In any dispute between Jon Kyl and Rand Paul, my sympathies lie with Kyl. I hope that’s not a surprise. Thus, I note with interest this story in the Washington Free Beacon :
Former Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) criticized what he described as a resurgent isolationist streak in Congress during a breakfast discussion at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday.
Kyl took issue in particular with the views of Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), a prospective 2016 presidential candidate and a new member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“People like Sen. Rand Paul say ‘what the United States needs now is a foreign policy that is reluctant,’” said Kyl. “No. It does not need a reluctant foreign policy. You may decide at one point or another that you’re not going to engage in a particular situation either economically, or diplomatically, or potentially militarily. But you shouldn’t be reluctant about what your goals are, what your objectives are, and your willingness to commit whatever power, soft or hard, that you have at any given time, against the problem.”
Kyl added that Paul has “been very clear about his view that the United States, with regard to terrorism, should just have a position of containment, as if somehow you could contain these things.”
“Even containment has a concept behind it of doing something,” he continued. “And what happens when you have to apply force to that concept of containment, if you don’t have the capability?”
I would actually go farther than Kyl. I would suggest that Paul and extreme libertarians like him actually have no coherent foreign policy. They simply have a desire to withdraw to the homeland. But that is an instinct, not a theory or strategy. It has no evaluation of different foreign policy goals or matching of means and ends. In a world where other nations and even terrorist groups can easily project power across the oceans — and where one third of our economy depends on international trade — Paul’s foreign policy cannot work.
Maybe some of the libertarians on Ricochet have a more intellectually developed approach to foreign policy. Any ideas?