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. Big Ben

    Did Perry ever figure out what the 3rd dept of the government he is going to close is?

    July 12, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. karek40

    Non isolationist policies (globalists) have gotten us in this mess, perhaps isolationist policies can get us out. We have had 4 globalist presidents in a row, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. Based on their failure I will vote for the isolationist.

    July 12, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. dirksterdude

    Neither has any chance whatsoever of winning the White House. What Republican conservatives in general have tended to lose track of at the national level is undecided voters in the middle that determine elections especially for President. It isn't the middle of the Republican base it is the middle of undecided voters between Democrats and Republicans. So while these groups might swing both directions between conservatism and liberalism depending on whom they like more I think there is no chance someone the Tea Party likes can be elected to the Presidency.

    July 12, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. khountrygirl

    There is absolutely no way Perry wrote that op-ed.... For entertainment purposes, I would love to see Perry attempt to read it out loud...

    July 12, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Floyd from Illinois

    Wow, a neocon Teabagger criticizing an isolationist libertarian.

    No wonder the GOP is in a shambles – they're at war with themselves and NONE of them have any positions that make sense.

    July 12, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Mike

    Yeah, because our intervention so far has helped Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and so on soooo much! Paul is so crazy to not want to send troops over seas and not destabilize countries and leave a huge power vacuum, so crazy!

    July 12, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Jay

    Perry struck me as amateurish in 2012. Perhaps he feels he has learned from that and wants to try again. I expect a spirited race on both sides for 2016 that will start far in advance, if it has not already.

    Republicans must feel encouraged: history suggests since the post FDR term limits the parties trade the White House every 8 years with only two exceptions. So it is their turn unless they fracture over the Tea Party.

    July 12, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. TBA

    Iraq is in such a mess because we created the mess by going over there in the first place. You cannot force democracy on people who are culturally unable to live it, who are unable to compromise with others they disagree with, and work together for the common good. They only thing these cultures and peoples know is tyranny and who is the bigger dog. We upset the precarious balance over there and this is the result. My sons are not going over there to bleed and die for people that hate the USA.

    There is no arguing with radical Muslim terrorists. Let them sort out their civil war themselves. We can drop a few BIG bombs on the winners if they are in danger of acquiring WMDs.

    July 12, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. Ginny

    I'm a Yellow Dog Texas Democrat, and I would rather see Rand Paul as president than our "esteemed" governor. Perry has Texas at the bottom of almost every state ranking. He's embarrassing.

    July 12, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. tom c

    all of the war mongering right should be drafted an send to the middle east along with there wife and kids. that would shut them up for awhile. maybe then they wouldn't be so fast to start a war.

    July 12, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Did not realize Perry is a born again Neoconservative with Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld in the background as his shadow advisors.

    July 12, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Everyman

    Perry can't even take care of his own border. What makes us think he can take care of Iraq's borders?

    July 12, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Carol

    May the best man win! Preferably one who knows how to guard and guide America, sounds like Gov. Perry, here.

    July 12, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. JB

    If you want limited government then why send 2% of our budget to islamic dictatorships. Paul is right. We can spread capitalism more by trading with countries we agree with and not with ones we don't. Neoconservatives don't want big government here, but think it is ok to prop up governments in other countries. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

    July 12, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Sam

    Keep calm folks. Neither will be the Republican nominee for President.

    July 12, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. austinandjustin

    So the children coming to this country are no longer illegal aliens now they are invaders? When will they be called what any other country would call them, refugees?

    July 12, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. acdavis75

    It's cute hearing such attacks coming from Rick. I don't know why that man would even bother attempting a second run for president when he can't even remember what departments he wanted to cut. I wouldn't be surprised if Rick Perry was in the percentage of people who had no idea where Iraq is on a map.

    July 12, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. fromoverhere

    For once, and I can't believe I'm saying this, I agree with Rand Paul. (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.) Perry is a political opportunist. He should focus on his job. Not Paul's. But then, Paul is a political opportunist too. Guess it takes one to know one.

    July 12, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. glenn lester

    perry is such a weenie, weak minded little bigot that now sports glasses to make him appear smarter. Maybe some elevator shoes and a bow tie... who knows, he will go far in the republican party, as so many of them are just plain dumb.

    July 12, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. timelord7202

    Politicizing opportunist or serious humanitarian? Hmmm...

    July 12, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. Lindsey

    Paul is correct! Perry needs to do his job just like Rand is doing his! There is no need to get involved in Iraq any more. We gave them their chance and it's up to them now.

    July 12, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. don in albuquerque

    We have already started down the path to Sharia law. Our very own SCROTUS just brought it about.

    July 12, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. strategicbob

    For once, Rick Perry is right. I wonder who wrote the Op-Ed piece for him, 'cause you know Perry can't think that clearly.

    Of course, if these two GOP "superstars" were to go to the land of mental midgets, neither Rick Perry nor Rand Paul would be more than about knee high on the short one.

    July 12, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. KJ

    Guvernor (oops) Perry is no more relevant to our national political dialogue than he is to the current one here in Texas. He has outlasted his usefulness in politics and deserves no further chance to practice his particular brand of cronyism and economic absurdity. The Texas infrastructure is the weakest it's been in decades. Very little went back into our highways, waterways, and power generation. Thanks Rick, but we don't need that at the natonal level.

    July 12, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. Shayaan matin

    Let me tell you the ground reality of the situation. If ofcourse CNN doesn't censor my comment like always. If you want to stop terrorism, you have to understand why terrorists exist. Or specifically, why the United States' enemies exist because honestly speaking, terrorism is a subjective term. Your enemies exist purely because of intervention, and your meddling in their affairs. Infact, looking specifically into each conflict, you would find that the United States actually helped create every single monster they are now trying to destroy. They fund groups, and pick sides in conflicts that they shouldn't be dealing with, not paying attention to repercussions and blowback from those conflicts. For Iran, the US overthrew a legal Irani government to put in a Shah in 1953. This Shah was extremely unpopular in Iran and led to a revolution, which was eventually taken over by more religiously strong groups and left the moderates out. To combat this new anti-US problem, and to have an ally in the key region during the cold war, the US helped stage a coup to overthrow the current Iraqi government through the military. The leader of this military coup was Saddam Hussein, who they heavily funded and armed to go to war against Iran. Around the same time, the Soviets took over Afghanistan, so they allied with Pakistan to train, fund and arm religious fundamentalist guerilla groups such as the Taliban, and promoted foreign fighters to help their 'brothers' in the area. This included individuals like Osama Bin Laden, who was seen as a positive figure rather than what we see today. The basic concept of that was that the Soviets' communism was anti-Islam and religion and they would create an atheist society that would oppress the people. Currently they funded the rebels in Libya and Syria, without really caring that there were these same religious fundamentalist guerilla groups that were leading large sections of the resistance. Add that to the extremely unpopular invasions of Iraq, which now everyone knows was based on false pretenses, and you have a country extremely unliked for getting involved in conflicts and then turning on their former allies when they no longer are useful to their cause. Also, their unconditional support for Israel, despite what any neutral observer would see as large scale oppression, is quite disliked by the United States. Not to say that Hamas, who by the way were created by Israel to counteract a Yasser Arafat led PLO, have been always in the right, or continue to be completely innocent victims. However, especially with this conflict, and with most conflicts before it, Israel has clearly damaged and killed far more people, mostly civilians (including children, women, families, old people) than the other side has done. Add that to the fact that those people are living in an densely populated outdoor prison. So if you really want to know what would stop terrorism, it is keeping out of issues that are not your own, protecting your borders, and not have a laughable defense system for another possible 9/11, such as what you had to protect the second tower as well as perpexingly, the military center for the most funded and equipped military in the world X 30. There is evil in this world, in all of us, no doubt, regardless of race and religion. But if you want to protect yourself, stay out of the heat.

    July 12, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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