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Rand Paul Against the World, by Jack Hunter

Rand Paul is apparently tempering some of the foreign policy advice Trump gets from his more wild-eyed advisors. From Jack Hunter at theamericanconservative.com:

Not long ago, Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton was promising regime change in Iran by the end of this year. Uber-hawk Bolton has long wantedwar with Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn’t much different, and has even advocated bombing Iran. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has previously recommend U.S. airstrikes against Iranian targets.

Today, Bolton says the U.S. does not to seek regime change in Iran. So does Pompeo. So does Mattis.

Why?

President Trump has been known to be hawkish on Iran. Politico observedWednesday: “Trump has drawn praise from the right-wing establishment for hammering the mullahs in Tehran, junking the Iran nuclear deal and responding to the regime’s saber rattling with aggressive rhetoric of his own….” There are also powerful factions in Congress and Washington with inroads to the president that have been itching for regime change for years. “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” says Senator Tom Cotton, once rumored to be Trump’s pick to head the CIA.

So what, or who, is stopping the hawks?

Politico revealed Wednesday some interesting aspects of the relationship between Senator Rand Paul and the president, particularly on foreign policy: “While Trump tolerates his hawkish advisers, the [Trump] aide added, he shares a real bond with Paul: ‘He actually at gut level has the same instincts as Rand Paul…’.”

On Iran, Politico notes, “Trump has stopped short of calling for regime change even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Bolton support it, aligning with Paul instead, according to a GOP foreign policy expert in frequent contact with the White House.”

But this part of the story was the most revelatory: “’Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,’ this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East.”

This is significant, not because Trump couldn’t have arrived at the same position without Paul’s counsel, but because it’s easy to imagine him embracing regime change, what with virtually every major foreign policy advisor in his cabinet supporting something close to war with Iran. “Personnel is policy” is more than a cliché.

To continue reading: Rand Paul Against the World

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