’ vision for America.

Paul’s speech begins at 11 a.m. ET. Heritage closed registration two days ago due to the high number of RSVPs. More than 300 people are expected to attend, filling two auditoriums. You can watch it live online.

In other news, Rand Paul admits to BillO that he’s considering running for president in 2016, which makes the above speech even more prevalent:


Foreign policy is uniquely an arena where we should base decisions on the landscape of the world as it is . . . not as we wish it to be. I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.

When candidate John McCain argued in 2007 that we should remain in Iraq for 100 years, I blanched and wondered what the unintended consequences of prolonged occupation would be. But McCain’s call for a hundred year occupation does capture some truth: that the West is in for a long, irregular confrontation not with terrorism, which is simply a tactic, but with Radical Islam.
As many are quick to note, the war is not with Islam but with a radical element of Islam — the problem is that this element is no small minority but a vibrant, often mainstream, vocal and numerous minority. Whole countries, such as Saudi Arabia, adhere to at least certain radical concepts such as the death penalty for blasphemy, conversion, or apostasy. A survey in Britain after the subway bombings showed 20% of the Muslim population in Britain approved of the violence.
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Some libertarians argue that western occupation fans the flames of radical Islam – I agree. But I don’t agree that absent western occupation that radical Islam “goes quietly into that good night.” I don’t agree with FDR’s VP Henry Wallace that the Soviets (or Radical Islam in today’s case) can be discouraged by “the glad hand and the winning smile.”

Americans need to understand that Islam has a long and perseverant memory. As Bernard Lewis writes, “despite an immense investment in the teaching and writing of history, the general level of historical knowledge in American society is abysmally low. The Muslim peoples, like everyone else in the world, are shaped by their history, but unlike some others, they are keenly aware of it.”

Radical Islam is no fleeting fad but a relentless force. Though at times stateless, Radical Islam is also supported by radicalized nations such as Iran. Though often militarily weak, Radical Islam makes up for its lack of conventional armies with unlimited zeal.

For Americans to grasp the mindset of Radical Islam we need to understand that they are still hopping mad about the massacre at Karbala several hundred years ago. Meanwhile, many Americans seem to be more concerned with who is winning ‘Dancing with the Stars.’

Over 50% of Americans still believe Iraq attacked us on 9/11. Until we understand the world around us, until we understand at least a modicum of what animates our enemies, we cannot defend ourselves and we cannot contain our enemies.

I think all of us have the duty to ask where are the Kennan’s of our generation? When foreign policy has become so monolithic, so lacking in debate that Republicans and Democrats routinely pass foreign policy statements without debate and without votes, where are the calls for moderation, the calls for restraint?

Anyone who questions the bipartisan consensus is immediately castigated, rebuked and their patriotism challenged. The most pressing question of the day, Iran developing nuclear weapons is allowed to have less debate in this country than it receives in Israel.

In Israel, the current head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo states that we need to quit discussing Iran and nuclear weapons as an “existential” threat to Israel as that confines us to only one possible cataclysmic response. The former head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, also cautions of the unintended consequences of pre-emptive bombing of Iran, both the possibility the strikes are ineffective and that Israel suffers a significant conventional missile response.

Yuval Diskin, the former chief of Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security service, recently said “an attack against Iran might cause it to speed up its nuclear program.”

Israel’s army chief of staff suggested in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the Iranian nuclear threat was not quite as imminent as some have portrayed it.

On the other side of the coin, Prime Minister Netanyahu warns that Iran is on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons.
It seems that debate over Iran is more robust in Israel than in the US.

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 did, however, hold up further sanctions unless Senator Reid allows a vote on my amendment that states, “Nothing in this bill is to be interpreted as a declaration of war or a use of authorization of force.” The debate over war is the most important debate that occurs in our country and should not be glossed over.

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.

In a recent Senate resolution, the bipartisan consensus stated that we will never contain Iran should they get a nuclear weapon. In the debate, I made the point that while I think it unwise to declare that we will contain a nuclear Iran, I think it equally unwise to say we will never contain a nuclear Iran. War should never be our only option.

Let me be clear. I don’t want Iran to develop nuclear weapons but I also don’t want to decide with certainty that war is the only option.

Containment, though, should be discussed as an option with regard to the more generalized threat from radical Islam. Radical Islam, like communism, is an ideology with far reach and will require a firm and patient opposition.

In George Kennan’s biography, John Gaddis describes President Clinton asking Strobe Talbot “why don’t we have a concept as succinct as ‘containment.’” Kennan’s response, “that ‘containment’ had been a misleading oversimplification; strategy could not be made to fit a bumper sticker.” The President laughed . . . “that’s why Kennan’s a great diplomat and scholar and not a politician.”

Kennan chafed that his opponents drew conclusions from it that were disagreeable to him but the fact of the matter is that the concept of containment succinctly described a strategy or as Gaddis put it “a path between the appeasement that had failed to prevent WWII and the alternative of a third world war.”

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.”
No one believes that Kennan was an isolationist but Kennan did advise that non-interference in the internal affairs of another country was, after all, a long standing principle of American diplomacy . . . [that should be excepted only when: A) “ there is a sufficiently powerful national interest” and B) when “we have the means to conduct such intervention successfully AND can afford the cost.”

In Kennan’s famous ‘X’ article he argues that containment meant the “application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and manoeuvres of Soviet policy.” He later clarified, though, that did not necessarily mean that the application of counter-force had to mean a military response. He argued that containment was not a strategy to counter “entirely by military means.” “But containment was not diplomacy [alone] either.”

Like communism, radical Islam is an ideology with worldwide reach. Containing radical Islam requires a worldwide strategy like containment. It requires counterforce at a series of constantly shifting worldwide points. But counterforce does not necessarily mean large-scale land wars with hundreds of thousands of troops nor does it always mean a military action at all.

Kennan objected to the Truman doctrine’s “implied obligation to act wherever Soviet aggression or intimidation occurred, without regard to whether American interests were at state or the means existed with which to defend them.” He was also concerned that the Truman doctrine was “a blank check to give economic and military aid to any area in the world.”

Likewise, today’s “Truman” caucus wants boots on the ground and weapons in the hands of freedom fighters everywhere, including Syrian rebels. Perhaps, we might want to ask the opinion of the one million Syrian Christians, many of whom fled Iraq when our Shiite allies were installed. Perhaps, we might want to ask: Will the Syrian rebels respect the rights of Christians, women, and other ethnic minorities?

In the 1980’s the war caucus in Congress armed bin Laden and the mujaheddin in their fight with the Soviet Union. In fact, it was the official position of the State Department to support radical jihad against the Soviets. We all know how well that worked out.
Out of the Arab Spring new nations have emerged. While discussion of Iran dominates foreign affairs, I think more time should be allotted to whether we should continue to send aid and weapons to countries that are hostile to Israel and to the United States. I, for one, believe it is unwise to be sending more M1 tanks and F-16 fighters to Egypt.

Kennan argued that “integrating force with foreign policy did not mean “blustering, threatening, waving clubs at people and telling them if they don’t do this or that we are going to drop a bomb on them.” But it did mean maintaining “a preponderance of strength.”

Kennan wrote, “The strength of the Kremlin lies in the fact that it knows how to wait. But the strength of the Russian people lies in the fact that they know how to wait longer.” Radical Islam’s only real strength is just such an endless patience. They know we eventually will leave. They simply wait for us to leave and leave we eventually must. We cannot afford endless occupation but this does not mean that by leaving we cannot and will not still contain Radical Islam.

Everybody now loves Ronald Reagan. Even President Obama tries to toady up and vainly try to resemble some Reaganism. Reagan’s foreign policy was robust but also restrained. He pulled no punches in telling Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.” He did not shy from labeling the Soviet Union an evil empire. But he also sat down with Gorbachev and negotiated meaningful reductions in nuclear weapons.

Many of today’s neoconservatives want to wrap themselves up in Reagan’s mantle but the truth is that Reagan used clear messages of communism’s evil and clear exposition of America’s strength to contain and ultimately transcend the Soviet Union.
The cold war ended because the engine of capitalism defeated the engine of socialism. Reagan aided and abetted this end not by “liberation” of captive people but by a combination of don’t mess with us language and diplomacy, not inconsistent with Kennan’s approach.

Jack Matlock, one of Reagan’s national security advisors, wrote “Reagan’s Soviet policy had more in common with Kennan’s thinking than the policy of any of Reagan’s predecessors.”

Reagan himself wrote, “I have a foreign policy. I just don’t happen to think it’s wise to tell the world what your foreign policy is.” Reagan’s liberal critics would decry a lack of sophistication but others would understand a policy in having no stated policy, a policy of Strategic ambiguity If you enumerate your policy, if you telegraph to the Soviets that the Strategic Defense Initiative is a ploy to get the Soviets to the bargaining table, the ploy is then made impotent.

Strategic ambiguity is still of value. The world knows we possess an enormous ability of nuclear retaliation. Over sixty years of not using our nuclear weapons shows wise restraint. But for our enemies to be uncertain what provocation may awaken an overwhelming response, nuclear or conventional, is an uncertainty that still helps to keep the peace.

I recognize that foreign policy is complicated. It is inherently less black and white to most people than domestic policy. I think there is room for a foreign policy that strikes a balance.

If for example, we imagine a foreign policy that is everything to everyone, that is everywhere all the time that would be one polar extreme.

Likewise if we imagine a foreign policy that is nowhere any of the time and is completely disengaged from the challenges and dangers to our security that really do exist in the world – well, that would be the other polar extreme.

There are times, such as existed in Afghanistan with the Bin Laden terrorist camps, that do require intervention.

Maybe, we could be somewhere, some of the time and do so while respecting our constitution and the legal powers of Congress and the Presidency.

Reagan’s foreign policy was much closer to what I am advocating than what we have today. The former Chairman of the American Conservative Union David Keene noted that Reagan’s policy was much less interventionist than the presidents of both parties who came right before him and after him.

I’d argue that a more restrained foreign policy is the true conservative foreign policy, as it includes two basic tenets of true conservatism: respect for the constitution, and fiscal discipline.

I am convinced that what we need is a foreign policy that works within these two constraints, a foreign policy that works within the confines of the Constitution the realities of our fiscal crisis Today in Congress there is no such nuance, no such moderation of dollars or executive power.

Last year I introduced a non-binding sense of the Senate resolution reiterating the President’s words when he was a candidate that no president should go to war unilaterally without the approval of Congress unless an imminent threat to our national security exists.

Not one Democrat voted to support candidate Obama’s words and only ten Republican senators voted to support the notion that Congressional authority is needed to begin war.

Some well-meaning senators came up to me and said, Congress has the power of the purse strings and can simply cut off funds. The problem is that there is occasionally a will to avoid war in the beginning but rarely, if ever, is there the resolve to cut off funding once troops are in the field. No historic example exists of Congress cutting off funds to a war in progress. Even during Vietnam, arguably our most unpopular war, funds were never voted down.

Madison wrote, “The Constitution supposes what history demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch most prone to war and most interested in it, therefore the Constitution has with studied care vested that power in the Legislature.

Since the Korean War, Congress has ignored its responsibility to restrain the President. Congress has abdicated its role in declaring war.

What would a foreign policy look like that tried to strike a balance? first, it would have less soldiers stationed overseas and less bases. Instead of large, limitless land wars in multiple theaters, we would target our enemy; strike with lethal force.
We would not presume that we build nations nor would we presume that we have the resources to build nations. Many of the countries formed after WWI are collections of tribal regions that have never been governed by a central government and may, in fact, be ungovernable.

When we must intervene with force, we should attempt to intervene in cooperation with the host government.
Intervention against the will of another nation such as Afghanistan or Libya would require Declaration of War by Congress. Such Constitutional obstacles purposefully make it more difficult to go to war. That was the Founders’ intention: To make war less likely.

We did not declare war or authorize force to begin war with Libya. This is a dangerous precedent. In our foreign policy, Congress has become not even a rubber stamp but an irrelevancy. With Libya, the President sought permission from the UN… from NATO… from the Arab League—everyone BUT the US Congress! And how did Congress react? Congress let him get away with it.
The looming debt crisis will force us to reassess our role in the world.

Admiral Mullen calls the debt the greatest threat to our national security. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that “At some point fiscal insolvency at home translates into strategic insolvency abroad.” Gates added that addressing our financial crisis will require both “re-examining missions and capabilities” and perhaps most importantly “will entail going places that have been avoided by politicians in the past.”

It is time for all Americans, and especially conservatives, to become as critical and reflective when examining foreign policy as we are with domestic policy. Should our military be defending this nation or constantly building other nations? What constitutes our actual “national defense” and what parts of our foreign policy are more like an irrational offense? It is the soldier’s job to do his duty—but it is the citizen’s job to question their government—particularly when it comes to putting our soldiers in harm’s way
And of course, the question we are forced to ask today is—can we afford this?

I hope such questions begin to be asked and we see some sort of return to a Constitutional foreign policy. I hope this occurs before the debt crisis occurs and not amidst a crisis. To that end, I will fight to have a voice for those who wish who wish to see a saner, more balanced approach to foreign policy.

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118 thoughts on “***UPDATE: VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT ADDED: Senator Rand Paul on Conservative Foreign Policy at Heritage

  1. Lots of good points, especially staying within the powers Constitutionally consented to by a supermajority of the governed, which allows only Congress to declare war. The left believes they are always right, so they can take power to “right” things without permission.

    Rand Paul is correct to identify the threat as Islam, but he is naive to compare it to Soviet communism. Our cold war strategy was not “containment,” but rather the more politically incorrect deterrent “MAD” – mutual assured destruction. The Soviets did not want to see their cities go up in mushroom clouds, nor were any personally willing to strap on a suicide bomb for Marx. Jihad, on the other hand, is an asymmetric threat. You cannot deter it once it is capable of mass destruction – you must sabotage it beforehand, and you must keep the bombers out and be able to defend yourself once any missiles get launched. Only if they are completely ineffective will they stop killing themselves and building nukes.

  2. Quote: “We did not declare war or authorize force to begin war with Libya

    It may be argued that the founding fathers officially “declared war” on Islam when they began engaging in military conflicts with the Barbary Pirates (Muslims on boats).

    That war has been on-going since that conflict began. 9/11 was just a more recent incarnation of that war.

    Quite frankly, we should be obliterating the major Islamic states right now with nuclear weapons. Post-9/11 we should have launched hundreds of nukes at the ten most powerful Islamic states. Islamic states from around the world would have been utterly demoralized, and would have come begging to us (on their hands and knees) to surrender to us and accept ANY terms we demand of them, including their full rejection of Islam, and their embracing of a pro-liberty constitution that we would create for them.

    So basically, just what we did to the Japanese.

    1. What Paul is saying: Obama has been unilaterally entering the US into conflicts, spending money, men and resources on his own – without going through the proper and lawful Constitutional process.

      Obama is an egotist, dictatorial, contemptuous, self-willed personality who acts on his own…without counsel or courtesy.

  3. I hardly think “containment” is the best word to describe anything after the Hagel debacle, but I’m all for a more realistic foreign policy centered around the Reagan-H.W. Bush consensus.

    I am not convinced that either Marco Rubio or Rand Paul represents this.

  4. I do not like this at all.

    The war should be with Islam, because the Islamic texts and Islamic law sanction and mandate warfare against unbelievers, and the whole of Islamic history has been one endless war in the pursuit of that end.

    I cringe every time I hear someone say “The war is not with Islam” or “Islam is a religion of peace” or “The problem is just some small minority within Islam” – None of these things are true; they’re all false.

    You can’t defeat Islam with a “cold war” approach. It might work on the scale of entire nations and when both nations are rational actors, but in the case of Islam it is twofold flawed:

    1. Islamic states are NOT rational actors (as Iran demonstrates in its desire to bring about the return of the “Mahdi” by bringing about Armageddon)

    2. Jihadist groups and individual jihadists will still attack non-Muslim targets.

  5. “As many are quick to note, the war is not with Islam but with a radical element of Islam — the problem is that this element is no small minority but a vibrant, often mainstream, vocal and numerous minority.”
    Political double talk. take notice of the first sentence: some are quick to note. Would that be you Rand? Come on, “the war is not with Islam” is something that would come out of Bush or Obama’s mouth. It’s political double speak at best, naive at worst. Where are the vocal minority in Islam?
    This is BS platitudes. He doesn’t understand the threat of Islamic supremacy. He doesn’t even believe it exists, he’s a Paul for Chrissake. If this guy had his way, we’ll go back to pre 9/11 methods in fighting this war on the legal front that would be a disaster.

      1. The only “radicals” are those moderate Muslims who go against the Islamic texts and Islamic law, and who go against the set-in-stone precedent of nearly 1400 years of Islamic warfare against unbelievers. Individual liberty and peace with unbelievers IS “radical” in Islam. Violating individual liberty and engaging in warfare against unbelievers is the norm position in Islam.

  6. I read the entire transcript and Senator Rand Paul, unlike his daddy a few days ago, said some very good conservative things. His speech was well thought out and he made great points all around.

    As things now stand, I could vote for him for president either as a Republican candidate or as a third party conservative candidate.

    John Craven
    New Orleans

    We are today before the greatest combat that mankind has
    ever seen. I do not believe that the Christian community has
    completely understood it. We are today before the final
    struggle between the Church and the anti-Church, between
    the Gospel and the anti-Gospel.
    (Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, during 1976 visit to the United States)
    [cited on Wall Street Journal editorial page, Nov. 9, 1976, as cited
    by George Weigel in Witness To Hope and Fr. Andrew Apostoli
    in Fatima For Today on page 218 quoting New York City News]

    1. Yet the Roman Catholic Church gushingly gives affirming approving validity and credibility to anti-judeochristian Islam. See the RCC Catechism #841.

      Big error and lack of spiritual discernment. Probably a political position on the part of the RCC.

  7. Come to the Republican party????? NOT, conservatives are moving away from it because NOT ONCE have they REDUCED REAL SPENDING, GOTTEN RID OF ONE GOVERNMENT AGENCY, OR ANYTHING ELSE OF CONSERVATIVE VALUE. In fact, Bush strengthened the Education department with No Child Left Behind. Smaller government my eye!
    how conservatives view the Republican party: http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/21/15308809-social-conservatives-say-they-deserve-seat-at-table-in-retooled-gop?lite
    How moderates and liberals view the Republican party: http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/08/01/new-polls-show-romney-viewed-swing-states-uncaring

    The very word “Republican” is an albatross around any politician’s neck. Retooling is not going to work, they are what they are. I am a conservative, not a Republican, and as such I speak the truth about it.

  8. Monday, got an email from Rand Paul’s office saying that he has introduced a bill, S. 201, in the Senate to stop the F-16’s/tanks delivery. The other was just an amendment. This is NOT over. We can help him stop this sale if we write/call the Senators enmass.

    Here’s an exerpt from Rand Paul’s letter:

    “Following the killing of my amendment, I introduced similar language as a bill in the Senate (S.201). S. 201 has been placed upon the Senate Legislative Calendar, where it awaits further consideration. Rest assured as issues regarding U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East Region continue to be debated before the Senate, I will keep a close eye on each situation. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and please do not hesitate to contact my office regarding any other federal issue in the future.”

    If you write/call Paul’s office, they will send regular updates on the F-16 sale. Sometimes Paul’s voice so rational that it is not so loud. But we can make our voices heard, right?

    OBAMA PUSHED UP THE DATE OF THE DELIVERY OF THE F-16’S FROM SEPTEMBER 2014 TO FEBRUARY 2013. He has a plan to be a grand organizer of near future events in the ME. Pay attention as grace12 said the other day, to the prophecy about the anti-Christ’s role in treaties. Rand Paul doesn’t argue from this POV, but he has taken a lead in stopping this sale and we should come forward and make a stong push to assist, for all of these reasons.

    I hope Hanity will have Paul on his show to address this bill now.

  9. Imagine having to follow the Constitution by having to go to Congress for a declaration of war. We just might avoid situations of wasted lives and treasure trying to build nations out of mud huts and people who resent America for trying to help them out of the 10th century.

    1. “.. trying to build nations…”, that right there has been our problem since the Wilson administration. If we are going to fight wars, we need to keep it simple, we go in, we kill the enemy and break his stuff, then we leave.

      1. Walk in on one side, drive out on the other, and what stuff we don’t break we sell to cover our expenses of having to come kick their @$$.

  10. I read the transcript and I like what Rand said but I hope he’s really sincere that he’s not an isolationist. After all, at heart, he’s probably a Libertarian like his father.

    I also am worried that he won’t be strong with Iran. A radical Islamic regime with a Nuclear bomb is a disaster.

  11. Some of the things he said made me uncomfortable. I don’t think we should accept a nuclear Iran, and I worry that his “restrained” approach will lead to cuts in our military that will make us less able to protect ourselves. Still, I am closer to Ran Paul than I am Marco Rubio.

      1. Rubio supported the Arab Spring and seems to buy into the idea that democracy can solve the problems Muslim world. I also think Ran Paul is more serious when it comes to fiscal crisis, entitlement reform, and reestablishing the Constitution. I like Rubio. He is my Senator and I’ll be happy to vote for him again, but he does not seem to have the conviction that Ran Paul does.

        1. I think Paul is more of a strategic thinker than Rubio.

          I would put Paul in the category of Gingrich on strategy.

  12. I just read the transcript of the speech. I find little with which to disagree. In May, 2011, Sarah Palin gave a foreign policy speech at the Colorado Christian University for a military charity fundraiser. Her speech has since been called The Palin Doctrine.

    Their words are different, but their points are very similar. Rand was speaking to an audience at the Heritage Foundation, which more than likely was pretty wonkish. Palin spoke to mostly everyday Joes, and her delivery was pure Palin aimed directly to the audience that sat before her.

    In her speech she outlined the five tenets of a Palin foreign policy:

    There’s a lesson here then for the effective use of force, as opposed to sending our troops on missions that are ill-defined. And it can be argued that our involvement elsewhere, say in Libya, is an example of a lack of clarity. See, these are deadly serious questions that we must ask ourselves when we contemplate sending Americans into harm’s way. Our men and women in uniform deserve a clear understanding of U.S. positions on such a crucial decision. I believe our criteria before we send our young men and women—America’s finest—into harm’s way should be spelled out clearly when it comes to the use of our military force. I can tell you what I believe that criteria should be in five points.

    First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake. Period.

    Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win. To do that, we use overwhelming force. We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. We do not stretch out our military with open-ended and ill-defined missions. Nation building is a nice idea in theory, but it is not the main purpose of our armed forces. We use our military to win wars.

    And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly and concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent into battle. Period.

    Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side with our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and the command of American officers.

    Fifth, sending in our armed forces should be the last resort. We don’t go looking for dragons to slay. However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual. When it makes sense, when it’s appropriate, we will provide them with material support to help them win their own freedom.

    We are not indifferent to the cause of human rights or the desire for freedom. We are always on the side of both. But we can’t fight every war. We can’t undo every injustice around the world. But with strength and clarity in those five points, we’ll make for a safer, more prosperous, more peaceful world because as the U.S. leads by example, as we support freedom across the globe, we’re going to prove that free and healthy countries don’t wage war on other free and healthy countries. The stronger we are, the stronger and more peaceful the world will be under our example.

    Palin presented her thoughts in clear easy-to-understand language. She was not only talking to the people in the audience, she was talking to us.

  13. Rand Paul is my Senator. I like Rand Paul. I’m not convinced that he is really seriously considering running for POTUS in 2016. I think he’s taken advice from his Dad that if he throws his name in the ring, people will pay more attention to what he says. Think about it. For a junior Senator from a state with 4 million people, his “thinking about it” gets him a lot of media attention.

    1. It makes sense to though. He has the benefit of a pre-built grassroots network from his dad that might fizzle if he waited till 2020 or 2024…I’m just worried about the other sides “pre-built grassroots network” being used for Michelle Obama in 2016.

    2. the bad thing is he can’t run for both prez and senate in Kentucky, unless they change the law.

      I think he will go for it because i dont think he’s bothered. He would quite happily be doing eye surgery in Bowling Green if he lost.

  14. Basically, we will have to convince the low information voters out there that if they keep voting for liberals, we will end up as bankrupt as Greece. And if that happens, all of their benefits, entitlements, paychecks, unemployment, subsidies, all of it goes down the drain. They will be really, really, broke. So either they vote for a party the wants smaller government, lower taxes, and less spending, or end up like Greece and get nothing. THAT is the only thing the low information voter is going to understand. But it’s hard fighting against a liberal Democratic party that only has one thing in their basic platform, which is spend more money on everything.

    1. The low information voters think Greece is something you get after cooking bacon.
      We have a long upward climb to teach them, but hope springs eternal.

    2. It also has something to do with the fact that low info voters just think Obama is the second coming or they just really like and trust him. That wont change with words. They will need to start to feel the pain. But Obama might be gone by then.

      1. The next few years will suck with the tax increases and obamacare hitting… people will feel it by the mid terms and well before Nobama is gone.

  15. I’m not an isolationist, but our State Dept. hasn’t done a great job on Foreign Affairs. South America, Middle East, China come to mind. We’ve supported dictators above our stated goal of freedom. Congress, under Obama, is openly irrelevant. We don’t develope our own energy. Obama with congress is destroying our military.
    We made China our favored trading partner – that opened the gateway for them to become the economic power and still remain communist, who kill their own people. Policing the world is backfiring on us, yet I think there are times we need to stop a cancer before it spreads. Bribing enemies hasn’t worked either. That’s a difficult balance. To not stop Iran and to not support Israel is a mistake.

  16. Initial thoughts on what I heard.

    A policy of containment won’t work with Iran or radical Islam. Reagan’s strategy was not containment. Reagan never accepted that the USSR was a foregone conclusion. His policy was bent towards them going down. He waged an economic war, a spy war, and information and propaganda war.

    I’m a little leery of candidates already wanting the POTUS job. There are no isolationist polices contained within the Constitution or Bill of Rights. What is happening here is a twisting of Washington because he would not interfere in the French Revolution, however FF’s eventually did get involved in the world and it was due to Islam.

    Having said that I don’t totally disagree with Rand. This country needs to stop these ‘kinder gentler’ wars and openly declare war and win it outright. We do need to pull back from the world a little but it needs to be carefully looked at and done correctly with an eye on the fact that the world is heading for WWIII if the ME keeps on the march as it is.

    Rand also should of argued his non interventionist policies in regards to Libya, Egypt, Syria and he is totally correct in that Congress has made themselves irrelevant in the conversation.

        1. Yes, it’s a lot preferable to these “Authorization of force” under the war powers act. the ones from 2001 and 2003 are still in effect.

          1. People don’t realize that we actually cost more lives on both sides of any war with the way we fight wars now. It’s ridiculous and is complete waste of time and resources. In the end the mission or goals are never accomplished either.

            The war powers act of 2001 and 2003 ignored the Art of War completely and it has been to our detriment…not the enemy. the only thing we accomplished was whacking the bee hive with a stick when we should of set fire to it.

            Rebuilding a country after the war is a separate discussion but IMO we don’t do that right either.

            1. We do not cost more lives with the way we conduct war now. That’s just not true…our methods of fighting war are second to none, specifically since the first large-scale operations are carried out by the Air Force and Navy from long-distances, thus decimating their infrastructure and large conglomerations of enemy troops before our ground-forces ever step foot on their soil.

              In the old days, we “stormed the beaches”…we don’t do that anymore, nor do we need to, and THAT is only ONE of the ways that our war-fighting tactics have evolved to protect more lives on both sides of the coin.

              1. I agree that our technology and our resources allow us to pound them much more efficiently & with less losses than we did even in Vietnam. I just wish the policy wonks weren’t able to write the ROE’s after the initial shock & awe is over. It wears on the guys (and I guess gals now) that they are having to second guess every move they make so they don’t end up in trouble.

                1. I know very well about the ROEs, and I totally agree with you!!! I’ve been bit***ng about the ROEs since 2009, when I got my first REAL exposure to them prior to a deployment to the Middle East. They’re just insane…

                2. That’s exactly why I would never let any of my children serve unless they change the ridiculous ROE’s.

                3. Just don’t let them serve in Combat Roles. Air Force is a pretty safe bet (that’s what I was in). Pre-Deployment, you still have to go through a training course where they teach you certain combat tactics (structure clearing, repelling a combatant storming the gate, etc.) and go over the ROEs again, but for the most part that’ll be the last time they matter (unless Obama gets his way and the Air Force/Navy picks up more of the Army/Marines roles in our wars, which he has already advocated while simultaneously dwindling down the number of troops in the Army and Marines).

                4. So explain to me what THIS LINE means (which you posted up above): “People don’t realize that we actually cost more LIVES on both sides of any war with the way we fight wars now”???

                5. rule of engagement, observing muslim belief by our military, by order, America pay for everything only to do things their way ( backward ) to name a few

              2. Do you mean like the beaches of Normandy, or Iwo Jima, or Sicily, pretty much any of the Pacific Island, during WWII? These were all done first by Army Air Corp and the Navy. The difference is now we can start from greater distances, however the basic tactics remain the same.

                Our methods of fighting wars are to restrict our troops through ROE (rules of engagement), just as in RVN and what it does is cost us our soldiers while doing nothing to end the conflict, in fact one could argue it lengthens the conflict.

                As to comparing previous wars to the so called new era, the battle front is entirely different. Most of our recent past many wars have been against guerilla soldiers versus a standing military, more skirmishes then all out assault. Our objective has been containment of our opponent, whom is not in uniform most of the time rather in civilian attire, therefore undistinguishable from actual civilians, and to wear our opponents down. In wars like WWII, or the first Gulf War we knew who the enemy was, therefore we were able to act versus react. Surveillance showed our opponents which allowed us to plan, be aggressive, and go on the offensive an attack. The First Gulf War showed what our military can do when allowed to do their job the way they are meant too. RVN as is our current military situations, were/are our politicians playing war games and causing us damage, they restrict our militaries ability and cause us defeat. Our military wins wars our politicians loose wars!

                Sorry but I respectfully disagree completely.

                1. I was in the military…I know what ROEs are. Thanks anyways, but I am WELL AWARE of what our current tactics are (given that I just separated in Oct. 2010).

                2. I didn’t say that. You seem stuck on the loss of people as being success or failure, it has nothing to do with it. What I said was you cannot compare past to present as the type of conflict differs. The method for initial engagement really has not changed, the technology to implement has. You seem dismissive of differing opinions, actually arrogant, as if you know all without knowing whom you are talking or their knowledge of the subject. I hope you take time to think when someone has something to say you may or may not agree with.

                  Thanks for your service, much appreciated!

                3. NO! Do you lack comprehension? I did not compare fighting tactics at all. What I compared was the fact that we did all out fight our wars right up until Korea.

                  That is an historical fact.

                4. Brian, good discussion, please don’t take it personal, certainly not attacking you. I did read the whole thread before my original post, it is kind of messed up now to read, LOL, happens as discussion takes place…

                  I stick by my original post, that being, “our tactics were in WWII of air and see power before ground forces, same as you said are today, my point, the tactic really has not changed”.

                  It may be possible the Laurel was meaning by drawing out the “conflicts” over years and years we cost more lives then maybe required by an in and out short term full scale war with achievable goals. It would be hard to say for certain, but the First Gulf War may give credit to that statement, certainly for our side it is true. Of course that may not be what Laurel intended, that is the way I received it…

                  It looks to me like we all agree our military when allowed to do their job without politicians putting obstacles in their way are more than capable than anyones imagination would let them believe. We don’t fault our military, we have issues with our politicians micro managing.

                  Laurel wrote:
                  “People don’t realize that we actually cost more lives on both sides of any war with the way we fight wars now. It’s ridiculous and is complete waste of time and resources. In the end the mission or goals are never accomplished either.”

                  Brian Jones wrote:
                  “We do not cost more lives with the way we conduct war now. That’s just not true…our methods of fighting war are second to none, specifically since the first large-scale operations are carried out by the Air Force and Navy from long-distances, thus decimating their infrastructure and large conglomerations of enemy troops before our ground-forces ever step foot on their soil.

                  In the old days, we “stormed the beaches”…we don’t do that anymore, nor do we need to, and THAT is only ONE of the ways that our war-fighting tactics have evolved to protect more lives on both sides of the coin.”

                  Thanks again for your service!

                5. So explain to me what THIS LINE means (which you posted up above): “People don’t realize that we actually cost more LIVES on both sides of any war with the way we fight wars now”???

                6. Long protracted wars cost more lives needlessly. We would see less casualties and less death if we just put the hammer down. Instead we drag it out, drag it on, more time over there means more deaths that isn’t necessary when we have the best military in the world.

                  Centcom puts out position and policy papers on this.

                7. And why haven’t they?

                  It isn’t because our military isn’t superior. It’s because we fight ham handed wars instead of all out wars. Afghanistan shouldn’t have been left a country and there is plenty of precedent to not leave them that way.

                8. Your posts are very well stated and a pleasure to read. You are articulate.

                  This country actually developed it’s superior weaponry not only due to technology and national security, plus all that goes with that, but also due to the fact of exactly how WWII was fought. We did lose a lot of lives. We were absolutely way behind militarily when we went to war and most of our naval capability, which was the most advanced and superior part of our military, was wiped out at Pearl Harbor. We didn’t develop our military nearly as well as the rest of Europe, Depression was part of that, but Germany and Japan were leaps and bounds ahead of everyone.

                  We developed to save lives of our soldiers, and to not get caught with our pants down ever again, and that development isn’t being utilized. Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is thinking behind that development.

              3. You can speculate all you like but the military experts say otherwise. Furthermore your speculation leaves out a couple of facts. 1) the longer we are at war the more it costs in lives and money. 2) Restricted ROE protract wars out. these two wars have the most limited ROE ever in the history of this country.

                I find no need to speculate at all when the facts are out there not to mention just plain old common sense. The longer in theater the more lives it costs.

                And no we don’t fight like we did in WWII because we have superior weaponry and it isn’t being used as it should be used either.

                1. For the length of time we’ve been at war, we are setting a RECORD for minimal lives lost on our side. We’ve been VERY effective, given how many of the enemy has been killed, and especially considering the unconventional tactics of our enemy.

                2. We could have decimated any country in the world in a year, if we went in with all our conventional might. Why pussyfoot around and loose unnecessary lives and waste additional treasure dragging a out a war?

                3. Laurel, if I knew what you were talking about I WOULD SPEAK ON IT. Please don’t assume I’m just trying to be argumentative, because I have an infinite amount of things I’d prefer to do before arguing with you. So make your case clearly, or speak in parables, but don’t accuse me of being argumentative because you were unclear.

                  Casualties are NOT inclusive of disfigurements, so how can I understand what point you are trying to make?!?

                4. I agree with the various points you have made.
                  I read somewhere that the reason we don’t fight wars to win the way we used to is because the UN was established right after WWII. Since then no war has been fought without the UN being involved in one way or another … the UN is a tool to separate dollars from those that have and protracted wars are good for the the coffers of the global military complex.

                  I’m not up on military history or the fine points of defense, but attributing the miserable quagmires our troops have been thrown into to the UN’s sorry excuse for existance makes quite a lot of sense to me.

    1. Laurel, good point! I don’t trust anyone who believes, what he and his father have said concerning Israel. Their utter disregard in not recognizing that Israel is an ally and that we help our friends is just incomprehensible to me. Moreover, I, like you, am extremely suspicious of someone running for President this soon. Does he feel threaten? Or, see competition on the horizon so he must get his digs in to capture his hot-headed father’s donors or audience? In fact, evaluating our foreign affairs relationships is the area I liked about Gov. Perry in the primaries.

      I see his point in that we are diluting our military resources and can and should reduce our presence, particularly in Germany, since it is the more financially stable of all the European countries.

      I just wish that he would run on the libertarian party and not under the conservative banner

      1. I don’t like the fact that he keeps using the word occupy like his Dad. I don’t like that Libertarians don’t seem to respect the concept of allies!

        However, I believe that his rushing things is because he sees the country going down.

        1. I had a chance to take a closer look at the speech last night and his entire message is a message of containment which is really no different than his father. I don’t think containment is a viable foreign policy strategy because the President of Iran or North Korea will not comply and I don’t want to wait until they do. So that strategy is very strange and naive.

          Perhaps the rushing is that he sees the country going down but it was going down a year ago also. His message will be forgetton in this 24 hr media cycle so a year or two years out from a Presidential election makes more sense than 4 years out.

    2. My take was that Reagan spent so much on all those points you mention that the USSR did not at that time have the resources to keep up so we won because they quit. Wars are won when the enemy no longer has the will to fight.

      This is a scenario we here in America could soon find ourselves on the loosing end.

      1. Absolutely correct! That is what Reagan did but that isn’t what Rand referred to. My question for Rand and future presidential nominees is why don’t they fight wars more along the lines Reagan did?

        We could bankrupt the ME easily and in one fell swoop send a loud message to China and Russia. People forget China is still more dependent on us than we are on them. Without our capitalism they go back to eating dirt.

        And the time for containment on Iran is over.

  17. It appears Rand Paul is more tactful than his father. No remarkable achievement there. His appeal to “balance” may be no more than a better sales pitch for Ron Paul’s tunnel-vision isolationism.

    P.S. I noted that Rand made a point of calling Chris Kyle a ‘hero’. But I would like to hear him respond directly to Ron Paul’s tasteless, callous insult directed at Chris Kyle.

      1. LOL! That would be hilarious!

        No. I don’t even expect him to disagree. But I would like to see him actually address Ron’s comment. I am neither waiting nor expecting it to happen.

  18. I thought it was a very good speech and he’s right about Reagan but how many Ronald Reagan’s are around to choose from? Right now we have king Obama who thinks he can do whatever he wants without Congress. This we need to stop.

    1. Actually no he isn’t right about Reagan. That’s another thing I’m tired of. Politicians bastardizing Reagan to advance themselves. It’s getting to be where they look for ways to insert Reagan into the conversation so they can capitalize on it. It’s phony and not befitting of a leader.

  19. He’s making the rounds and getting out his message. So far he is the only one that is out there fighting the good fight.

  20. Looks like Ron and Rand will be competing against each other in the primary. That’ll be very interesting. Time to buy some Orville Redenbacher stock.

      1. While being able to devote more time to running for President. I heard him say it.

        Maybe he’ll change his mind if sonny boy gets in.

          1. As Ron is preparing to lose again, who do you think he would ask his delegates to vote for? I think it would be cool. Maybe even highly effective.

            1. The networks Ron Paul has in place in Iowa, New Hampshire and S.C will transfer to Rand as evidenced by two of the state GOP chairs going to Israel with him (A.J Spiker from Iowa and the S.C one)

              1. Those two state GOP chairs are part of Ron’s network?

                OK 🙂

                I wonder if the county delegates know that.

                1. “The 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses took place on January 3, 2012. It was the closest race in Iowa caucus history with only a thirty-four vote margin (about 3/100th of a percent) separating former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who received 29,839 votes (24.56 percent), and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who received 29,805 votes (24.53 percent). Representative Ron Paul of Texas ran a close third, receiving 26,036 votes (21.43 percent).

                  Contrary to these early projections, however, Paul ultimately did extremely well in the delegate race. Indeed, despite the fact that Paul finished in third place in the popular vote, 22 of Iowa’s 28 delegates ultimately voted for Paul at the Republican National Convention. Since Iowa’s delegates are not bound to vote for a nominee based on the results of the caucuses, Paul supporters were able to exert a substantial influence on the delegate race by mastering Iowa’s arcane election rules and winning key positions on state election committees.”

              1. And like his daddy, he’ll get kicked to the curb and the GOP will be further splintered leaving us with another RINO.

                1. I really don’t think I want Rand Paul too much either, though…not that I necessarily have a better candidate in mind though (unless Allen West decided to run…which would be AWESOME!!!).

                2. West is great for foreign policy and speaking his mind but it really bothers me that he voted for raising the debt ceiling last year.

      2. I thank God that Ron is ‘retired’. He’s been giving libertarians a bad name, especially lately.

      3. Naturally, they’ll let him speak, unlike what they do with Ann Coulter and David Horowitz. Why? Because he bashes America and Israel.

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