Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during an event at the University of Chicago’s Ida Noyes Hall in Chicago on Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
As Turkey launches “Operation Peace Spring” with the goal of preventing what they call a “terror corridor” along the Southern border of the country, those who did not support the U.S.’s decision to slowly move troops out of Syria are held in contrast to the Senator who stands almost completely alone in backing President Trump’s move in the region: Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.
Republicans who worry removal of troops might create a situation leading to an emboldened ISIS also claim concern for Kurdish fighters in the region who have fought alongside U.S. troops to battle terrorists.
A Turkish military advance into Syria threatens to halt momentum against ISIS, directly assaults our SDF partners, and could give the likes of al-Qaeda and Iran new footholds in the region. Turkey should stop immediately and continue to work with the US to secure the region.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 9, 2019
— The Hill (@thehill) October 9, 2019
A list of Republicans criticizing Trump's Syria/Turkey move in pretty stark terms:
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) October 7, 2019
It would also be DISGRACEFUL if we sat idly by while Turkey slaughters the Kurds, as public reports suggest that Turkish leader Erdogan explicitly told President Trump he intends to do. Kurds risked their lives—for many years—to fight alongside us.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 7, 2019
Trump’s decision, which he correctly reminds the nation is one he ran on, is being viewed favorably by Paul, who, as a libertarian, prefers a more isolationist foreign policy.
The Kentucky Republican has been pushing Trump to take a less interventionist foreign policy approach for nearly three years, much to the chagrin and discomfort of most Republicans in Congress. And in the face of near unanimous condemnation from both parties in the wake of Trump’s Syria move, Paul is stepping in as the most vociferous defender of the president’s move and a notable beneficiary of his efforts to build an alliance with Trump after their ugly 2016 campaign attacks against each other.
With Republicans and Democrats alike piling on Trump and raising concerns that his decision could lead to Turkish attacks on U.S. Kurdish allies and a resurgence of ISIS, Paul declared that “most Americans would actually agree with President Trump that this is not a war that has our national interest at stake.”
“These are the people that have never met a war they didn’t like and have never met a war they wanted to end,” Paul told reporters on Tuesday afternoon, singling out the Cheney family as part of their long-running feud with Paul. “They’ve been wrong about everything in foreign policy for the last several decades.”
Paul has engaged in foreign policy twitter disputes with GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (MT) of late, accusing her father Dick Cheney, former Vice President under George W. Bush, of the same warmonger spirit he says he sees with the “war caucus.”
As Turkey made its announcement of their intent to secure the southern border, reports of air strikes began leaking out noting Turkish jets “began pounding suspected positions of Syrian Kurdish forces in the town of Ras al Ayn, the Associated Press reported, citing Turkish media and Syrian activists.”