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Frank Gaffney vs. Rand Paul – American Exceptionalism or Isolationism?

Posted on May 12 2010 5:03 pm
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American Soldiers Liberating Dachau Concentration Camp

On May 11, Frank Gaffney, director of the Center for Security Policy, made the following announcement:

“In the wake of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ serial announcements of deep cuts in defense spending and modernization, a call to arms has been issued in today’s Washington Times by seven influential, national security-minded leaders of some of America’s most prominent public policy organizations. They have called on elected officials, candidates and the public at large to join them in advancing a ten-point platform for restoring national security by returning to the time-tested practice President Ronald Reagan called ‘Peace through Strength.’”

The key points of the platform are:

1. Renewed adherence to the national security philosophy of President Ronald Reagan: “Peace Through Strength.”
2. A robust defense posture
3. Preservation of U.S. sovereignty
4. A nation free of Shariah
5. Protection from unlawful enemy combatants.
6. Energy security
7. Borders secure against penetration
8. High standards that protect the military culture essential to the All- Volunteer Force.
9. A foreign policy that supports our allies and opposes our adversaries.
10.Judicial and educational institutions

Dr. Rand Paul, son of Congressman Ron Paul, is poised to win the Kentucky Republican Primary on May 18th. The fundamental philosophy upon which Paul’s National Defense and Foreign Policy decisions will be based is the antithesis of that enunciated by the supporters of the Peace through Strength platform.

No one will deny that Rand Paul believes in defending America here at home, specifically by solidifying the porous borders and tightening our visa program. The significant difference between Rand Paul’s understanding of National Defense and that of Peace through Strength is that Paul denies the idea of America as the symbol and practical defender of freedom in the world. He doesn’t consider as legitimate the United States protecting, not only her own freedoms, but those of allies who share American core values. He doesn’t support a strong military presence in the world as a bulwark against our enemies and those of other free nations.

The following are quotations taken from various speeches given by Rand Paul that highlight this discrepancy:

“Part of the reason we are bankrupt as a country is that we are fighting so many foreign wars and have so many military bases around the world. I think that these issues [the economy and the building of the American empire] become the political coalition you need to win a race because there are people from the left who acknowledge the vast expenditure of the military industrial complex. There are some on the right that are beginning to understand that. It’s really that sort of right-left paradigm that you bring these groups together in order to try to win an election.”

“In 1821, John Quincy Adams, spoke in front of the House, he was the Speaker of the House at that time, and he has a quote that I really take to heart, it sums up what I think we really need to rethink in our foreign policy, and he said, ‘America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, she’s the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all, she’s the champion and vindicator only of her own, she will recommend to the general cause by the countenance of her voice and the benign sympathy of her example, but she well knows that when she becomes enlisted under banners other than her own, she will become involved beyond the powers of extrication. The maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force and she might well become the dictatress of the world. She would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.’”

“Just because you do not want to have an aggressive foreign policy that is searching out and seeking enemies and wars abroad doesn’t mean that you want to build a wall around your country. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to engage with the world. My father says that seven years of George Bush have made us diplomatically isolated. We no longer talk to the world, we no longer have any diplomacy, we go it our own way, and it usually means by war.”

“The whole idea of blowback and unintended consequences was important…maybe some of the bad things that happen are a reaction to our presence in some of these countries. We have to change our foreign policy to be less expansive and more of a protectionist country.”

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Do you create more terrorists than you kill?’ We inflamed an entire region there and I don’t think it was the best thing for our national defense or for our country. We have to decide if putting missiles in Poland is going to provoke Russia or if we can afford to put missiles in Poland.”

A tangible manifestation of Rand Paul’s attitude toward a strong American military presence in the world is his shameful endorsement and public appearance with Adam Kokesh, radical leader of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Kokesh recently spoke at the Gulf 9-11 Truth Conference, encouraging participants to follow his example and refuse to pay their taxes in protest of the military’s use of torture.

Rand Paul’s “America First” isolationist National Defense ideology and his collaboration with Kokesh render the endorsements granted Paul by Senator Jim DeMint, Governor Sarah Palin, and other influential conservatives incomprehensible.

Knowing that, in particular, DeMint and Palin aggressively advocate a defense policy mirroring that in the Peace through Strength platform, one is at a complete loss to comprehend their illogical support for a man whose position on these two crucial issues has the potential to cause grave harm to American security.

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