Response to ISIS Not a Change in Policy for Paul

Response to ISIS Not a Change in Policy for Paul

America’s response to ISIS has been to call for its complete destruction.

Notable amongst politicians has been Sen. Paul’s agreement to America’s response to ISIS. Many would have us believe this is a fundamental change in Paul’s stance towards engaging in war overseas.

This over-simplification was summed up well in an op-ed in the LA Times, by Jon Healey, who noted that the Senator’s stance seemed to have flip-flopped, given his staunch support for US non-intervention. This has, not surprisingly, riled up some of his libertarian base who wonder why ISIS is different.

Well, firstly, Paul never said we should avoid all military action around the world. His primary concern is that we do not do it unilaterally, trading American lives to intervene in domestic issues on behalf of other countries. This isn’t an extreme stance, it simply means – while we might help our allies – the bulk of the burden should lie with the nation where the problem is occurring.

And Paul has not called on America to fight ISIS by itself. Firstly, he has called for regional intervention and a limited role by America. As reported by RT, Paul’s stance towards ISIS is:

“So I also think that Turks really should be enjoined in this. And I do think that there can be a role for America,” he stated. “We can give both technological as well as air support. That could be the decisive factor in this.” (RT)

The fact that Paul has called for some action is hardly equivalent with sounding the war drums for another ground invasion in Iraq. Anything said to the contrary is simply political hackery. And Paul’s main concern is already being addressed. NATO is setting out plans for joint cooperation in defeating ISIS even now.

Over at the Federalist, I think Mollie Hemingway summed it up rightly when she questioned whether it was even appropriate to call Paul’s stance that of an isolationist. Isolationism, after all, is what kept us out of two world wars until things had gotten just about as bad as they conceivably could. Isolationism requires Americans to ignore anything happening in the world and refuse to get engaged in anything that doesn’t directly threaten us.

This has never been Paul’s policy. It is simply ensuring we do not engage unilaterally and avoid American deaths wherever possible. Moreover, Paul notes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that America’s tendency to act militarily without a clear goal in mind has actually helped create some problems that didn’t previously exist, like ISIS itself, and that,

“Only after recognizing the practical limits of our foreign policy can we pursue policies that are in the best interest of the U.S.

The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don’t make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again.” (Wall Street Journal)

The idea that someone is either pro-war or pro-isolationist is just a juvenile attempt at trying to see foreign policy in black and white terms that don’t exist. It makes for good political sound bites, but has little to do with reality on the ground. What are your thoughts on America’s response to ISIS? Let us know on Twitter. Or follow current issues with us on Facebook.


Written by Mark Davis



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