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. Mike D.

    Perry cannot understand someone not supporting war because of all the profits from the stocks in companies that make war machines.. Well, it is easy for someone like Paul who is not funded by the companies that make war machines and is not invested in them.

    July 12, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. IAMBeowolf

    I find it disgusting that Paul says, "Texas was just invaded by 60,000 children" as if they showed up in boats, camo, weapons and are making a surge push across the Rio Grande. Sorry Paul but these are desperate children escaping a harsh drug war the USA started. Not saying it isn't a problem but to act like these are StormToopers coming to destroy us is villainous. I have an idea how about the billions in corporate tax aid we provide to oil companies (quarterly profits in the multi-billions) and use that money to help with this boarder situation.

    July 12, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. J.S.

    I'm beginning to think that maybe we should step back from being the world's 911 service to repair our economy and do some "nation building" here at home.

    July 12, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. Mashy

    This country was founded on the principle that freedom trumps security. There is simply no way to argue for the security state after studying our founding.

    If you are scared, move to a small town in the midwest.

    July 12, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Jason Carpenter

    Anyone that hates government and wants to get rid of big portions of it and the system in which has been protecting it's currency for the past 200 years should have no position in politics.

    July 12, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  6. Desel

    Maybe if Rick Perry starts now he will be able to memorize the three government agencies he would eliminate IF he became POTUS. It amazes me that this man was actually elected governor of Texas. This guy is a joke.

    July 12, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  7. Joe

    China should invade America and have troops on the street.

    They don't wanna be labelled isolationist, right?

    July 12, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. Lee

    I am amazed at how Texan's can elect two mentally challenged governors Bush and Perry. Do they have a cap of an IQ of 90 for govenor???

    July 12, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. Bob Ramos

    During a trip to Iraq a few years back, Senator Levin was surprised to learn that the US was paying the salaries of the national defense force whereas Iraq had the means to do so. The Senator asked his Iraq host why it was that way. They reply was, "because you are willing to do so". Too many countries assume that if someone attacks them, that we are eager to defend them without them lifting a finger. Obama and Paul are right. We should only help those willing to help themselves.

    July 12, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Kingregis


    You are an idiot

    July 12, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. DarkPoet

    Oh lets see Paul is a military vet, an accomplished doctor, and has a nearly perfect track record predicting what our involvement in overseas skirmishes will lead us. Pull up "Ron Paul Iraq 1998" and you will see a video on CSPAN of him warning us exactly what our involvement in Iraq will lead us but it doesn't stop there. Pull up "1990 Ron Paul warns of Economic collapse" and you will find another video of him on CSPAN warning us how the housing market would collapse if a certain bill was passed and yet again it came to happen just like he said it would.

    Time and time again he has been right and you paid trolls and fools keep calling him "Crazy". Well the crazy sob has been right more than any elected official the past 16 years so lets give him a shot!

    July 12, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Gary

    If this where a movie. Dustin Haufman would play Perry. Yes there is, no there isn't. Yes there is, no there isn't.

    July 12, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Joe

    I wonder if Rick Perry would send his into the Iraq civil war.which was designed by Bush? By the time it is over the Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and ISIS may have carved Iraq into separate territories.

    July 12, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. blakenaustin

    Love the libertarian stance on conservative fiscal policy. But their liberal social policy an isolationist foreign policy are unworkable and dangerous.

    July 12, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. Joe

    So how are we supposed to fix this one?!? We took the only one out that was keeping the mess balanced, and now we're looking at more unchecked sunni v. shia violence. Surprised? we all saw it coming, so why act like this is some kind of unexpected turn of events? Think this has any real difference from Somalia or Afghanistan? Not really, look at who the players are there. Not just their names, but who they really are, who pays their bills. Start really looking and you'll see that as bad as Saddam was, he was just the balance. Now, with all of the power vacuums we have helped leave all over the dang place, we can only wait until it balances itself out again. It's going to take a LONG time. There will be atrocities. There will be sadness. That is the nature of the sunni v. shia conflict that has been going on for so very very long.

    July 12, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. georgeD

    I can see both sides and each of their perspectives. I agree with Rand that i don't want our flag being the one that tries to solely control the forces of a ground war in Iraq. I agree with Perry that this Islamic Calephate thing is a direct threat to our national security and we have to align our strategy to deal with it. So theyboth have valid foreign policy ideas. Question is, how do we blend the two to get actual results that don't harm our nation's well being?

    July 12, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. korkea aika

    chicken hawks Unite!

    July 12, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. Steve

    Perry criticizing Paul is laughable. So much funnier in a debate, where Perry needs to try and use his own words. I may disagree with Paul on many points, but at least he can remember which branches of the govt he will eliminate.

    July 12, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    GOP, please see that this Palin in pants, is the contender for President in 2016.

    Every natural disaster, he will hold a prayer meeting in a stadium praying for rain to put out the fire, like did when fires leveled Bastrop county in TX. Guess he forgot he is commander of the National Guard in TX, and that would have been far more effective!

    I would have thought his miserable excuse of a campaign in the GOP primaries, would have proven that the only people that understand this moron "all live in Texas"!

    And that class, brings us full circle about how Texas is ranked 44th out of 50 in education...

    July 12, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  20. chrissy

    I think the man touched that electric cattleprod on his head too many times!

    July 12, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  21. samus

    Another Governor from Texas? Who is going to vote for him? The monkeys flying out of my butt?

    July 12, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  22. Rick Thwaites

    Don't tell me that we will have a version 2.0 of this dimwit. Wasn't 8-years of his twin brother, GW Bush enough. It's time to send Texas packing. Perry can be president of the new republic!

    July 12, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  23. disanitnodicos`

    Whoever kisses Jew behind the best will win the Republican nomination.

    July 12, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  24. glahblahblah

    Cindy (or Dick Cheney)

    What the bleep will interceptor missile do to defend the U.S. from terrorists. I don't have time to really post an appropriate retort but "leaving them alone" will make them go away. That's a fact accepted by anyone who has a peripheral knowledge of the Middle Eastern region and Islamic fundamentalist extremism. Unfortunately, we are so economically entrenched in the region that "leaving them alone" is not a possibility. However, overt and covert intervention has proven to be an ineffective and costly venture...please educate yourself before condoning the violation of the 4th Amendment and blabing about missiles. SHEESH!!!!!

    July 12, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Put the political tones aside folks. Perry is correct; an isolationist posture would only invite immediate and indiscriminate consequences that would be damaging beyond imagination. That said; "spying" on our allies (such as Germany) doesn't bode well for having, and keeping, allies. However, we do not need to be the gatekeeper of the world – and, not every country suffering internal strife needs to be of strategic importance or national security to the US.

    July 12, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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