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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Fear of a Rand Paul-Influenced Trump Foreign Policy

Brian Doherty

Josh Rogin, writing at the Washington Post, contemplates the supposedly frightening shadow of Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) hovering over some of President Donald Trump's recent foreign policy decisions. Rogin's piece adds to some unsourced musings from Beltway types that the most influential adviser to Trump on foreign policy right now is not anyone on his staff or a member of the Pentagon brass, but the Kentucky senator known for his skepticism about endless foreign adventuring.

Rogin thinks it fair to say that Paul, via informal communication with golfing buddy Trump, "is quietly steering U.S. foreign policy in a new direction." Among the public evidence for this is Trump tweet-quoting Paul after announcing his intention to pull U.S. troops from Syria on how "[it]t should not be the job of America to replace regimes around the world."

Paul's influence is bad, Rogin maintains, because "Trump may be taking Paul's word over that of his own advisers. Moreover, Paul has a history of pushing false claims and theories."

The implication, against all evidence, is that government foreign policy experts somehow do not "push...false claims and theories," even though their beliefs about such matters as Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, and the supposedly positive aftereffects of toppling Middle Eastern dictators such as Saddam and Muammar Gadafi, have been disastrously wrong.

Read more at Reason.

At the Cato Institute David Boaz writes:

'Well, presidents are allowed to choose their own advisers. But how is it “troubling” that Trump might take advice from Senator Paul, but it’s fine to take advice from Senators Cotton and Graham? And by the way, check the quote above: how is a president’s conversation with a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “wholly outside the policy process”?'

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