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Rand Paul Retreating From Controversial Foreign Policy Views?

Image: Rand Paul Retreating From Controversial Foreign Policy Views?

By    |   Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 05:57 PM

As he considers a run for the White House in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul’s foreign policy positions are evolving substantially from the views he held before the Kentucky Republican ran for the Senate four years ago.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the change has been especially pronounced on Iran, where the freshman Republican seeks to distance himself from his earlier comments suggesting that a nuclear Iran would not be a threat to the United States.

In a 2007 interview with radio host Alex Jones, Paul denied that Iran posed a threat to Israel and said it is “ridiculous” to think that it endangered U.S. security.

Paul, who was participating in his father’s presidential campaign at the time, denounced the idea of military action, claiming that Republicans “all want to invade Iran next.”

“We’re against the Iraq War; we have been from the beginning,” Paul said in explaining his views. “But you know we’re against the Iran war – you know, the one that hasn’t started yet.”

Since entering the Senate, Paul has avoided repeating his comments that a nuclear Iran would not pose a danger to Israeli or the United States. Last year, he voted for a resolution pushed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, pointing to “the tremendous threat posed to the United States, the West and Israel by Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.” 

The measure passed the Senate unanimously.

In a Washington Post op-ed last week, Paul responded to critics suggesting he favors “containment” of a nuclear Iran.

“It is a dumb idea to announce to Iran that you would accept and contain that country if it were to become a nuclear power,” he said. “But it is equally dumb, dangerous and foolhardy to announce in advance how we would react to any nation that obtains nuclear weapons.”

The head of Paul’s official political action committee claimed the senator had never denied that Iran could threaten Israel or the United States. Doug Stafford, head of Rand PAC and the Paul’s former chief of staff, told the Free Beacon that “it has always been Senator Paul’s position that Iran poses a threat.” 

Before his election to the Senate, Paul made other remarks that could complicate a White House run.

In a 2010 interviews with Alex Jones and  independent activist Luke Rudkowski, Paul warned of the dangers posed by the Bilderberg Group. He said it was important to “expose” the annual private international conference of politicians, industrialists, labor leaders and educators, who promote a “globalist agenda for personal gain and for financial gain at the expense of the rest of our country and at the expense of our Republic.”

When Rudkowski confronted Paul about the Bilderberg Group two years later, the senator refused to speak to him about the subject, prompting a video in which the senator is pursued across Capitol Hill  by activists demanding to know if he has betrayed them.

The Anti-Defamation League describes the allegations against the Bilderberg Group as  “a recurring myth,” circulated via the Internet, that the group promotes a conspiracy to create a “new world order.”

Earlier this month, Mother Jones magazine reported on a 2009 video in which Paul suggested that former Vice President Dick Cheney wanted war in Iraq to financially benefit the defense contractor Halliburton, Cheney’s former employer.

After his comments were condemned by conservatives, Paul denied attempting “to impugn [Cheney's] personal motives.”

“I think he is a patriot as much as anyone else, and wants what’s best for the country,” Paul told Business Insider. “I don’t always agree with him, but I don’t question his motives.”

As for his suggestion that Cheney only wanted to go to Iraq after working for Halliburton, Paul said he simply wanted to warn Americans – as President Eisenhower did in his farewell address  – about the dangers posed by undue influence from “the military-industrial complex.”

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As he considers a run for the White House in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul’s foreign policy positions are evolving substantially from the views he held before the Kentucky Republican ran for the Senate four years ago.
RandPaul, Iran
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2014-57-22
Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 05:57 PM
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