(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul penned an op-ed for the conservative outlet National Review Online, responding to critiques of the Kentucky Republican from the very same publication and other right-leaning commentators who disagree with his non-interventionist views.
Paul, who's considering a presidential bid, argued that conservatism has long had a "strain of libertarianism" on the topic of foreign policy. To back him up, he referenced NRO's own founder, conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr.
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"With regard to the Iraq War, Buckley came to believe not only that it was a mistake but that it was not a 'conservative' approach to foreign policy," he wrote. "In fact, in discussing foreign policy Buckley sounded quite the realist."
Paul has come under hot water after a 2009 video surfaced in which he made a speech suggesting that former Vice President Dick Cheney pushed for the Iraq War out of his own corporate interests with Halliburton, an oil field services company where he once served as CEO.
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, published an opinion piece last week titled, "Rand Paul's Foreign Policy: For the Situation Room or the Dorm Room?"
Lowry referenced the 2009 speech but also hit Paul over his record on foreign policy issues involving Russia, Iran, and Syria, blaming Paul for "dewy-eyed foolishness" and saying his views are "immature."
"Rand Paul is running in a party that, while chastened on foreign policy, still has a hawkish reflex – and not because it is beholden to Halliburton," Lowry wrote.
Swinging back, Paul argued that Buckley himself did not agree with the Iraq War, and he invoked another conservative legend, Ronald Regan, saying the former president was criticized for not being as hawkish as some had hoped.
"So as today's young aspiring Buckleyites sharpen their knives to carve up conservatives who propose a more realist and nuanced approach to foreign policy, they should realize they're also pointing daggers at some of their own," Paul wrote.