Rand Paul, in the tradition of his father, took less than 30 minutes to lay out one of the most coherent foreign policy visions of any Republican right now looking at running for president. The GOP's last nominee, Mitt Romney, never really articulated a foreign policy outside of claiming he will never apologize for America. Whatever that meant. It is also in contrast to President Obama's muddled foreign policy, where we can't tell who are friends are anymore and he is somehow dragging the Bush era through his terms in office.
Senator Paul's foreign policy is easily definable and rooted in two of the most successful applied doctrines of the 20th century. George F. Kennan's containment and Ronald Reagan's peace through strength. Applied to the 21st century, this theory laid out by Paul centers around radical Islam and the need for the United States to use diplomacy to contain it on the one hand, while using the Reagan's doctrine on the other. Remember, despite his reputation, no American president in the 20th century was more successful in dealing with the Soviets on a diplomatic level than Reagan. Unafraid of labeling the USSR evil, Reagan was also (and more impressively) unafraid to sit down with the Soviets time and again, summit after summit, to draw down nuclear capabilities. Thus far, Republicans of all stripes seem to continue to spew the usual neoconservative cant that, if anything, seems to be getting stronger within the party. Everyone for Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio have centered our foreign policy on defending Israel no matter how much it turns up the temperature. Paul instead wants to focus on Iran directly.
Make no mistake, this speech was also about separating himself from his father. Ron Paul's foreign policy was always theoretical, he never had any expectation of being in a position to execute it. His runs for president were as much about education as it was about winning. Rand Paul wants to win. While Ron has always been the craggy, sharp-edged rock in the skyline; Rand is looking take that rock and sculpt it into a smooth, attractive shape that Americans will admire. Honestly, I don't have much faith right now in the GOP to understand or embrace this message. If Paul wins the Republican nomination, it probably won't be because of his foreign policy, but its important that competing views are put out there. As we have seen with the disastrous Chuck Hagel hearings when the neocon elite like McCain, Graham, Rubin, and Kristol smell blood they good in for the kill.
HERE is a link to the speech: