THE BLOG
06/13/2014 10:25 am ET | Updated Aug 13, 2014

In Defense of Rand Paul's Foreign Policy (II)

On June 9, 2014, Jennifer Rubin delivered an impassioned intellectually resistant Papal-like Bull against Rand Paul's foreign policy reminiscent of Pope Callixtus III's alleged Bull against Halley's Comet in 1456. Ms. Rubin styles herself as a "conservative," but she chronically echoes the belligerency of Democrats Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Susan Rice, and Samantha Powers. But let us not pause on that curious association. The pundit betrays fear that Senator Paul is the future of American foreign policy.

Cackling like an infuriated schoolmarm over table manners, Ms. Rubin directed Senator Paul to steer clear of sixteen putative foreign policy errors or stylistic blunders to regain the trust of "a great number of mainstream Republicans, Christian Zionists and business people." Her anti-Paul bias is as conspicuous as an elephant in a living room. She assails the Senator, for instance, because he allegedly has left "a trail of gaffes, inanities and blatant [as opposed to ordinary] falsehoods." Not a crumb of evidence is referenced to substantiate the indictment.

Ms. Rubin's sixteen "don'ts" will be explored seriatum, although they have no more inter-connectedness than the leaps of an excited squirrel after a protracted hibernation.

1. She enjoins Senator Paul to cease calling critics and opponents "enemies." Rubin confronts an undisclosed conflict of interest here because she is an arch-critic of the Senator who would benefit from his silence. In any event, Ms. Rubin is disingenuous to insist that Senator Paul play by Queensbury rules while she acquiesces in the gutter tactics of his adversaries. Finally, Rubin absurdly concludes that Senator Paul cannot tolerate principled differences of opinion, conveniently neglecting that he has addressed the ACLU and NAACP, audiences beyond the Pale for Rubin and her heroes like former Vice President Dick Cheney.

2. Rubin warns the Senator against entertaining containment of Iran as opposed to war as a possible outcome. Her unstated premise is that Iran since the 1979 Revolution has become an aggressive power eager to risk self-destruction by initiating nuclear war. She seems wilfully blind to other explanations for Iran's nuclear ambitions, for example, to deter a United States invasion directly or via a proxy. The United States overthrew the democratic regime of Prime Minister Mossedeq in 1953 in favor of the corrupt and megalomaniac Shah of Iran. The United States supported Iraq President Saddam Hussein's 1980-88 war against Iran featuring, among other things, Iraq's use of chemical weapons. The policy of the United States towards Iran is regime change (including the assassination of Iranian scientists involved in Iran's nuclear program). Iranian leaders learned from the United States overthrow of Libya's Col. Gaddafi that to abandon WMD is to excite United States aggression. That is why virtually no one in Iran--even harsh opponents of the mullahs--is clamoring for the abandonment of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Rubin also offers no explanation as to why Iranian containment should be taboo, but containment of the nuclear arsenals of North Korea and Pakistan are au courant. Is she advocating wars against the latter nations? Further, like an ostrich, Ms. Rubin sticks her head in the sand about the consequences of an Iranian war. If the war justification were an Iranian nuclear capability, simpliciter, then we would be inviting attacks on ourselves and Israel, among other nations. Would we employ ground troops? What casualties would we suffer? Would we demand regime change? Who would be the successor to Supreme Leader Khamenei? Would we But occupy the country for decades or more until a western style democracy became entrenched? What would be the cost? The Iraq and Afghan wars cost more than $1.5 trillion. Finally, Ms. Rubin forgets that the Constitution, Article I, section 8, clause 11, entrusts exclusively to Congress the authority to initiate war. Unilateral presidential wars that Rubin champions are crimes against the Constitution which justify impeachment by the House, conviction by the Senate, and removal from office.

3. The professed megaphone of conservatives admonishes Senator Paul to refrain from accusations that Republicans are influenced in favor of war because of the promise of economic gain. She maintains that such charges sound "crazy." But there is nothing crazy about economic motives influencing congressional votes. It is a daily occurrence. Consider the 2003 Iraqi war which continued for eight (8) years, and concluded with a semi-partitioned nation convulsed by chronic sectarian violence. Iraq was not threatening its neighbors. The no-fly zone placed most of Iraq off limits to Saddam. His bogus boast of WMD--corroborated soon after the Iraqi war commenced--was to deter an Iranian invasion. So what was the war justification? Even President Bush's inner circle has confessed puzzlement in memoirs over why the United States invaded. Why did Republicans in Congress vote to authorize President Bush to decide on an Iraqi invasion? To suggest that at least a partial motivation was the prospect of lucrative oil concessions for American companies is far from crazy.

4. Ms. Rubin chastises Senator Paul for characterizing "pro-Israel Christians" as promoting war. But she should be chastising pro-Israel Christians for reneging on their obligation of undivided allegiance to the United States. Nations have no permanent friends or enemies. They have only permanent interests in self-defense. Israel acts in its own self-interest (including spying on the United States), and the United States should follow that instruction. Israelis pay no United States taxes. They do not obey United States laws. They owe no allegiance to the United States. We have neither a moral nor constitutional duty to risk war for any other nation.

5. Avoid "prais[ing] the mass murderer Bashar al-Assad as good for Christians," says Ms. Rubin to Paul. But the Senator has not praised the Syrian President as a benevolent leader. He has simply acknowledged reality. Assad's jihadist Sunni opponents featuring the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and strong backing by Saudi Arabia are likely to persecute or exterminate Syria's Christian community if they come into power, like the Moslem Brotherhood did in Egypt. As for Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, no church is permitted even a cameo appearance there.

6. Rubin admonishes Paul to cease asserting that the Obama administration should be permitted time and space to negotiate with Iran. Here, Rubin rebukes the Senator for following Winston Churchill's advice that it is better to jaw-jaw, than to war-war. Rubin champions a second edition of the United States quarantine of Cuba since the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista, which has served to keep Fidel Castro in the catbird's seat there for more than 50 years--an "incomplete" success to borrow from President Jimmy Carter. Like the French Bourbon monarchy, Rubin forgets nothing, and learns nothing.

7. Paul encounters Rubin's scolding for disparaging Republicans who demonize Russian President Vladimir Putin. International relations, however, is unsentimental. The United States allied with Soviet mass murderer Joseph Stalin during World War II to defeat Adolph Hitler. It is folly to gratuitously antagonize a foreign leader who might be useful in the future as an ally or at least neutral. The stupidity of driving Putin into the arms of China by throwing verbal daggers to gratify some adolescent thrill of putative virility should be self-evident.

8. Rubin directs Paul to eschew discussing the causes of World War II, including President Franklin Roosevelt's deceit about a bogus Nazi submarine attack on the U.S.S. Greer hoping to provoke a declaration of war. Are Rubin and her flock infallible? War is the scourge of mankind. It makes legal what is customarily first-degree murder punishable by death. It needs more, not less examination. Those who do not understand the past are condemned to repeat it.

9. Paul's firm and resolute stance against the "neo-conservative" homage to Empire, world domination for the sake of world domination, and one-branch tyrannical government at home to crush liberty should be silenced according to Rubin. Is she fearful that Paul has the better of the argument?

10. Rubin decries Paul's warning that the National Security Agency is a greater threat to American citizens than al-Qaeda. But the Senator's assertion is true. At present, citizens are more at risk of death by a falling vending machine than by an al-Qaeda attack. The NSA, in contrast, has engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of the entire American population since at least May 2006 on behalf of a government empowered to employ the information to detain or imprison citizens or otherwise to destroy private or professional lives. The NSA's Big Brother surveillance induces citizen docility or fear of challenging government illegalities--a death knell for the rule of law and citizen sovereignty.

11. Senator Paul is faulted by Rubin for an alleged inconsistency in urging criminal trials in the United States or release of Guantanamo Bay detainees (like the trial, conviction and life sentence for the 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui) yet leaving Guantanamo Bay open. There is no inconsistency. In a genuine future war declared by Congress, the facility might be used as a legitimate POW facility.

12. Rubin denounces Paul for embracing the Constitution's repudiation of limitless presidential power to play prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to exterminate American citizens off the battlefield and not engaged in hostilities against the United States based on his unilateral decision pivoting on secret evidence not subject to review by any other person or government institution ever that the assassination target posed an imminent national security threat. It is impossible to conceive of a more harrowing instrument of tyranny.

13. Senator Paul's opposition to foreign aid as unaffordable is ridiculed by Rubin. According to her, squandering tax dollars abroad is undisturbing if the prodigality is tiny compared to the $4 trillion federal budget. That type of cavalier attitude toward government spending is the very definition of a liberal Democrat. Moreover, foreign aid characteristically makes an ingrate of the recipient, creates hundreds of enemies among his rivals, and gives birth to massive corruption. The staggering foreign aid showered on Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak is illustrative. Ms. Rubin cites nothing to the contrary.

14. Rubin directs Senator Paul to refrain from identifying with President Ronald Reagan unless he champions the portion of Reagan's legacy that she remembers and applauds. Rubin's standard is untenable. It is possible to identify with Winston Churchill without adulation of his racism and devotion to British colonialism. Reagan's defense spending hikes were to oppose a comparable arsenal wielded by the Soviet Union. When it disintegrated in 1991, the United States became the sole unrivaled superpower on the planet. Accordingly, to embrace a second edition of Reagan's defense expenditures today is to be frightened of your shadow. Reagan withdrew military forces from Lebanon when he recognized they were on a fool's errand seeking to end centuries of sectarian conflict in favor of a secular democratic state. Reagan would have departed from Afghanistan long ago. Rubin sophomorically proclaims that unconventional wars can be effortlessly won by announcing "they lose, we win." But to treat war with all its tragedies, sacrifices, deaths, and suffering with such mirth is obscene.

15. The Senator is flailed by Ms. Rubin for proposing cuts in military expenditures without identifying the threats to the United States that have diminished. But the justification for slashing the defense budget is because threats have been chronically concocted or wildly exaggerated for decades, including the threat of international terrorism which is miniscule compared with the threat of domestic homicides (approximately 17,000 annually). No country in the world threatens the sovereignty of the United States. We spend annually on national security the sum of the defense budgets of all of the rest of the world combined. We do not need hundreds of bases abroad and tens of thousands of troops stationed overseas. We do not need even a single soldier in Afghanistan. Japan and South Korea can defend themselves without tens of thousands of United States troops. The purpose of the defense budget is self-defense against aggression, not to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. In other words, billions for defense, but not one cent for Empire.

16. Aping Ms. Manners, Rubin lectures Rand Paul to speak only about the weather or Mother's Day to avoid offense to anyone. That plunge into puerility betrays a mind fit more for a clown than a critic.

In sum, Jennifer Rubin and establishment Republicans are to Senator Paul what King George III was to the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord. To paraphrase William F. Buckley, they are standing athwart history, yelling Stop, while history gallops by.

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?