For two years now Rand Paul has walked a tightrope between a particular strain of libertarian ideology and an agenda with broad appeal. So far he's avoided the temptations of both the fringe and the GOP establishment. The rewards will be great if he can keep his balance. Indeed, he could turn out to be one of the most important conservative statesmen in decades.
And Continetti digs into what that means in terms of Paul's foreign policy views:
This commonsensical strategy is a boon for the Paulists and other advocates of limited government. But it is also a challenge for conservatives who believe that a preponderance of American power and a forward-leaning foreign policy are necessary to secure global public goods and maintain international stability. A Democratic president and a looming fiscal crisis have made the environment friendly to Republicans eager to scale back America's foreign commitments and cut defense spending.
Foreign policy used to be the ceiling that prevented Ron Paul from breaking into the Republican mainstream. But, whereas Ron Paul criticizes U.S. interventionism in tropes familiar to the left-anti-imperial blowback, manipulation by neocons, moral equivalence-Rand Paul merely says America doesn't have the money. "I think we do need to go back to a constitutional foreign policy," he told another New Hampshire voter, "which would include some savings by not being everywhere all the time."
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