Sen. Rand Paul has called for a new American foreign policy that seeks to "help others till their land with our tractors and reap their harvest with our combines."
"Too often, the United States has attempted to till the soil in foreign lands with our bombs and plow it with our tanks," Paul, the second-term Kentucky Republican, said in a recent op-ed for The National Interest magazine.
Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Congress and the Trump administration is "dominated by neocons" — those who "wish to isolate and forbid trade with regimes that they disapprove of" or seek to destroy them through military action.
President Donald Trump, for instance, shows "no sign of ending the Afghan war," Paul said. "If anything, President Trump has doubled down on our support for Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni civil war.
"Candidate Trump, who consistently voiced his displeasure with the Iraq War, has surrounded himself with generals still intent on finding military solutions where none exist."
Paul cited the realities of other foreign-policy efforts, ranging from the Iraq War to the Arab Spring in Libya to the Islamic State to the pullback in diplomatic ties with Cuba.
"The neocons told us that the Arab Spring would bring Western-style democracy to the Middle East," the senator said. "They told us toppling Muammar Gaddafi would bring freedom and stability.
"They were wrong," Paul argued, "and instead of stability, the overthrow of Gaddafi brought chaos.
"They failed to understand that the chaos of Libya would become a breeding ground for terrorism."
He said that the Iraq War ended up tipping "the balance of power in the Middle East" — encouraging Saudi Arabia "to go on a military buying spree and become the third-largest purchasers of weapons in the world."
"Neocon critics believe the world is black and white," Paul argued. "You’re either Churchill or Chamberlain.
"You’re either with us or against us. You’re either a patriot or an isolationist."
Quoting President John Quincy Adams, the nation's sixth commander-in-chief, Paul called for a foreign policy of "true engagement" embraced by the Founding Fathers.
"To seek honest friendship, free commerce, open dialogue and peaceful engagement with all who are willing," he said.
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