Rand Paul slams GOP foreign policy Hawks
“Every time we’ve toppled a secular strongman,
we’ve gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam”
By James Hohmann, Politico 18-4-2015
Rand Paul ripped into his hawkish rivals for the Republican nomination Saturday, suggesting that problems in the Middle East would actually be worse under them than President Barack Obama:
“There’s a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now — maybe more…” “This is something that will separate me from many other Republicans…
The other Republicans will criticize Hillary Clinton and the president for their foreign policy, but they would have done the same thing – just 10 times over!”
The Kentucky senator went on the offensive against the militarists in his own party…
Speaking of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Paul asked: “Why the hell did we ever go into Libya in the first place?”
“Everyone who will criticize me wanted troops on the ground, our troops on the ground, in Libya,” he said. “It was a mistake to be in Libya. We are less safe. Jihadists swim in our swimming pool now. It’s a disaster.”
Paul framed his foreign policy approach as more realpolitik than isolationist.
“Every time we’ve toppled a secular strongman, we’ve gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam,” he said.
“We have to decide when getting involved is good and when it’s not so good. There’s a group of folks in our party who think it’s always good…
There’s people in our party who supported giving arms to [Muammar] Gaddafi before they supported giving arms to the ‘freedom fighters,’ who turned out to be al Qaeda…”
In the spirit of realism, Paul argued that Christians are better off under Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad than the alternative.
“ISIS is a threat. But how did ISIS grow stronger? Well, we put 600 tons worth of weapons into the Syrian civil war. You’ve got Assad on one side. You’ve got two million Christians living under Assad. And then you have the Islamic rebels. All the weapons we gave to the Islamic rebels … a lot of them wound up in the hands of ISIS…”
What you might not know:
Rand Paul was born in Pittsburgh but moved to Texas as a youngster in 1968. His name was “Randy” until his wife renamed him “Rand” because it sounded more mature.
His favorite book is “The Brothers Karamazov”, a Russian novel completed in 1880 by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that, according to a reviewer on Amazon.com, is “a satire of human corruption, a meditation on faith and religious institutions in an age of skepticism, a murder mystery involving love triangles, a courtroom thriller and in the end a testament to the goodness and bravery humans are capable of.”
Dostoyevsky was one of the topics he spoke about during his first encounter with his wife-to-be, Kelley.(Source)
Vladimir Putin & Russian Spirituality
Sebastian Willnow, NPR, March 29, 2014
The political — and very real and serious — drama unfolding in Ukraine right now “isn’t merely geopolitical,” says Andrew D. Kaufman. “It’s a deep-seated drama of the Russian soul that’s been around for centuries. And Russian literature is the place we see it in full flower.”
Andy is a Russian literature scholar at the University of Virginia and author of the upcoming Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times.
The question Putin is grappling with, Andy says, “is one that recurs throughout the nineteenth-century Russian classics: What is the source of our national greatness?“
Nineteenth-century writer Fyodor Dostoevsky believed that Russia’s mission was to establish a widespread Christian empire — with Russia at its epicenter, Andy says, pointing to The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov as exemplary novels. Putin “has chosen the Dostoevskian tradition…”
In certain works by Dostoevsky, says Laura Goering, professor of Russian at Carleton College, “the West is depicted as something seductive, yet soulless, a temptation to be resisted at all costs.”
For example: Writing about his 1862 journey to Europe in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, Dostoevsky describes the Crystal Palace in London: “You sense that it would require great and everlasting spiritual denial and fortitude in order not to submit, not to capitulate before the impression, not to bow to what is, and not to deify Baal, that is, not to accept the material world as your ideal.”
Laura says, “That conflict is further played out in The Brothers Karamazov, in which Ivan’s materialism is opposed to Alyosha’s spirituality and Dmitri’s very Russian breadth of soul.”
Again and again in Russian literature, she says, “we see a claim to a kind of spiritual and moral exceptionalism that is fundamental to Putin’s rhetoric.
Jesus & the Chief-Inspector
President Khatami’s Address to Seton Hall University
Our call to Dialogue among Civilizations is an invitation to replace the discourse of violence and hostility with a discourse of mutual understanding and reason.
Any dialogue among civilizations and cultures is incumbent upon taking into consideration the most fundamental cultural and civilizational element, that is religion, beyond historical prejudice and fanaticism.
In such a dialogue, we should emphasize bright points of essential concordance, and leave aside divisive issues, which derive not from the essence of religions but only from historical factional conditions and only when fanaticism prevails over fairness.
One cannot but wonder in bewilderment at the insurmountable gap between Jesus Christ who was all for love, beauty, freedom and compassion on the one hand, and the appalling character of a cardinal who sides with Satan and whom Dostoyevsky mockingly calls “the Chief Inspector” in his Brothers Karamazov. (Seton Hall University Website)