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Rand Paul's step away from foreign-policy failure

June 7, 2012 - Mike Maneval
Earlier this week U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced legislation good for American interests in both the short term and long term. Paul's legislation, according to the Express Tribune's website, would withhold all aid money from Pakistan unless the nation releases Dr. Shakil Afridi.

Afridi is a Pakistani physician who aided U.S. efforts to locate and ultimately kill the leader of terror network al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden. For this vital assistance, Pakistan - a country that for the past decade the U.S. has aided on the quant theory it is an ally - tried Afridi as a criminal and sentenced him to about 33 years in prison.

As Paul was planning his response to Pakistani hostility toward citizens who stand up to Islamic terror, the U.S. announced al-Qaida's second-in-command was killed by a drone strike ... while also in Pakistan. Perhaps if Pakistan's resources had not been diverted to jailing a physician for helping the U.S. locate a lethal enemy, Pakistani authorities could've identified al-Qaida lieutenant Abu Yahya al-Libi and neutralized the threat he posed to free people.

Paul's proposal, in the short term, would incentivize for the Pakistani government better collaboration with U.S. efforts to eradicate the world's foremost terror group. It would also prevent or reduce counterproductive expenditures in U.S. foreign aid. In the long term, Paul's proposal is a solid first step in replacing a long-standing foreign policy - call this foreign policy interventionism, or American exceptionalism, or if you want to be particularly cliched and hyperbolic, imperialism.

It's a failed foreign policy that in the past 30 years has left the U.S. spending tax dollars - the element of this debate within this blog's wheelhouse - and American lives - a far more important consideration - to aid and fund the Islamic jihadists who would become al-Qaida when they fought the Soviets, and to aid and fund Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as a bulwark against Iranian influence. It's the same foreign policy under which the U.S. spent blood and treasure fighting the Islamic jihadists responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks and Hussein's Iraqi regime, aiding Pakistan - the dysfunctional state harboring al-Qaida - as a method of enabling these interventions. And, if Paul's admirable efforts to connect foreign aid to tangible support for American ideals fail, it likely will be the foreign policy under which American lives are lost and tax dollars spent in a future war with Pakistan, for which the interventionists will need to aid some other nation or group clearly hostile to liberty, equality and self-governance.


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