Rand Paul vs. Ted Cruz?
The liberal media and Washington establishment is celebrating the foreign policy 'feud' between Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. They fan the flames of discord because they oppose the policies where these leaders agree: reducing spending and the size of our federal government, and paying off our ever growing burden of national debt. Senator Cruz's embrace of Constitutional Republicanism encouraged him to join Senator Paul's filibuster and Senator Paul's commitment to repealing ObamaCare caused him to join Senator Cruz's filibuster.
Yet, the crisis in the Ukraine has highlighted their different approaches to foreign policy and caused a bit of a public spat, especially given speculation that both senators may run for president in 2016. Though I view it as counterproductive to the many principles which conservative and libertarian-leaning Republicans share to fan the flames dissension, it is worth noting why Senator Cruz's approach is superior.
In an op-ed in Breitbart, Senator Paul suggests that many Republicans embrace the foreign policy approach championed by President Ronald Reagan, peace through strength, because they "lack their own ideas or agenda." This straw man argument is similar to one espoused by Democrats who suggest that the Republican answer to every economic ill is to cut taxes and regulations. Look back on a Reagan economic legacy that created tens of millions of private sector jobs, then look back on a Reagan foreign policy legacy that defeated the Soviet Union without ever firing a shot. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke....
Senator Paul continues by praising President Reagan for retrenching in the Middle East after a homicide bomber killed 241 U.S. Marines in a truck bomb in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. It is this retrenchment that is often viewed as the encouragement of modern-day terrorism. Truck bombs can cause the mighty United States of America to retreat and create a level playing field with terrorists. Is Senator Paul suggesting that a President Paul would react to terrorism in this fashion? Is Senator Paul suggesting that a President Paul would wait until we are hit before prosecuting war against our enemies large and small?
Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, Senator Paul continues by suggesting that there is a "finite menu of diplomatic measures to isolate Russia." Really? How so? While the United States can expel Russia from the G8 or seek to interrupt trade or introduce a resolution in the United Nations, why not take this opportunity to be creative? Senator Cruz has suggested several options including allowing the export of U.S. energy so Europe is not dependent on Russian energy resources. That is hardly "beat[ing] [his] chest" or "talking tough for the sake of [his] political career." Exporting U.S. energy would also have the side benefit of liberating our economy from the malaise of Obamanomics.
No one is "latching onto" the Reagan legacy as Senator Paul suggests. I do not believe Senator Cruz is "misinterpreting it" either. Ronald Reagan knew who his enemies were and used every arrow in his quiver to defeat an evil empire. Those who pretend otherwise are the ones who are misinterpreting history.