By Luke Kusick
Not even a month ago, amidst cheers for “President Paul” Rand Paul stated during his speech at CPAC “at home, conservatives understand that the government is the problem, not the solution. But as conservatives, we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad. That a government that can’t even deliver the mail will somehow be able to create nations abroad.” Even in the company of war hawks and interventionists, Rand Paul’s message seemed clear; government involvement in foreign countries in the form of nation building not only ultimately fails but also is illogical. He made a great point, how people who realize that the government cannot run the post office can somehow believe that that same government is somehow capable of creating nations.
Yet, without skipping a beat, Paul changed his apparently changed his mind about the ineptitude of the government when in relations to the Kurds he stated “I think they would fight like hell if we promised them their own country.” Lots of people have come to the conclusion that the problems that occurred in the Middle East are the result of the British mapmakers who after World War One drew lines and established nations in the Middle East with people of different tribal, religious and ethnic backgrounds which ultimately lead to a huge backlash amongst the people living there and caused discontent. Now Rand Paul, a man who not even a month ago told a crowd at CPAC that the government is inept at creating nations somehow is holding an exception for the Kurds. His plan seems to be to offer the Kurds a place of there own, Kurdistan, if they promise to help on America’s behalf and with American arms.
The statement on its own not only highlights the lackluster libertarian values that Paul has, no actual libertarian could rationalize government interference in the Middle East that would result in the establishment of a new nation, but also reflects the current nature of the GOP. The need for hawkish policies dominate the party and force those who are considerably the most conservative amongst the lot, such as Rand Paul, and the most libertarian amongst them to compromise their values in order to attract the attention of the “bomb everyone and everything” GOP members. Now, as of now, Paul’s oppose for boots on the ground to deal with ISIS and his condemnation on the Libyan drone strikes prove he is not a lost boy to the war hawks of the GOP; however, it is clear that he is not the libertarian messiah come to liberate the GOP of its backwards ideals and revive the party into a much more libertarian party or at least an actual conservative party.
The statement is not only indicative on the Rand Paul foreign policy flip flop, but is also proof of a lack of understanding of how arming groups in the Middle East could lead to backfire and how getting involved in the political process in the Middle East leads to unintended consequences. An example of this is the CIA backed coup in 1953 in Iran in order to overthrow the democratically elected government in order to put the Shah in control. Ultimately the installation of the Shah would lead to abuses of the people by the unelected Shah and lead to the Iranian revolution. The part that ended up coming back to hurt the America was the Iran Hostage Crisis in which our embassy in Tehran was overrun by the Iranian revolutionaries after America granted asylum to the Shah (by the way of course America would grant asylum to the dictator it installed regardless of the crimes that he committed to his own people). The incident in Iran is not the only incident of US involvement ultimately hurting our own citizens. The United States trained Al-Qaeda and armed them to fight against our enemies at the time the USSR. Ultimately though, this decision as well seems to come back and haunt us as Al-Qaeda’s leader Bin Laden would ultimately attack America on 9/11 which resulted in the worst catastrophe on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
If history is any testimony to the current state of the world, it would seem as if the Untied States should make a non-interventionist approach to foreign policy in order to secure the safety of its citizens. However, where does this leave Rand Paul. One can speculate that he simply made these statements to appease the war hawks in the GOP, but until he officially condemns or verifies his statement on the future Kurdistan we can only assume the worst and that he genuinely believes more nation building will ultimately help the situation in the Middle East.