July 12th, 2014
02:04 PM ET
6 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. Bill from GA

    About the closest Rand Paul ever came to getting it right, and Perry disagrees.
    Not surprised.

    July 12, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    Just what America needs, ANOTHER war hawk that starts wars and then forgets which country we are at war with!

    Just another old con wanting to "thin the herd" by killing the children of the 47% of "takers" in a war industrial agenda "war against terror"!

    A Dick Cheney clone, with only brain stem activity.

    July 12, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    If Paul becomes the GOP presidential nominee, neoconservatives will have to seriously consider abandoning the party in favor of Hillary Clinton.

    July 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. A Kickin Donkey

    Why the glasses Rick? What possessed you to get your inner NERD on? I'm willing to bet it was your Palinesque responses during the debate when you could n't remember the agencies you claimed to want to close if elected president. Do you really think this will fool us, the educated voters?

    It's not the wrapper that you Republican use that is important. It's the policies.

    July 12, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |

    Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that!

    July 12, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. nintex

    Sorry to be so cynical, but I think of Perry as being on the same intellectual level as Sarah Palin. We all know she doesn't have the brains to write any of her stuff, and I honestly don't think Perry has the brains to come up with his stuff either. I'm sure they each have hired a staff of people to first of all, do their thinking, and second, do their writing. And those glasses don't fool us, Perry. You might think they make you look smarter, but we know better.

    July 12, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Hector Slagg

    Isolationism was the thing in the 1930's with the Nation mostly supporting it. Then we were attacked at Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December, 1941. Leading into WW-2, the Cold War, among other things. It's kind of hard to ignore those that are trying to destroy you. Today we are heavily involved in the World like it or not.

    July 12, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. john

    Of course he's running in 2016 for the White House. Perry has been our longest serving governor here in Texas and he's had a rather remarkable political life. I don't know what his chances are to clinch the Republican nomination, but I only hope he can remember the three Federal agencies he wanted to shut down. We shall see what the next two years bring…..

    July 12, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Jack Rathr

    amazingly pauline

    July 12, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Waterboard

    Perry a good man but totally unfit to serve as the POTUS his intellect is less than that of the BPOTUS.

    July 12, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Steve M

    George W. Perry is the last person we need in the White House.

    July 12, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. jo clo

    Rick Perry should have stayed home, instead of taking those campaign trips to other states to “cattle rustle” business to relocate to Texas.. Remember how he stiffed the Texas taxpayers with his security costs ... millions of dollars to run ads in other governors back yards to steal their businesses. He is a real horse thief of a man.

    July 12, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. lib

    Let the games begin!

    July 12, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. Andrew

    Rick Perry? Telling someone their policies are messed up? LOL

    July 12, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. rayruble

    This is a very confused man. He doesn't understand the difference between isolationism and non-intervention.
    The "threat of terror" exists because we are running around the world trying to be the police.
    We don't have the money for this, and it is creating backlash, yet CNN and MSNBC try to brainwash Americans into believing otherwise.
    Why do so many nations of the world live so well without a "terrorist threat?" Because they mind their own business.
    If other countries tried to drone an American they didn't like and hit a school "accidentally" as we have done may times, we as Americans WOULD fight back in every way possible.
    Our foreign policy hasn't worked, it isn't working now, and the standard Washington Insider Nation Building Team America World Police will not work in the future.
    I'm also curious how many more trillions this clown would throw us in debt given the chance.

    July 12, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Guz

    Instead of running around like a bunch of scared little girls, killing our own people in foreign lands and bankrupting our country while turning the land of the free into a police state, tell the world that any major attack in the future on the USA will be met with nuclear power...no exceptions.

    July 12, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Shawn Irwin

    The largest cause of terrorism is the US government itself. Stay the hell out of other countries affairs and stop supporting repressive regimes like the Saudi Arabian dictators, and we will be fine. We don't need soldiers all over the world and imperialistic policies, this is a formula for terrorism. If Israel has been to stupid to make a peace deal by now, that is their problem, no ours.

    July 12, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. rs

    One of the very few things I agree with the ever-silly Mr. Paul on is that the U.S. never has to reflexively enter into the business of other nations- especially with military force. International issues are rarely black and white, so the GOP needs to learn the difference between "never" and "always" as their metric for foreign events. Responses to foreign events, or even threats need thoughtful, and indeed, measured responses- and hence why Mr. Obama (and Ms. Clinton, and Mr. Kerry) have been so successful getting the U.S. goals abroad without using the blunt tool of war- and why Mr. Bush and the Neocon GOP was such a disaster- shoot first, then ask questions will always create many wars, and much disrespect among those we interact with.

    July 12, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. vikingwoman

    Staying out of other sovereign states civil discourse/squabbles can hardly be considered 'isolationism'! Iraq & Afghanistan should have taught Perry that we aren't doing ourselves or the rest of the world any favors by getting caught up in private affairs of other countries! Keeping an eye on developments & working w/the world community is much more preferable than sending our sons & daughters to die for– what, exactly?! Perry's wearing glasses but he's blind if he can't see that truth! He's just another GOTP war lover!!

    July 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. luke, AZ

    Just don't ask Perry for three examples of Paul's policies. "OOPS" Perry is not ready for prime time.

    July 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Larry38363

    This is hilarious! Perry commenting on anything concerning isolationist policies or curiously blind/wrong would be like a mental underachiever trying to explain rain. The Republican Party has become the Party of stupid and dumb! They have no understanding of the world; science; religions; or anything pertinent to human life. Time for them ALL to go away and let this Country move on with vigor, as opposed to the last 14 years of anti-American Taliban ideas!

    July 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. opinion8it

    Aww..snap, it's on like Donkey Kong !!!

    July 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. ironman59

    Wow. One clueless fool talking about how clueless another fool is. This is the gop/teasters in a nutshell.

    July 12, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Dimitri

    How much longer is this myth that terrorists are somehow created evil by some force and only target America because it is good going to persist? The only one blind here is Perry, unable to critically think about what the root causes for terrorism might be. It's not as if we have had a policy of free trade, and non-unilateral interference, quite oppositely for the last 50 years, we've interfered pretty much everywhere, and quite literally, the places we've interfered in the most, are the the places where terrorism has increased the most.

    How then is it possible to draw the conclusion that if we don't interfere somehow that will create people who are angry at the U.S. The very idea is ludicrous.

    July 12, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Arizona Tom

    Look, both Paul and Perry are ill-suited to be president. I agree with Paul–and with George Washington, who advised the country to avoid foreign entanglements. However, on domestic policy, Paul is naive, stupid, and laughable. Perry likewise, on both matters, foreign and domestic. I'd never vote for either one of them. Hillary (no last name needed) is more hawkish than many realize; but I would vote for her, if only to save us from any Republican candidate. I like Obama, who saved us from McCain and Romney, each of whom would have been catastrophic for us in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Ukraine. Obama's legacy will be invaluable deliberation (vs. lack of impulse control for neo-cons, who continue to infest Republican doctrine.)

    July 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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