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

    Two years to go and it is getting fun already.........

    July 12, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. drake mallard

    Republican CHICKEN HAWKS never have a problem sending other people's children to war. How come politicians never join the military when they are sending other people children to war? To the politicians War is good for business invest your self and own your own children,wife husband!Let the rich kids get drafted and the rest voluntarily enlist...that would ensure WAR is a last resort! What's the alternative?

    July 12, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. breezy

    DO NOT believe ANYTHING Perry says! It's only a few years ago that Perry said this: In a speech in Mexico in 2007, said he supports completely open borders, calling for the “free flow of individuals between these two countries who want to work and want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico.” In the same speech he came out against building a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. Perry also came out in favor of blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants in 2006. Now he's screaming at Obama???? Now he wants Federal monies to close the border??? Can't trust Perry any further than I can throw him.

    July 12, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Matt

    "60,000 children just invaded Texas..."

    Quite the choice of words. Make those children sound as militaristic as possible, that's the ticket.

    July 12, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. scott

    the rnc eat your young show will be 1000xs funnier than watching comic relief

    July 12, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Steven

    Tino you obviously are poor and from either CA or NY. What outsiders like you don't realize that since Perry has been governor. Texas has created 800,000 jobs while CA has created 23,000. If he did half as good at POTUS as he's done as Commander in Chief of the Lone Star State then he would be twice any other candidate

    July 12, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Shayaan matin

    my comment was supposed to say non-neutral*

    July 12, 2014 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. TellngitlilkeI see

    Perry who? If we thought Palin was a "shooter-from-the-hip" want-to-be; then comes Perry with both feet in the mouth everytime he opens them.

    July 12, 2014 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Perry needs to be investigated for corruption in campaign financing and bribes regarding his relationships with contractors.

    July 12, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. Jared M

    Rand Paul isn't an isolationist, he's a non-interventionist. To ignore the differences between those two foreign policy ideologies is to be intellectually dishonest. Paul needs to come back swinging on this one.

    July 12, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. skywolfrf

    I've read better political comment from....... Ok well toads don't write but still what passes for political thought from the newer GOP is either comical or disturbing at best.

    July 12, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. so much for honesty

    Load up the clown car, the run to 2016 is now started.

    July 12, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    Neither Paul, nor Perry worth your dime–next...,

    July 12, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. david8915

    Perry is obviously using "The Prince" ideology when speaking of foreign affairs. A follower until the end.

    July 12, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Craig

    Looks like the Republicans will be offering up the same clown car this time around...I'm sure Romney will throw his hat in again too regardless of his claims of not running again...Can we Americans be so stupid as to fall for this?

    July 12, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Thelma Heywood

    Another Hawk – ho hum. What I cannot imagine is all the immigration streaming our way. Are they not aware of how dangerous this Nation has become? The Europeans sure know, considering our gun laws and they have wisely advised their citizens against travel to the U.S. Lucky us – we can be shot too. We don't need war – we just need to go to church.

    July 12, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. david8915

    Paul would be better than Perry IMO at least I believe Paul believes what he says.

    July 12, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. msadr

    I know that Paul is a republican. But he has gotten popular because of his libertarian dad and his libertarian "leanings". I'm a libertarian and I will readily admit that foreign policy is where the liberartian party has it wrong. I strongly disagree with the Libertarian idea of foreign policy. But since I agree with them on everything else, I'm just going to keep voting Libertarian and hope the other parties will keep foreign policy sensible. That said, if Paul is going to try to be a republican with Libertarian policy, he will fail miserably.

    July 12, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. Loathstheright

    Perry and Paul are two people who are really the most unqualified people to be in charge of anything.

    July 12, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. John R. Grace

    It frustrates me how little Americans in general understand world cultures. Muslim extremists do not hate America because of our 'freedoms', are way of life, or anything else the talking head would have you believe. They hate us because we involve ourselves in their countries and their societies. Sometimes at the behest of their own governments...sometimes from American hubris. Osama bin Laden said quite clearly why he lashed out at America...American troops in the Muslim holy land and our support for what he perceived as a corrupt Saudi government. Our involvement of which has made the US a lighting rod for extremist attack...exactly what Senator Paul is arguing against. The REAL questions that Americans have to discuss is: First, at what level should America involve itself in the affairs of other countries and regions; and Second, are those involvements worth additional attacks on America and Americans?

    July 12, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Mm

    Going to be some big mud slinging going on in the GOP debates this coming cycle.Get the popcorn ready for that clown car going off the cliff.

    July 12, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Roscoe Turbo

    Great. It's still four months until the midterms and the GOP are already trashing each other about 2016. Can you spell President Hilary?

    July 12, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Anthony Madden

    I am with Paul. Do not send my children. Period!

    July 12, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. T E X A S

    Rick...sit down and be quiet.

    July 12, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. Jerry

    As a native Texan, I believe that this quote pretty much describes Perry....."If Rick Perry and George W. Bush were brothers, people would be referring to George as the 'smart' one".

    July 12, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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