Peter King: Don't Let Rand Paul Isolationists Take Over GOP

Image: Peter King: Don't Let Rand Paul Isolationists Take Over GOP

Monday, 10 Mar 2014 06:17 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Rep. Peter King said on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul continued to appeal to the "lowest common denominator" of the Republican Party with his isolationist positions.

King quoted Paul as saying that the director of national intelligence belonged in the same jail as Edward Snowden, that America had tweaked the Russians too much, and that Americans enjoying coffee at Starbucks should not have to worry about a CIA drone strike. Such remarks were "scaring Americans," King said.

"Our real enemy is al-Qaida. We have to be concerned about Russia," King said.

Paul wants Americans to believe that the United States is "an imperial power" and that "if we retreated" from the international stage the world would be safer, the New York Republican said. "Nothing can make the world more dangerous than if America" retreated into a Charles Lindberg-like isolationism, he said.

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Lindbergh, a charismatic aviator and politician, led the pre-World War II isolationist wing of the Republican Party.

"We cannot allow isolationists to take over" the GOP, King said.

King has described himself as a Reagan Republican, willing to work with organized labor, favoring a strong foreign policy and not "apologizing for America."

On Ukraine, King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Subcommittee, said there was "no silver bullet" to address the crisis. He favored "firm sanctions" against Russia and freezing the assets of individuals tied to President Vladimir Putin. He also called for increased military backing for the Baltic states, Poland, and Hungary.

King said that U.S. gas supplies could make it possible, in the long term, for Europe to resist Russian energy pressure.

Concerning the missing Malaysian Air flight, King said that Malaysia had been a "hub for al-Qaida activity," recalling meetings held in Kuala Lumpur by the planners of the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole off Yemen, as well as the fact that the 9/11 hijackers had passed through the country.

He said that the intelligence community had the "facial identity" of the individuals who boarded the plane with false passports, though not their full identity.

King criticized airports that are not as strict as they should be in their security procedures.

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