rand paul

Rand Paul seeks distance from Ron Paul’s foreign policy — in tone, at least

by Aaron Blake, The Washington Post  |  published on February 9, 2013

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who looks more and more like he will pick up where his father left off and run for president in 2016, tried to create some separation between himself and his famous dad in a speech Wednesday.

“I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist,” Paul began in his opening remarks at the Heritage Foundation.

Paul called for a balanced approach to foreign policy that includes both significant action against radical Islam but also shunned the neoconservative and interventionist strains that dominated the Republican Party for the past decade and which his father, Ron Paul, campaigned vehemently against.

But even as he charted his own course on foreign policy, the differences between he and his father were much more about tone and emphasis than about substance. And indeed, he echoed much of what his father has espoused in recent years.

While many people think of Ron Paul as an isolationist, it’s important to note that he identified more as a non-interventionalist — i.e. getting involved only in limited circumstances in which American interests were clearly at stake. For example, even as he was a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, he initially voted the authorize the use of force in Afghanistan.

Rand Paul embraced much of his father’s policy of limited intervention on Wednesday, calling for the closure of overseas bases, reluctance to use force, avoidance of nation-building, and the approval of Congress in order to declare war.

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