Rand Paul is Not Wrong to Note that History Might Have Something to Do with How Wars Happen

Dishonest and juvenile critics tried to do the same thing to his father.

Like father, like son.

When Ron Paul explained on a Republican presidential debate stage in May of 2007 that the 9/11 attacks on the United States didn’t happen in a vacuum and that history and context matters, he was called a traitor. He was painted as blaming America. He was accused of using terrorists’ talking points.

Paul was also correct. U.S. foreign policy and the rise of radical Islam over decades in the Middle East, which was obviously a big part of what led to the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001, mattered. The words that came out of Osama Bin Laden’s mouth for years mattered. U.S. intervention abroad mattered.

Nothing could excuse what al-Qaeda monsters did to us. But it also didn’t make those who wanted to try to understand what led to 9/11 monsters either.

When Sen. Rand Paul questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, Left and neocon Twitter erupted in outrage accusing Paul of using Putin’s talking points and siding with Russia.

Why? Because in an over ten minute exchange with Blinken, in which Paul drove home that Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was a factor in the current conflict (something even Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky admits), Paul also noted that Georgia and Ukraine were former parts of the Soviet Union.

Twitter went mad.

You would have thought Paul had joined the Russian army.

In spite of Paul repeatedly noting that Russia had no moral justification in invading Ukraine, leftists and neocons made it sound like Paul was driving a Russian tank across Ukraine’s border.

This is what happened to his dad too.

Sen. Paul observed that Georgia and Ukraine were once part of the old Soviet Union, implying that Russia’s government might have an opinion about this that differs from our’s.

Similarly, when noting that history might matter, Ron Paul’s 2007 lesson about the rise of radical Islam began in 1953 with the US-backed Iranian coup and then moved on to the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. He also brought up US bombings and sanctions in Iraq throughout the 1990s.

Fifteen years ago, many on the Left were cheering Ron Paul for saying uncomfortable truths instead of towing the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney neoconservative line that terrorists simply ‘hated us for our freedoms.’

Here is what CNN’s Roland Martin wrote the day after the 2007 debate spat between Paul and Rudy Giuliani, “Paul tried to explain the process known as ‘blowback’ — which is the result of someone else’s action coming back to afflict you — but the audience drowned him out as the other candidates tried to pounce on him.”

Martin added, “After watching all the network pundits laud Giuliani, it struck me that they must be the most clueless folks in the world. First, Giuliani must be an idiot to not have heard Paul’s rationale before. That issue has been raised countless times in the last six years by any number of experts.”

Martin was right. Similarly, Ukraine’s possible NATO membership, and its history with its now satellite nations have been raised by many experts, but no lefty or neocon was going to let that get in the way of a schoolyard mocking of Rand Paul this week.

Martin would continue, “Second, when we finish with our emotional response, it would behoove us to actually think about what Paul said and make the effort to understand his rationale.”

“Granted, Americans were severely damaged by the hijacking of U.S. planes, and it has resulted in a worldwide fight against terror. Was it proper for the United States to respond to the attack? Of course! But should we, as a matter of policy, and moral decency, learn to think and comprehend that our actions in one part of the world could very well come back to hurt us, or, as Paul would say, blow back in our face? Absolutely.”

Well said. Martin then went into a history even more in depth than what Paul said on that debate stage, making similar points as the libertarian Republican congressman.

Similarly, Rand Paul’s point that Georgia or Ukraine were formerly part of the Soviet Union is also notable and experts have observed this for decades.

When the Clinton administration wanted to expand NATO, Charles Kupchan, who had served as director for European affairs on Clinton’s National Security Council, warned in the New York Times in 1994 that “An expanded NATO would lead Russia to reassert control over its former republics and to remilitarize.”

“Former republics.” Kupchan must have clearly worked for the Kremlin at the time.

In March, the New Republic’s John Michael Smith collected a number of foreign policy experts across decades echoing the same warnings against NATO expansion along Russia’s border and providing a similar context to what Sen. Paul tried to explain on Tuesday.

But no, let’s not use reason and common sense, let’s just whittle down this debate to ‘Putin Bad’ (which he is) and heckle anyone who might try to share a more sophisticated explanation for how the current war in Ukraine came to be.

This is the latest juvenile nonsense Rand Paul had to put up with this week. Just like Ron Paul did too.

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunterhttp://LibertyTree.com
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for Rare.us.