Americans need to know from the top that the editorial page of the WSJ has, at least from my perspective, more than a whiff of attachment to the original Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). You know, the anything goes global hegemon concept initially kicked off in draft form in 1992 by Dick Cheney aids Scooter Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad and Paul Wolfowitz.
The WSJ is also a lot less likely to view positively the thinking of Republican realists from the James Baker/Brent Scowcroft school.
Finally, in the spirit of support, I have not seen much in the way of WSJ enthusiasm for the groundbreaking defense department spending reductions proposed by Cato Institute scholars Benjamin H. Friedman and Chris Preble. (link)
Here in The Rand Paul Difference the WSJ actually musters up a single paragraph of positive commentary on Rand Paul’s plan to run on a flat tax platform. But after that passing nod, well… It quickly moves on to a snarky attack on what the Journal’s Review & Outlook editorial page column labels as Paul’s “nostrums about national security.” To be fair, Paul to date has failed to fine-tune an acceptable foreign policy platform in the spirit of “mind our own business” non-intervention. And a mindless signing of “the Tom Cotton Iran letter” was, in a word, disturbing.
The WSJ notes that Rand Paul began his Senate tenure arguing for cuts in defense spending, but these days he’s promising “a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.” For those generalizations to mean anything, though, “it takes money.”
Attack? Over the last four decades just how many Americans, sans 9/11, have been killed on American soil by Islamic terror attacks? According to statistics assembled by TheReligionofPeace.com, the number is 106 (tragic but a small number). Just how robust, modern and nimble America’s military needs to be to fend off such small scale numbers is a matter for discussion, but as Cato scholars Friedman and Preble have shown, money is certainly not the issue. In fact, Cato has shown how, by avoiding the occupation of failing states, America could save over one trillion dollars over a 10-year period.
The WSJ continues its unflattering lead editorial on Rand Paul’s supposed national security failings by announcing, “He distorts the history of Syria as an example of intervention gone awry.” Come on, Rand may or may not have had the minutia of Syrian intervention down to a T, but is there a soul on the planet who does not think the Syrian intervention has gone anything but awry?
In conclusion, the WSJ writes that the Syrian civil war has exploded into a regional and global threat. Regional? Yes, for certain. And what do contiguous neighbors including Turkey plan to do about the civil war? As far as global, I doubt the Swiss, Swedes and residents of, by example, Hong Kong and Singapore have lost much sleep over the Syrian conflagration.
Rand Paul has some foreign policy fine-tuning to do. But in comparison to any of the other Republican front-runners or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul offers by far the most realistic approach to both domestic and foreign policy.
Rand Paul on Foreign Policy: