Thursday, September 04, 2014

Rand Paul Stands Up, Throws Down And Looks Increasingly Presidential

While I don't agree completely with Senator Rand Paul on every single thing I continue to be impressed by him. He has an editorial out in Time today on foreign policy that simply exudes common sense and definitely enhances him as a possible future president - while appropriately shaming the dysfunctional charlatan who holds the job presently. Here's what he had to say, and I've emphasized a few points:

Some pundits are surprised that I support destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militarily. They shouldn’t be. I’ve said since I began public life that I am not an isolationist, nor am I an interventionist. I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.

I still see war as the last resort. But I agree with Reagan’s idea that no country should mistake U.S. reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.

As Commander-in-Chief, I would not allow our enemies to kill our citizens or our ambassadors. “Peace through Strength” only works if you have and show strength.

Our recent foreign policy has allowed radical jihadists to proliferate. Today, there are more terrorists groups than there were before 9/11, most notably ISIS. After all the sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq, why do we find ourselves in a more dangerous world?

And why, after six years, does President Obama lack a strategy to deal with threats like ISIS?

This administration’s dereliction of duty has both sins of action and inaction, which is what happens when you are flailing around wildly, without careful strategic thinking.

And while my predisposition is to less intervention, I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.

If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS. I would have called Congress back into session—even during recess.

This is what President Obama should have done. He should have been prepared with a strategic vision, a plan for victory and extricating ourselves. He should have asked for authorization for military action and would have, no doubt, received it.

Once we have decided that we have an enemy that requires destruction, we must have a comprehensive strategy—a realistic policy applying military power and skillful diplomacy to protect our national interests.

The immediate challenge is to define the national interest to determine the form of intervention we might pursue. I was repeatedly asked if I supported airstrikes. I do—if it makes sense as part of a larger strategy.

There’s no point in taking military action just for the sake of it, something Washington leaders can’t seem to understand. America has an interest in protecting more than 5,000 personnel serving at the largest American embassy in the world in northern Iraq. I am also persuaded by the plight of massacred Christians and Muslim minorities.

The long-term challenge is debilitating and ultimately eradicating a strong and growing ISIS, whose growth poses a significant terrorist threat to U.S. allies and enemies in the region, Europe, and our homeland.

The military means to achieve these goals include airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Such airstrikes are the best way to suppress ISIS’s operational strength and allow allies such as the Kurds to regain a military advantage.

We should arm and aid capable and allied Kurdish fighters whose territory includes areas now under siege by the ISIS.

Since Syrian jihadists are also a threat to Israel, we should help reinforce Israel’s Iron Dome protection against missiles.

We must also secure our own borders and immigration policy from ISIS infiltration. Our border is porous, and the administration, rather than acting to protect it, instead ponders unconstitutional executive action, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants.

Our immigration system, especially the administration of student visas, requires a full-scale examination. Recently, it was estimated that as many as 6,000 possibly dangerous foreign students are unaccounted for.
This is inexcusable over a decade after we were attacked on 9/11 by hijackers including one Saudi student who overstayed his student visa.

We should revoke passports from any Americans or dual citizens who are fighting with ISIS.

Important to the long-term stability in the region is the re-engagement diplomatically with allies in the region and in Europe to recognize the shared nature of the threat of Radical Islam and the growing influence of jihadists. That is what will make this a comprehensive strategy.

ISIS is a global threat; we should treat it accordingly and build a coalition of nations who are also threatened by the rise of the Islamic State.
Important partners such as Turkey, a NATO ally, Israel, and Jordan face an immediate threat, and unchecked growth endangers Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries such as Qatar, and even Europe. Several potential partners—notably, the Turks, Qataris, and Saudis—have been reckless in their financial support of ISIS, which must cease immediately.

This is one set of principles. Any strategy, though, should be presented to the American people through Congress. If war is necessary, we should act as a nation. We should do so properly and constitutionally and with a real strategy and a plan for both victory and exit.

To develop a realistic strategy, we need to understand why the threat of ISIS exists. Jihadist Islam is festering in the region. But in order for it to grow, prosper, and conquer, it needs chaos.

Three years after President Obama waged war in Libya without Congressional approval, Libya is a sanctuary and safe haven for training and arms for terrorists from Northern Africa to Syria. Our deserted Embassy in Tripoli is controlled by militants. Jihadists today swim in our embassy pool.

Syria, likewise, has become a jihadist wonderland. In Syria, Obama’s plan just one year ago—and apparently Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s desire—was to aid rebels against Assad, despite the fact that many of these groups are al-Qaeda- and ISIS-affiliated. Until we acknowledge that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria allowed ISIS a safe haven, no amount of military might will extricate us from a flawed foreign policy.

Unfortunately, Obama’s decisions—from disengaging diplomatically in Iraq and the region and fomenting chaos in Libya and Syria—leave few good options. A more realistic and effective foreign policy would protect the vital interests of the nation without the unrealistic notion of nation-building.

Not only is this a spot on indictment of the Obama Administration but commonsense solutions to where we find ourselves at today because of President Obama's failed policies.  There's hardly a sentence here I can disagree with.  Senator Rand Paul continues to shine.

1 comment:

B.Poster said...

In order to be "presidential" as opposed to simply looking the part, one will need to abandon the notion of seeing things as they wish they should be or wish they could be. In other words, abandon ideology be it of the "left" or the "right" versions. Instead focus upon reality.

Excellent places to begin would be to 1.)for POTUS or the candidate to abandon the ridiculous notion that America or he/she is "leader of the free world." America is incapable of filling such a role and even if it could the "free world" largely views us a strategic competitor and when they are not competing with us they are free loading off of us. By abandoning this notion this gives us an opportunity to improve or repair these alliances and allows us to focus on America's needs. Leading America is genuinely challenging enough without adding unrealistic expectations to the job. 2.)Recognize that Russia, China, and to a lesser extent the BRICS are the dominant military powers on earth. America does not even come close. Furthermore due to the tremendous technological and financial edges these nations have over us this is not going to be changing for the next 40 to 50 years at a minimum. 3.)Point 2 leads to the realization that we need to extricate ourselves from the Ukrainian situation we so foolishly inserted ourselves into. Regardless of how we did it, we need to extricate ourselves from this by any and all means necessary. A couple of ways this could be done is by clearly and forcefully stating that as long as America is a member of NATO it will vigorously oppose the membership of Ukraine into the organization by any and all means necessary unless such is directly approved by Russia. Furthermore any solution to the conflict that does not have the direct approval of the Russian government will not be supported by the US. 3.) Seek to find ways to add value to Russia and China. In the case of China, we do have large amounts of trade with them. As such, there could be common ground. With Russia perhaps not so much but a great place to start would be by withdrawing all forces from Europe and acknowledging Russian superiority there. These people and nations are not valuable allies anyway so we really have not lost anything by recognizing the obvious and, in time, it may help to improve our relations with the Russians. 3.)The USD is going to lose its role as world reserve currency. It's not if but when at this point and cannot be prevented. Work with the major powers for an orderly transition. 4.)America's role as so called "global policeman" is ending. The Russians and the Chinese are simply not going to allow it. They've only allowed it this long because they've enjoyed watching us humiliate ourselves and dig an even deeper hole for ourselves. Sooner or later they are going to be overcome with boredom and deal us a crushing blow from which we can never recover. It's best to acknowledge this reality and work with the dominant powers to try and ensure an orderly transition. 5.) Carefully study the military/defense postures of nations like Canada and Australia. Their citizens are wealthier, healthier, enjoying a better quality of life than Americans generally do, and they are more secure than Americans are. This is done all while not having the large military expenditures that America has.

Good outcomes are possible by focusing on reality rather than how one might wish things to be. By doing this one can actually be "Presidential" as opposed to merely looking the part.