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. g

    Op-si would make a great president for the new country TEXAS

    July 13, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  2. 2kmaro

    The problem with a policy of isolationism and just sitting back behind some "inpenetratable" defense line is that it's been proven to not work time and again in the past. Classic example was the French Maginot line – the Germans simply went around it. Sitting back and just planning a defensive role allows your enemies to build and plan their offense game just that much more in detail.
    As for the Governor securing his southern border – actually that is the job of the Feds – it is an international border and protecting that falls directly on the shoulders of the one person who seems least interested in really solving the problem – I'll leave it to the reader to put a name to that individual.

    July 13, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. Me

    Wow....I thought it was just liberals who didn't know the difference between isolationism and non-interference.......

    July 13, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. tonyb

    Perry thinks the glasses give a Clark kent disguise in terms of intelligence....surprise....they make no difference....he's still a twit....

    July 13, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. Siestasis

    Outsiders cannot win a religious civil war. With that said the clown show begins within the GOP.

    July 13, 2014 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  6. Anonymous

    I think that Perry's Op-Ed ought to be submitted to "Turnitin.com" to see who REALLY wrote it. I don't believe the Perry knows that many big words.

    July 13, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Ohioan

    Neither make a whole lot of sense. John Huntsman is the only Republican worth considering, and we know what the new GOP thinks of him.

    July 13, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. WillB

    Paul, "Perry curiously inept."

    July 13, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. rell87

    So not trying to police the entire planet is "Isolationist?"

    July 13, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. Tim O'Callaghan

    even though neither will stand a chance in a presidential debate with any half brain in politics.....perry the oops guy just doesn't have a presidential presence.....like he's only half aware and just plain not smart enough

    July 13, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. Lavi

    This is a toughie because I actually agree with Perry on this topic. But Perry isn't intelligent enough to win a debate with himself so winning a debate with a sharp mind like Paul's is nothing but a pipe dream.
    Perry is a dunce and in capable of thinking on his feet.

    July 13, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. oharris30

    Perry thinks better when he is drunk at least rand put it out there that none of their kids will fight. send the poor kids

    July 13, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. dilburt_mccok

    Rand Paul would run circles around Rick Perry so much in a debate over foreign policy that it would make Mona Lisa GRIN! Rick Perry has an IQ that might reach 55 on a good day! Rand Paul is medical doctor with an IQ of about 140. Now anyone with half a brain could figure out who would take the cake in that debate! However, Americans are dumb and like looks of a person over brains, so Perry just might win.

    July 13, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. BradB99

    While the flight of unaccompanied children into Texas is a humanitarian crisis, and is certainly straining our country's capacity to handle the situation, I would hardly categorize it as "60,000 children just invaded Texas" and "Perhaps he should concentrate on the invasion of his Southern border." Really? 60,000 invading children? These are kids, who were sent here by parents hoping they would have a better life. We can talk about the honest fact that it breaks our laws, but honestly, have some compassion for these kids. No parent does this unless they are desperate. What are these 60,000 children invading Texas with, sippy cups?

    July 13, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Alluh

    Anyone who is all for more war is curiously stupid.

    July 13, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Lizzie

    Big Ben
    Did Perry ever figure out what the 3rd dept of the government he is going to close is?
    -- did Pres.Obama ever figure out what the 57th state is

    July 13, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Bill

    The issue is too nuanced for Perry. Rand Paul is saying that we should not be taking sides in a sectarian war, and he's right. Perry's brain can only manage black, and white. Start throwing shades of grey in there and he gets confused.

    July 13, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. John Book

    What Perry conveniently ignores is that there were no terrorists operating in Iraq until after W.'s lies-filled war turned that non-threatening country into a terrorist haven and al Qaeda's greatest recruitment tool.

    July 13, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. terry b

    All this coming from someone who I consider to be an Adolph Hitler clone. If a decent person was discussing this subject I would have to take that person seriously. Perry is not decent. He embraces fascism to the best of his ability. I prefer democracy. Unlike his fans.

    July 13, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. david

    Look at Perry. The media mumbles his name in reference to another white house bid and the Repuke instinctively starts throwing mud. Typical. I hope you win the nomination Perry. Hillary will have you chewed up and regurgitated by noon on election day.

    July 13, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Didn't the GOP say that wearing glasses is a sign of BRAIN DAMAGE as Carl rove, the GOP STOOGE and serial LIER said on national TV, so if that's true, I GIVE YOU RICK PERRY!!!! STAY in Texas Rick or defect to Mexico !!!!

    July 13, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Uncle Sam

    if those two are the only choices, Paul gets my vote.

    July 13, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Steven Daniel

    Who cares what Perry thinks – he'll never be President. Besides that, I served with him in the Air Force – he was the number 1 slacker in our entire group. When he was not flying no one knew where he was. The guy was a famous skirt chaser. Now he's a converted bible thumper who after being a career politician is a multi-millionaire. Guy's been on the take his whole life.

    July 13, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. ZweiStein

    Perry gettin' on Paul. When you can't beat the guy with intelligence; flog him with relentless stupidity.

    July 13, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Randall Horton

    Stop pouring our hard-earned tax dollars into the Middle Eastern sinkhole.

    July 13, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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