Key backers of Sen. Rand Paul’s bid for the presidency, and associates of the Koch brothers network of political influencers, have come together to form a think tank devoted to a new vision of American foreign policy. The Defense Priorities Foundation says its mission is “To inform citizens, thought leaders, and policy makers of the importance of a strong, dynamic military—used more judiciously to protect America’s narrowly defined national interests—and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.”
Politico writes of the group:
The think tank has also enlisted some of D.C.’s leading libertarian foreign policy thinkers and several conservative pundits, as well as a retired Army officer and Afghanistan veteran, Daniel Davis, who was perhaps the most famous military whistleblower of the past generation.
The group insists it wants a “strong, dynamic military.” But it says America’s reliance on military force in recent years to solve its foreign policy challenges has backfired. The armed forces must be used “more judiciously to protect America’s narrowly defined national interests,” it posits, “and promote a realistic grand strategy prioritizing restraint, diplomacy, and free trade to ensure American security.”
Davis, a retired Army officer who served two tours in Afghanistan, published a 2012 report that accused the top military leadership and Congress of misleading the public about the progress of the longest war in American history. Davis was swiftly attacked by his colleagues and banished to a desk job.
“I joined Defense Priorities because they seek to challenge the status quo of our current militaristic foreign policy,” Davis told POLITICO. “They advocate policies that begin with a recognition of the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be, which lines up precisely with my own opinion.”
Among some of the outfit’s first publications is one arguing that the definition of “imminent threat” used to justify military operations is far too broad and misunderstood — and fuels abuse of military power by the president.
“By definition, an imminent threat ought to be one which is immediately about to happen: Think foreign troops actively marching toward our border, or a nuclear missile ready to launch and aimed at New York City,” writes Bonnie Kristian, a columnist and consultant at Young Americans for Liberty, a libertarian group that grew out of the presidential campaigns of Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
FLASHBACK VIDEO: Rand Paul on Foreign Policy