You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you. – Leon Trotsky
Rand Paul would rather the United States not engage in a costly, frustrating and bloody fight against ISIS. ISIS doesn’t care what Senator Paul thinks about much of anything. They are atavistically determined to make America care about what they think regarding the possibility of a conflict. Therefore, under this President or his successor, The United States Military will engage in violent conflict with ISIS. Athwart his pacifistic instincts regarding foreign adventures, Senator Paul has gritted his teeth, calibrated his political positions and come up with a subtle volta-face that will allow him to run up the White French Battle Flag with as much gentlemanly dignity as possible. He suggested that President Barack Obama do the following:
If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily. (HT: Reason Magazine)
This was a carefully calibrated political statement. He knows the United States will regrettably wind up getting sucked into conflict at a time that is not auspicious either culturally or economically for the United States to engage in international violence. He is well enough versed Libertarian economic thinking to truly understand how much of a fallacy it is to claim this war will make the US economically better off unless we gain stability by taking ISIS off the global chess board. So he is surrendering to inevitability while maintaining himself in a position to continue questioning the war effort if things go badly off track.
He also wants to make sure the coming war has a laudable and clearly defined end state that constitutes a meaningful victory. He doesn’t appreciate anyone, hawk or dove, who doesn’t have a strategy yet. He voiced concern earlier that a lot of people wanted to cook off ordnance in Syria without much concern over who it got directed at.
I have mixed feelings about it,” the senator said Monday evening of the recent strikes against ISIL targets. “I’m not saying I’m completely opposed to helping with arms or maybe even bombing, but I am concerned that ISIS is big and powerful because we protected them in Syria for a year. Do you know who also hates ISIS and who is bombing them? Assad, the Syrian government. So a year ago, the same people who want to bomb ISIS wanted to bomb Syria last year,” he continued …
Of course asking the Senate to vote on authorizing a well-planned military action against ISIS at this point is close to a slam-dunk. Even Senator Liz “Liawatha” Warren understands the problem with a President with no strategy here. She makes the following statement regarding ISIS.
“ISIS is growing in strength. It has money, it has organization, it has the capacity to inflict real damage. So when we think about a response we have to think about how to destroy that,” Warren told Yahoo’s Katie Couric. Warren agreed that “time is of the essence. We need to be working now, full-speed ahead, with other countries, to destroy ISIS. That should be our No. 1 priority,” she said in a wide-ranging interview promoting her latest book, A Fighting Chance.
All of this leads to a critical juncture that will determine the course of Barack Obama’s remaining term in office. Americans are increasingly aware of the fact that we will have to fight a war against ISIS. They will come over here if we do not go over there. When Abu Bakr al Baghdadi said ‘See you in New York.” He wasn’t asking us if we could score him a couple of tickets to watch the Yanks. Senator Paul, given his preferences, would be perfectly happy to let his political opponent, President Obama off the hook if it would serve his personal objective of keeping the US out of a war. However, Senator Paul is not pacifistic enough to be the GOP’s next Jeannette Rankin. Strategy, pace Leon Trotsky, is now about to become very interested in Barack Obama.