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. mocamo

    Keep it up, Rick Perry. I'd be happy for you to be the Republican nominee in 2016 so that I can watch the Democratic nominee decimate you.

    July 13, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  2. kols

    Perry is a quart low when it comes to brains. He has made so many outlandish statements in the past it's hard to put much faith in him. As just one example, he stated the Revolutionary War was fought in the 16th century. He's another Michelle Bachmann when it comes to our past.

    July 13, 2014 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  3. Rogue351

    Rick Perry – is a racist that will set this country back 100 years. Look at how religion and extremism has worked out for the middle east. Now the Tea Party / GOP wants to bring it here. Regardless of the god you worship the outcome will be the same, violence. There is not one Tea Party candidate that is not in some way driven by hate. We have tried discrimination, hate, guns, and religion. It is not working. Adding even more is obviously not the answer. Focusing on the people, jobs, immigration, equality, healthcare is the answer. Not war and making more money via war for the select few. The rich have proven that are more willing to keep taking as opposed to creating jobs and giving back. They can never have enough. They have stolen our savings and all but eliminated the middle class. What has religion done to help, isolate gay people, go against healthcare, and hoard money, again not giving back. Wake up, hate, religion, racism, greed and guns will be the down fall of the United States. Not gays, immigration and terrorists.

    July 13, 2014 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  4. Rogue351

    No Cindy you are wrong, you are willing to give up freedom for a false sense of safety. Wake up, you can never be truly safe. Except that fact and instead of living in fear do something to help people, in most cases this does not involve out military industrial complex, hate or discrimination. But in order to make things better for everyone religion, needs to be replaced by scientific education and really helping of people not just praying for them. God either needs to show up or we need to move on because hanging in this limbo waiting is not helping anyone. And it is certainly not helping make better people or we would not have the violence we are seeing today.

    July 13, 2014 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  5. rick

    I cant say that either or other is right. But I can say. They.. Just like everyone who has replied. Has a right to their opinion or argument. Unfortunatly. There will never be a perfect solution to any problem of the world today.. Nor will be anytime in the future. But I will say this.. While everyone curses America.. I remember the song. God bless America. It may not be the perfect scociety.. But it IS the greatest place I know. My home.. My parents.. Grandparents.. From sea to sea.. My.. And your.. Home.. And better than all you see elswhere..

    July 13, 2014 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  6. no more presidents from texas

    Perry reminds me a lot like bush .The last thing we need is another lightweight from texas(no offense texas) all bravado and no brains .Sound Familiar ?Perry may think the thick black glasses make him look smart but we all know better

    July 13, 2014 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  7. JCD

    I think 2015 will be a really bad year for America. I hope I am wrong, but I have a bad feeling about the future. If I am right, and our economy crashes, and we have a few acts of terrorism within our borders. It will be the politicians who demanded action, we benefit, not the ones who encouraged us to stay out of civil wars. This is not necessarilly fair, it is just the way it is. If the economy continues to improve, and we stay safe, which we all hope for, it will benefit those who are already in power.

    July 13, 2014 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  8. Craig

    It's alway easy to sit on the outside and criticize those actually charged with the "doing." Perry has no foreign policy nor any foreign affairs experience, yet he presumes to lecture others. He's correct that isolationism does not serve us well, but beyond that he's got no plan...which is, of course, pretty much the standard GOP play these days. Accuse the President of doing the wrong thing, but never present what they think might be the right thing.

    July 13, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  9. MuchoReverbo

    With or without the new glasses, Rick Perry is still a dunce.


    July 13, 2014 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  10. king

    Are you serious fox news voted credible by the american people. This country is in a whole bunch of trouble. We becoming the laughing stock of the world. The irony its not the politicians that are doing this, but the people themselve, they are the ones that keep sending folks to congress that they know wont work with this president, yet they are the same ones bauling about nothing getting done. Ive been harping on the cowards at fox news to hire a single dem to host a half hour of their 24 hour right wing smear machine propaganda, and the cowards refuses. How the hell the american people give
    credibility this right

    winged program is a testiment on their refusal to hire a single dem, so that the public is tra

    July 13, 2014 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  11. Donaldbain

    It doesn't matter what Perry and Paul say or do. Neither one will ever be President. Neither one, ever

    July 13, 2014 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  12. John

    Don't make Rand sick his Daddy on your ass Rick. We know what happened last time you tried to steal a Paul's policies in a debate... Wasnt pretty. Uncle Ron had to remind you what you were trying to steal.

    July 13, 2014 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  13. jeremy

    Both of them are clowns. Looks like another 8 years of Dems in the WH. Probably Hillary Clinton. Fine by me, as long as we keep the GOP far away from the big red button! We learned the hard way with baby Bush! BTW, Cheney shouldn't have gotten that new heart. It should have went to someone who's not a psychopath.

    July 13, 2014 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  14. Randy

    Paul's foreign policy is easy to understand – just stick his head in the sand and pretend the world doesn't exist!

    July 13, 2014 04:24 am at 4:24 am |

    Perry is wrong. We are not in danger from ISIS; ISIL; LISIS; SISSY; whatever the Allah they want to call themselves. I invite terrrorists to try to govern. It will show how weak they really are. Their rhetoric is meaningless because no country can exist with their ideas and leadership. They will pose no danger to the US because they will have to spend all of their energy actually governing the people they think they are conquering.

    Paul is right. It's not out fight. Let them kill each other while we further secure entry to our country. Ban visas from the Middle East and Western Asia. Spend no money in the Middle East. Let them duke it out while we laugh all the way to the bank with the new oil dollars we're making.

    July 13, 2014 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  16. petezoria

    It's going to be a repeat of the infighting of the GOP again as it was back in 2008 and especially 2012. Lol.
    Just like a bunch of Piranha they will destroy each other and if Hillary runs....a shoe in for her! The GOP had better change their strategy.... and get a real strategy. .

    July 13, 2014 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  17. kerrypenn49

    So what Pauls team is saying, is that the southern U.S. nation border along the texas southern state border is the responsibility of Perry and the State of Texas. Huh? Does the term "UNITED States" mean anything or has that too been contaminated by a new order of the Obama? Maybe so, because Obama considered $$ fundraising more important than visiting the border, where the invasion is happening.

    July 13, 2014 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  18. Serge Storms

    We know that isolationist policies are dumb. But the real question is, can Texas cure Rand Paul of his inappropriate foreign policy ideas like they can cure gays? Or is this a case of the blind attempting to lead the blind?

    July 13, 2014 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  19. FLUX

    HA HA HA The Republicans are repeating their failed strategy. With no solutions to Americas problems they rely on demonizing their opponents with half truths. Eventually, that leads them to doing the same thing to members of their own party."We have seen the enemy and he is us."

    July 13, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |

    HILARIOUS watching the Guns Over People teatards eat each other. November comes quickly for the stunt party.

    July 13, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  21. yoshimoto

    Don't they have to add a disclaimer "Paid Spokesman for the Military-Industrial Complex" – weapons are a big business in Texas and that's why they elect pro-war m$rons like Bush and Perry

    July 13, 2014 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  22. earl

    To paraphrase Gov. Perry: We have the same problem we had 11 years ago. We must answer this problem the same way we did 11 years ago in order to maintain the status quo.

    Is the status quo what we really want? I don't believe it is. If we want different results, we should approach our problems differently. New approaches to our problems will naturally look like they won't work when viewed from the same mindset that created and perpetuated the problem. We have seen that war begets more war. What if we try peace instead this time to see if the counter holds true- Peace begets Peace?

    July 13, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  23. fr33d0mhawk

    Perry is no longer blind and he is anxious to tell everyone about his new fangled Smart Feller Glasses. At least Paul is far more intelligent than the pre-school drop-out Perry.

    July 13, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  24. James W. Texas

    Mr. Perry, send your sons and daughters to the front lines of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen or any other hot-spot in the world that does not need or deserve the life of a single American and I will listen to you. Otherwise shut up because you are just another blow hard political hack willing to have our Sons and Daughters killed for your political ambitions.

    July 13, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  25. Stephen

    So does this mean Perry is enlisting? Naw, didn't think so. He thinks it's his divine right to send others. What a quarter wit.

    July 13, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
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