McLEAN, Va. — In one sentence, Vice President Dick Cheney summed up how unenthusiastic he is about Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s apparent aspirations to the presidency.
“I’ll leave it simply,” Cheney said in an interview with The Daily Caller on Monday at his home outside Washington. “Isolationism doesn’t work as a philosophy for defending the nation.”
“Isolationism, I think, is a flawed concept,” Cheney continued. “My disagreement with Rand Paul isn’t personal. It’s on substance. I just think he’s wrong.”
As Paul – the libertarian-leaning lawmaker who favors a more restrained foreign policy – mulls a White House bid as a Republican in 2016, Cheney — who is much more hawkish — is criticizing the Kentuckian’s views on America’s role in the world.
Cheney suggested Paul’s foreign policy is dangerous “given today’s technology” and “the ability of 19 guys with nothing more deadly than airline tickets and box cutters” to “come over here and strike the homeland in the worst attack ever on the United States of America.”
Meanwhile, Paul has been criticizing Cheney for his role in the war in Iraq. Paul chuckled Sunday on “Meet the Press” when host David Gregory asked, “You’re not a ‘Dick Cheney Republican’ when it comes to American power in the Middle East?”
Paul responded to Gregory’s question by seemingly criticizing Cheney for supporting the War in Iraq. “What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran. Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq War than they were before — before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites,” Paul said. “Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.”
Cheney is doing interviews to promote the Alliance for a Strong America, the group he and his daughter, Liz, are forming to “advocate for a restoration of American strength and power.”
Asked why he decided to form this group now after nearly five years out of office, Cheney said: “We’ve become very, very concerned about the state of U.S. policy around the world. For example in March, Liz and I made a swing through the Middle East. Dealt with people I’ve known for 25 years… and what you find universally when you get out there among our friends, people that have worked with us in the past, is consternation over the fact that U.S. is no longer viewed as a reliable ally — that they are not confident that we’d be there in a pinch if they needed us.”
Asked if the group is also designed to battle the influence of Paul’s foreign policy, Cheney said, “I worry that there is a growing isolationist strain in my own party. The idea if we just turn our backs on that part of the world, bring all the boys home, let them stew in their own juices over there, everything will be fine.”
“But any student of history has to remember not only what happened to isolationism as a theory in the 1930s, prior to the time we got into World War II,” Cheney said. “It clearly didn’t work then. And now, in the aftermath of 9/11, it’s especially dangerous.”
WATCH MORE: Cheney on whether his group plans to go after Rand Paul
WATCH MORE: Cheney On His New Group And His New Role
Videography by Grae Stafford. Katie Frates contributed photography, and Jane Bartlett Pappas contributed to this report.