Paul has said he has no intention of running as a third-party candidate. He told the Wall Street Journal, “I did it [in 1988] and I know what the problems are.” Whether he’ll feel a draft after the primaries are over may depend on how well he does or who the Republican nominee is. (And how feasible such a run would be given some states’ sore loser laws.) But he has re-filed as a Republican to his House seat, which would tend to militate against a third-party bid.
As for Afghanistan, Paul was asked a variant of John’s question at an American Spectator Newsmaker Breakfast earlier this year. He mentioned letters of marque and reprisal and “doing what we did” by going after al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The former is out of the ordinary, though Paul advertised it as something to “supplement our military strikes” rather than replace them. On the latter, he emphasized he wanted to “get bin Laden” rather than create a government to replace the Taliban, which might be more dovish than most Americans — it is more dovish than my own position — but I’m not sure.
He’s going to give a foreign policy speech later this week. I’ll keep you posted on the extent of his dovishness.