“I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate,” said Sen. Rand Paul during the Republican debate. He was referring to Gov. Chris Christie, but could have been talking about virtually any of the other eight people standing on the stage at The Venetian.
Indeed, only the libertarian-ish Republican senator from Kentucky was willing to admit that reckless U.S. interventionism in the Middle East—cheered on by Republicans and Democrats alike—gave birth to ISIS. He calmly explained that deposing Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gadhafi in Libya created a vacuum for even worse radicals to thrive. And as Paul pointed out, if President Obama and Republican hawks had gotten their wish two years ago and deposed Bashar al-Assad, ISIS would now rule in Syria as well.
While most of the other candidates remained staunchly anti-Russia, anti-Iran, and anti-ISIS—even though the former two are unwaveringly opposed to the latter—Paul was willing to criticize the recklessness of a go-to-war-with-Vladimir-Putin-over-nothing policy.