Executive Intelligence Review


Sen. Rand Paul Praises President, Says ‘Trump Is Right To Meet Putin’

July 17, 2018 (EIRNS)—Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) heartily endorsed President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his pre-meetings with U.S. NATO allies in Europe, in an opinion article on July 16 in Politico Magazine, under the headline “Trump Is Right To Meet Putin: America Needs Fewer Enemies. What’s wrong with reducing tensions?”

Paul wrote that “a vital part of keeping America safe and secure is avoiding war through strong and consistent diplomacy,” but “politicizing international affairs is a dangerous game,” and one way this is played is “to insist we not meet with or speak openly to our adversaries on the world stage.” He rejected that:

“I disagree. Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as is the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia. So I applaud Trump for both chiding our NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with Putin. We should be doing more of such self-examination and dialogue.”

Paul reminds that at the height of the Cold War, even during the Cuban Missile crisis, the U.S. had diplomatic relations and communications with Russia. But

“over the past two years, some have fueled a hysteria that has created such a paralysis regarding Russia that regular meetings and communications have ceased, and one can be accused of ‘collusion’ merely for agreeing to a routine meeting with elected Russian officials who might be visiting Capitol Hill.”

This has resulted in a vacuum of cultural, educational, and even legislative exchanges, while officials from Russia and Washington are on so-called ban lists.

Paul said, “We must find a way to keep our historic allies, while realizing that threatening Russia through NATO expansion is not the answer.” He cited Georgetown Prof. Charles Kupchan that,

“ ‘From Moscow’s perspective NATO has ignored [Russia’s] vociferous objections and expanded ... bringing the world’s most formidable military alliance up to Russia’s borders.... Moscow perceives a threat ... helping fuel the confrontational turn in the Kremlin’s foreign policy.’...

“Russia doesn’t need to be considered our friend. But we should at least recognize the impact of our actions before we take them.... But we have certain overlapping interests—Syria, Islamic terrorism, and energy—that require us to have an open dialogue and relationship.”

Paul called himself “thankful that Trump is once again willing to go against the Washington elite and keep the lines of communication to Moscow open.” In a few weeks Paul will take his own trip to Russia “in an attempt to discuss common ground with their leaders and help prevent further, unnecessary escalation of tensions,” and “discuss trade, cultural exchanges, and how to better work for peace and prosperity in the world.” He will consult with Trump before he goes and work with diplomats from both countries to have better relationships. “Millions of lives could be at stake,” he concluded.