Interventionists Attempt to Isolate Rand Paul Over Iran Deal

Only The Shadow knows.... ||| Al JazeeraAt The American Conservative, W. James
Antle III has a
shrewd, pessimistic take
on how GOP opposition to the Iran
nuclear deal threatens to isolate intervention-skeptic Sen. Rand
Paul (R-Kentucky):

The most hawkish conservatives follow a simple script: Obama is
an apologizing appeaser while Republicans are the muscular party of
Reagan and anyone to the right of Jimmy Carter. That narrative is
complicated by the fact that they often side with the Obama
administration—when they aren’t divided among themselves—against
the rest of the right on military interventions and civil liberties

Iran brings the foreign-policy debate back to the hawks’ comfort
zone. The Iranian ayatollahs have been villains since at least the
1979 hostage crisis, much longer than Saddam Hussein was so
perceived before the Iraq war. As a state sponsor of terrorism, it
is not an undeserved reputation. […]

Republican lawmakers, aided by Democrats like New Jersey Sen.
Robert Menendez, are insisting on zero enrichment as a condition
for relaxing any sanctions against Iran. Some would even like to
authorize the use of military force. There are no partisan or
opportunistic reasons for any Republican to resist such

In the Senate, Rand Paul—who has supported some sanctions—may be
alone. If he decides to push back against Marco Rubio, John McCain,
and Lindsey Graham this time around, it’s hard to envision Ted Cruz
or even Mike Lee joining him.

Whole thing
; Antle’s 2010 Reason profile of then-candidate
Paul here.

Interventionists recently seen stomping on
Paul’s Iran positioning
include longtime critics Jennifer Rubin
at the Washington Post (“Rand
Paul: Worse than Obama on Iran
“) and the
Washington Free Beacon

After the jump read what Paul told me in late August when I
asked whether the U.S. has “moral standing” to stop nuclear
proliferation in Iran and elsewhere:

Q: What about developments pursuant of nuclear weapons?
Iran, North Korea….Do we actually have moral standing to stop
that, and what are the tools that you think are

A: You know, what we’ve been trying with Iran is sanctions, and
I think the sanctions have had some influence, and I think they’ve
at least superficially brought the Iranians to the point where
they’d like to negotiate. I think ultimately, though, that no
successful negotiation will happen unless Russia and China are
included in it.

I think we’ve made the mistake of having sort of superficial
show-votes in the Security Council. There’s always going to
be—particularly as we came out of the Cold War—there’s ah, I guess
the best way to describe it is Russia feels a diminished manhood.
And they want to assert their manhood, and assert their former
superpowerdom by voting against us in the Security Council, and I
think they will. But I think if you were to talk to them one-on-one
in a basis, same with China, and convince them that 1) trade with
us is important and that we want to expand trade with them, but in
order to do that we need to quit diverting so many resources to
Iran. If you just get Iran to behave we’d all trade better, we’d
all make more money, and it’d be much better for all of our

But I think you need their influence. Because if both Russia and
China were to not trade with Iran, and go and talk to Iran, and say
“Look, just cut this nonsense of building a nuclear bomb, and we’ll
see if we can get some of the sanctions relaxed; we’re talking with
the United States”—I don’t think we’re going to be able to talk
with Iran directly probably very well, although I’m not sure that
doesn’t happen. But I think through Russia and China.

The same goes for North Korea. I think China holds the cards for
us with North Korea. I think they’re inept and poverty-stricken and
unable to really do anything; even the weapons they make usually
don’t work. So I don’t think we fear North Korea as a great ability
to attack the United States. But they have a nuclear weapon and
they need to be watched for that reason and contained. And I think
one of the ways you contain them, is that 1) you shouldn’t feed
them. When they run out of food, we shouldn’t give them any. But we
should encourage China that it’s to China’s benefit with us, and
our relations, to try to control North Korea.

from Hit & Run

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