Rand Paul's Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy Position Popular, for Now

Image: Rand Paul's Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy Position Popular, for Now

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 09:12 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Tea party Republican Rand Paul’s non-interventionist approach to foreign policy appears to be gaining traction with battle-fatigued Republicans, but whether the majority of the party will support that position for the long haul remains a question, according to Washington Post political writer Aaron Blake.

Blake cites a December Pew Research poll that found 53 percent of Republicans — slightly more than Democrats — believe the United States should "mind its own business internationally," up from the 22 percent who felt that way after 9/11.

Members of the GOP also strongly favored going to war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but those feelings have faded over time, with just 4 in 10 Republicans in 2013 saying the wars weren’t worth fighting, according to Blake.

Paul, a senator from Kentucky, has said America is now suffering the consequences of its decision to occupy Iraq, which he characterized June 22 on CNN's "State of the Union" as a "Jihadist wonderland … because we got overinvolved, not because we had too little involvement."

Paul has been vocal about his objection to using military force as a first option and has decried U.S. involvement in both Syria and the Ukraine-Russia conflict, according to Fox News.

But whether members of the GOP will feel the same way over time, "when Republicans actually see a reason for foreign involvement that [Paul] doesn't necessarily agree with," is the great unknown, Blake writes.

"It's easy to say the United States should mind its own business when wars are unpopular and people no longer see the immediate urgency of overseas missions," he said. "If the wrong issues are at the forefront and Paul errs too much on the side of non-interventionism, he could find himself marginalized."

Widely seen as a 2016 presidential candidate, Paul has sparred in the media in recent days with former Vice President Dick Cheney, an unapologetic architect of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who has referred to Paul as an "isolationist" who doesn’t understand the gravity of the consequences should the United States stay on the sidelines.

"That didn't work in the 1930s, it sure as heck won't work in the aftermath of 9/11, when 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters came all the way from Afghanistan and killed 3,000 of our citizens," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week."

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