I've been corrected in the past for referring to Ron Paul and Rand Paul's foreign policy as "isolationism". I've been told they are "non-interventionists" not "isolationists". I was unaware that the later term is considered to be a slur "intended to link the target with the ignominious record of Americans in the 1930s who were slow to recognize the threat from Nazi Germany." [POLITICO]
In the POLITICO piece the author suggests that there is a concerted effort to paint Rand as an "isolationist".
"Remember when your older brothers and sisters used to prank you by warning about the monster under your bed? In a similar way, Washington’s war hawks are gearing up to scare you with another phantom devil: isolationism.
If you feel like you’ve already been hearing increasing warnings about isolationism, you’re right. Pundits, journalists, and now a whole new think-tank initiative are warning about this dangerous ideology."
But listen to how the defense of Rand is being developed. Do you see any similarities to the kind of strategy used by the Obama team?
"You should know three things about these claims. The first is that they are nonsense. Rand Paul, Rep. Justin Amash, and other skeptics of reckless foreign wars and secret government spying on Americans aren’t isolationists. They’re prudent conservatives who take the Constitution seriously and rose to power amid the wreckage of the George W. Bush administration, which destroyed the GOP advantage on national security and provided a good example of how not to conduct foreign policy."
First of all they didn't "rise to power amid the wreckage of the George W. Bush administration". They rose to power in reaction to the Obama administration.
Furthermore, I'm not sure that in hindsight George W. Bush will be seen as creating "wreckage" in foreign policy at all. That's Obama's line.
America was firmly behind President Bush, cheering him on in Iraq and Afghanistan after Osama Bin Laden took down the twin towers nine months into his first term. We were thrilled to be hunting down terrorists and "bringing them to justice." Revisionist history will not work here.
Furthermore, the POLITICO piece makes another gaffe when trying to make the point that a more globally aware foreign policy is the wrong course to pursue.
"Coincidentally, perhaps, the third thing you should know is that the people trying to create anxiety about isolationism favor an interventionist military policy that has fallen out of favor with the public. After the twin disasters of Iraq and now Afghanistan, they are pawing the ground for more wars in Syria and Iran. Accordingly, they are trying to claim “internationalism” for themselves, so that they can look prudent and modest — in comparison with the ideology that failed to recognize the threat from Adolf Hitler."
I'm not convinced that protecting America from the growing threat of radical Islam has "fallen out of favor with the public". Even Rand Paul seems to understand that the public is much more inclined to stop the current administration from funding the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt than to continue pursuing the "hands off" approach that Obama has taken. In fact, I predict that most Americans see the "Arab Spring", riots around the world, Iran's nuclear program and radical Islam as much more of a problem for us now than they did during the George W. Bush terms of office.
I get the distinction between "isolationist" and "non-interventionist" but the author of the POLITICO editorial is living in a dream world if he thinks America has lost its more hawkish appetite.
It's not that we don't have the stomach for war anymore, it's just that we've grown tired of fighting wars without quick, decisive, overwhelming victories. We don't like long engagements which suggest that the suppliers of the arms and equipment have lobbied Congress and the president to keep the gravy train for them coming at the expense of American lives and treasure.
Let some little despot rise up and threaten to kill our children and I think you'd find our people very willing to watch us squash him like a bug.
Surely to goodness Rand knows this as well as anybody. And if he doesn't yet, he better learn it. He's runnning for commander in chief of a country that doesn't, and shouldn't, take threats lightly.