John McCain and Rand Paul Clash Over NATO

Last Wednesday, Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) slammed his Republican colleague, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) for not only “achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin”, but directly “working for” the Russian President.  That’s a pretty serious charge to level against a United States Senator. The actual story, though, is much less controversial and really shows the level of petulance and lifelong war mongering of John McCain.

First for some background. To say that the history between the two senators is rocky would be an understatement. In 2013, McCain took shots at Paul over his filibuster of the nomination of CIA director John Brennan. Sen. Paul was critical of the idea that the then Obama Administration would be able to use drone strikes to murder American citizens on American soil. Also in 2013, as Sen. Paul was preparing to run for the Republican Presidential nomination, McCain said that if the 2016 Presidential race was between Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton, he’d have a hard time making up his mind. Senator Paul shot back at McCain, calling him “stale and moss covered”.

The fact is that the men have radically different views on foreign policy matters. Rand Paul, much like his father Ron, is a non-interventionist. This means he is skeptical of interference into the external affairs of other sovereign states, especially military interference. Non-interventionists prefer to use diplomacy and avoid any wars that are not explicitly in self-defense. Fundamentally, non-interventionism is the Non-Aggression Principle applied to sovereign states.

John McCain, on the other hand, is a warmonger, more commonly called a defense hawk, who has never met a war he didn’t like. In 2003, McCain slammed then President George W. Bush for not committing enough troops to Iraq. Per Ted Carpenter of the Cato Institute, McCain “has also advocated hardline policies toward Iran, Syria, and North Korea, and has even staked out confrontational positions toward such major powers as China and Russia. The evidence suggests that a McCain administration would be even more reckless and aggressive than the current [George W. Bush] one.” And just in case you’ve lost track of all the countries that McCain wants to bomb, here’s a handy map.

Fast forward to last week. This current dustup between the two senators occurred over a resolution put forth by McCain to expand the NATO alliance to include the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro. For a country to be added to NATO, the senate needs a unanimous vote. When the voting started, Sen. Paul walked into the chamber, voted no, and promptly left.

McCain wasted no time in attacking Sen. Paul and, without proof of any kind, claimed he was ‘working for Vladimir Putin”. To McCain, because Paul left after objecting to the inclusion of Montenegro he had zero valid reasons for his opposition.

This is clearly not the case as Paul explained in a later statement, “Currently, the United States has troops in dozens of countries and is actively fighting in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen (with the occasional drone strike in Pakistan). In addition, the United States is pledged to defend 28 countries in NATO. It is unwise to expand the monetary and military obligations of the United States given the burden of our $20 trillion debt.”

It’s obvious that this kind of logical thinking is too much for McCain to handle. It seems that no price is too high to pay for escalating aggressions with Russia.

It didn’t take long for Sen. Paul to strike back, saying, “We’re lucky John McCain is not in charge” and that what McCain says should be taken with a “grain of salt” because “John McCain’s the guy who’s advocated for war everywhere.”

Senator Paul will get no arguments from us there.


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