July 12th, 2014
02:04 PM ET
5 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. ja

    We should deploy Perry & Paul, along with Bush Cheney

    July 12, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. mikeinthevine

    Couple of quarter wits. Put 'em together and you get a half wit.

    July 12, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Cindy

    The smartest thing we can do is pursue our interceptor missile program as well as secure our borders and put money into our homeland security. I know most of you do not like NSA spying but I see it as a necessary evil. If you do know something about terrorists, they are everywhere and all countries take precautions to some degree of another. The US and all US holdings are primary targets. Terrorists HATE anything western or is symbolic of western education and beliefs." Leave them alone and they will not go away". Of special interests to them are liberal beliefs. The more liberal this country becomes, the more they will hate us as they follow a form of very strict Sharia Law. They also do not believe in forgiveness, they believe in revenge 100 fold.

    July 12, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. dave

    This is one time I will back up perry. Rand paul most have forgotten what he said during his run. I didn't.

    July 12, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. tahitiandancer

    I am looking forward to seeing Governor "oops" Perry in a debate with Rand Paul.

    July 12, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. scmtns

    If you fix the border mess, what happens in the middle east becomes irrelevant to us. Fix the border problem.

    July 12, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. husky60

    so Ricko, what war on the front lines did you fight in? Let me guess, that would NONE! Gee how did I know that? Gutless cut and run chicken hawks like you are always for wars you're never going to fight...

    July 12, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. WJG

    Good comment Cindy!

    July 12, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. tino

    Perry is the most corrupt politician that Texas has ever has had a governor

    July 12, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Robert

    Someone once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting the same bad result. Our interventions fail over and over because leaders like Perry are so insane that they think that we can impose our will and our system on everyone else whether they like it or not.

    July 12, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Skarphace

    Rand Paul is trying to stradle the fence between Libertarianism and the far right Tea Party. This gives him the best chance at the Presidency because with Tea Party backing he has a good chance at winning the Republican nod, and with strong independent support he would have a chance at beating the Democratic nominee.

    However, there are many differences in substance between the ultra conservative Tea Party and Libertarians. One of the main differences is in foreign policy. It is these differences that will make any politician that straddles that fence seem like a hypocrite from time to time. Paul is surely aware of this and knows what he is up against.

    July 12, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. husky60

    so Ricko, what war on the front lines did you fight in? Let me guess, that would NONE! Gee how did I know that? Gutless cut and run chicken hawks like you are always for wars you're never going to fight...

    July 12, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. husky60

    so Ricko, what war on the front lines did you fight in? Let me guess, that would NONE! Gee how did I know that? mr. gutless

    July 12, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Tychi

    Perry really needs to wear his glasses. He looks a lot smarter with them on. Too bad the glasses only helps looks.

    July 12, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. Rightster

    Paul doesn't have isolationist policies. He has military non-interventionist policies that get our young men and women killed and our country closer to bankrupty. Warmongers like Perry are what's wrong with the Republican Party .

    July 12, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Britannia

    Much as I don't want to, I have to agree with Paul on this: while the USA struggles to get on track it's in no position to fight other nations' battles. And Perry does need to be in Texas helping to find a solution to the influx of young people from the south Americas. How the man thinks he could lead the nation when he's done so much harm in this state (think slashing budgets for schools and abortion rights for a start) is so laughable it makes one cry!

    July 12, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Kippen (Portland, Oregon)

    I agree with Texas Governor Perry on this issue. Isolationism has never worked for the United States and never will. At the outset of world War II many in America (the American Bund in the Midwest) counseled isolationism. Thank God President Roosevelt took actions that were controversial at the time (such as the furnishing of 50 older destroyers to Great Britain under Lend Lease) so Nazi submarines based in French ports could not cutoff the flow of supplies to Britain. If FDR had not been so forward thinking Great Britain likely would have fallen and Nazi Germany would likely have won the war in Europe. Today America should not wade in on every conflict but it should retain its ability to play global cop when necessary. The current administration has been so reluctant to get involved in any world trouble spot that it has actually encouraged the many enemies of this nation and other western democracies because there are no sanctions even for very bad actions. And no the UN will not get it done. The UN is good at oral condemnation and passing resolutions but frankly it has little effect on events in the real world.

    July 12, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. WhatAWorld

    Perry is from the same mold that made W. And those glasses he wears do not make him smarter – or even look smarter (albeit he thinks the glasses make him smarter). Political analysts called him an "I d I o t" in 2008 and it is still true today. Perhaps CNN should begin to ignore him and Palin – both are dumb as they come and have nothing intelligent or factual to say. Sadly, they walk amongst us.

    July 12, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Cindy

    I have to laugh as I am an Independent and have been for a good 20 years. I despise both parties equally.

    You left wingers however should not be talking about the right as you are because you have some real brain children of your own.

    Let's start with Nancy Polosi,

    July 12, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Mark

    Sure. Support a draft AND a tax increase to pay for it then start talking about how much more you want the US to take in playing world policeman.

    July 12, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. brian

    We got rid of the bad leader in Iraq and then what happened, the second we pulled out we now have a terrorist group taking over. There is no end to this. The middle east needs to learn to take care of itself.

    July 12, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Rick

    To quote Rick Perry- " uhhhhh"

    July 12, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Bill Davis

    Does the dummy from Texas get it that Bush isolated the US from all of it's allies. Bush's policy if you don't like us or what we are doing. Don't talk to them and banning French Fries...

    July 12, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Orso

    And the GOP circus is back in town.

    July 12, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Tim Reynolds

    Rand Paul and Rick Perry would do all of us Republicans, especially themselves a favor, if they would just sit back, relax, and let the Democrats self destruct (instead of constantly trying to lay knock out blows to each other, for what?). We have won. We will sweep the November elections (if you quit interrupting) easily because liberal MSNBC and NBC is already starting to turn on Obama. There are only so many lies the public can take.

    If you really want to win in November, besides stopping the bickering because that is 80% of the problem and can be stopped the easiest - first, since seniors are the majority of people that vote, get a campaign out now that you will not touch their social security. As a matter of fact, you will restore all of the COLA adjustments that were denied in the previous years and bring social security benefits to current levels plus some. That's right, your campaign will actually be to write legislation and pass, because the Democrats will not be able to stop it, a bill that raises the benefits of social security of seniors. They will have to and want to vote for it. But it will be realized by all America that it was a Republican Bill. We have been perceived to be on the wrong side of social security for too long. Relatively speaking, it is such a small part of the entire budget. It's just like firefighters do when they light a small fire to stop a raging one that is coming toward them. As long as you can get into the congress and presidency first, then you can finally fix everything that is broken.

    July 12, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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