Rand Paul appeared at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday morning to give his break-out speech detailing his vision for American foreign policy.
Though the speech lacked in specifics, Paul made some savvy observations about the unintended consequences of intervention.
He questioned the wisdom of attacking Iran:
Yuval Diskin, the former chief of Shin Bet, Israel's domestic security service, recently said “an attack against Iran might cause it to speed up its nuclear program.”
In the [Iran] debate, I made the point that while I think it unwise to declare that we will contain a nuclear Iran, I think it equally unwise to say we will never contain a nuclear Iran. War should never be our only option.
Likewise the wisdom of arming rebels in Syria:
Likewise, today’s “Truman” caucus wants boots on the ground and weapons in the hands of freedom fighters everywhere, including Syrian rebels. Perhaps, we might want to ask the opinion of the one million Syrian Christians, many of whom fled Iraq when our Shiite allies were installed. Perhaps, we might want to ask: will the Syrian rebels respect the rights of Christians, women, and other ethnic minorities?
Paul then went into the old story of covertly arming Mujaheddin fighters in Afghanistan in the 80s and how that eventually backfired on the U.S.
This really only touches the surface of unintended consequences in the Middle East.
For a fresher example, Paul might have talked about the Iraq War and Syrian chemical weapons: How the U.S. invasion across Iraq's southern border happened near concurrently with the scuttling of chemical weapons to escape the country's northern border into Syria, where they may or may not have been used just months ago. It was a mission to contain supposed nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that may have enabled the spread of another kind of WMD.
This history is worth considering as another president talks of "containing" WMDs in new Middle Eastern countries.
There is more than one way to skin the Persian cat.
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