Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) may not have won the GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas, but he may end up having had the most serious and important impact on the foreign policy debate. While most of the other candidates (and more than a few Democrats) seem to be agitating for a confrontation with Russia – Paul reminded everyone what that would ACTUALLY mean.
After listening to John Kasich (R-OH) say that ‘we need to punch Russia in the nose’ and hearing Chris Christie (R-NJ) promise to shoot down Russian planes, Rand Paul stepped in to add some reason to the heated debate.
Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.
Kasich, Christie, Fiorina, Graham, Rubio, Bush and others have all argued for a reckless handling of the Syria-Russia relationship without seemingly any consideration of what would come next. If we institute a “No-Fly” zone in airspace that Russia is already flying in, in airspace where they have been invited to do so by the legally recognized authorities (in Iraq and Syria), and then we are forced to actually shoot down a Russian jet… it would be the USA who would be in violation of international law, not Russia.
Continue down this thread – if we shoot down their plane and then Russia feels compelled to shoot down one of our planes, how will we react? Will we escalate the tension by responding with military force? How will we seek redress for the shooting down of one of our jets? We wouldn’t be able to seek international help because we’ll have been the ones to instigate the problem? We’ll have been the ones to have acted outside of international law… NOT Russia!
Senator Paul has been explaining this for months, here he is talking about the issue on CNN with Jake Tapper back in October (starting at around 2:30):
The truth is that while all of these politicians want to sound tough on Syria and tough on Russia, they’ve decided to forego reason and logic in an effort to sound like “alpha males” (yes, even Carly Fiorina).
Here’s Senator Paul’s full statement:
Wolf Blitzer: Senator Paul — Senator Paul, I want you to respond to what we just heard from Governor Christie. If there was a no-fly zone, you say that potentially could lead to World War III. Why?
Rand Paul: Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate. You know, here’s… the thing. My goodness, what we want in a leader is someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say, “Yes, I’m jumping up and down; I’m going to shoot down Russian planes.” Russia already flies in that airspace. It may not be something we’re in love with the fact that they’re there, but they were invited by Iraq and by Syria to fly in that airspace.
And so if we announce we’re going to have a no-fly zone, and others have said this. Hillary Clinton is also for it. It is a recipe for disaster. It’s a recipe for World War III. We need to confront Russia from a position of strength, but we don’t need to confront Russia from a point of recklessness that would lead to war.
This is something — this type of judgment, you know, it’s having that kind of judgment; who you would appoint and how you’re going to conduct affairs, that is incredibly important.
I mean, I think when we think about the judgment of someone who might want World War III, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don’t like their friends; they don’t want to — you know, they want to (inaudible) a Democrat.
So I think we need to be very careful.