Anyway, she just came up with a piece titled "Rand Paul's Confused Foreign Policy Speech". While I didn't agree 100% with everything that was in his foreign policy speech (I tend to be a bit more hawkish, especially on Iran), I thought it well thought out and had a lot of food for thought. The main points, as they apply to foreign policy, were:
1. We need to have a flexible foreign policy
2. We shouldn't tell our enemies exactly what we will do before we do them
3. We should contain in some instances and confront directly in other based on clear criteria based on our interests and our ability to win it and be able to afford the cost, both financially and in terms of lives
4. Congress needs to be the ultimate arbiter of whether we go to war, as defined by our constitution
Does any of this sound confused? It all seems pretty reasonable to me and point 3 would surely keep us out of trouble (why did we get involved with Libya anyway? Where was the national interest? And in the end, did we even win?)
Now here is what Jen Rubin says:
This is not unlike a typical President Obama straw-man speech. But of course, in the real world, no serious politician or foreign policy analyst favors war for frivolous reasons. And pacifists are largely out of favor these days. So claiming the mantle of Ronald Reagan as he does without relation to specific conflicts and challenges is a bit of an empty gesture.
It almost seems that Jen Rubin is making a straw man by claiming this was a straw man speech. Where did Rand Paul say that neoconservatives want to go to war for frivolous reasons? A frivolous reason would be, "I just don't like him" or "He reminds me of my chemistry teacher", I don't think Rand Paul was claiming either of those. Neoconservatives tend to want a more active foreign policy for some good reasons, the problem that Rand Paul has is that they simply might not be good enough. It's always attractive to go in fighting and blow the enemy to bits, but then we have to deal with the aftermath and in the end, the situation might be worse than when we started. Is Libya better off now? Is Egypt better off after we pressured Mubarak to leave? It certainly is doubtful that Syria would be if the Max Boot's get there way. The reasons for these interventions are usually good ones, they are for democratic and humanitarian reasons. But are those reasons good enough for the United States to go to war. For Billy Bob Jones from East Overshoe, Kentucky to lose his life? That is the debate Rand Paul wants us to have.
Now back to Jen Rubin:
More problematic is that the speech is based on a giant fallacy. Parts of the speech are downright incoherent. For example: "Many of today's neoconservatives want to wrap themselves up in Reagan's mantle, but the truth is that Reagan used clear messages of communism's evil and clear exposition of America's strength to contain and ultimately transcend the Soviet Union." Huh? Reagan said of the Cold War, "We win, you lose." What conservative of any stripe, especially those attuned to the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, takes issue with that?
Talk about incoherent. She takes one sentence out of context and then throws a short Reagan quote after it. Here is the Rand Paul quote in context: