Speaking at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday morning, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) laid out his specific recommendations for restoring the Founding Fathers’ vision concerning the foreign policy of the United States.
Paul couched his ideas in the context of the current “War on Terror” and the oft-mentioned, though rarely identified, enemy in that war — radical Islam.
“Radical Islam,” said Paul, “is no fleeting fad, but is a relentless force.” It is, “like communism, an ideology with far reach and will require a firm, but patient, opposition,” he continued.
The appropriate response to that force, Paul argued, should neither be “neo-con interventionism” nor "isolationism.” Rather, we should seek a moderate, restrained, middle ground that keeps America’s enemies in check without sacrificing our constitutional values.
Those values, Paul said, are best demonstrated by a “more restrained foreign policy” that is the “true conservative” position. By adopting this position, the senator argued, conservatives will be promoting the two principles of that ideology: “respect for the Constitution and fiscal discipline.”
It is the failure of the United States to adhere to its own constitutional values that has led to the intervention and occupation of the Middle East that have “fanned the flames of radical Islam,” Paul said.
Paul posited that military intervention in a country against the wishes of the host government is war and should require a declaration of war by Congress.
Therein lies the rub, in Paul’s view.
U.S. military operations in Libya, for example, were an example of such an intervention and Congress “just sat back and let it happen,” Paul said.
When it comes to deploying the military or using armed force against another nation, Paul said the Congress has become “not just a rubber stamp, but an irrelevancy.”
Before sending troops and arms to Libya, President Obama “sought permission from NATO, the UN, the Arab League, and from everyone but the United States Congress,” Paul recounted. “It is an insult!” he declared.
Making this point, Paul turned to a warning James Madison wrote in a letter written to Thomas Jefferson on April 2, 1798:
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Photo of Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.): AP Image