July 12th, 2014
02:04 PM ET
3 months ago

Perry: Paul 'isolationist policies' are 'curiously blind,' 'wrong'

(CNN) – "Curiously blind" and "wrong."

Is Rick Perry previewing harsh political attacks against Rand Paul should the two potential 2016 presidential candidates square off in a debate over foreign policy?

The Republican governor of Texas used those and other choice words against the Kentucky Republican senator in a Friday opinion piece that singularly trained political fire on Paul, by name, among Republicans.

Firing back, an adviser for Paul said Perry is "mischaracterizing Senator Paul's foreign policy."

At issue: Paul's ideological preference for the United States to avoid engaging in many hotspots across the world. Critics, such as Perry, liken it to outright isolationism.

"As a veteran, and as a governor who has supported Texas National Guard deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I can understand the emotions behind isolationism. Many people are tired of war, and the urge to pull back is a natural, human reaction," Perry began his piece in the Washington Post. "Unfortunately, we live in a world where isolationist policies would only endanger our national security even further."

"That's why it's disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq."

A few weeks ago, during an interview with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Paul said: "I'm not willing to send my son into that mess."

"Let's not be involved in the Iraq civil war," Paul said, referring to weeks of violence across that country. Radical Sunni militants have battled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite government forces. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has not only gained ground in northern and western Iraq but also in Syria.

Perry took Paul's sentiments to task.

Noting "the main problem with this argument is that it means ignoring the profound threat that the group now calling itself the Islamic State poses to the United States and the world," the governor wrote. ". …This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa."

Perry then picked apart an opinion piece Paul recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal arguing against U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

Writing that Paul went "so far as to claim…that President Ronald Reagan's own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion," Perry said, "his analysis is wrong. Paul conveniently omitted Reagan's long internationalist record of leading the world with moral and strategic clarity."

And in perhaps one of his harshest critiques, Perry lumped Paul together with a favored political enemy of conservatives: President Barack Obama.

"Viewed together, Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism (or whatever term he prefers) would compound the threat of terrorism even further," Perry said.

Paul's team shot back at Perry's harsh criticism with stinging words of its own.

"60,000 children just invaded Texas, and their Governor has time to write an op ed in a Washington newspaper mischaracterizing Senator Paul's foreign policy,"  adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement to CNN, referring to the flood of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala surging into the United States along the southern border.  "Perhaps he should concentrate on the invasion of his Southern border."

Perry and Paul each are considering a 2016 presidential run. It would be Perry's second run.

CNN's Jason Sehrer and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.​


Filed under: 2016 • Foreign Policy • Rand Paul • Rick Perry
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. mattytwoshoes

    Wonder who wrote this op-ed piece for "Purdy Ricky"?

    July 13, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. David R

    'Murica! Let's go to war again! Yeehaaaw!

    No more POTUS from Texas please.

    July 13, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Keith

    So, Perry is claiming the "War Monger" arm of the Republican party.

    July 13, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. JiminNM

    Perry, curiously bankster puppet.

    July 13, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. rosethornne

    Them is sum awful big words fer guberner smarty-glasses

    July 13, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. John from CA

    Politics is a stage erected by the rich and powerful.
    Politicians are purchased to play in their theater.
    Election tickets are sold to trained and divided masses,
    To obfuscate the reality played backstage.

    July 13, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. SkepticalOne

    Our invasion of Iraq created that mess Mr. Perry. Another invasion is not going to fix it. The American people do not want to occupy that country forever.

    July 13, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Trooth

    Not intervening in every single country in the world constantly is not isolationism. It is what almost every other nation in the world does. I will be voting for Gary Johnson if he runs for the Libertarian party again. I don't quite trust Rand Paul he has bent to the whims of the Tea Party too much, something his father would have never done.

    July 13, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. ted

    Perry is a moron. He blames Obama for the border crisis. Lets keep in mind that Bush started building that wall and stopped. So what has Perry been doing about it? sitting on his hands and hoping Washington will solve the issue? Perry shoudl send the texas natl guard to the border. Washington shoudl be dealing with Mexico and the other counstries that people are coming from and tell them to stop and put their police/soldiers on the border to stop the inflow of people. It will take all parties working together to solve the issues. But Perry wants to play politics. Moron.

    July 13, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. discgolfdave

    Our military involvement in these civil wars just creates more radicals and, even worse, turns public opinion against us and toward them. We can be much more subtle in our involvement and have a positive influence toward creating a more peaceful world.

    July 13, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Davey Crockett, King of the wild frontier

    Paul won't be curiously blind after he gets himself some Moe Greene glasses like Rick Perry wears.

    July 13, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Martin L.

    And this from someone who demonstrably lacks several of our most common senses! I am so looking forward to Rick Perry 2.0

    July 13, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. woodcat

    Well what can one expect: Perry should focus on the illegals in Texas and send them back where they came from and concentrate on the problems in his own state and in the USA. Stop playing politics!

    Our country first.

    July 13, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. johnross1968borgx

    Don't Trust Tricky Ricky.

    July 13, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Hypocrite Conservatards

    Yeehaw lets send some kids to fight and die for no real reason.

    July 13, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Ernest

    This guy make bush seem like Einstein...

    July 13, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    According to Perry, if at first you don't secede, you must run for president.

    July 13, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Rick Robeson

    What a comedy. It only lacks Sarah Palin to get involved and have a three-way.

    July 13, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Susan

    All republicans are "Conservatards", I will have to remember that word.

    July 13, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Miguel Cavalcanti

    Let the Iraqis kill each other off. Not one American life should be spent in that misdirected geopolitical entity. Rand Paul is right.

    July 13, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. Ralph in Orange Park FL

    Given the results of American intervention, isolationism does not look too bad about now.

    July 13, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Trenton

    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupitidy, and I'm not sure about the former."
    -Albert Einstein

    July 13, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. USAPeasant

    Hmm, I have to say I am a bit surprised, Rick Perry of all people managed to effectively hit Rand Paul's weak spot. Rand Paul though he is a legitimate civil servant because heh as great love for our people his faw is he is too nationalistic and isolationist. Rand Paul is great for domestic front and citizen rights front, but he does need to come to understand that America is an Empire and as such we do have Imperial obligations. I don't think these comments are a make or break for either Perry or Paul as there is merit in both viewpoints. Best GOP candidate be someone who can reponsibly hold civil servant status of Presidency that can balance our imperial obligation and our nationalist obligation. Hmm, makes me think Colin Powell be a good choice, someone should convince him to run, even if he doesn't win he has a very good perspective on things both foreign policy and national policy that would add to the primary debates.

    A good all-star politics debate line up in my mind for 2016 GOP Primary be: Colin Powell the Citizen's Servant, Rand Paul the Nationalist, Marco Rubio the Populist, Jeb Bush the Elite's Knight, John Huntsman the Internationalist, Paul Ryan the Opportunist, and yes we might as well even include just for the show Rick Perry the Dark Horse Candidate (or to Texify it, maybe call him the Lone Ranger lol.)

    GOP just needs to have a good primary and that will get their Party refreshed. The Democrats got Hillary though, and I have to say as much as I do want a good GOP all star debate and I do want some of the good GOPers to maintain their roll of civil service, if Hillary runs then she deserves to be President more than any other citizen peasant or elite in this entire nation.

    July 13, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. mzfitz1215

    There is a difference between isolationism and non-interventionism Mr. Perry you should learn it.

    July 13, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Greg

    Rick's defense contractor buddies lose billions if we stay home.

    July 13, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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