Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Donald Trump won the Fox Business debate this week on one of the most important issues a Commander-in-Chief will confront ??? foreign policy.
The most eye-opening exchange happened when Maria Bartiromo asked the question ???what is the biggest threat facing America today???? (All quotes in this piece taken from Time transcript of Fox Business debate).
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush argued ???Islamic terrorism,??? then said ???we should have a no fly zone in Syria. We should have a support for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, and create safe zones.??? The problem with the argument of creating a ???no fly zone??? in Syria is that it is a ???spectacularly bad idea??? according to Ted Galen Carpenter of the Cato Institute. ???Such measures were a prelude of America???s disastrous, full-scale military intervention in Iraq, and a similar danger of escalation exists in this case. Moreover, the move would strengthen the position of the ideologically murky amalgam that opposes Assad.??? No-fly zones are a step toward the introduction of ground troops to the region.
Carpenter wrote ???the reality is that even the non-ISIS rebel groups exhibit a disturbing level of radical Islamic influence. Indeed, the largest and strongest anti-Assad faction appears to be al Nusra, al Qaeda???s affiliate in Syria. It is mystifying why American hawks would want to empower such forces.??? Furthermore, Russia is flying numerous combat missions against rebel units and a no-fly zone might cause a military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia in Syrian airspace.
Hillary Clinton also supports a no-fly zone in Syria. It appears that the leaders of both parties support a reckless militaristic foreign policy that will make the world less safe.
After two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these countries seem to be incubators of hatred for America. President Obama???s drone strikes, policy resulting in Libya???s regime change and President Bush???s multiple wars have not resulted in a safer world for the American homeland and Americans abroad. It is hard to argue that politicians have used the military to make America safer when our continued intervention seems to be a cause of much of the hatred coming from those areas of the world.
Don???t get me wrong. The despicable acts of international terrorists are deserving of the strongest military response possible, yet nobody can seem to explain why we have American troops protecting a government in Afghanistan rife with corruption nor why we seem more interested in preventing an Islamic extremist takeover of Iraq than the people who actually live in the country. Can Hillary Clinton explain the end game of ousting a Libyan strong man that has resulted in Islamic terrorists using the country as in incubator of even more terrorism and extremism?
Sen. Paul has argued that Hillary Clinton and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have a similar foreign policy. Both supported the war in Libya and now support a no-fly zone in Syria. Even though Clinton claims to oppose the Iraq war, she voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Iraq in 2002 that commenced that war. Although the parties differ on the margins, the leaders of both parties seem to agree with a foreign policy of intervention and nation building.
After Jeb Bush argued his case for a militaristic foreign policy, Trump made the sane case for restraint. Trump said, ???We can???t continue to be the policeman of the world.??? Trump argued ???Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels ??? I read about the rebels, nobody even knows who they are.??? Trump said that he didn???t like Syrian strong man Assad, yet Assad???s opponents ???may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place ??? who I love.??? Trump made a strong case that the results of war in Libya and Iraq are a human rights and political ???mess.???
Senator Rand Paul followed in the debate and argued for a rational foreign policy:
???The idea of a no fly zone, realize that this is also something that Hillary Clinton agrees with several on our side with, you???re asking for a no fly zone in an area in which Russia already flies. Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I???m not saying it???s a good thing, but you better know at least what we???re getting into. So, when you think it???s going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you???re ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq.???
Both Senator Paul and Donald Trump were early opponents of the Iraq war. They both argue for a strong military, yet a restrained foreign policy that does not put American troops into civil wars and other disputes where no American interest is in danger. Being right on a critical foreign policy issue and expressing reluctance to go to war is something that will benefit the American people. Both Paul and Trump struck all the right foreign policy notes for a war weary public that wants politicians to focus on making America great again.