Speed Reads


Sen. Rand Paul says fellow Republicans are acting like 'grade-school children' on Iran

Most Republicans have taken the line that President Trump was right to order the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani because he was "an evil bastard," but that's the way "grade-school children" think, and in foreign policy, you have to be a little more sophisticated and farsighted, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday. Paul, in fact, was extremely skeptical of Trump's entire Iran policy.

The Trump administration's "stated purpose" for killing Soleimani, head of Iran's elite Quds Force, "was that they were going to prevent attacks on Americans," Paul said. "But I think if you ask the question now, is it more or less likely that there will be attacks on Americans, I think it's much more likely, the replacement for Soleimani is basically a clone," and "so while Soleimani may have been plotting attacks — and probably was — it's now a certainty that there will be attacks in revenge for his killing."

Another "unintended consequence" of the strike is that it silenced moderate and diplomacy-focused Iranians, Paul said. "The Iranians will not be able to approach us on diplomacy until there's revenge, until there's adequate revenge to satiate the people, who want some kind of revenge. And this is sad. I mean, the death of Soleimani I think is the death of diplomacy with Iran." Blitzer asked Paul if Trump "made a major mistake," and Paul said he thinks Trump "got bad advice," specifically from former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

"The administration, mostly at John Bolton's behest, tore up the Iran agreement, placed a significant, severe embargo on Iran, and then killed one of their major generals — nobody in their right mind would actually think that that would lead to negotiations," Paul said. "So when Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo's out there saying, 'Well, maximum pressure, our goal is to get them back to the negotiating table,' no naive child would believe that, you would have to be brain-dead to believe that. ... Nothing justifies their military action, but it is predictable given what path we've chosen." Peter Weber