Rand Paul is so far the most sensible Republican on the Middle East
Rand Paul appeared on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd and answered several questions about war in the Middle East. His answers were smart and puts the entire Republican Party military policy on the ropes. It also took Hillary Clinton to task.
There were three specific questions that he took head on. Was he satisfied with Jeb Bush’s reversal on whether going to Iraq was the right thing to do? Would the world be a better place if Saddam Hussein was still the strong man in Iraq? And would he consider going after a country (read invading a country) trying to put a nuclear weapon together.
The answers given by Rand Paul are pretty similar to what President Obama gave or would have given in 2008. He re-framed the first response perfectly. “Is it a good idea to topple secular dictators,” Rand Paul asked. “And what happens when we do.” He went on to point out that the toppling of Saddam Hussein emboldened Iraq and created the radical Islamic movement in the area (ISIS / ISIL). He did not stop there. The toppling of Libya also destabilized the region. He made sure to point out that Hillary Clinton was involved in that particular action.
On the second question he doubled down on the toppling of Saddam Hussein being responsible for ISIS / ISIL and their atrocities. He then tied it to the similarities in Libya.
When Chuck Todd attempted to trip him up on the Iran issue, Rand Paul was ready for the question. Without sounding like a pacifist (a loosing proposition in the GOP primary), he came out in a reasoned support for diplomacy. In effect he endorsed President Obama’s current negotiations with Iran which he has pretty much done before. He also noted that that was a distinction between him and the Republican Party.
Rand Paul cannot pull the wool over the heads of seasoned activists who know the real Rand Paul. However, if he continues to come across as polished and with sensible answers to probative questions, this man becomes a threat. I have consistently said those taking him lightly do so at the country’s peril.