Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said if he was elected president, he would be a “Reagan conservative” in foreign policy, believing in “peace through strength.”
“I want national defense to be the priority in our country, but it doesn’t mean reckless intervention and it doesn’t mean war is always the answer, it means war is the last resort,” Paul told KUSI-TV in an interview before speaking at the Republican Party of San Diego‘s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner Saturday at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
Paul told KUSI “we do need to repel” the Islamic State group, “but the boots on the ground need to be Arab boots on the ground.”
In response to a question about whether this week’s decision by President Barack Obama to authorize the deployment of up to 450 advisers to help Iraq fight the Islamic State group would put the U.S. on a similar path to the Vietnam War, the 52-year-old Paul told KUSI “the thing with Vietnam was the South Vietnamese never seemed to want it as much as the North Vietnamese.”
“Right now, the Iraqis don’t seem to want it enough,” Paul told KUSI. “They don’t seem to be willing to fight. Until they’re willing to fight and until the Iraqi army becomes a national army, with Sunnis and Shiites in it, it’s going to be difficult.
“There are things we can do though short of sending troops. We should directly arm the Kurds. They’re the best fighters over there and I think they will fight and I think they should be promised a homeland if they fight for it.”
Paul told KUSI the Obama administration’s 2013 decision to join Saudi Arabia and Qatar in providing arms to moderate rebels in the Syrian Civil War allowed the Islamic State group to grow larger because “some of these weapons found their way to ISIS,” using an alternative name for the Islamic State group.
“A billion dollars worth of Humvees are driven around by ISIS now,” Paul told KUSI. “They have our money, they have our weapons. It’s one reason I voted against sending weapons into the Syrian Civil War because I said the irony is we’ll be back within a year to fight against our own weapons.”
In a news conference before the speech which made him the first announced 2016 presidential candidate to speak in San Diego, Paul said “securing the borders are the most important thing you do,” regarding controlling illegal immigration.
“I think there is a place for those who want to work in our country and I would find work visas once we’ve secured the border,” the Republican said. “But it can’t be an open border. We can’t allow everybody to migrate here. There has to be some control on borders.”
— City News Service
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