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. BUD

    The last 3 wars have proved we cannot influence anyone else with force.Perry is an idiot if he thinks we can.

    July 12, 2014 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  2. happyfrenchman

    Some folks are born, made to wave the flag, whoo they'll send you off to war, but when you ask them how much should you give, they only answer more more more.....

    July 12, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Gammar

    Perry and Paul arguing with each other. It's like watching Dumb and Dumber fight.

    July 12, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. texasnotea

    Rick Perry is the most ignorant person on the face of the earth and couldn't lead a mouse to cheese

    July 12, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. w_roos

    Don't vote for this idiot. He'll get us mired in Iraq War III. It'll look more like Vietnam than either of the first two Iraq wars. The gov't in Badhdad is incompetent. The factions want to split the country apart. We'll have to use hundreds of thousands of troops and an iron fist to keep the country artificially under control. It'll be the biggest debacle we've ever wasted blood and treasure on. By far.

    July 12, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  6. Garry Owen

    I like how the Red Neck Right conveniently forgets that is was they that were asleep at the wheel on 9/11/01, not Obama.

    July 12, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. AZ Chick

    Dear GOP, I am a conservative Democrat, some of you call us "Indepedents", some of you still think of us as "Libby's" because that "D" is still attached. My vote, is the one you want. So, I tell you what, here's what you have to do to get it. Give me a candidate, whether male/female, black, white or plaid makes NO difference. Make that person intelligent, classy, give them a statesman like quality, make sure he is logical and cares about the needs of "the people" as opposed to party or special interests, give him a heart that will cause him pause when he needs to make a difficult decision, but who is savvy enough to know when to push back.

    You give me that, and you have my vote. But, to tell you the truth, you don't have it within your party. Your candidates want it SO bad that they will do anything, pander to anyone, to get it. The candidate I described is one who is hesitant to take the job, but knows it is what he should do for the greater good.

    July 12, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  8. William Furlow

    Rick Perry claims he supports the Texas National Guard as Governor. Ask Former two star General (Assistant Adjutant General), General Furlow how many times Rick Perry came to Camp Mabry in Austin during his time working at the Headquarters in Austin. This is the second in charge General of the state of Texas that never saw his boss (Rick Perry) other than for photo ops. If you know anything about Camp Mabry it is located in Austin, which is also the state capital of Texas and home to the governors mansion. If Rick Perry was really serious about his National Guard then he would drive the 5 miles away, that's right 5 miles from the capital and mansion to have a working relationship with the National Guard and really understand how the Military works. Rick Perry is all Campaign Rhetoric and all Talk. Let him not blind side anyone. I'm tired of Politicians lying through there teeth and only using the military for political purpose in times of political achievement. Instead Rick Perry is busy playing his Presidential cards around the country in California and other states.

    July 12, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  9. lloyd roberts

    Wow, and to think that the isolationist's of the 1940's were republicans and it was a democratic president who had the foresight to put us on a much quicker war footing than the republicans in congress wanted. If Wendle Wilke had won the 1940 election instead of Roosevelt, then the world could have been and most probably would have been far different than what we see now. And to think that foreign owned Fox and most republicans vilify Roosevelt for having essentially the same world view as Perry. Only difference is that Roosevelt had about 100,000 times the brain power of Perry

    July 12, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  10. rollybo

    I guess by Perry's logic China is also isolationist, because you are either spending trillions on Iraq or you are 'isolationist'. China didnt spend trillions, they are making money instead.

    Paul isnt isolationist at all, he is all about the U.S. as a dominant economic powerhouse.

    the thing the war hawks, and especially the dim bulbs like Perry do not understand, is you can overspend on the military and actually weaken your country...such as is exactly what the Soviet Union did. there is no security in bankruptcy.
    Costs matter, and trillions spent on Iraq was a foolish investment.

    July 12, 2014 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  11. S. B. Stein

    Paul, like his father, doesn't understand that this is not the ideal world on which run on the rules he thinks works. Just because people will act rationally doesn't mean that they will. The market will not correct itself. The world needs our leadership that acknowledges science and democratic values.

    July 12, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  12. TJ

    Quote from Perry, word for word: ""Unfortunately, we live in a world where isolationist policies would only endanger our national security even further."

    I would say to Perry: You and I already live under a dome of protection, what is your motivation to send troops outside of it?

    July 12, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. hohotai

    Perry can try all he wants by making such statements, but he is not presidential material.

    July 12, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  14. Erich Alba

    "Paul conveniently omitted Reagan's long internationalist record of leading the world with moral and strategic clarity."
    Exactly what moral/strategic interventions was Perry referring to? Central America, Grenada, Lebanon?
    I doubt Perry could list any specifics around Reagan's foreign policy.

    July 12, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  15. DP

    Perry is putting all his eggs in the "there are enough people in this country that don't know the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism that I can still get elected" basket.

    July 12, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. MARR

    you know, if we did not try to rape foreign lands of their resources, and learned to live with the bounty of our own country we would not need to go deploying troops all over the planet. How about that for a national policy?

    Then again, when you are the governor of Texas, and you and your predecessors have outright squandered the potable fresh water resources of the estate, i guess it always pays to look abroad for a boggy man.

    July 12, 2014 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  17. jacko


    So the Gov does a tour for the Air Force as Nam is winding down. He ends up in Europe. And for saying he'd rather fight terrorists rather than watch them come to our shoes, he's a chickhawk? No.

    July 13, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. pierce

    He' (Perry) is not readdy to run for the presidency.

    The salesman feller said the glasses dont give smarts to the wearer until he wears them for a full year.
    Besides he promised to get rid of the varmints at the state capital before he leaves to Washington!
    I hope Perry can ond day be admitted to the Sarah Palin School of Law and Psychic we is building in Waco, that's all I gotta say.

    July 13, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  19. pierce

    Hey, gov, Sears called and your govt diploma is ready for you at customer service desk. Also the case of hairspray is ready there too.

    July 13, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  20. Matt

    Whenever I hear a politician say that we cannot become isolationists I always think what they really mean is that the military industrial complex must not be stopped from receiving tax dollars.

    July 13, 2014 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  21. Damien

    Cindy....WJG...and for the rest of the folks who believe its ok to kick out illegals.....invade other countries...spy drones ....NSA madness and assorted other misdeeds. This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative it has to do with control. the more the scare you the more laws are changed to put more boots on the ground and more artificially created enemies of different sorts all feeding into the machine. you guys should really look up the shock doctrine.....of course you probably wont because your mind is completely closed off...hope you do anyway....

    July 13, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  22. Obama's Friend

    The Mexicans are coming to take the black's welfare checks!

    July 13, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  23. pierce

    Rick Perry, your dad Dick Cheney called and said there
    are WMDs in Iraq and we should go to war for another
    10 years. Sounds good to me. The military supply industry sure could use another war.

    July 13, 2014 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  24. pierce

    Pls, god Make Perry the GOP nomineeeee!
    He would have us laughing our butts off with the things he would say.
    Signed, a Democrat

    July 13, 2014 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  25. Donny

    LOL. Let the GOP games begin.

    July 13, 2014 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
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