Once again I find myself in agreement with Jonathan Chait: Rand Paul’s Plan to Save Ukraine is Completely Nuts. But then, I’ve long considered Rand Paul to be the latest manifestation of a weird trend of bad craziness in US politics.
The biggest victim of the Ukraine crisis - other than the Ukrainians themselves, of course - may be Rand Paul. Since bursting onto the national scene four years ago, he has labored steadily and shrewdly first to shed his kook label, to make himself acceptable to the Party’s establishment, and then to steadily tug its policy agenda in his direction. His high-profile attacks on the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda have excited conservatives and made traditional hawks do a slow boil.
But the return of a classic Cold War scenario has awkwardly exposed the dissonance between conservatives’ still-strong nationalist impulses and Paul’s isolationism. Paul has an op-ed in Breitbart’s “Big Peace” weakly making the case that Ronald Reagan was more dovish than you think, and pleading against his critics, “splintering the party is not the route to victory.” Concurrently, he has an op-ed in Time laying out his plan of action in Ukraine. The Time op-ed is where Paul truly lets loose his long-suppressed inner kook.
Everything about Paul’s argument is weird. Part of the weirdness is conveyed by the prose, which is bereft of specific facts, repetitive, and reads as if it were run through a foreign-language translation program (“This does not and should not require military action. No one in the U.S. is calling for this … I have said, and some have taken exception, that too many U.S. leaders still think in Cold War terms and are quick to ‘tweak’ the international community. This is true.”)