Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will call for a more moderate, “restrained” approach to U.S. foreign policy Wednesday, delivering a highly-anticipated Heritage Foundation speech on “restoring the Founders’ vision of foreign policy.”
The speech, which has been billed as a foreign policy coming-out party for Paul, marks the Kentucky libertarian’s latest attempt to bridge the divide with foreign policy hawks in his party as he prepares for a possible presidential run in 2016.
Paul has made several public overtures to neoconservative Republicans in recent weeks, including a highly-publicized trip to Israel last month and his verbal attacks on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her Senate hearing on Benghazi.
In his remarks Wednesday, Paul will continue to attempt this detente, framing libertarian ideas of non-isolationism within the context of hawkish rhetoric about the looming threat of radical Islam.
But Paul will stop short of going full neocon, calling instead for a “middle path” along the lines of the Cold War strategy of containment.
“What the United States needs now is a policy that finds a middle path,” Paul will say, according to advance excerpts of his remarks. “A policy that is not rash or reckless. A foreign policy that is reluctant, restrained by Constitutional checks and balances but does not appease. A foreign policy that recognises the danger of radical Islam but also the inherent weaknesses of radical Islam. A foreign policy that recognises the danger of bombing countries on what they might someday do…A policy that understands the ‘distinction between vital and peripheral interests.'”
What that “middle path” would look like, however, remains unclear. Paul will stop short of offering any specific foreign policy proposals, and avoid answering questions about his own vision for the U.S. role in the world.
Instead, his speech will focus on the process by which Congress can restrain executive military action, and thus open up space for the type of foreign policies that Paul advocates.
“I’d argue that a more restrained foreign policy is the true conservative foreign policy, as it includes two basic tenets of true conservatism: respect for the constitution, and fiscal discipline,” Paul will say. “I am convinced that what we need is a foreign policy that works within these two constraints, a foreign policy that works within the confines of the Constitution the realities of our fiscal crisis. Today in Congress there is no such nuance, no such moderation of dollars or executive power.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.