Dick Cheney, one of the most hated politicians in America today, is rallying against Rand Paul – and I couldn’t be happier to hear his point of view. Cheney warns that Paul is an “isolationist” who wants to bring our troops home and let the enemy stew in their own juices, etc. This is inaccurate, but still helpful. Rand is more cautious than his non-interventionist father, Ron Paul, and supports maintaining support for our allies. But Rand is likewise more cautious than Ron Paul’s polar opposite – Dick Cheney. See neocons? This is realism! Fearing those brown people because they “hate our freedom” is not realism. It’s a type of idealism. Realists look at the actual balance of power, and who could potentially pose a threat to us. “They hate us” is no reason to go to war, if “they” have much to lose and little to gain by attacking us.
With that said, you don’t win elections by giving an academic lecture on realism in foreign policy. The American people are often emotionally volatile, and currently, are war weary. Therefore, Dick Cheney’s straw man of Rand Paul as an “isolationist” will likely work to his advantage for these two reasons: 1. Americans hate Cheney, and 2. Isolationism actually doesn’t sound too bad to many Americans right now. My only concern is that if Rand Paul does become President, I hope people won’t feel betrayed when they learn that Rand is willing to use force sometimes, and is actually very concerned about the power balance with Russia, China…you know, countries that we actually should be worried about?
Well, for now, I hope that bull dog Cheney keeps on barking.
Cheney’s straw man:
Rand Paul’s healthy balance of principles and pragmatism are expressed here:
Final notes – if you would like to learn more about realism in international relations, I recommend the works of Stephen Walt, Robert Jervis, and Fareed Zakaria. For the more hawkish approach to realism, you could read “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” by Mearsheimer. I’m sure you’ll agree that none of them have much in common with the wreckless neocon foreign policy of Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, etc.