Kentucky Republican senator and probable 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul dismissed claims by some in his party that he’s “too soft” on foreign policy, noting these critics are likely motivated by “personal and political gain.”
Paul spoke with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday about Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea, a strategic region in southern Ukraine. “Some of your Republican opponents, as you well know, say you’re too soft on foreign policy,” Wallace began, confronting the senator with an earlier comment urging a “respectful relationship” with Russia.
“That’s how President Paul would deal with Vladimir Putin? Respectfully?” Wallace asked.
“You know, I see my foreign policy in the same line as what came out of probably the first George Bush [administration],” Paul said. “Henry Kissinger wrote something in the Washington Post two days ago which I agree with. I see it coming out of the mainstream of the Republican position.
“But the interesting thing is, I opposed with real fervor the involvement of us in Syria,” he continued, “and that became the dominant position in the country — both Republican and Democrat. There’s not one Republican who’s saying we should put military troops into Crimea, or into Ukraine. So I think I’m right in the middle of that position. And I think those that would try to argue that somehow I’m different from the mainstream Republican opinion are people who want to take advantage by their own personal and political gain.
“I’m a great believer in Ronald Reagan,” Paul added, noting one quote by Ronald Reagan “sums up” what he would tell our adversaries as president: ‘Don’t mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.”
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