Rand Paul Disappoints

Brian Beyer
Jan 27, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Rand Paul is good on some things, and not so good on others.

Earlier this week, Paul was detained in Nashville for refusing a pat down after an “anomaly” was spotted during his full body scan. The T.S.A. denies that he was detained citing some Orwellian semantics. His refusal was noble and deserves applause, especially when considering his standing as an American Senator.

But just because Rand is good on some issues of the warfare-police state should not give him a free pass from scrutiny. Case in point: Rand Paul voted for the Kirk-Menendez amendment on December 1, 2011. Equally disappointing is that his vote flew straight under the radar. Whether unnoticed or ignored, antiwar vigilantes failed on this one.

The Kirk-Menendez amendment (#1414) seeks “To require the imposition of sanctions with respect to the financial sector of  Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran.” The amendment’s main focus is on Iran’s oil industry: “Sanctions imposed…shall apply with respect to a foreign financial institution owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country including a central bank of a foreign country, only insofar as it engages in transactions for the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products to or from Iran.”

This particular amendment could be seen as an act of war by itself, never mind the assassinations of nuclear scientiststhe mysterious explosions at Iranian military facilities, or the drone flights over Iran’s territory. To understand the gravity of the sanctions, just remember that oil accounts for 80% of Iran’s foreign currency revenues and 60% of the nation’s budget.

It is this type of financial suffocation that has many comparing these sanctions to those placed on Japan before World War II. Pat Buchanan recalls:

When France capitulated in June 1940, Japan moved into northern French Indochina. And though the United States had no interest there, we imposed an embargo on steel and scrap metal. After Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941, Japan moved into southern Indochina. FDR ordered all Japanese assets frozen.

But FDR did not want to cut off oil. As he told his Cabinet on July 18, an embargo meant war, for that would force oil-starved Japan to seize the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. But a State Department lawyer named Dean Acheson drew up the sanctions in such a way as to block any Japanese purchases of U.S. oil. By the time FDR found out, in September, he could not back down.


Facing a choice between death of the empire or fighting for its life, Japan decided to seize the oil fields of the Indies. And the only force capable of interfering was the U.S. fleet that FDR had conveniently moved from San Diego out to Honolulu.

And so Japan attacked. And so she was crushed and forced out of Vietnam, out of China, out of Manchuria.

Iran is quickly being backed into a corner with no way out. The Islamic Republic has shown incredible restraint, but patience is wearing thin.

The EU, following America’s lead, just passed an oil embargo on Iran. Mohammad Kossari, deputy head of parliament’s foreign affairs and national security committee, responded, “If any disruption happens regarding the sale of Iranian oil, the Strait of Hormuz will definitely be closed.” Closing the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated by the West for a mere nanosecond. Bombs would immediately start to fly.

A dog can only be poked in the eye so many times before it bites back.

Rand Paul certainly disappointed on this one.

Cross posted at the Come Home America blog. 

I covered this last month and I was ready to condemn him. However, it got me thinking: since he was going to vote against the whole resolution (it was attached to the NDAA, I believe) anyway, does it matter?

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Well I personally prefer his dad's method.  Always vote with your philosophical view, whether it matters or not.

KTSontag's picture

Did it matter from a practical standpoint? No, but it's the principle that matters. 

Brian Beyer's picture

Rand has the skill that his father doesn't--he knows how to play politics while still maintaining principle.

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So is arresting U.S. citizens that have done nothing wrong.

Look I'm not an advocate for needless war, and I certainly don't suggest invading or bombing Iran. However the situation with Iran is a delicate 1 and the government of Iran has been increasingly belligerent. I personally don't mind sanctioning them.

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"However the situation with Iran is a delicate 1 and the government of Iran has been increasingly belligerent. I personally don't mind sanctioning them."

Suggesting that particular action for what I assume is your particular goal is poorly prmised. Sanction don't do what you're convinced they do.

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Are what exactly are you convinced that I am convinced sanctions do?

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Sanctions actually hurt the poor more than anything.  Think about it.  Just because the elites are making less of a profit, doesn't mean they're not taking the same amount of money home.  What makes you believe that they're going to give that money to the workers and to the citizens who rely on the government for their pay, and take less money for themselves?  Sanctions are rich people giving less money to rich people who give less money to poor people.

KTSontag's picture

Well put; I agree.

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Furthermore what is my particular goal?

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I would have to agree that sanctions on Irans' financial and oil sectors is not a good idea because even sanctions against any country's government ends up that the people feel the brunt of the effects. I don't believe that Ron Paul is for sanctions? His son must feel differently about it. No one in public office is beyond our scrutiny. Nor should they be. Just like commentary I heard on YouTube stated: The government is made up of people just like you and me; they are no more righteous than you or I. Yet some of them feel they want to run our lives because it is believed we can't make our own decisions. I am a supporter of Ron Paul, and would vote for him. On a related tangent, I have heard Ron Paul to be a Free Mason? If so, is this bad? I don't know. But either way Ron Paul is not above scrutiny either. For me he just happens to have most of the views I do, and I genuinely believe he is serious about freedom. But when you are in public office and or running for it, your private life is held to a higher standard than a private citizen. So to encapsulate; Rand Paul in my view should not have voted for sanctions, and I would vote for Ron Paul whether he is a mason or not, but I still think Ron Paul should be asked that question. What do any of you think?

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If you take a minute to look at the Open Congress link, youll notice that every Senator voted for it. It was likely a unanimous consent vote and Rand wasnt even there.

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That's a really good point.  Someone should verify this as compromising principle is a big issue.

KTSontag's picture

"...what exactly are you convinced that I am convinced sanctions do?"

In this situation, decrease the level of beligerance on the part of the Iranian government.

"Furthermore what is my particular goal?"

Seemingly to decrease the level of beligerance on the part of the Iranian government.

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I wonder if the poor affected by it would take to the street and attempt regime change..... Hmmm....

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Actually sanctions are likely to increase it. However it may force the people to revolt and change the regime themselves. Iran's regime will not change without force, but it is not the U.S. that should use that force it is the Iranian people themselves who do indeed seek a more peaceful and moderate government.

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